Ryan O'Reilly is pretty surprising IMO. This is a player that didn't score 20 in juniors or the NHL, and even in AAA Minor Midget he only scored 31 goals. Yet he has 25 this season with an outside chance of 30.
Good for Ward. I remember thinking that his contract looked pretty bad when he was signed by Washington, but that's far from the truth now, that's for sure. With how much contracts have gotten inflated and Ward's current production, that's a steal. Not to mention that he's a solid 2-way player and pretty versatile in the line-up.
I thought the same thing when he first signed, but the instant you watch him play, you wish the team had 18 of him!
Lot's of surprises... my favorite one would be Ryan Johansen I would think... came in so hyper to the league but clearly wasnt ready for it but finally took off this year. Blue Jackets got a good team and they will only become better.
When I made this thread I was looking for more established NHLers to be mentioned rather then rookies but after seeing all the names I'll throw out another Cam Atkinson mainly because I didn't think his game would translate to the NHL. Along with the fact his TOI is less then most players around the 20 goal mark.
For Minnesota it has to be Justin Fontain. If Heatley wasn't on this team he wouldnt be getting benched/4th line mins so much and would have prob would have hit, or came very close to 20 goals for the Wild this season.
Quick edit: i guess if it comes down to it he is a rookie... but cmon, the guys 25 years old and has been playing in the AHL for 3 years, and looked like an established NHL'er as soon as he was given a decent shot since game 1.