This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

5 Reasons This Is the Year to Watch the NHL

Seth Jones

We've made a bunch of allusions to the NHL's relative Gilded Age in the '90s, but there's one big part of that equation that we haven't mentioned: U.S. players.

With no offense meant to folks such as Zach Parise and Tim Thomas, the number of U.S. superstars in the league is nowhere near the level it was 20 years ago. At that time, players including Jeremy Roenick, Tony Amonte, Brett Hull (we know where he was born, but his Olympics and World Cup of Hockey sweaters read "USA"), Mike Modano, Brian Leetch, Keith Tkachuck, Kevin Stevens, John LeClair, Chris Chelios and Mike Richter made the sport accessible to U.S. fans and drew a direct lineage from the 1980 "Miracle On Ice" Olympic team that got many hockey-loving kids south of Canada hooked in the first place.

Despite the proliferation of rinks, leagues and other infrastructure that made hockey more accessible in the U.S. as the sport expanded south, U.S. players faded from superstardom and gave way to Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Datsyuk and other great but decidedly foreign players.

Last year in Portland, Ore., fans in the know got a sense that all that was changing. Seth Jones, son of former NBA player Popeye Jones and born at the peak of the last hockey boom in 1994, picked up hockey in Denver while his dad was playing for the Nuggets. Words of advice from future Hockey Hall of Famer Joe Sakic led to his first skating lessons, while a seat at Game 7 of the Colorado Avalanche's 2001 Stanley Cup win gave him a taste for the sport.

Earlier this year, the now highly coveted Jones helped push the U.S. to gold in the World Junior Championships. Later, he guided junior hockey's Portland Winterhawks to the Western Hockey League championship and took the league's Rookie of the Year honors with 14 goals and 42 assists. For his efforts, the Nashville Predators made him the No. 4 overall pick in the first round of this year's draft, the first defenseman taken overall and the first of only three players from the U.S. taken in the first round.

That drew the attention of Jay-Z, who told the New York Post that he'd like to add Jones to the stable of his new Roc Nation sports agency and "be involved in the star's marketing and branding."

Having seen what Jones can do firsthand here in Portland, we're convinced he has the ability to be a scoring defenseman the likes of which the U.S. hasn't seen since Leetch. Unlike the soft-spoken, reserved Ranger, however, Jones has the opportunity to draw star power: greater than players including the Bruins' Zdeno Chara, the Blackhawks' Duncan Keith and Montreal's P.K. Subban -- all of whom rank among the best defenders in the game.

At a time U.S. hockey could use its Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin or even its own version of the NBA's LeBron James, Jones represents its best home in a good, long time.

5 of 6

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,083.80 -2.83 -0.02%
S&P 500 1,987.98 +0.97 0.05%
NASDAQ 4,472.1080 -1.5890 -0.04%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs