• 04/21/2013, 04:41AM ET

Biggest surprise in the NHL (player and team)

OJ Simpson (40-9-3) vs Argos. (184-101-29)

1. Player:

Sergei Bobrovsky

"backup Bob" is going to be (or should be) a Vezina finalist. On a team with no star power, with a weak #1 line and an almost non existent depth chart, Bobrovsky carried this team all year.

He's got them in the 8th seed right now, above Detroit, Dallas and Nashville (among others). Nobody, AND I MEAN NOBODY would have predicted this. He's been lights out.

You could even pick CBJ as the surprise team!

2. Team:


They lost their best forward to injury at the start of the season (Spezza).
They lost their best player (Karlsson) to injury.
They lost their stud goalie (Anderson) to injury.

This team lost their top 3 players 1 month or so into the year.

And yet SOMEHOW this team carried on. A playoff berth was a pipe dream when Karlsson went down. Then they lost their next 2 best players and everyone wrote them off. Yet their backup goalies played strong. The team stuck together. Amazing feats by everyone!

I want to go with Kadri, but I will layoff the homer pick and just do one homer pick. I agree with Bobrovsky, and think that CBJ should be the surprise pick, but I want to be a homer.

Team: Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team to not make it to the playoffs since the last lockout. They have been pathetic since the last lockout. Look where they have finished in the standings since the last lockout.

League (conference):
18 (9)
18 (9)
24 (12)
24 (13)
29 (15)
22 (11)
26 (13)

Just last year, they had their second worst finish since the lockout. Finishing 26th out of a 30 team league. Their off-season brought in little change outside of bringing in player who had 11 goals the previous year. They were once again, suppose to suck. They still lacked a top centre, had a terrible defense-core, and question marks in net, heading into the season.

Yet today, they stand in a position to capture the division and 2nd place in the East (only 4 points back, and a game left against Montreal), and at the very worst, should finish with the 4th best record in the East.

This team is a surprise.

Toronto has obviously done well this year. But they haven't faced any adversity. They're healthy, their goaltending has done well and guys have performed up front. Kadri has found his game and put up a big year.

But Ward got hurt in Carolina.

Tampa has no goaltending.

Philly's offense didn't show up all year and Bryzgalov is a headcase.

Brodeur and Kovulchuk were hurt, plus they finished 8th last year I believe.

Buffalo hasn't had a strong team in years and have been overachieving until now.

Basically, Toronto was BOUND to make the playoffs, providing they didn't shoot themselves in the foot. Yes they've done well, but is it really a big surprise considering all these factors about the other teams?

Ottawa lost their 3 best players for pretty much the entire year and they are still only THREE points behind Toronto in the standings.

If you take off Kessel, Kadri and Reimer from Toronto do you think they'd still make the playoffs? That's essentially what Ottawa did.

April 21, 2013  12:52 PM ET

Left has the FAR better choice and as I predicted the Leafs to make the playoffs they ain't a surprise to me the Isles would have been a smarter pick but then when has a Leafs fan been accused of being smart. Other surprise players Ovie (c'mon he's been disinterested for 2-3 seasons ) Kadri (actually agree with you there Argo ) : Teams CBJ (find me anyone who had them not finishing in the teens ) Jets( you could probably add Ladd to the previous list), Ducks(who didn't think that someone from their #1 line wouldn't have been playing in the East by now) Preds and Flyers (in a bad way) Panthers for sucking so bad they might have a #1 D of Erik Gudbranson & Seth Jones for the next decade( rumor is their medical team will win most of their team awards )

April 21, 2013  01:16 PM ET

Biggest surprise for me is Detroit.

April 21, 2013  03:38 PM ET

Biggest surprise for me is Detroit.

Even though they are finishing right around where I expected them (I had them 8th) it's still a bit of a surprise (more how much Lidstrom meant to them )

Comment #4 has been removed
April 22, 2013  12:30 AM ET

Why does everything have to be about your Leafs Argos ??

Cause none of the American's would understand his Argo are champs chatter

April 22, 2013  01:08 AM ET

How 'bout them Blue Jackets

April 22, 2013  01:15 AM ET

How 'bout them Blue Jackets

Obscure (well to you DJ) Canadian baseball reference

April 22, 2013  03:34 PM ET

will wait on final arguments

my choice on player-M.St.Louis-did anyone think he was still this damn good at his age?

team-tie between Flyers and Bolts-huge dissapointments to have the talent they do,and not make playoffs

April 22, 2013  07:12 PM ET

will wait on final argumentsmy choice on player-M.St.Louis-did anyone think he was still this damn good at his age?team-tie between Flyers and Bolts-huge dissapointments to have the talent they do,and not make playoffs

Even I could play defense for either of those teams which is the problem with both of them


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