Going into the 2021-22 NHL season there were a few players everyone suspected would have a strong season, however, some players have been really shocking with just how well they have been playing, especially with some of the stats that they have been putting up. These players have done some amazing things and really have earned some recognition on this list.
Michael Bunting – Toronto Maple Leafs
Michael Bunting has surprised many with his performances in what is technically his rookie season in the NHL. Currently, Bunting has taken up a spot on the first line of the Maple Leafs, which is a hard spot to earn as it sees him play alongside Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews. It is even more surprising to see this considering that many had thought either Nick Ritchie or Ondrej Kase would take over this spot that was left after the departure of Zach Hyman. Bunting has really proven that he deserves this spot though, as he has put in a solid game night in and night out, while also pulling away aggression that usually would have found its way to Matthews or Marner.
Bunting is the type of player that really gets under your skin, but that is not the only feature of his game. So far in the season, he has managed 29 points, as well as his first career hat trick. Bunting seemingly came from nowhere after having played very few games in Arizona across two different seasons. Since coming to Toronto he has seen an entirely new level to his game, and the team can only hope that he still has more levels to show off.
Andersen has been stellar in net for the Hurricanes this season, which surprised many after his last season in Toronto was nothing to write home about. Currently, he sits in the top three in both save percentage and goals-against average, while having won 24 of his first 30 games with the Hurricanes, putting himself in the record books for one of the best starts with a new team. Overall he has been one of the stronger netminders this season and is in a serious conversation for Vezina candidates at this point in the season. While perhaps being a testament to the defense in front of him, he has certainly shown that his skills have not dulled at all and that he is still one of the best in the business.
While many knew that Kreider was a solid player, no one really predicted that he would lead the league in goal-scoring 47 games into the season. So far this season he has 33 goals, which usually isn"t his job. An impressive player, at 30 years old he has set himself up for the best season of his career. The player is a veteran with the Rangers organization and has really shown that he could be a solid candidate to be the first captain of the team since the departure of Ryan McDonagh. If Kreider keeps up his pace he could see an 80+ point season as he is currently on pace for roughly a point a game.
Meier is already having one of his best seasons in the NHL, especially after an amazing five-goal game against the Los Angeles Kings. This has led him to have 47 points in just 41 games so far this season. Overall, the player has a lot of playtime ahead of him but could be on pace to top his best season in points, as he currently is on pace for an almost 100 point season, which is an absolutely massive feat for any player. This is a large reason why the player was selected to represent his team at the NHL all-star game this year. If the player manages to keep up this type of performance, he could become a household name for any family. In terms of defense, the center has been no slouch as well given his +/- of +14.
Husso has had an amazing showing for this season, even in just 15 games played he has managed more than 430 saves. Currently, Husso leads the league in both goals-against average and save percentage. At the age of 27, most wouldn"t consider Husso a new face among the league, however, this is only the player"s second season in the NHL. Overall, the goalie seems to have some good prospects for progression, as it looks like he may get continued starts in the league with the Blues given Jordan Binnington‘s unreliable performances, there may just be some goalie battles happening in the team.
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