Top 10 surprises of 2018-19

Tom Collins

2019-04-15

Opportunities.

That’s what it takes for a player to have a successful year. Every player on this list had their opportunities this past season, whether it be on the power play, getting top-six minutes or finally getting a chance to play with elite linemates.

Last week, we used a basic math formula to figure out who the top 10 disappointments were. This week, we’re using the same formula to figure out the surprises. At the start of the season, I compiled the points projections of almost 300 players from 13 separate prognosticators. To figure out who was the most surprising, I looked at the average of all 13 predictions and compared them to the final point numbers.

With an increase in scoring, many of the top players saw higher than projected numbers. Nikita Kucherov, for example, had an average projection of 96 points and wound up with 128. While that is 32 points higher, most had Kucherov finishing in the top three in points. I won’t be including those players on this list.

One interesting note is that three players on this list (numbers 1, 3 and 5) had such low point projections that I didn’t even track them before the season began.

 

10. David Krejci

Krejci went from barely draftable to a must-own. Only drafted in three per cent of Yahoo leagues, and projected to get 49 points on average, Krejci finished the season with 73 points, 24 points higher than anticipated. It helped that he generally moved up the lineup anytime someone on the top line was injured. His most frequent linemates at 5-on-5 were Jake DeBrusk and David Pastrnak and a vast majority of his power-play points came with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the ice.

 

9. Timo Meier/Tomas Hertl

I’m combining these two for the obvious reasons: Both are former first-round picks that play with the Sharks and had a major breakthrough this season. They were also both 25 points above their average projection. Hertl had 74 points against an average projection of 49 and Meier had 66 points against an average projection of 41. For the most part, they had pretty identical seasons (Hertl had 57 even-strength points vs Meier’s 54 and there was only nine seconds difference between their even-strength ice time). These were the breakout seasons we’ve been expecting from Hertl for a while and thought Meier was still a couple of years away from having.

 

8. Brayden Point

After the top couple of Lightning forwards, it was pretty tough to gauge who was going to be the great Tampa breakout player going into the season. There were plenty of options, and it all depended on who was going to play on that top line with Nikita Kucherov and