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NHL: Five players thriving at new teams

There was lots of movement over the summer in the NHL with superstar names swapping homes, a large goalie carousel and several shred signings made via free agency, but which five players have impressed the most in the early going with the new team?

Nazem Kadri, Calgary Flames 

After ending a long-wait for his first Stanley Cup last season, 32-year-old Nazem Kadri could have been forgiven for taking his foot off the gas a little to begin life in Calgary. 

Signed to a seven-year, $49million contract after the Avalanche were forced to admit they couldn't fit him within their wage cap, Kadri has shown zero signs of having a cup hangover and has ignited the Flames with seven goals and 12 points in 13 games. 

Calgary were able to add Kadri to their roster after Johnny Gaudreau (115 points last season) and Matthew Tkachuk (104 points) decided to walk away and the centreman has quickly delivered and helped to fill the offensive void left by the pair. 

With a much-changed line-up, the Flames (+1600 to win the Stanley Cup) are still finding their identity and have had an inconsistent 6-5-2 start to the season. The same can't be said of Kadri who has been by far the best and most consistent player and leads the team in goals and points. 

Matthew Tkachuk, Florida Panthers 

The aforementioned Tkachuk must also make the list as with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 12 games, he leads the Panthers and sits 16th of all NHL players for points. 

The 24-year-olds offensive production comes as little surprise after he registered a career best 42 goals and 62 points in Calgary last season before declaring his wish to leave. 

Traded for Panthers' top scorer last season Jonathan Huberdeau and top-four defenceman MacKenzie Weegar, the self-confident Tkachuk has quickly shrugged off any pressure resulting from the shock move and made Florida home. 

The Panthers won the Presidents' Trophy last season as the NHL's best regular season team (58-18-6) but were swept at the second-round stage in the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

That disappointing defeat encouraged General Manager Bill Zito to make the bold move to bring in Tkachuk who not only offers high level offence but adds some much-needed grit for playoff play too. 

Florida are second in the Atlantic Division with a 8-5-1 record and with Tkachuk +1250 to be crowned Stanley Cup Champions this season. 

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Ville Husso, Detroit Red Wings 

27-year-old Husso was part of the large goalie carousel in the off-season, being traded from St. Louis Blues to the Detroit Red Wings and he just pips forward David Perron (five goals, three assists) on to the list who made the same move as a free agent. 

St. Louis didn't want to trade Husso after he posted a 25-7-6 record last season with a .919 save percentage and 2.56 goals-against-average (GAA) but with Jordan Binnington now established as their starter, the Finn was a luxury they couldn't afford within the tight wage cap. 

After signing a three-year contract with the Red Wings ($4.75million cap hit), Husso has been excellent in his new surroundings posting a 5-1-2 record, .941 save percentage and 1.86 GAA. His form has helped the Red Wings to a 7-4-3 start to the season and fourth place in the Atlantic Division. Detroit are +280 to end their six-year playoff drought this season. 

Mason Marchment, Dallas Stars 

27-year-old Marchment spent several years working his way into the NHL after going undrafted. Following a four-game spell with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019/20, he moved to the Florida Panthers where last season he enjoyed a breakout campaign scoring 47 points (18 goals, 29 assists) in 54 games. 

Based on that form, the Stars took a chance that Marchment's best years were ahead of him by signing the 6'4" winger to a four-year contract which carries a relatively hefty $4.5million annual average value. 

Their faith has been well-founded with Marchment scoring eight points (four goals, four assists) in 13 games so far and proving to be a big piece in a team which has gone 8-4-1 and collected 17 points which joint leads the Central Division. Dallas are +350 to win the Central Division and +2500 outsiders to go on to lift the Stanley Cup. 

Dylan Strome, Washington Capitals 

With number-one centreman Nicklas Bäckström ruled out long-term, the Capitals were desperate for re-enforcement up the middle and have found it in 25-year-old Strome. Strome scored a career best 22 goals and recorded 26 assists last season before the re-building Chicago Blackhawks opted to let him walk away in free agency. 

After signing a one-year, $3.5million contract with the Capitals, Strome said Chicago’s rejection had given him additional motivation to prove his worth and that he has with four goals, eight assists for 12 points over 16 games with Washington which is second only to the great Alex Ovechkin. 

Seven of the points (two goals, five assists) have come on the powerplay where Backstrom played a pivotal role. Strome's contribution has helped the Capitals fire at a healthy 22.4% which has played an important part in them remaining in playoff contention while they await the return of key figures back into their line-up from injury. 

Washington, +100 to make the playoffs are 7-7-2 and currently sixth in the Metropolitan Division.

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