3.16.2007

"I'm glad I got him."

That is the noise you can hear from many GM's this year. Similar to yesterday's list, I have a list of players who haven't exactly passed expectations, but have done something that makes coaches and GM's feel lucky.

- Taylor Pyatt. This power-forward was thought to be on his way down by the end of last season. However, signing with a new team (Vancouver) may have changed everything. He was expected to be a 50-65 point guy who could score 30 goals, but until this year, his career high in points was 28 and his career high in goals was 14. This year, he hasn't reached 40 points and probably won't, but their has been a new fierceness to his play. He already has 18 goals and 30 points, and has provided Vancouver with another offensive player.



- Mike Green. This was supposed to be kind of a transition year for Green, a rookie who had only played 22 games before. Instead of being a third-pairing guy who would play with veterans to help his game, he has been a reliable defenseman with offensive force. Through 59 games, Green has scored twice on 10 points, including a nice middle-to-end rush that resulted in a puck pushed past the goalie.


- Dustin Penner. Everybody would agree that Penner has passed expectations. Another rookie, Penner's offensive talent was obvious, but thought to be undeveloped. Despite that, he has put a together a quiet but great rookie year. Through 71 games, he has 25 goals and 16 assists for 41 points, and unless he goes on a slump, he will set a new Ducks record for points by a rookie. Chris Kunitz set it with 41 last year.

- Petteri Numelin. Although this may seem confusing, Nummelin has received a lot of non-coverage coverage. Everyone talks about how the guy is so underrated and not talked about. Well, I'll talk about his actual skill. Through just 49 of about 70 possible games, Nummelin has 3 goals and 20 points. That's good all by itself. But while he isn't credited with any individual game-winning goals, check out his shootout stats. Seven shots, six goals, 85.7% shooting percentage, 1 game-decider, 4 for 4 at home, 2 for 3 on the road. Talk about reliable. Nummelin has kept his team in 6 games and even decided 1 of them.
Those are the ones on my list for now.
NOTES:
- Ray Emery may be well-known for fisticuffs, but he's not that bad of a goalie either. Watching the entire second period of the recent Islanders/Senators games, Emery made some nice saves at key times to give his team a good lead.
- Buffalo has 4 shooting percentage leaders in the top 30. Chris Drury, Jason Pominville, Maxim Afineganov, and Thomas Vanek all have scored on at least 16% of their shots. What's more, the least amont of goals those 4 have scored is 23 out of Afineganov. Pominville has 29, Vanek has 34, and Drury leads with 35.
- Even if the bright spots in L.A. are few, they are pretty darn good. Alexander Frolov and MIke Cammalleri, each of whom were expected to struggle this year, have each put together 60-points seasons, with Cammalleri on pace for 73. Also, Anze Kopitar has proven himself time and time again as a great NHLer. Kopitar is third in team scoring with 56 points and 18 goals.
- Similar to last year's Sabres, the Ottawa Senators could lead the league unofficially in scoring depth. They have 12 players over 30 points, with two more (Corvo and Eaves) sure to reach that point.
That's all for now.

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