The beauty of being a professional sports fan, is picking and choosing the sport,team, and players you wish to follow. Some fans prefer the physical attributes of a player. Some fans like the speed of a player, or some fans just like a player because of his or her personality. This article is about a new group of players that may or may not breakout in the National Hockey league in 2017/18. The first player we’ll focus on is Maple Leafs center Auston Mathews. Mathews was clearly the top rookie in the league last year with 40 goals and 29 assists totaling 69 points Mathews was an integral force for the Leafs last year which resulted in a playoff berth despite losing to the Caps in the first round. Mathews is also a slick puck handler and extremely dangerous on the power play. If Mathews can stay healthy,he should be a top five player in the league for a long time to come. Buffalo has a unique player in defenseman Jack Eichel. The Boston University product left school early to enter the NHL draft in 2015. Eichel was the top Sabre defenseman last year tallying 24 goals and 33 assist for 57 points. Eichel just 18 years old played in 81 games. Eichel was also an player on the teams power play last year. His hard work and dedication earned him a spot on the NHL All Rookie team . Look for Eichel to be the face of Buffalos’ franchise for years to come. Winger David Pastrnak of the Bruins is another player on the rise. With three years of NHL service, Pastrnak has been a key factor in the Bruins resurgence to playing playoff hockey. Pastrnak came into his own last year netting 34 goals, and 36 assist for 70 points. Pastrnak was also an important player on the power play. In 2015/16 he scored 15 goals,11 assists for 26 points. The question is can he keep doing it? Playing alonside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron should only fuel him. Rewarded with a six year contract, he should be a Bruin for years to come. Center Alexander Barkov of Florida is one of the fastest skaters, in the league. In his first season Barkov scored 21 goals, and 31 assist totaling 52 points . Barkov however, missed 21 games due to an injury. Barkov was a force on on the power play not to mention being a great passer.If he can stay healthy he wii be an important piece in the Panthers push to the playoffs for a long time. Like fellow teammate Barkov, Panther centerman Vincent Trocheck may also be a star in the making.Trocheck was the Panthers 2013 number one pick. For two years, Trocheck has quietly been one of the most productive scorers in the league. Last year Trocheck scored 23 goals, and 31 assists for 54 points. Trocheck was also healthy for all 82 games last year. The year before he scored 25goals,along with 28 assists for 53 points in 76 games. If he can stay healthy, he may breakout, and be one of the top players in the league within time.
The NFL has produced some of of the greatest quarterbacks ever to wear a football jersey. Football fans have witnessed the birth of Tom Brady, Dan Marino, Ben Rothlisberger, Joe Montana, Bart Starr and Brett Favre to name a few. Lets’ examine a new breed of quarterbacks that maybe considered elite. As tough of a game football is getting sacked several times a game is not easy physically , nor mentally. James Winston is a big physical quarterback who can take the punishment. In three years Winston has started thirty three games. Last year Winston guided the Bucs to a 9-7 record. This season hes’ led the team to a 2-0 record. With an impressive 29-7 win over the Bears last week, its’ hard to predict if Tampa can keep it up. The next three weeks will be a big test for Winston. The Bucs will face Minnesota, Green Bay , and New England. The 1-1 Eagles have an impressive quarterback in Carson Wentz. In two years Wentz has led the Eagles back to being a fairly respectable team. In his first season 2016 Wentz led the Eagles to a 7-9 record. With proper coaching, Wentz will lead the Eagles hopefully one day to the Super Bowl. Oakland has a gifted quarterback in Derek Carr. The fourth year starter out of Fresno State, has transformed the Raiders as a legitimate AFC powerhouse. Carr led the Raiders to a 12-4 record in 2016. This year Carr and the Raiders are off to a 2-0 start. Carr is surrounded by plenty of talent. With two gifted receivers in Amari Cooper and Sammy Watkins, along with Marshaun Lynch the Raiders should be a favorite in the AFC West. Rewarded with a five year 125 million dollar contract look for Carr to take the Raiders to the AFC championship. After a disap[pointing 2016 campaign ,the Rams decided to rebuild and drafted JaredGoff of California Berkley. Goff so far in two starts has led the Rams to a 1-1 record. If Goff can take the punishment of NFL defenses,then the Rams have something to hope for. Predicting which quarterbacks will turn out to be NFL stars is impossible, but as history shows us their is always room for another hero. If these quarterbacks can stay healthy then they should be in the league for a long time. Making the NFL is elite in itself.
