So this article is less (if any) Avalanche related and more hockey related. These are in no particular order, because ordering them would make this even hard.
1. The Florida Panthers. Whether it's the fact that they are leading their division, have a record above .500 or after just 29 games, have more than half the points (37) they amassed last year (72), they have completely surprised me. Theodore seems to have re-found himself as he has a .929 save % with a 2.17 GAA. Flash, Versteeg and Weiss are all average at least a point per game. Of those three players, I only thought that 1 of them (Weiss) had the skill to maintain that through 29 games. I thought with all the FA signings they were panicking and just throwing money around, and maybe they were, but it worked, so congrats to them.
2. The Anaheim Ducks. I'm not the only one wondering what the hell happened to these guys. These are the ducks that had 99 points last year, and could have had more had Hiller not had that weird vertigo. Currently they are one point ahead of C-bus, with a whopping 21. Speaking of Hiller, where has he been? He was an All-Star last year, and now he has a 3.12 GAA and a .901 save %. Teemu has been the only one on that team consistently showing up, and Ryan has practically fallen off the face of the planet Stastny style.
3. Jaromir Jagr. Jagr has 9 goals, 13 assists for a total of 22 pts in 23 games (he just scored tonight so make that 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 pts in 24 games). To me this is a surprise. I just didn't think he'd be playing at this level after being away from the NHL for so long. Then again, I have a feeling that it doesn't hurt when your most common linemates are Giroux and Hartnall (13.85%) and Giroux and JVR (4.55%). That being said, I will give credit when credit is due.
4. Jason Garrison. Ever hear of this guy? If so, many of you have only heard of him through fantasy hockey leagues. He plays D for Florida and currently has 9 goals and 5 assists along with a +12 rating (for those who feel that is relevant). His 9 goals, are tops for defensemen, the next closest are Weber, Lidstrom, Byfuglien, Salo and Kronwall with 6. Not only is the amount of his goals impressive, but his shooting % is 12.2% which is insanely high for a defenseman (maybe he should talk to some of our forwards, heh). There are others that are higher, but none that have even half the sample size of shots (74) that he has. For the record, last year he had 5 goals and 13 assists for 18 pts in 73 games.
5. The Adjectives. Now before I say this, brace yourself, but currently, if the season ended today, the Adjectives would take home the Presidents Trophy. That's right, they have the most points in the whole league. The Adjectives. Even typing that as many times as I did, it still doesn't seem right. They must be trapping the hell out of everyone right? Well, maybe. They are averaging 2.14 goals against per game. Any time you only let in 2 goals, with how the league is right now, you will win a lot of games. Backstrom and Harding are both pretty good goalies. The thing that surprises me is that they traded away arguably their best defender, for offense, and end up being one of the best defensive teams STILL. Their top defensive pair (at least minutes wise) is Marco Scandella (a rookie) and Jared Spurgeon (has 82 games between last year and this year). I am baffled.
6. Brian Elliott. .11-2 in 13 starts with a 944 save % (leads NHL) and a 1.56 GAA (leads NHL) and 3 shut outs is really all that I need to say. He is currently the front runner for the Vezina. I would never expect to ever say that.
7. Crosby. I can't stand him, or his attitude but I must give him props for returning right back to where he was before, and that is elite status. 4 points in his first game, I hope Ferris was taking notes for
when if he comes back.
8. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. I, like MANY others, amateur and pro, was skeptical about his size. I thought some one would crush him and break him in half. I mean, he is listed as 6-1, 175 lbs. But he has hung in there, and dazzled everyone while proving almost everyone wrong. He has 13 goals and 19 assists in 32 games and he is lighting it up. Although he is fairly protected (taking more than 2/3 of his faceoffs in the Offensive zone(I'd have a number for you but I can't remember that more advanced statistics site, any help?)) he is still blowing everyone out of the water.
9. Claude Giroux. I hate the Flyers, almost as much as we hate the Dead Things, but Giroux is absolutely tearing it up this year. We saw a lot of what he could do last year in the playoffs, and more ice time as a direct product of shipping out Richards and Carter. With 16 goals and 21 assists, Giroux leads the league in points.
10. Tyler Seguin. Last year Seguin was seeing less ice time per game (12:12/game as opposed to 16:43/game), but the difference is by only a little more than 4 minutes. The thing is Seguin had 11 goals and 11 assists in 74 games last year (his rookie season) and this year he already has 12 goals and 13 assists in 26 games. He is really starting to show why he was the number 2 overall pick 2 years ago.
Overall, this year has been full of surprises, I'm sure there are others that didn't make it to this list, so what has really surprised everybody else here at MHH?
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