Well, as the first month of the season comes to a close, we have quite a few surprises on our hands. With the Coyotes and Kings off to fantastic starts in the Pacific. The Red Wings playing garbage hockey in the Central. The Avalanche have been the biggest surprise to this point as they lead the Western Conference.
In the East, the slow starts of Boston and Philadelphia have surprised many. But no fans in the entire NHL have the right to be as upset as Toronto fans. This team has been a disgrace.
Back to the West, the far west that is, the San Jose Sharks have lived up to expectations to this point. With a Pacific Division leading 21 points through 15 games, the Sharks have been playing great hockey, especially of late.
Just today, the Sharks destroyed the Carolina Hurricanes in a one-sided 5-1 victory. With goals from the likes of Kent Huskins, Brad Staubitz, and Douglas Murray, the Sharks were getting there fair share of secondary scoring. Nabokov played spectacular again and in his last 3 games has only given up 2 goals.
New addition Dany Heatley has also played as everyone hoped, he and Joe Thornton have been a fantasy players dreams. Joe leads the league with 16 assists, and Dany has 9 goals and 8 assists. 5 of those goals being on the Power Play. Dan Boyle and Patrick Marleau also are off to great starts. Marleau has a team leading 11 goals and Boyle is tied with Drew Doughty for most points from a defensman.
And all this, without Joe Pavelski for the majority of the year, Torrey Mitchell for the whole year (to this point), Devin Setoguchi for 8 games, and Ryan Vesce for 4 games. When the Sharks are back to 100% health, this team could surpass the franchise season from last year.
Outside of Dany Heatley, the other new guys are Scott Nichol, Jed Ortmeyer, Kent Huskins, Benn Ferreiro, Jason Demers, Thomas Greiss, and Manny Malhotra. Nichol has done exactly as asked and been a huge force in the draw circle. Ortmeyer and Malhotra have been key to the penalty kill. Huskins has made a great pair to this point with Vlasic, and Ferreiro and Demers have exceeded expectations as rookies. Especially Demers who already has 10 assists as a defensman.
After a relatively slow start the Sharks have been hot, winning their last 5 games. 3 of which were on the road. If this keeps up, the Sharks will repeat as Western Conference Champs. Although, the true test, and measurment for succss of this year will not come until May and June.