"On the Rise" has been a staple at Fantasy Hockey Journal since 2001.
Listed are players who will probably increase their point totals significantly from last year.
To be listed, a minimum 10-point gain must be expected. Also, only players expected to score 40 points or more are included. Rookies are not included. Players who were also included on Fantasy Hockey Journal's "Sleepers" list are noted.
Many players on the list had "bad" years in 2006-07 because of injury and will simply improve their totals by staying healthy. Some could thrive by being on a new team.
Scoring totals are from 2006-07 unless specified.
ANAHEIM Ryan Getzlaf- C- Strong '06-07 playoff campaign should foreshadow a productive third year for the big center. Had 58 pts. in 82 games last season. Todd Bertuzzi- RW- Played only 15 games in '06-07 scoring 11 pts. Health concerns (back) aside, look for 50-something points from the big winger. Corey Perry- RW- 44 pts. in 82 games last year. Look for bigger things from the offensively-creative Perry in his third season.
ATLANTA Ilya Kovalchuk- LW- Slipped to 76 pts. (82 games) in '06-07. Has scored more goals in last three seasons than any NHL'er. Should crack century mark in points if he finds chemistry with his center and shows consistency all season.
BOSTON Glen Murray- RW/LW- 45 pts. in 59 games in '06-07. (Missed 23 games with groin injury). Good chemistry with center Marc Savard over a full season should translate into a decent increase in points. Brandon Bochenski- RW- 24 points in 41 games with Chicago and Boston last season. Gained 20 pounds in off-season which could help the defensively-challenged winger win more puck battles. A streaky scorer who should greatly improve on his '06-07 point totals. Phil Kessel- C- see Sleepers list.
BUFFALO Tim Connolly- C- Missed most of last season with a concussion. Scored one point in two regular season games and nine assists in 16 playoff games. Had 55 points in 63 games in '05-06. The talent is there but his concussion history makes him a risky pick with a big upside. Derek Roy- C- see Sleepers list. Drew Stafford- RW- see Sleepers list.
CAROLINA Cory Stillman- LW- injury-riddled '06-07 saw Stillman record 27 points in 43 games after a 76-pt. effort the year before. Look for a return to his normal numbers if he stays healthy and especially if he plays on the top line with Eric Staal and Erik Cole. Eric Staal- C- Dropped from 100 points in his rookie season to 70 last year. He'll likely return to numbers somewhere in between in his third season.
CHICAGO Martin Havlat- LW- Injury-prone winger had 57 points in 56 games last year. Will be aided by a better supporting cast. Another risky pick that could yield great benefits. Tuomo Ruutu- C/W- 38 pts. in 71 games. The Hawks are improved and Ruutu is in his contract year. He's also in his fourth year which is commonly a breakout year. Look for a big increase in points if the reckless Finn can stay healthy. Sergei Samsonov- LW- 26 pts. in 63 games. A bust in Montreal last season, Samsonov should rebound in Chicago. Radim Vrbata- RW- see Sleepers list.
COLORADO Wojtek Wolski- LW- 50 pts. in 76 games. Finished fourth in rookie scoring. Offensively talented winger will improve as he adjusts to the NHL game.
COLUMBUS Rick Nash- LW- 57 pts. in 75 games but finished stron in '06-07 season and was impressive in World Championships. Counted on by Columbus for goals, his point totals should not disappoint poolies. Nikolai Zherdev- RW/C?- 32 pts. in 71 games. Talented but unmotivated Russian is still a work-in-progress. This could be the year he puts it together. Converted to center in '07-08 pre-season experiment. Gilbert Brule- C- 19 pts. in 78 games. Poor rookie season in which Brule saw limited ice time. Blue Jackets have high hopes for him and he should put up much better numbers for them this year.
DALLAS Mike Modano- C- 43 pts. in 59 games. He's 37 and suffered a knee injury. Don't write him off- the veteran still has the talent and smarts to increase last year's numbers. Brenden Morrow- LW- 31 pts. in 40 games. Rugged winger missed half of last season with injuries. A full campaign should translate into much greater production.
