It didn't take the Amazing Kreskin to figure out that the Red
Wings would beat up on the rest of the league, that the Penguins
would reel without Jaromir Jagr or that the Canadian Olympic
team selections would be controversial. Amid such
predictability, several players have suddenly blossomed into
stars (all stats through Sunday).
D ERIC BREWER
22, Oilers (5 goals, 10 assists). He averaged 17:22 of ice time
in his first three seasons, but coach Craig MacTavish has
increased that by almost six minutes per game. Brewer leads the
team in hits (97) and was chosen for Canada's Olympic squad.
RW JAROME IGINLA
24, Flames (28 goals, 21 assists). The NHL's leading scorer is
big and hard to muscle out of the slot. Off-season training made
him speedier, accelerating his maturation into a prolific power
forward in the Cam Neely mold.
C JOE THORNTON
22, Bruins (17 goals, 29 assists). The top pick in the '97 draft
is only now fulfilling his star potential. Last season Mike
Keenan, Boston's coach at the time, urged him to be more
physical, completing his game.
LW MIKE YORK
24, Rangers (16 goals, 26 assists). A converted center with good
puckhandling skills, he is thriving on the FLY line with Theo
Fleury and Eric Lindros. After a 31-point season last year, he's
the league's fifth-leading scorer.
--Daniel G. Habib
COLOR PHOTO: D. MACMILLAN/B. BENNETT STUDIOS On fire With his league-leading 28 goals, Iginla has attracted a lot of attention this season.