Sports

The best of the NHL preseason

By Alex Khanna/Associated PressPlayers with their heads down and not moving are at the forefront of the game, and they’re going to be on the ice at the beginning of training camp.

That’s a good thing.

They’ve got a great chance to win the Stanley Cup.

The other side is not as good.

The other side, though, is really good, too.

And the first week of camp is where things really get interesting.

Here are some of the players who are in the mix for a top-three spot heading into training camp:Defenseman Josh Gorges: This is the real deal, and he’s a lock for the top spot.

He’s 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, has a strong first step and a killer shot.

His offensive game is a little off.

But Gorgs is the type of player who makes you feel good about him.

He has good vision, good passing, and the ability to score the puck.

He will be a major contributor to a team that looks to make the playoffs.

He should be a lock to get the first overall pick.

Center Ryan McDonagh: He’s a great skater, a big body who can get up ice quickly, and a skilled playmaker.

He’ll be a strong contributor for the Panthers.

He had a great training camp and should be the first center off the board if he’s selected No. 1 overall.

Forward Dylan Olsen: He could go first overall.

He made a few big plays this preseason, including a goal in a 3-1 loss to the Flyers on Monday.

He showed that he can score with his shot and that he has a good shot.

He is the most talented forward in the draft.

He also played the best preseason hockey of any player.

He and defenseman Ben Lovejoy have a good chance to go first.

Forward Christian Ehrhoff: He has a ton of skill and should go in the top five if he gets the nod.

He could easily be selected No.

“He’s a very good skater,” Ehrstein said.

“He’s got good acceleration and good speed.

He plays a great game.”

He is a strong skater and a great passer.

He makes great decisions and he makes plays off the rush.

He uses his size to create space and makes plays that are hard to beat.

“Forward Travis Konecny: He was outstanding during the preseason.

He was second on the Panthers with five goals and sixth with 14 points.

He leads the team with a plus-5 rating.

He can play all three zones and he has the speed and the skill to be a big-time scorer.

He’s still a little raw, and if he continues to improve, he could go as high as the second overall pick if he doesn’t make the NHL.

Defenseman J.T. Compher: Compher is another tough player.

His skating and hockey sense are great, but he’s not a physical guy.

He lacks the size and the size is missing, which is a big problem.

He needs to work on that, too, but I think he’s going to end up in the first round.

Forward Nikita Kucherov: He is an elite player.

And if he can improve his game, he should be one of the top prospects.

He scored 25 goals last season, which was one of his best seasons, and his playmaking ability is second to none.

His combination of size and speed makes him a very hard-working player.

I don’t think he’ll go in that high.

He had a strong training camp, which I thought was a sign he had a good camp.

He put in some hard work, and that’s the key for him.

But there is some risk involved with him, as there is with any player who hasn’t had an NHL season.

But he’s one of those players who could go right there.

The Panthers could be one player away from going all the way in the second round.

Defensemen Ryan Spooner and Ivan Barbashev: They were solid during training camp last year, and Spooner had a fantastic preseason.

Barbashenv was solid and had a lot of talent, but was inconsistent and could struggle with consistency.

Spooner is a much better prospect and has a much higher ceiling than Barbashedv.