Stuff I had a solid idea
I liked to McClellan choice, but thought the Sharks would finish 4th behind Dallas and Detroit.
I expected Marleau to hit 75-85 for sure. The surprise has been his exceptional play.
Warning potential homer alert: I think Marleau has been a top 5 forward in the West this year:
1. Datsyuk 2. Thornton 3. Getzlaf 4. Hossa 5. Marleau 6. Zetterberg
Blake was not a surprise to me. I expected a guy who would play 20-22 minutes per night and play a major role in improving our young'ins.
Clowe- I expected him to improve, and play about as good as last years playoffs, but his PP abilities have gone well beyond my expectations. I am not sure there are 10 forwards I would prefer on the PP.
I have always seen Semenov as a solid #7, but he has been better than that this year. Not that big of a surprise.
I believed Boyle was better than Campbell, but I didn't expect someone him to be as good offensively or defensively. I had him as a top 15 d-man at the trade, I think 5-10 is closer to actuality.
Plihal- I thought he would be a 4th liner full time, but I thought it would be because he is cheap. I like his speed, underrated shot, and excellent pk abilities.
I saw Lukowich as waiver bait. He has played like a top 4 d-man.
I expected Vlasic to bounce back. I didn't expect to see him as a top 10 d-man in the West, or show near the offensive abilities he has.
I thought Seto would earn a top 6 spot, didn't think it would be Joe's RW.
I expected Michalek to pass his career high, but it doesn't look like it will happen. With that said he has still been very solid
I thought Cheech would bounce back so that is a little surprising.
If I had to pick stuff to happen before the season started, there is only one item on that list which I absolutely never would've guessed to happen. That is Claude Lemieux's comeback and therefore he gets my vote.
That was a tough poll to answer. I chose Blake not playing like an old man. I expected his offensive stats to improve over his past couple years with the Kings, but he's really surprised me with his defensive game, especially that he's still very strong and has a bit of a mean streak.
Marleau's strong comeback and Seto's emergence are also very surprising, but then again, it'd be hard not to put up points on that line. Boyle's two-way play also really impressed me. I thought he'd be a lot more lazy on D like Campbell was.
One thing not mentioned was how good of a player Lukowich has shown himself to be. I'm very pleased that he was "thrown in" along with Boyle.
I was put into a quandry by the difference 'Most Pleasant' in the thread title and the 'Biggest' in the poll itself.
I pick Seto's establishing himself as a first liner as the 'Biggest' surprise as, while I knew he was good, he had been streaky and prone to lapses. His focus and desire to not lose his spot on Line 1 is different than what his rep had shown in the past. Credit the coach for instilling that competition as it's hard to find a a better pair of forwards to play with than Big Joe and Patty. (and Maybe Kate Longworth's desire for some Setonookie with the Setosushi has helped some too.)
As for the 'Most Pleasant' surprise, I'd have to go with Marleau's resurgence. I knew Marleau had it in him and a lot of his struggles were because of not being on the same page as Ron Wilson, but I didn't expect him to be able to do a complete 180 turn for the better once we got a new coach. Part of that surprise also includes how well McLellan has gelled with Patty and this team. It's been very pleasant to see how well they all are getting along and performing well.