Ten-Pack: Tyler Seguin makes the leap

Last week we talked about blueline pickups; today we look for scoring on the front lines. I've slightly raised the ownership threshold to 60 percent (instead of the normal 50 percent) because I really wanted to discuss the first two names you see here. If that move gets under your skin, feel free to call this an "eight pack" and ignore the first two recommendations.

You're welcome to suggest free-agent additions in the comments, so long as the players you promote are under that fluctuating 50-60 percent line. Game on.

Tyler Seguin (59 percent owned), Bruins: It's not uncommon to see highly-touted rookies struggle their first time around as teenagers, then hit the ice running in the sophomore campaign. Steven Stamkos followed that path, and John Tavares did to a lesser extent. Seguin's freshman season was a learning experience all the way (and a silent 11-11-22 running over 74 games), but he looks like a totally different player thus far in 2011-12 (eight points in seven games). Seguin isn't on the primary power-play as of yet — though the Bruins liberally use two units — but he'll probably end the season with the big kids. The game seems to be slowing down for him.

Joffrey Lupul (55 percent), Maple Leafs: We expected a future star when Lupul was the seventh overall pick back in 2002, but he's been an enigma for most of his career. But fast-forward to the present, where Lupul is humming along on Toronto's first line, picking up four goals and seven points in his first six starts. If you go back to the middle of the last decade, you'll find a 28-goal, 296-shot season. No one's expecting a return to those levels, but heck — he just turned 28 and the Leafs will give him all the icetime he can handle. Is the post-hype window still open? {ysp:more}

Milan Michalek (45 percent), Senators: You might be leery adding a player from Ottawa — there's a major plus-minus risk here. But I'll stump for Michalek for a few reasons: he's eligible at both wing slots, he's getting his shot on the power play, and he's really clicking (5-3-8) on the first line next to Jason Spezza. Michalek has also flipped to right wing this year, and the move seems to agree with him.

P.A. Parenteau (46 percent), Islanders: Just by hanging around Tavares this year, Parenteau is headed for a healthy bottom line. We'd like to see him shoot the puck a little bit more, but there's nothing wrong with a 1-6-7 opener, along with a plus-5 rating. The Islanders look like one of the surprise teams of the season; this is not a bad club. And with Tavares improving and Mark Streit back on the ice, the power play eventually should be fairly potent.

Kris Versteeg (43 percent), Panthers: He's become a staple on Florida's power-play unit, racking up five specialty points (including three goals) over the first six games. This guy is overdue for a 60-point season, and he'll get it if he sticks with linemates Stephen Weiss and Tomas Fleischmann.

Max Pacioretty (18 percent), Canadiens: We're chasing a pedigree here (Pac-Man was a first-round pick in 2007) and we're following the shots (30), along with the early production (2-3-5 in six games). Pacioretty's vertebra injury in the middle of last year was one of the scariest moments of the season, but he looks healthy now. He's also getting run on the top power-play unit.

Chris Neil (15 percent), Senators: I have two rules when I'm looking for a goon: get into the penalty box regularly and be sure to contribute in some other area, just so I can respect myself in the morning. Neil has been whistled to the sin bin in six of seven starts this year, and he's not a total zero on offense (1-1-2, 16 shots). Works for me — now go beat someone up.

Matt Read (13 percent), Flyers: Most of his production came in one game (a 1-3-4 run at Ottawa), and you worry about ice time given how deep the Flyers are on the front line. And we're talking about a surprise package all the way, a 5-foot-10 right wing who wasn't even drafted. But Peter Laviolette is giving Read a shot on a line with Danny Briere and Wayne Simmonds; that's a vote of confidence. Maybe this Cinderella story will last past midnight.

Jiri Hudler (12 percent), Red Wings: He's let us down in the past, so I can't call Hudler anything past a wait-and-see rental. And he's currently skating on the second line, away from Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. That said, you can still make hay paired with Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen, and Hudler has a four-game scoring streak to open the year. That should keep Mike Babcock off his back for a while.

Blake Wheeler (11 percent), Jets: I'm asking you to take this one on spec, because Wheeler hasn't done a thing through six games (just one assist). But he went on a nifty 7-10-17 run in his 23 games with the club last year, he's getting time on the first power-play unit, and he has 22 shots in the fresh season. It's going to kick in sooner or later.


Images courtesy of Associated Press (Seguin) and Canadian Press (Pacioretty)

What to Read Next