Merry Christmas Dobber-heads!
I thought it would be fun for today’s list to look at what players would have made the best gifts over the past few 12 months. Obviously, superstars like Connor McDavid, Erik Karlsson and Sidney Crosby are tops. But the same as on Christmas morning, the best gifts are the ones you didn’t expect.
Below are 10 players that have exceeded expectations for 2017. No rookies are included as we can only gauge their success since October.
10. Ryan Getzlaf
People forget this because of how many games he has missed this year, but Getzlaf has put up exceptional numbers the past 12 months with 60 points despite playing only 52 games. His 3.3 points per 60 minutes is 10th best among players who had played at least 50 games. He’s the Ducks’ best player and has nine points in his seven games since returning from injury.
9. Phil Kessel
You know what phrase I hate hearing the most throughout the NHL? You’re never win a Cup with so-and-so. I’ve heard it about Alexander Ovechkin and P.K. Subban for a while. Phil Kessel’s name was on that list for a long time, until he actually won two Cups and had serious Conn Smyth Trophy conversations. Kessel had 71 points in 2017, which was the 20th best in the NHL. His 34 power play points is second highest and his 265 shots is 14th best. As a bonus, he hasn’t missed a game since 2009-10.
8. Anze Kopitar
Many believe that Kopitar is having a bounce-back campaign, but his second half of 2016-17 foreshadowed his success. In 44 games from Jan. 1 until the playoffs started, Kopitar had 36 points (with 15 power play points). Thanks to a hot start this season, Kopitar is now at 76 points in 81 games in 2017. That’s tied for 15th best in the league. Not too bad for someone many of us thought was a shell of his former self a year ago.
7. David Pastrnak
One thing the Bruins don’t get enough credit for is their ability to draft and develop their young players. You look at their roster, and you quickly realize the core of their team are players they selected and groomed over a number of years. Pastranak is the latest in a long line of players. In 2017, he had 77 points, tied for 13th highest. Remember, he’s only 21 years old. Imagine a decade from now when we look back and see what’s done over a 10-year period.
6. Brayden Schenn
Schenn has 72 points in 2017, which is 18th highest in the league. Schenn was good in Philly, but he has really broken through since his trade to St. Louis. While he was used on the top power play option in Philadelphia, he was often relega