(Reuters) - Five players to watch in the 2012-13 National Hockey League (NHL) season which starts on Saturday:
After appearing in just 28 games last season because of concussion-like symptoms, the NHL’s biggest name is fired up to show what he can do at full strength. The return of the former league scoring leader, who will team up with reigning NHL most valuable player Evgeni Malkin, have the Penguins starting the season as Stanley Cup favorites.
The 22-year-old All-Star is coming off a breakout campaign in just his second NHL season, collecting 76 points on 34 goals and 42 assists to rank 16th among league scorers. The 2008 first round draft pick will need a repeat performance if he is to lead an Edmonton resurgence.
Twice the league’s leading goal scorer in the past three seasons, the former first overall draft pick narrowly missed the 100-point mark last season and finished second in total points. The 22-year-old has 156 goals since the start of the 2009-10 season, 36 more than the next-closest player, and will be counted on to keep producing.
Traded to the Rangers in one of the biggest offseason moves, Nash is a former first overall pick, five-time All-Star and two-time Olympian representing Canada. A two-time 40-goal scorer, Nash is widely considered the final piece needed to get New York into the Stanley Cup Final after falling just short last year.
Landeskog was impressive enough in his first season to win NHL rookie of the year honors. He also earned the respect of the Avalanche who made the now 20-year-old Swede the youngest team captain in league history. How well he plays this year will be interesting. He had 52 points in 82 games last season.
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue