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Behind The Numbers

Statistics reveal players with breakout potential

Kane, Rieder, Ceci among those who should improve this season

by Rob Vollman / Correspondent

After scoring 41, 39 and 44 points in the three prior seasons, forward Mikael Granlund led with the Minnesota Wild with an NHL career high of 69 points (23 goals, 43 assists) in 81 games last season. Using an example like this as a template, can underlying numbers identify who might be next for a breakout season?

Some of the indicators are obvious, like joining a new team, getting a new coach, being paired with a talented new linemate, and being in that ideal 23-25 age range. However, some require a deeper dive, like an unusually low on-ice shooting percentage and power-play opportunities relative to shot volumes and even-strength scoring rates.

Based on metrics like these, here are five players who might break out this season:


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free agency

Draisaitl signs eight-year contract with Oilers

21-year-old forward's deal has average annual value of $8.5 million

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Leon Draisaitl signed an eight-year, $68 million contract with the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

"For me, it was never a question of going anywhere else or signing anywhere else," the 21-year-old forward said. "That never even crossed my mind. I wanted to stay in Edmonton, I feel very comfortable there. I think we have a great group of guys and we're building something special."

Draisaitl was a restricted free agent. The contract, which has an average annual value of $8.5 million, runs through the 2024-25 season.

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Summer with Stanley

Kuhnhackl brings Cup to hometown for party in Germany

Penguins forward joined by Coyotes right wing Rieder, mayor of Landshut @NHL

The Stanley Cup returned to Germany for the second straight year for Pittsburgh Penguins forward Tom Kuhnhackl's day with the trophy Friday.

The native of Landshut, Germany, brought the Cup back to his hometown for a two-hour party that included family and friends.

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Oilers coach 'confident' Draisaitl will sign

'We want him to be there, he wants to be there,' McLellan says

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers coach Todd McLellan said Wednesday he isn't concerned that restricted free agent forward Leon Draisaitl remains unsigned.

"I'm confident we're going to see Leon in an [Oilers] uniform," McLellan said at a charity golf tournament. "We want him to be there, he wants to be there, and it's just a matter of getting a few things done over the summer."

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free agency

Philipp Grubauer signs one-year contract with Capitals

Backup goalie will make $1.5 million this season @NHL

Goalie Philipp Grubauer signed a one-year contract worth $1.5 million with the Washington Capitals on Thursday.

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Capitals Re-sign Philipp Grubauer

The Washington Capitals have re-signed goaltender Philipp Grubauer to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.

by Washington Capitals @Capitals /

ARLINGTON, Va. - The Washington Capitals have re-signed goaltender Philipp Grubauer to a one-year, $1.5 million contract, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

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free agency

Oilers shift focus to Leon Draisaitl after Connor McDavid extension

21-year-old forward remains restricted free agent after 77-point season

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers are expected to shift their focus to restricted free agent forward Leon Draisaitl after signing center Connor McDavid to an eight-year, $100 million contract extension on Wednesday.

The Oilers believe the extension gives them enough flexibility to surround the 20-year-old center with a strong supporting cast, including Draisaitl. McDavid, in his second NHL season, became the third-youngest player to win the Hart Trophy as MVP (Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby) after he had 100 points (30 goals, 70 assists) in 82 games in 2016-17 to lead the League.

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Penguins to Select 31st Overall in the First Round of the 2017 NHL Draft

by Pittsburgh Penguins @Penguins / Media Release

Winning a second-straight Stanley Cup has the Penguins sitting in the preferred draft position of all 31 NHL teams heading into the 2017 NHL Draft on Friday night in Chicago. Pittsburgh will make its first-round selection with the 31st and final pick of the opening round.

Fans can watch the 2017 NHL Draft live on Friday beginning at 7:00 PM ET on NBC Sports Network. Rounds 2-7 will air Saturday morning on the NHL Network starting at 10:00 AM ET.

This year, the Penguins own six draft choices, including a first-round pick for the first time since 2014 when the Pens chose Finnish forward Kasperi Kapanen with the 22nd-overall pick.

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Coyotes forward Tobias Rieder expected to be ready for training camp

Had ankle surgery following injury playing for Germany at World Championship @NHL

Arizona Coyotes center Tobias Rieder is expected to be ready for the start of next season following surgery for an ankle injury he sustained playing for Germany at the 2017 IIHF World Hockey Championship this month.

The Coyotes said his recovery time will be 8-12 weeks.

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Injuries leave Penguins undermanned for Game 4 against Senators

Defenseman Justin Schultz, forwards Bryan Rust, Patric Hornqvist, Tom Kuhnhackl sidelined for Pittsburgh

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / Staff Writer

OTTAWA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without defenseman Justin Schultz and forwards Bryan Rust, Patric Hornqvist and Tom Kuhnhackl in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The Penguins, who trail the best-of-7 series 2-1, also will change goaltenders, with Matt Murray starting in place of Marc-Andre Fleury.

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