29 September 2016: Florida Panthers left wing Dryden Hunt (73) skates with the puck in the 2nd period of the Preseason NHL game between the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)
One Timers

Craig’s List: Under-the-radar threats on each NHL team

Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coyotes coach Dave Tippett chided the NHL press corps last season for failing to notice the impact left wing Jordan Martinook was making early in training camp. This year, he threw out another player’s name for reporters to watch in Laurent Dauphin.

There is plenty of excitement surrounding the debuts of future stars like Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, or major offseason acquisitions such as Alex Goligoski and Kyle Okposo, but who are the under-the-radar guys who could surprise the analysts and grab roster spots?

We asked beat writers for every team. Here are their thoughts (we did not get a response for Ottawa).

Anaheim Ducks: F Nick Ritchie
“Not sure how under-the-radar he is but first-rounder from 2014 made his debut last year and looks more fit. Ducks still have (RFA Rickard) Rakell unsigned, going to be up against the cap once they sign (RFA D Hampus) Lindholm, too, and they have a hole or two up front. They can use a young player (with size and potential scoring touch) with some promise on a cheap rookie contract to make the team.” — Eric Stephens, Orange County Register

Arizona Coyotes: C Laurent Dauphin
The 2013 second-round (39th overall) pick played in the AHL last season and is not garnering the attention that prospects Dylan Strome and Christian Dvorak are in camp, but coach Dave Tippett loves his 200-foot game and he could fill a bottom-six role. Here’s Tippett on Dauphin: “He just recognizes he has the skill set and the mind set to be an NHL player. It’s just a matter of when he gets here. He comes in with that confidence and it shows in the (preseason) games.”

Boston Bruins: D Christian Ehrhoff
“Joins club Monday on a PTO. Given the state of the back end, I think he makes it.” — Kevin Paul Dupont, Boston Globe

April 2, 2016: Buffalo Sabres Marcus Foligno (82) [7475] and Casey Nelson (34) [15876] talk before a face off during an Eastern Conference match-up between the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. The NY Rangers lost to the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 in regulation. (Photo by David Hahn/Icon Sportswire)

(Photo by David Hahn/Icon Sportswire)

Buffalo Sabres: D Casey Nelson
“Nelson (a college free agent out of Minnesota State) has a hockey IQ that’s sky high and he can move the puck well. That’s something that gives him an edge with the other defensemen and although injury and contract issues with (RFA Rasmus) Ristolainen could necessitate him sticking around, his play could do that on its own.” — Joe Yerdon, NHL.com Sabres correspondent

Calgary Flames: F Freddie Hamilton
“Armed with a two-year, one-way contract, the 24-year-old could be a suitable option as a bottom-six forward despite his limited NHL experience.” — Kristen Odland, Calgary Herald

Carolina Hurricanes: D Trevor Carrick
“Sixth defenseman spot is open. He’s one of the candidates but had a good year in Charlotte last year and has added weight. Would have to beat out Ryan Murphy and Haydn Fleury, two former first-round picks.” — Chip Alexander, Raleigh News & Observer

Chicago Blackhawks: LW Tyler Motte
“Seems to be a fit for a role potentially on the bottom lines which is what the Blackhawks need.” — Chris Hine, Chicago Tribune

Colorado Avalanche: F Gabriel Bourque
“He’s on a PTO but wore an A (Friday) night. New coach (Jared Bednar) raved about him.” — Mike Chambers, Denver Post


(Photo Credit: Jason Mowry/ICON Sportswire)

Columbus Blue Jackets: D Zach Werenski
“Don’t know if he’s under the radar — No. 8 overall in 2015 – (but he) is almost certain to make the club. He spent the previous two years at Michigan, finished last season in the AHL and won a Calder Cup. Other rookies likely to make it are (forwards) Oliver Bjorkstrand and Josh Anderson.” — Aaron Portzline, Columbus Dispatch

Dallas Stars: C/RW Adam Cracknell
“The Stars have been dealing with a lot of injuries, and also lost Val Nichushkin to the KHL, so I think there is definitely an opening there. Dallas has plenty of skill, so it could use more grit, and Cracknell offers that while also being able to defend and skate well.” — Mike Heika, Dallas Morning News

Detroit Red Wings: Nobody
“They really don’t have room for a truly under-the-radar player to make the season-opening roster. Closest would be (defenseman) Ryan Sproul, if there’s room due to injuries.” — Ansar Khan, M Live

Edmonton Oilers: C Drake Caggiula
“Coach (Todd McLellan) keeps praising him. If (Leon) Draisaitl goes to right wing from No. 3 center, Caggiula (could be there). Four years at North Dakota. Free-agent signee. Played on best college line in NCAA last year with (Brock) Boeser and (Nick) Schmaltz, but played left wing in college.” — Jim Matheson, Edmonton Journal

Florida Panthers: F Dryden Hunt or C Denis Malgin
“If undrafted forward Dryden Hunt and/or 19-year-old center Denis Malgin continue to impress with their offensive skills, one of them could crack the roster. Malgin scored six goals in three rookie games. Hunt was a prolific scorer before his concussions.” — Harvey Fialkov, Sun-Sentinel

Los Angeles Kings: F Devin Setoguchi
“The Kings need scoring with (Marian) Gaborik out; someone who can get up and down the ice and chip in in his absence. Can’t have any let up if he wants to make the team, but there’s an opportunity for him and an open roster spot, potentially.” — Jon Rosen, LA Kings Insider

