After a sluggish start, rookie Patrik Berglund has shot up the rookie scoring charts and emerged as a legitimate contender for the Calder Trophy.
When St. Louis drafted him 25th overall in 2006, it was overshadowed by the fact that the team also drafted defenseman Erik Johnson with the top pick. Pundits agreed even then, though, that Berglund was one of the 15 best offensive forwards that were available and that potentially he could be remembered as the one of the top three.
Coming from a stacked draft that included Jonathan Toews, Jordan Staal, Nicklas Backstrom, Kyle Okposo, Peter Mueller, Phil Kessel and Bryan Little, Berglund is finally starting to get noticed. The attitude has always been there – the Swede spent the summer in North America and worked on his main weakness – strength.
After just three points in his first eight NHL contests, the Blues suddenly really needed him to step up. Injuries to Paul Kariya and fellow rookie T.J. Oshie pushed the 20-year-old Berglund up to the No.1 slot up the middle. And he delivered.
With the added ice time and responsibility, Berglund has posted 13 points in 12 contests to go with a plus-8 rating. He has moved up to fourth place in the rookie scoring race with 16 points and is playing hotter than any of the three guys ahead of him. With Oshie now back in the lineup, Berglund’s ice time has not taken a hit at all and it is also unlikely to change when Kariya returns. He has always reminded analysts of another tall and lanky Swede, but his play of late is really conjuring up Mats Sundin images.
All rookies go through their cold spells and Berglund will be no different, but don’t be shocked if he wins the rookie scoring title with 70 points or more…
After starting the season off with nine points in seven games, Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler has just four in his last 20…
My “healthy scratch” theory has come into play again, this time with Edmonton’s Dustin Penner. The 26-year-old was scratched for two games in mid-November, but has since tallied nine points in eight contests. He is also a plus-4 in that span with 12 penalty minutes, making him a multi-category fantasy asset. Twice in the last four games, Penner has seen more than 21-and-a-half minutes of ice time…
In four NHL games this season, rookie winger Matt D’Agostini has four points. The 22-year-old has 25 points in 20 AHL contests, but at this rate he may not get sent down again…
Calgary winger Curtis Glencross has points in eight of his last 10 games and 12 points overall in that span. A dark horse to be a 60-point player, this 25-year-old is clearly a Mike Keenan favorite…
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