The NHL regular season is just one week away, so we are getting down to the final roster selections. There are five more days of exhibition games for teams to get a look and feel for their teams and build their lines.
Vasily Podkolzin – The 10th overall pick in 2019 is slated to have a potentially big role this season. His preseason linemates have varied, with Matthew Highmore and Justin Dowling which is not great. However, this potential is very high and I think over time he's going to have a clear role in the top-9, and a potential top-6 role depending on how the season goes. I still want to reiterate that there is risk here. Podkolzin only saw 10 minutes of play in the last game, though over 15 in the previous game. Pay close attention tonight to see what kind of role he has in the game, as his linemates are not the best to utilize his skill but lack of talent playing on the Canucks tonight sets up for what should be a lot of ice time.
Christian Dvorak – With the departure of Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Phillip Danault, the acquisition of Christian Dvorak has gone mostly overlooked. He is expected to line up as the center on the Montreal Canadiens second line and having a top-6 role on a team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals last year is something you need to pay attention to. If Jonathan Drouin can turn things around after a season off to focus on himself and his mental health, along with power forward Josh Anderson, this could be a feisty line that could do some damage offensively. It may be tough for Dvorak to get any premium power play ice time, but he should at least play on the second unit.
Michael Bunting – Another former Arizona Coyote has found himself in a dream spot. Michael Bunting is likely to start the season on the left side of Auston Matthews, with Mitch Marner on the other side. Bunting has already left quite the impression with a preseason hat trick. Matthews has missed the preseason as he recovers from offseason wrist surgery, but the expectation is that he'll be back for opening night or shortly thereafter. Bunting will not see much time on the power play, possibly the second unit, but he will produce at even strength on this line. Bunting led the Coyotes with a 56% Corsi For (CF%) last season as well as leading the team with 1.7 goals per 60 minutes (GF/60).
Jack Hughes – While the goaltending remains a huge question mark, the New Jersey Devils have built themselves into a decent-looking team. They probably won't make the playoffs or anything but adding players like Tomas Tatar up front along with another year of development from Jack Hughes and Yegor Sharangovich will be great. Their defense has also been given a big boost with the additions of Ryan Graves and big fr