Fresh face, new place. We see it work both ways, some players move to a new location and it is the impetus their career always needed (Devan Dubnyk, Sergei Bobrovsky, James Van Riemsdyk). Others change teams and it's disastrous from day 1 (Mike Richards, Rene Bourque, Ilya Bryzgalov) . There are a myriad of reasons that affect this: injuries, chemistry with teammates, skill of overall team, offensive and defensive play selection and often it can be factors off the ice. I am predicting career years for the players below, most are due to a fresh line combination with elite players but for some it's the spite of showing up their previous team and determination to do well with their new team.
Phil Kessel - I'll pile on the low hanging fruit. Two goals in the exhibition game, seems to be happily out of the spot light, playing along Crosby. Crosby is an artist at setting up his line mates, add in Kessel's playmaking capability and this combination will be dynamic this year. Sidney will see a bump in numbers as well. Here's where it gets bold - he had 61 points last year, his career high is 82 points (in 2011-2012) . He is going to eclipse 90 points this year.
T.J. Oshie - Now with the Capitals he is poised for some playing time along Alexander Ovechkin, if he gets a modicum of the time he's supposed to he will eclipse his previous high of 60 points. He isn't on a team that will produce much more than his previous team. St. Louis as a team had more points than Washington last year BUT I see two differences, St. Louis saw a bigger dispersion of points with 9 players above 40 points vs. 6 with Washington, coupled with a good young core that Barry Trotz has compiled likely lining up with Oshie throughout the season.
Brandon Saad - Joins a Blue Jackets team who as a team are primed for a breakout season. He has the nice contract, he will get quality first line time with Ryan Johansson and Nick Foligno and he will eclipse his career high of 52 points. He has always been a gritty player and as his game as evolved he will see further point production out of it. He has scored some amazing goals in preseason and seems to be fitting in very well on that top line which has a good mix of talent, energy and grit.
Sven Baertschi - I can't make sense of it, but he just couldn't click in Calgary. Despite a great young core of players Sven could never find his place. So now he finds himself in Vancouver (ok so technically he found himself late last season there but I'm counting him for this list) where he scored 2 goals in his first 3 games with them. He still has maturing in his game but he'll get the playing time he didn't get with Calgary. Look for him to make leaps up this year as he scores over 35 points this season lining up on the second line alongside newly acquired Brandon Sutter who always helps his line mates succeed.
Milan Lucic - Top line with Gaborik and Anze Kopitar? It's looking like this could be the top line at the start of this season. That lends itself to a ton of points both legit and garbage off rebounds. Milan wasn't ecstatic about the trade and that coupled with a recent point regression from his 61 and 62 point seasons in 2011 and 2010 point to a potential turnaround year. He's an emotional player and I think sitting on that top line he can easily top his career high 62 point year. Plus more ice time on that top line lends itself to the hits (or PIM's if you play in those leagues).
Rookies who are (obviously) in a new place: Max Domi - He has a fire inside his game that only his dad could mimic. He will have a feisty year full of hits, PIMs, with a healthy amount of points that are inflated due to his inability to back down. Pending no injury from his physical play he should see a 30+pt (maybe 35+pt) rookie campaign with the upside of hits and PIMs. If you watched any of his time playing with Team Canada he was electric and often frustrating for opponents on the ice. His grittiness should be a valued asset for the Coyotes.
Noah Hanifan - Currently slotted to play on the last d-line with the Hurricanes, I can see him stepping up from that spot on a team that I'm not expecting much from. Coming off play with Boston College who is one of the best colleges in preparing NHL talent, Hanifan has great mobility which can translate to points. He will be a deeper pickup but he could hit a ceiling of 40 points this year (low chance) but will likely fall in the 25-30 point area. He is a good pick up for Dynasty leagues and deeper leagues.
Sam Bennett - His hands are very quick and he has an accurate shot. Best of all, he has a chance to be playing as a top 6 forward with a young and talented Calgary team who surprised the world last year as a Cinderella hopeful. If opposing teams go hard to shut down the top line with Johnny Gaudreau, Jiri Hudler and faceoff king Sean Monahan that opens up scoring chances for the second line which could be Bennett, Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik. In his 3 years with the OHL, he was scoring every other game and last year he scored an average of one goal a game. I can see him scoring 20 goals this year.
Dylan Larkin - This guy was dynamic at Michigan. Put him alongside Riley Sheahan and Teemu Pulkkinen or possibly Tomas Jurco and this will be yet another young talented line to watch the Red Wings unveil. There is legit 40 point potential from him. If you are in a dynasty league or even in regular leagues, this is the sleeper you want on your team. Oh and the icing on the cake - the Griffins team that he scored 5pts in 6 games with, their coach is now the coach of the Red Wings.
Players who I don't think will thrive in their new locations or will see a severe point decline in their new locations this year:
Mike Green - He'll do..ok. He won't be the Mike Green you know though. Playing on the second line cuts his minutes and I have a hunch his mobility and rushing will be cut by the Red Wings system which is more team oriented then some of the Capitals quick rushes.
Francois Beauchemin - For those of you who pick him up for his hits and blocked shots - avoid. Much of last year they got burned on the outside and the system they play won't allow for the kinds of shots he blocks. He will see a decrease in those stats and likely sub 15 points on the year.
Players who are very much up in the air and I see a 50/50 on their fates in the new location: Ryan O'Reilly - If he wasn't on a top line with Evander Kane I would be very much against the move but that combination could give him hope for a good season. He was suited perfectly for his skills in Colorado on the 2nd and third lines as a shut down center, here his role is something he hasn't traditionally filled and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
Carl Hagelin - He's got the speed and talent but the issue was never the team as much as him just not producing. He is moving across country to another offensively talented team but the main issue remains - can he utilize his talent? If he's alongside Kessler he'll get chances as Ryan is a grinder, faceoff winner and great set up player.