15 Biggest Surprises Of The NHL Season So Far

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15 Biggest Surprises In The NHL This Season

Mike Strasinger-USA TODAY Sports

For every large disappointment that fans deal with, it is the surprise seasons that keep them from giving up all together. Maybe it is a team that was too young to win that ended up making the playoffs. Maybe it was a late round pick that ended up being an All-Star. Maybe it was a goalie who your team took a shot on and now he has your team in a prime position. Maybe it was a game that just made the whole season better.

These are the situations that makes it fun to be a fan, when your team beats expectations and gives you a team that is fun to watch.

This season has been full of surprises, both good and bad. We have already touched on the bad, so we are going to focus on the good here.

When you look at the NHL, there is a lot to be happy about. All but probably four teams are still well in the playoff race. There are legitimately 20 rookies in the league that make their team extremely excited. There are players that have exceeded expectations and coaches that got a lot more out of their team than anyone expected.

We are about 50 games into the season, which means there are still more than 30 games for things to change, but for now, everything is pretty great for most franchises. Either way, enjoy the many surprises we have already dealt with in the 2013-14 season.

These are the 15 biggest surprises in the NHL this season.

Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to the site's NBA, MLB and NFL content. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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15. Tomas Hertl's Four Goal Performance

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It was one of the most memorable performances in a long time, and it came in Tomas Hertl's third career game. It was quite shocking that a 19 year old coming into the league had six goals at this point of the season. The fourth goal was the best, shooting it between his legs and past Martin Biron. In case you were curious, Biron retired shortly after this mugging.

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14. Kyle Okposo

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Kyle Okposo has been on fire all season for the New York Islanders. Most thought it was because of the chance to play for Team USA, but after he was left off the team, he has been better than ever. He has 52 points this season in 52 games. He has been crucial in the Isles comeback from the bottom of the division.

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13. Chris Kreider

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Last year was supposed to be the coming out party for Chris Kreider, but that did not work out; better late than never. He scored three points all season last year; this year, he has 10 times that. He finally have broken out and now he is crucial to keeping the New York Rangers alive in the Metropolitan Division.

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12. Martin St. Louis

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When the Tampa Bay Lightning lost Steven Stamkos to a broken leg, it seemed like the team was doomed to end their fast start. Martin St. Louis did not allow that to happen. Since the injury, St. Louis has 18 goals and 17 assists. Now with the Lightning tied for first place, St. Louis is looking to make Team Canada look dumb for missing the boat on him.

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11. Colombus Blue Jackets' Winning Streak

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The Columbus Blue Jackets are currently in third place thanks to an eight game winning streak. With the return of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, this team has been on absolute fire. They are finally getting guys back (Nathan Horton has helped) and they look like a serious threat in the Eastern Conference.

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10. Torey Krug

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When you heard of the trade of Tyler Seguin in the offseason, you thought the Boston Bruins were going to lose their young scoring threat. They also did not expect a rookie defenseman to show them the scoring touch. With 25 points from the back end, Torey Krug is seriously fighting for the Calder Trophy this far into the season.

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9. Ryan Getzlaf

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Ryan Getzlaf seemed like he could be on the downturn just two years ago, but now he is a legitimate MVP candidate. My, how quickly things can turn around.

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8. Joe Thornton's Assist Numbers

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Seriously, look at his assist numbers; he has 47 assists so far this season. It looks even better when you add in the fact that he only has six goals. He is looking to be the helper to all his young teammates this season.

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7. Jaromir Jagr

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When Jaromir Jagr signed a one year deal with the New Jersey Devils after the defection of Ilya Kovalchuk, many thought it was just a move that could get the team a draft pick, as nobody predicted they would be going anywhere. He has roared past some of the greats all season long and continues to be the rock for a Devils team that is right in the race.

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6. Ben Bishop

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Who was your preseason pick to be the best goaltender in the league? Was it Jonathan Quick? Henrik Lundqvist? Maybe you tried to think outside of the box and go with Jonathan Bernier. Either way, there is no way you picked the Lightning's Ben Bishop. He is currently making his former team look bad for giving up on him while he carries the Lightning.

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5. St. Louis Blues Fighting For Top Spot

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Many thought that the St Louis Blues would be good, but who thought they would be neck and neck with the defending champions all season? Thanks to great defense and Alexander Steen's hot start, this will be a season to remember.

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4. Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones

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If I told you that Quick was going to be out for almost two months, you would think things would have gone bad for the Kings. Not so much. Ben Scrivens came in and seriously held down the fort, even leading the league in save percentage for a while. Then Martin Jones came in and did even better; he did so good that the Kings could afford to trade Scrivens to the Edmonton Oilers.

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3. Performance of Anaheim Ducks Goaltenders

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There will be a very goalie-orientated top of this list, just to let you know. The Anaheim Ducks have been unstoppable for about two months now thanks to Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Jonas Hiller and Frederik Anderson. The first two are household names, the other two aren't exactly thought of as top of the class. They have been in bringing the Ducks to the top of the NHL.

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2. Patrick Roy As A Head Coach

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The Colorado Avalanche were ranked as the second worst team in the Western Conference according to the Sports Illustrated; they were 23rd according to ESPN. They are currently third in the Central and a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, and Patrick Roy is to blame for this, as he has gotten the absolute best out of this team. Who would have thought after he threw the glass at Bruce Bordreau?

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1. Josh Harding

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Josh Harding has muscular sclerosis. Just let that set in -- he has a disease that causes blurred vision on top of what seems like an endless amount of symptoms. The fact that Harding is playing at the highest of levels is beyond explanation; just to give you some perspective: 18-7-3 1.66 GAA .933 save percentage. Those are mind blowing numbers for anyone. For Harding, it is the great story, inspiration and surprise of the season.