For the last couple of days, and continuing for the next few days, I have been and will be looking at each team in the NHL and identifying a couple of players in particular that fit into one of two categories based on the once popular kids game, Chutes and Ladders. The players in the “chutes” category will be players who exceeded expectations last season, and will have a difficult time avoiding a slide in the coming season. The “ladder” category will consist of players who are ready to climb a level in their play and step up a notch. Feel free to brows back to see previous teams, and look for more teams in the coming days.
Chutes: Colin Wilson – Time is running out for Wilson to step up and become the offensive presence that he was expected to develop into when he was drafted 7th overall in 2008. He will be a solid NHLer for a long time, but with the likes of Filip Forsberg waiting in the wings, he might not get the prime offensive ice time that you would have expected he would earn.
Ladders: Pekka Rinne – It was a real roller-coaster season for the big Finnish goalie. That is out of character and I would expect a bounce-back season that should see him return to Vezina consideration, especially if he wants to be the starter in the Olympics for Finland. When he was on, he was excellent last year, but went thorough a couple of stretches where he was brutal, and that likely cost the Predators a playoff spot.