Who are some players this year who in the past have been reguarded as minor league rubble but have gotten a shot (usually through injuries) to show their stuff at the NHL level and have held their own? They don't need to be scoring like Eric did last year - but just logging good minutes and doing their job.
In other words, guys a lot of people who don't follow your team probably still don't even know are playing, let alone playing decently.
Travis Brigley, Colorado: Has played some solid minutes in the past month due to injuries and has been featured on the Avs PK. Has 4 points in 14 games. And this will blow most people's minds...in the past 3 games, he has averaged 18 minutes of ice time...the same amount as Sakic and Tanguay and more than Selanne and Hejduk. Of course, the Avs have found themselves down a man a lot recently. But that is some high confidence in a guy who really has never had a sniff at the NHL before.
Eric Nickulas, St. Louis: What is it with Eric's and St. Louis? Nickulas, another perennial AHL'er, has 3 goals and 7 points in 13 games with the Blues and is a +5. His ice time has fluxtuated greatly recently, but he played over 19 minutes in a loss to the Ducks a couple of weeks ago.
Alex Henry...Washington screwed up big time on this kid. He isn't an enforcer but he's a strong defensemen for the Wild now. He had AHLer written all over him because he was struggling but here it turns out that Washington wanted to convert him over to a winger. He has already been bounced around from Edmonton to Washington to Minnesota, so you know he was looking like already a journeyman player but I think he found his niche in Minnesota. He isn't fast but he got some wheels and he'll hit and drop the gloves. I like him.
i think matt herr could be a guy like that, but he's buried in the boston organization. at worst, i think he can be a very good 4th line center- he brings a very good game to the table- physical, good offensive tools, kills penalties, and has good hockey sense. just another guy who needs that opportunity to show his stuff. it's guys like herr who will make guys like zamuner expendable. sure, zams has a lot of experience and leadership qualities, but he makes 2 million a year. a guy like herr is younger and hungrier, and can bring the same game to the ice for about 400K. i'm looking forward to the day where every team gets their house in order, and guys are playing their butts off for a 500K job.
maybe Chris Taylor of Buffalo. he's been up and down a bit over the past half a dozen seasons or so, but he's like 30 i think, and never really had a full-time shot. he seems to be doing relatively well for the Sabres.
Brett McLean, who was already mentioned, is another good one.
Bootland, a cheaper, more reliable version of McCarty
If nothing else, way the hell better than Devereaux. The GWG is just a blip on the radar screen, nothing more.
Devereaux will never rack up points in this league those hands and his spazoid style of play. However, Devereaux is a much better player than Bootland. His speed and non-stop hustle allow him to do things a guy like Bootland just can't do.
Bootland is quickly turning into a slower, tougher Avery clone with his dives, pestering attitude, dumb penalties and a penchant for walking away from fights.
It won't be long before the Refs take notice and he becomes a liability.