This week the Eastern Edge takes a look at a handful of Eastern Conference players who might outperform expectations.
Mikhail Grabovski, Washington
In Washington, Grabovski will be back in a role where offensive production is expected. Last year in Toronto, everything seemed to be stacked against him. He had the seventh most average ice time and sixth most average power play time amongst Leafs forwards. The lack of quality ice time and line-mates really showed in his production; he was on pace for 15 goals and 27 points over a full season.
In the two preceding seasons, Grabovski recorded 23 and 29 goals, and 51 and 58 points respectively. He averaged over two minutes more ice time the season before last and nearly four minutes per game more the year before that. He will be relied upon to provide offense in Washington and will be given quality line-mates and ice time. Add in the motivation factor; he will be very driven to show that the Maple Leafs made a mistake and will be out to prove to the hockey world that they made an error in judgment. Even better, Grabovski is on a one year contract. This situation just reeks of success.
Jussi Jokinen, Pittsburgh
Many people won't give The Juice a second thought, but here are some numbers to ponder: 11 points in 33 games with Carolina last year, but 11 points in just 10 games with the Pens. In the three previous seasons, Jokinen recorded campaigns of 46, 52 and 65 points. Those totals shouldn't be ignored.
During the playoffs, Jokinen lined up beside Matt Cooke and Brenden Morrow and ended up with three points in eight games. In Jokinen's 10 regular season games with Pittsburgh, he averaged nearly 15 minutes of ice time per game, including a heal