The guard is changing before our eyes in the NHL... the potential in today's young guns is growing with the new crop.
The old favourites of Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier and so on are falling to the way side for the new brand of under-30s and even the early to under-20s are getting in the act. With the new rules for speed, the young skaters will have even more of an advantage.
The early-20s are where the good gambles are this season... Rick Nash (pictured left), Eric Staal, Kari Lehtonen, Joni Pitkanen, Jason Spezza, Tuomo Ruutu... they are all the names that you should be considering, even in the early rounds of the draft. You can probably make good moves in the pool with these sort of picks, especially since most poolies will pick their old favourites in the early stages of the draft.
The under-30s today are becoming great hockey players... finally, the late bloomers are blooming. Jarome Iginla taking on the big leadership role, Marian Hossa will have a new life in Atlanta, Alex Tanguay has room to stretch in Colorado, Joe Thornton will be leaned on even more in Boston... and all of these guys will produce points.
Age is a great thing to consider when you're in your hockey pool. The earlier you accept these gunners with enthusiasm, the more you'll remember them the year after and the more priority you will put on them in years to come. Get a heads up on these guys now... you'll not only benefit this season, but in years to come. I have found that picking guys like Marian Gaborik when he was rookie, makes my usual pool crew forget about him and I am able to pick him up at a reasonable draft position. It's all about strategy.