|"...And Uncle Mario deked through the defenceman and everyone lived happily ever after!"|
There have been plenty of amazing performances so far this NHL season. You probably think of Phil Kessel, Jason Spezza, Thomas Vanek, Kari Lethonen and Jonathan Quick to name a few as some of those off to hot starts. They're all established players in the league in the league and are doing what they're expected to do, but that doesn't mean the old men and young guns haven't been lighting up the NHL either.
Let's start with the old men:
Jaromir Jagr AGE: 39
He's averaging a point-per-game with 5 goals and 7 assists through 12 games and has even brought back his classic salute. Jagr is using his veteran experience to find openings and control the play, and linemate Claude Giroux is benefiting from it as he sits 2nd overall in league scoring. The way Jagr is going, 80+ points is a realistic possibility.
Teemu Selanne AGE: 41
The Finnish Flash currently leads the Ducks with 5 goals and 9 assists through 12 games, and it is a big lead with defending Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry at 8 points, Ryan Getzlaf at 7 points and Bobby Ryan at 5 points. Many expected the youth to lead the Ducks, but Teemu is taking control and getting the Ducks points when they're overall play has been suspect. Right now, the Ducks are very fortunate Selanne put off his retirement and future rally car racing career.
Nicklas Lidstrom AGE: 41
The oldest of the group, with over 1,500 games under his tackla belt, Lidstrom is as steady as they come on the blueline. Tied for 2nd on the Red Wings scoring with 3 goals and 4 assists, Lidstrom is also a rock on D that averages well over 24 minutes/game. The reigning Norris Trophy winner while having individual success will have to motivate his Red Wing Army into the playoffs after an average start of 5-4-1.
Ray Whitney AGE: 39
Currently leading the Coyotes in goals and points as the 'Yotes are out to a 6-3-2 start. Most people didn't know what to expect from Phoenix this year, and the ageing Whitney is surprising many with his hot start. So get out there Coyotes fans, fill up the JOBing.com Arena to see Ray Whitney play!
Nikolai Khabibulin AGE: 38
Khabby will turn 39 in January, but that hasn't stopped him from putting up the best GAA (1.12) and SV% (.960) among starting goaltenders. Khabby has backstopped the Oilers to the top of their division and with some pivotal wins over Vancouver, Washington and St. Louis. It is evident that The Bulin Wall had some time to reflect on his last season while doing jail time as his play as been phenomenal as the Oilers are one of the most exciting teams to watch this year, which brings us to the young guns.
The Young Guns:
|"So who's making the Kraft Dinner tonight?"|
The Nuge is leading the Oilers in scoring with 5 goals and 6 assists as they sit on top of the Western Conference standings. While he is absolutely getting owned in the faceoff circle, Nugent-Hopkins is gelling nicely with Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle that even Alex Ovechkin likes to watch them play. RNH took home October's Rookie of the Month honours and will compete with an impressive crop of other top rookies throughout the year for the Calder.
Taylor Hall AGE: 19
In his sophmore season, Hall is looking to redeem himself after missing the last 17 games of last season with a high ankle sprain. He's put up 3 goals and 6 assists through 10 games and the only slip up this season has been having "password" as his Twitter account password. Hall is a thrill to watch, but we do get a little nervous for him as he crashes into the boards almost every game.
Jordan Eberle AGE: 20
Eb's has been right there with his linemates in scoring with 3 goals and 7 assists as the Oilers future looks bright for many years to come with this batch of young stars. The only questioning of this "Kids in the Hall" line is who's buying Nugent-Hopkins his beer?
Adam Larsson AGE: 18
Larsson recorded his first NHL point at the 10 game mark, but the defenceman is averaging almost 24 minutes a game for the Devils as an 18 year old which is more impressive that stat totals. His potential on Hockey's Future is a 9.0C and that's reserved for Nick Lidstrom comparisons, which is exactly who Larsson is being compared to. Larsson's potential to be the next superstar all-around D-man has to be exciting news for New Jersey Devils fans as they rebuild their blueline.
Jacob Markstrom AGE: 21
Under the guidance of Jose Theodore, Markstrom has been helping the Florida Panthers excel this season after sneaking into the backup position with Scott Clemmenson injured. With a 2.11 GAA and .945 SV% through 4 games, including a 40 save performance in a win over the Montreal Canadiens, Markstrom has earned a lot of praise for keeping the Panthers in games. The future looks bright for this kid.
Gabriel Landeskog AGE: 18
Landeskog is right up there in the Avalanche's balanced scoring with 4 goals and 3 assists through 12 games, but probably the most surprising stat is that the young buck has 43 shots which puts him among the league leaders. Landeskog was considered the most NHL-ready prospect and despite his little trip on the trolley tracks, he's been just that. Landeskog also made some history with his first goal as he became the youngest Swedish-born player to score an NHL goal.
Jeff Skinner AGE: 19
Last years Calder Trophy winner is expelling the myth of the Sophomore Slump as he leads the Hurricanes with 6 goals and 6 assists through 12 games. The Canes are off to a respectable start, and Skinner has carried his fair share of weight with 2 game winning goals. Skinner has been picking up the slack for Eric Staal, who is off to a brutal start with only 5 points and is currently a -12. It's hard to believe what Skinner did last year as an 18 year old, but we're still just as surprised of what he's doing this year as a 19 year old.
Tyler Seguin AGE: 19
Fresh after a Stanley Cup victory and months of partying, the Bruins have had a rollercoaster start to their season as they sit in the basement of the Eastern Conference with a 4-7-0 record. One constant in the Bruins lineup has been the play of Tyler Seguin who leads the team in scoring with 4 goals and 7 assists. The legal drinker is also a +8 on a team with a total of -11. Many continue to compare the Seguin and Kessel trade as both are off to amazing starts, but just remember young Tyler is only 19.