The IIHF World Championship is underway over in Russia and there are some very familiar names up among the scoring leaders. Names such as Marian Gaborik, Lee Stempniak, Paul Stastny, Tomas Plekanec, Shane Doan, Rick Nash and Alexander Frolov.
This column was originally posted by The Hockey News, ESPN and MSN.ca on May 9.
There are also some names that are not quite as well known, but some of these players may be on their way to the NHL and just might make an impact. In some cases, these guys are worth taking flyers on in your keeper league.
First and foremost is the enigmatic Aleksey Morozov, who leads the tournament in scoring with 13 points in six games. The former Pittsburgh Penguin was also the top point-getter in Russian League by a wide margin. He has expressed interest in returning to the NHL, especially after seeing how successful Evgeni Malkin was in his rookie campaign. Just over a year ago, Malkin and Morozov had virtually identical numbers in the Russian League.
Granted, Morozov’s career high in the NHL was 50 points, however he did that at the age of 27 and he had 29 points in his last 27 contests. The season before that he had 25 points in 27 games before an injury took him out for the rest of the year. We have not yet seen this guy in his prime in the NHL and if we do – we will see him put up a point per game. Minimum.
Sweden’s Johan Davidsson is second in tourney scoring and is another former NHLer. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound forward gave up on the NHL a little too soon, going back to Europe at the age of 24 after tallying 15 points in 83 games with the Ducks and Islanders. Now 31, he is in his prime and could make an impact in the NHL. As of yet, he has not expressed an interest in crossing the pond again, but if you see that he does sign somewhere – he is worth a flyer.
Another Swedish former NHLer (and another former Duck) is Tony Martensson. The 26-year-old put up decent American League numbers and had two points in