We have a decent sample of an NHL season thus far. Sure, it's not even close to half of a normal year, but considering that at the usually halfway point of 41 games the season will be almost over for that team, we just don't get to have as much time to watch thing unfold. I decided to take a look at how everybody is playing so far and to point out some surprises. Perhaps I shall get to disappointments some time soon, because, you know, symmetry.
In Anaheim, Saku Koivu got off to a nice start, but I think Andrew Cogliano has been a bigger surprise. Not only does he have 10 goals and 18 points, but he's also a plus-16, better than any other Anaheim forward. On defense, Francois Beauchemin is usually solid, but this year he's putting up great numbers. He's playing over 23 minutes a night, and he has four goals, 18 points, and is a whopping plus-19. Oh, also Viktor Fasth, of course.
Jiri Tlusty seems to be having a breakout season in Carolina. In 29 games, he has 13 goals and 22 points. He's also a plus-18 and has 70 shots on goal. Tlusty could end up posting career best numbers despite the truncated season. Plus, he's already the best player in NHL history whose last name begins with a "Tl."
Chicago's success has been led by the usual suspects on offense, but their goaltending has been quite the nice surprise for them. Corey Crawford has an excellent .929 save percentage, while Ray Emery's .916 SV% is nothing to sneeze at either.
After struggling a bit early, Sergei Bobrovsky has finally banished Steve Mason to the land of wind and ghost. He has a .931 save percentage in 21 games played. He is saving Columbus' season, to the extent it can be saved.
Due to injury along the Kings' blueline, Jake Muzzin was called upon to shoulder a pretty big load for a player with very limited NHL experience. He has six goals and 13 points in 26 games and is a plus-14.
Craig Anderson has been out with an injury for the while, but his .952 SV% in 15 games is still amazing. All three Ottawa goalies have been excellent. Ben Bishop has been the worst, and he has a .921 SV% in 10 games. If you want to know how the Senators have remained in the playoff race sans Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson, there you go.
Sure, Chris Kunitz gets to play with Sidney Crosby, but you could still argue he's the biggest surprise of the season. He's been a solid NHL player for years, but he currently has 18 goals and 40 points in 31 games, and he is a plus-24. He leads the Penguins, and all their talent, in both goals and plus-minus. He's second in the league in goals and tied for second in points. In a full season, he'd probably regress to the mean, but this year he could ride his play thus far into a top five finish in scoring.
It's kind of a surprise that Jake Allen has even played in 11 games for the Blues, and his .915 SV% has been nice for them, especially since any list of disappointments would have to include Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott.
I feel like we've been hearing about Nazem Kadri for decades now, but he's still only 22. He's finally putting it together, as he has 27 points in 29 games and is a plus-13.
The only surprise in Vancouver may be the fact that Roberto Luongo is still also. He's also scuffled a bit after a hot start. Maybe the Canucks should have struck a deal sooner, presuming there was one to be made.
That about covers it, and I didn't even mention the Montreal Canadiens, perhaps the biggest surprise team this year so far. Some of these players won't keep it up. Others will. Some will be able to carry this performance into future seasons. Other will be Brian Elliott. That's professional sports for you.