With NHL training camps officially undeway it’s time for hockey fans to start making their predictions.With a new expansion team hockey should be better than ever tis year. Welcome hockeys newest team the Las Vegas Knights. Lets examine three teams that will give the Penguins a run for their money. A team to keep a close eye on is Edmonton. General manager Peter Chairelli has developed the Oilers into a contender in just three years. He has two of the games elite Stars. Forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisiaitl are two of the games best. Both signed long term deals over the summer. McDavids deal is for eight years,one of the largest in team history. Defensively the Oilers are solid with veterans Kris Russell and Matt Benning protecting goalie Cam Talbot.The team also added winger Ryan Strome from the Islanders. Strome is regarded as a depth move and brings a physical presence to the roster. Dallas is a team that was very busy this past off season. The First order of business was the firing of head coach Lindy Ruff. Ruff was replaced by long time veteran Ken Hitchcock. Hitchcock previously coached the Stars ten years ago before moving on to St.Louis. The also added veteran goalie Ben Bishop. Bishop signed a six year deal thatshould bring depth to the goalie department Last years goalie Kari Lehtonen struggled through most of the season. Defensively Dallas acquired Mark Methot from Las Vegas.Plus the team signed Martin Hanzal and Tyler Pitlick. The new additions plus Hitchcock as coach should mix in well with star players Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Within time the Stars should be serious contenders. This leads us to the Bruins. With a new head coach and a nice mix of veterans and rookies the Bruins could be the surprise of the league. Veteran goalie Tuukka Rask is only thirty, and still has plenty of upside.Look for youngsters Charlie Mc Avoy and Brandon Carlo to be elite defenseman.Look for the Bruins to challenge in the Stanley Cup finals.
Even though the Patriots suffered an embarrassing 42-27 loss to the Chiefs, it’s time to move on. The Patriots pure and simply got punched in the mouth. Kansas City has given the Patriots fits before. The quest for championship number six begins now. The coaching tandem of Belichick and Brady has been together for seventeen years. No other coaching tandem in football has won more. And their’s been a lot of great tandems over the years. Tandems such as Lombardi and Starr, Shula and Marino , not to mention Noll and Bradshaw. No matter how great the tandem can be if they don’t play sixty minutes of football any team can be beat. This was the case Thursday night as the Chiefs Tyreek Hill exposed the Patriots Defense pretty badly. With Drew Brees and the Saints Sunday the Patriots cannot afford to many turnovers. Even though the Patriots committed less turnovers they still lost by fifteen points. The reason was the Patriots defense just didn’t stop the run. New Orleans has two great running backs in Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson. If the Patriots don’t tighten up then it will be a long afternoon Sunday. Stopping the run was one of the reasons the Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl last year. You can bet assured that the loss did not sit well with head coach Bill Belichick. As history has shown Patriot fans he’ll do whatever needs to be done to win. Last year for example linebackers Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones were traded midway through the season. With fifteen games to go the Patriots need to focus on Defense. Their front seven ranked eighth overall in the NFL last year. You would never no by their performance in game one. If anything defensive backfield is better with ex Bill Stephon Gilmore at corner. But Gilmore played poorly in the opener. Talent wise the Patriots are one of the best in football. Even with the retirement of Rob Ninkovich the defense is still better than most teams. One thing is for sure the quest for number six will not be accomplished with poor performances as opening night.