Every season, teams have at least one player who emerges with a seemingly unexpected season.Â Â This is often witnessed in the form of a surge in offense, a dramatic increase in ice time, or a goaltender excelling in key areas such as save percentage and shutouts.
Who will rise to the occasion this season, and surprise us all with a season beyond our expectations?
Last season, one could argue there were three players in the running for the mythical Out Of Nowhere Man award: Mikhail Grabovski, Matt Stajan, and Ian White.Â Â Â Â Grabovski was a rookie who many felt would be boom-or-bust; very few people projected him to be a 20 goal scorer in his first campaign.Â Â Stajan, projected by many as a 3rd-line centre, won the 1st-line job and put up career highs across the board while providing consistent two-way play all season.Â Â Â And White, after an early pressbox stint due to the numbers game, took hold of his opportunity and never looked back, playing key minutes in all situations and providing a steady presence on both the blueline and the wing.
In my own humble opinion, if an Out Of Nowhere Man award did exist it would have gone to White last season, with Stajan and Grabovski as the runners-up.
The question is, who do you think will be the Out Of Nowhere Man this season?
- Will Lee Stempniak rebound and come close to thirty goals?
- Will Tyler Bozak win a spot out of camp and make an immediate impact?
- Will Jiri Tlusty find consistency, and success, at the NHL level?
- Will Vesa Toskala return to his 2007-08 form?
- Will Jonas Gustavsson take over as the starter?
Or will it be someone else?Â Who do you think will be this year’s Out Of Nowhere Man, and why?
Looking forward to your thoughts as always,