The Journey takes a closer look at which players could be called up in the second half of the NHL season and how they could potentially impact their teams.
Mikko Rantanen – Colorado Avalanche
Rantanen returned to the San Antonio Rampage lineup one week ago, fresh off captaining Finland’s WJC Team to a gold medal. Safe to say, he hasn’t missed a beat. With five points in his last three games, including a hat trick against Bakersfield on January 23rd, Rantanen continues to dominate in the AHL. Colorado’s season is currently hanging in the balance in the unrelenting Central division, and their playoff picture will become clearer prior to the February 29th trade deadline. Whether Rantanen is a replacement for a traded player, or more firepower for a playoff push, his play has improved to the point that he should see NHL action again this season.
Josh Morrissey – Winnipeg Jets
The Jets will be one of the NHL’s most interesting trade deadline cases. Impending free agents and their current place in the Western Conference standings will force some tough decisions in Winnipeg over the next month. Morrissey has not been as offensively productive as many would have hoped in his first season with Manitoba, but that could be directly linked to the fact that the Moose are the lowest scoring team in the AHL, averaging just over two goals per game. His 11 points in 41 games are second among defensemen on the team. The Jets current defense is a veteran group outside of Jacob Trouba and Tyler Myers, and the decision to get a closer look at their future could come sooner rather than later. If Dustin Byfuglien gets moved, Morrissey’s call up becomes even more likely.
William Nylander – Toronto Maple Leafs
Nylander has been one the best players in the AHL in his 27 games with the Marlies this season. Currently tied for 12th in AHL scoring with 34 points, Nylander sits only nine points back of the league leaders despite playing far less games. His injury at the WJC and a bout with appendicitis certainly has put a damper on his breakout season, but he is back skating in full contact pra