Minnesota Wild: C Joel Eriksson Ek
“Nobody’s grabbed hold of the fourth-line center job and they don’t want to return him to Sweden unless he is completely overmatched. He hasn’t been.”.” — Mike Russo, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Montreal Canadiens: LW Artturi Lehkonen
“The Canadiens are in need of talent on their top six and this second-round pick in 2013, in his first camp in Montreal, could fit the bill. He’s fresh off a dominant season in Sweden. They want to give him a real shot because he’s going back to Frolunda if he doesn’t crack the lineup. No AHL for him.” — Marc Antoine Godin, La Presse

14 Jan 2016 Predators Kevin Fiala (56) skates with the puck during the Winnipeg Jets vs Nashville Predators game at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg MB. (Photograph by Terry Lee/Icon Sportswire)

(Photograph by Terry Lee/Icon Sportswire)

Nashville Predators: RW Kevin Fiala
“While it may be difficult for a first-round pick to be under the radar, the No. 11 selection in 2014 has yet to make a lasting impression on the Predators. The highly skilled winger could see first-line minutes during the preseason, which would bolster his case.” — Adam Vingan, The Tennessean

New Jersey Devils: RW Nick Lappin
“Has shown good instincts so far in camp, scoring both goals in the Devils’ 2-0 win over the Flyers on Monday in their preseason opener. Signed out of Brown as an amateur free agent on March 8, Lappin had a strong run with Albany (AHL) at the end of the season, with three goals and four assists over the last 12 games of the regular season and five goals and two assists in 11 playoff games. He skates well and, so far, has kept up with the pace of play. He’s survived the first round of cuts and now gets tested against stiffer competition.” — Andrew Gross, Bergen Record

New York Islanders: F Josh Ho-Sang
“I sense think Josh Ho-Sang is the likeliest off-the-radar player who will have an impact this season. He’ll probably start the year at Bridgeport (AHL) but he’s showing plenty of motivation and “battle level” as (coach) Jack Capuano likes to say. He can score and he’s working at his two-way game. He will ultimately prove his critics wrong and succeed in the NHL.” — Allan Kreda, New York Times

New York Rangers: C Brandon Pirri
“Coach Alain Vigneault warned that he had to make an impression: “You only get so many kicks at the can.” About 18 forwards were in the mix in my opinion. Has produced goals on the power play in pre-season, rep as a shoot-first type player, which the Rangers need there. Role may be as a specialist/spare/fourth line center. — Steve Zipay, Newsday

Philadelphia Flyers: F Travis Konecny
“I think (D Ivan) Provorov has a good chance to make it, and I would not be surprised if Konecny got a nine-game tryout. Both are just 19 and would go to juniors if they don’t make the Flyers.” — Sam Carchidi, Philadelphia Inquirer

Pittsburgh Penguins: LW Scott Wilson
“One of several players recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season, Wilson’s season came to an end due to an ankle injury March 11. One of the AHL’s leading goal scorers at the time of his recall last season, Wilson has a knack for scoring goals around the net. Head coach Mike Sullivan has referred to him as “a young Chris Kunitz.” — Seth Rorabaugh, DK Pittsburgh Sports

San Jose Sharks: F Barclay Goodrow
“He was rushed by the team when he first broke into the league, but got some much needed experience at the AHL level last season. He’s a big body that could slot in on the fourth line in place of guys like Dainius Zubrus and Nick Spaling, who weren’t brought back. (Coach) Pete DeBoer has been talking him up throughout camp, and he’s looked good in the first two preseason games.” — Kevin Kurz, CSN Bay Area

St. Louis: F Kenny Agostino
“The forward has six points in two games. He was a fifth-round pick of Pittsburgh who has only played 10 games in the NHL (all with Calgary), but he put up big numbers in the AHL and he’s looked good in camp with the Blues. With (Jaden) Schwartz (injured) and (Vladimir) Sobotka (KHL) not here, there’s room for him. If you’re looking for less of a dark horse, it would be (forward) Landon Ferraro, who played in Boston last year. He’s got a really good shot.” — Jeremy Rutherford, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

16 February 2016: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) during the NHL game between the San Jose Sharks and Tampa Bay Lightning at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)

(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)

Tampa Bay: D Slater Koekkoek.
“He got his first real taste of the NHL, playing in 10 games (one more than he played during the regular season) during the playoffs last year and never looked out of place. Smart player with an edge to his game.” — Roy Cummings, Today’s Slapshot

Toronto Maple Leafs: D Connor Carrick
“Had better than a point a game on the Marlies’ blue line and earned a two-year contract. Could beat out a veteran like (Roman) Polak or (Matt) Hunwick for a job, given his offensive skill level.” — James Mirtle, Globe & Mail

Vancouver Canucks: D Troy Stecher
“A 22-year old college free agent. Canucks need some offence from the back end and Stecher had a great year in college producing shots. He definitely has some power play skills that should translate in the regular season. He’d have to beat out Philip Larsen, whom the Canucks traded for specifically to help their power play. It’s not impossible. Larsen already failed in the NHL with Edmonton.” — Jason Botchford, Vancouver Province

Washington Capitals: F Zach Sanford
“For the Capitals, there’s only one real opening in the roster, and that’s for a 14th forward. The organization wants to use that spot to get familiar with a deserving prospect, and Zach Sanford appears to be the favorite. For a 21-year-old with no professional hockey experience (he signed with Washington this summer after two years at Boston College), he looks the part at 6-4, 191 pounds. He’s coupled that size with surprising scoring touch this preseason.” — Isabelle Khurshudyan, Washington Post

Winnipeg Jets: F Brandon Tanev
“College free agent signed with Jets late last season and appeared in three games. However, with serious competition for forward spots, some suspected he’d have to start in AHL this season. So far in training camp, Tanev has shown he can use his speed to get in on the forecheck and create scoring chances. His tenacity on the penalty kill is also working in his favor as he works to nail down a spot on the fourth line.” — Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun

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Craig’s List: Under-the-radar threats on each NHL team

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