NHL’s five biggest surprises: Shocking goal leader emerges

There have been some groups and gamers which were disappointments by means of the primary two months of the 2023-24 season, and we looked at them here.

On the other aspect of which were groups and gamers which can be exceeding their preseason expectations.

Let’s check out them now. 

1. Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks

Should you needed to take a wild guess as to who the NHL’s main purpose scorer is coming into play on Thursday you may begin with Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, David Pastrnak, Auston Matthews or even perhaps Alex Ovechkin.

All of these guesses can be incorrect. 

The reply is Boeser, the veteran Canucks winger who’s off to probably the greatest begins of his profession and pacing the league with 18 objectives by means of the group’s first 26 video games. He is without doubt one of the driving forces behind a Canucks group that has been one of many greatest surprises within the league. If he retains scoring objectives at this similar fee he can be on a 56-goal tempo over 82 video games. That is likely to be asking quite a lot of a participant who by no means scored greater than 29 objectives in a single season, however you cannot take away this begin or the truth that he is likely to be the largest particular person shock within the league. 

2. Arizona Coyotes

The Coyotes have been a league-wide punchline for the previous decade as a result of their fixed area points, possession points and threats of relocation. That is not even mentioning all the dropping. However there’s a gentle on the finish of the tunnel for them of their rebuild, and the group is definitely sustaining a playoff spot within the Western Convention coming into Thursday. 

The arrival of prime prospect Logan Cooley has performed a giant position as he has been an incredible complement to a aggressive veteran core. The Coyotes are scoring 3.33 objectives per sport, the Tenth-highest mark within the league. They averaged simply 2.74 a season in the past (twenty seventh within the NHL).

3. Winnipeg Jets

The Jets have been a perpetually mediocre franchise that by no means takes any steps to alter their roster or their core.

That at all times leaves them in the midst of the league standings, by no means adequate to win a Stanley Cup and by no means unhealthy sufficient to completely decide to a rebuild. However they do have a handful of high-end forwards (Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor) and an elite goalie (Connor Hellebuyck) that may masks quite a lot of flaws. To this point this season that core group of gamers is masking quite a lot of the Jets’ flaws with scoring depth and protection and has them in a playoff spot within the Central Division. 

4. Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers lastly dedicated to a rebuild and entered the season with what appeared to be one of many worst rosters within the league on paper. However head coach John Tortorella has them taking part in a rugged defensive sport that’s conserving them aggressive most nights, whereas the return of a wholesome Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson at ahead (each of whom missed the complete 2022-23 season) has helped the Flyers dangle round within the Jap Convention playoff race 1 / 4 of the best way by means of the season. 

They nonetheless may not make the playoffs, however this was imagined to be one of many league’s worst groups. They’re something however that and giving each group they play every little thing they will deal with. 

5. Cam Talbot, Los Angeles Kings

The Kings have probably the greatest rosters within the NHL and have virtually each ingredient you might need in a Stanley Cup contender. Deep group of forwards that kind an incredible offense, they’re relentless defensively and one of many hardest groups within the league to attain in opposition to and they’re excellent on particular groups. 

The one huge query was at all times going to be in purpose the place they didn’t appear to have a transparent No. 1 choice. 

However Talbot has stood out early on as one of many prime goalies within the league and helped safe the place. Coming into play on Thursday his .930 save share is fourth within the league amongst goalies with at the very least 10 begins and has helped lead the Kings to the most effective factors share (.750) within the Western Convention and probably the greatest in the complete NHL. 

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