Every NHL season is filled with unexpected surprises. That is why many fans and bettors flock to sports betting sites to wager on this unpredictable league, hoping to profit from the twists and turns of the typical NHL season. Even if we are less than halfway through this year, we have already seen some unexpected events take place in the NHL.
Certain players have shocked NHL fans by taking their game to new heights, earning the respect of the entire league. For bettors and fans, these players’ performances have been a pleasant surprise. Different sportsbooks cover NHL player specials, as you’ll see from a Bodog review and if you had bet big on these players, you’d be reaping some major rewards right now. Let’s look at some of the players that have taken their game to the next level in the early phases of this season, whether by breaking out unexpectedly or building on previous years’ breakouts.
Jason Robertson might seem a peculiar fit on this list because he broke out last season as a point-per-game player at just 22 years old and had a 41-goal season. While he was a dominant player last year, this year has been something else entirely. Robertson is battling for the league lead in goals with Connor McDavid, with 23 goals in 28 games at the time of writing. He is also third in the league in points. He is well on pace for more than 50 goals and is a prime candidate to exceed 100 points for the first time in his short career. He has elevated his game from a star to a superstar and is taking the Dallas Stars along for the ride as they are holding down a playoff spot.
Tage Thompson is in a similar boat to Robertson in that he already established himself as a force to be reckoned with last season. The massive 6’7 center/right wing for the Buffalo Sabres established himself as a key part of the future with a 38-goal, 68-point season. This year, his play has elevated. He is fourth in the league in points with 41, third in the league in goals with 21, and regularly puts on monster performances. Just this season alone, he had a five-goal, one-assist game and a three-goal, three-assist game. He is a beast that has shown himself capable of taking over a game.
Cole Caufield was expected to be a dynamic goalscorer. The diminutive winger had showcased incredible scoring punch throughout his minor league career; however, that didn’t translate straight away to the NHL. The Montreal Canadiens even sent him down to the AHL last season as he struggled to get it going. He showed flashes at the end of the season, and this year has put it all together. He is leading the Canadiens in goals with 16, which puts him at 12th in the league. He is playing at nearly a point-per-game pace and is a prime candidate for a 40-goal season. Not bad for a 21-year-old.
Josh Morrissey has been in the league longer than any of the previous players on this list, and the consensus was that he was a solid, puck-moving defenseman that would never be the elite player some had envisioned. His career high in points was 37, set last season. This year, he is on track to obliterate those numbers. He has 31 points through just 27 games, playing well above a point-per-game pace, and is third in the league for scoring among defensemen. At 27 years old, he has engineered his best NHL season and is a big reason the Winnipeg Jets have returned to playoff contender status.
When Darcy Kuemper left the Colorado Avalanche for the Washington Capitals following their Stanley Cup victory, Alexandar Georgiev was acquired from the New York Rangers. This was seen as a major downgrade for the Avalanche, as Georgiev had never handled a starting role before, backing up Igor Shesterkin in the Big Apple.
But with the Avs, Georgiev has emerged as a viable starting goalie. Georgiev hasn’t been perfect, but he has shown himself as a capable starter. He is top ten in the league in wins and has battled to a .920 save percentage, which is tied for sixth in the league. He is a viable starter and still just 26.
Linus Ullmark is 29 years old, meaning it is a little late to be engineering a majorbreakout. He had shown himself a capable backup goalie and a potential 1A/1B-typem goalie, not someone who could dominate the crease. But after a solid season, the Bruins gave him a real opportunity this year, and all he’s done is put up Vezina-caliber numbers.
He leads the league in wins (16), save percentage (.941), and goals against average (1.77). With his help, the Bruins have been the best team in the league. If he kept this up, it would be a historic, all-time-great level season from the unexpected star.