3 Players To Watch In 2018-19

Quite a few players shocked hockey fans this past season with their performances throughout the 2017-18 season. Names like WIlliam Karlsson, Taylor Hall, and Connor Hellebuyck really stepped up their game and became vital to their team's success. Let's take a look at three players likely to take their game to the next level in 2018-19.
1. Ilya Kovalchuk (LA Kings)
His return to the NHL was met with some very mixed opinions. Many claim he is simply looking for a payday before he retires. Even still, there's no denying Kovalchuk's skill level. With the Kings a little weak on the wings, a player like Kovalchuk on a line with either Kopitar or Carter should really improve the team, and could bring Kovalchuk back to another 30+ goal, 60+ point season like his last full NHL season in 2011-12.

2. Max Pacioretty (Vegas Golden Knights)
Despite a down year with a struggling Canadiens team, Pacioretty is still an almost guaranteed 30 goal scorer. In the past 7 seasons, Pacioretty has five 30+ goal seasons, one where he fell just short of 40 (39 goals in 2014-15), and one of those seasons was shorted due to the lockout in 2012-13. Oh and did I mention he has not had a real #1 centre to work with? He's primarily worked with David Desharnais or Philip Danault. Replace them with Paul Statsny, and Pacioretty could crack 40+ goals next year, and really supplement the losses of James Neal and David Perron.

3. Ryan O'Reilly
O'Reilly had a very respectable season, with 24 goals and 61 points, with a struggling Buffalo Sabres team. He has since been sent over to St. Louis where he can feed one of the best goal-scorers in the league, Vladimir Tarasenko. He'll also be taking over the #1 centre role with the Blues, as opposed to being relegated to #2 in Buffalo behind Jack Eichel. With rumours of St. Louis inquiring about William Nylander, O'Reilly could have plenty of firepower on his wings to feed all game long.

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