Before diving into the following list of players who could make an impact this season, it's important to note a few factors. What follows only takes into account guys who have played in the AHL, ruling out Vancouver's Elias Pettersson despite the fact he's a near-lock for the Canucks' 23-man roster. Additionally, the list includes a games-played cap (set at 20), which means Pittsburgh's Daniel Sprong (26) and Buffalo's Linus Ullmark (26) were left off. Finally, in order to include all positions, there may be a talented forward left off here or there in order to highlight other positions.
Andy Welinski (D) - Anaheim Ducks
San Diego Gulls - 10 Goals, 24 Assists (51 Games)
Selected in the third round of the 2011 NHL Draft, Welinski has been in the pipeline for the Ducks for quite some time – the bulk of which was during his four-year collegiate career at the University of Minnesota - Duluth. In order to secure a spot in the 23-man roster on opening night, which certainly isn't out of the question, the 2017-18 AHL All-star will need to hold off challengers like Marcus Pettersson and veterans Luke Schenn and Andrej Sustr.
Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson (C) - Boston Bruins
Providence Bruins - 15 Goals, 17 Assists (58 Games)
The question for Forsbacka-Karlsson is not whether he will appear in any NHL games this season (he made his debut in 2016-17) but how many, as he figures to compete with Joakim Nordstrom for a spot in the