NHL Breakout Candidates in the Atlantic Division
Updates on Jordan Binnington, Micheal Ferland, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NBC SPORTS: After coming out of nowhere to backstop the St. Louis Blues to the Stanley Cup, goaltender Jordan Binnington faces a whole new world in 2019-20. He enters this season as the Blues’ starter and their highest-paid goaltender. Binnington also faces pressure to prove himself as a full-time starter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Called up at midseason, Binnington played so well he became a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year. His postseason play put him in the running for the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Following up that remarkable performance will be a big challenge for Binnington. How he copes could determine if the Blues can avoid the dreaded “Stanley Cup hangover.”
VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma speculates the Canucks could align rugged winger Micheal Ferland alongside first-line forwards Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser.
Ferland joined the Canucks as a free agent this summer, inking a four-year, $14-million contract. His offensive skills and physical presence could benefit those highly skilled youngsters.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Health will be the crucial issue for Ferland. A concussion and an upper-body injury affected his play with the Carolina Hurricanes last season, especially in the playoffs.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens hopes to be fully recovered from off-season thumb surgery to participate in training camp next month. Selected seventh overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, the 18-year-old center hopes to crack the Sabres’ lineup this season.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Former Capitals defenseman John Erskine was charged by Ontario Provincial Police for his role in a car accident in May. The charges include “dangerous driving, impaired driving and driving a vehicle with more than the legal limit of alcohol in his system.” Erskine, who was seriously injured in the accident, has a court appearance in Napanee scheduled for Nov. 19.