DETROIT Henrik Zetterberg- LW- 68 pts. in 63 games. Defensively-skilled winger with great offensive upside. Will improve last year's numbers if he stays healthy. Jiri Hudler- C- 25 pts. in 76 games. Smallish center with great potential produced despite limited playing time. If playing on a scoring line this is the year he could blossom. Valtteri Filppula- C- 17 pts. in 73 games. Should grab a spot on Detroit's second line and will play a greater offensive role. Won 55% of his faceoffs last year (a "sleeper" faceoff pick?).
EDMONTON Jarret Stoll- C- 39 pts. in 51 games. Sidelined by concussions last season but has been cleared of symptoms. Power play quarterback. Excellent on faceoffs. Ales Hemsky- RW- 40 pts. in 64 games. Slick playmaker will increase production with good linemates and when he starts to shoot more. Missed 18 games due to injury last season.
FLORIDA Rotislav Olesz- C- 30 pts.in 75 games. Expected to play on one of Panther's top two lines. Also in his contract year. Both factors should contribute to greater point production.
LOS ANGELES Michal Handzus- C- 8 pts. in 8 games. Missed most of '06-07 (knee surgery). Will put up good numbers over a full season with decent linemates. Anze Kopitar- C- 61 pts. in 72 games. Third in rookie scoring. The big Slovenian is only 20 and bound to get better.
MINNESOTA Marian Gaborik- RW- 57 pts. in 48 games. Scored 50 points in 2nd half after returning from groin injury. Look for a monstrous year if he stays healthy.
MONTREAL Chris Higgins- C- 38 pts. in 61 games. Got off to a hot start last season but cooled off after coming back from an ankle injury. Look for him to put it together in '07-08.
NASHVILLE Alexander Radulov- LW- 37 pts. in 64 games. Will improve his totals playing on one of Nashville's top two lines and getting power play time. Saw limited ice time last season.
NEW JERSEY Brian Gionta- RW- see Sleepers list.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS Mike Comrie- C- see Sleepers list.
NEW YORK RANGERS Scott Gomez- C- 60 pts. in 72 games. Elite setup man should put up big numbers feeding Ranger snipers. Paul Mara- D- 23 pts. in 78 games. His point totals could skyrocket playing on a potent power play. Additional incentive is that he's in his contract year.
OTTAWA Jason Spezza- C- 87 pts. in 67 games. With the supporting cast he has with the Senators, Spezza should crack the century mark in points- if he can stay healthy. Wade Redden- D- 36 pts. in 64 games. Hampered by injuries last season (groin/chest). Has missed much time over past two seasons. Veteran, top-quality defenseman should rebound this year. (In his contract year.)
PHILADELPHIA Scott Hartnell- RW- 39 pts. in 64 games. Big, gritty winger who could break out this year. Jeff Carter- C- see Sleepers list. Mike Richards- C- see Sleepers list. Joffrey Lupul- C- see Sleepers list.
PHOENIX Steve Reinprecht- C- 33 pts. in 49 games. Missed 33 games with broken collarbone last season. A solid two-way player, his offense should increase as he plays a prominent role on a young Coyotes club. Mike York- LW- 21 pts. in 66 games. York used to be a lock for 50+ points. Last year was a disaster as he was a frequent healthy scratch with Philly. Look for him to get his game back together in Phoenix.
PITTSBURGH Evgeni Malkin- C- 85 pts. in 78 games. Should improve on his Calder Trophy season on improving young Pens' team. Thrives on power play. Petr Sykora- RW- see Sleepers list.
ST. LOUIS Brad Boyes- C/RW- 46 pts. in 81 games. Projected as a Blues' first liner he should rebound from an "off-year". In his contract year.
SAN JOSE Jonathan Cheechoo- RW- 69 pts. in 76 games (after 93 points the season before). A full year on a line with Joe Thornton would be just what the doctor ordered for Cheechoo. Joe Pavelski- LW/C- 28 pts. in 46 games. His points will go up if he plays on a scoring line and sees power play time. That should happen this season with the Sharks. Steve Bernier- RW- 31 pts. in 62 games. His numbers should climb noticeably as he's in his contract year and he should play on one of the top two lines.
TORONTO Darcy Tucker- RW- 43 pts. in 56 games. A smallish player who is often injured playing his rambunctious style. Excels on power play. Will get you both points and penalty minutes in your pool.
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