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5 NHL Surprises Around 10 Games Into the Season

Most teams have now started to reach the 10 game mark on the 2022-23 season and we’ve definitely got some surprises, both good and bad, in the early season performances of some players and teams. Here are some of the biggest NHL surprises so far.

1) The Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers are the biggest NHL surprise thanks to a hot start, winning their first three games and currently sit second in the Metropolitan Division in points percentage with a 5-2-1 record. Not bad for a team that had zero expectations heading into the season and was regarded by most, if not all, as a laughing stock.

Moving forward, the question is around sustainability. Is this the John Tortorella effect in action that will help this Flyers over-perform? Or just a hot streak and the new coach effect that will wear off in 20 or 25 games?

2) Valeri Nichushkin

After signing a big money deal in the offseason, Valeri Nichushkin started off the 2022-23 season with one of the best offensive stretches of his career. In his first seven games, he scored seven goals and has 12 points. Unfortunately, he is injured and has now missed a couple of games, but it is extremely impressive and quite surprising to see his name atop the Colorado Avalanche scoring leaders instead of Nathan MacKinnon or Mikko Rantanen.

There is an indication that this is not just luck, either. At the time of writing, Nichushkin is second among Avalanche forwards in xGF% sitting at 50.66%, and actually has a PDO of less than 1, which would generally suggest less puck luck while he is on the ice.

3) The Boston Bruins’ Historic Start

At this point, it should come as no surprise the Boston Bruins are good. But after some of the injury issues they had heading into the season, combined with their aging core, things were looking down for the Bruins as they appeared to be falling behind in a tough division.

However here we are, with the Bruins off to the best start in franchise history and one of the biggest NHL surprises, with the performance of David Pastrnak and Linus Ullmark, in particular, leading the team.

Even if they start to slow down as the season wears on, getting this early cushion will be huge in helping them secure a playoff spot in the spring.

4) Erik Karlsson’s Resurgence

It has been a trying four seasons for Erik Karlsson since being traded from the Ottawa Senators to the San Jose Sharks. Injuries have limited him to less than 60 games per season, the once incredible offense he was able to produce was seemingly gone, and it was looking like his $11 million cap hit was going to be a boat anchor for the Sharks for years to come.

But through 11 games in the 2022-23 season, Karlsson has 11 points. A pace he hasn’t hit since his 82 point season in 2015-16.

Despite the Sharks being a weak team this season with their own offensive struggles, Karlsson has been turning back the clock a little bit to find some of his old magic.

5) The New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils have seemingly been on the verge of breaking out for a couple of seasons now, headlined by the signing of Dougie Hamilton a couple of off-seasons ago. But they never really were able to put it all together and succeed. Early indications in 2022-23 show that they might finally have found their way.

Sitting second in the Metro Division with a 6-3 record, the Devils been playing some of the most complete hockey of any team this season. An expected goals for percentage just shy of 70% tops the entire league. But their actual performance compared to expected is somehow at the bottom of the league.

So the Devils are doing great already. Now if we were to factor in if they were playing as well as the analytics would suggest they are, the team will be an absolute force to be reckoned with and might just make a few more NHL surprises.

There are definitely more surprising starts to the season, but these ones are among those that stand out the most. Drop a comment down below with which NHL surprise has shocked you!

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