The 5 Most Surprising Breakthroughs of 2010-2011

In BAL, PWH, SFS, Special Features, STL on May 28, 2011 at 10:46 am

Every year, players rise, players fall. Here are five who unexpectedly broke through in the 2010-2011 regular season, shattered their own career numbers, or otherwise made a difference.

5. RW Tyler Kennedy, Saint Louis Blues

Cast as a roleplayer, Kennedy found himself playing with some of Saint Louis excellent group of centres and delivered with a rock-solid 24 goals. Of those, 5 were game-winners.

4. RW Alexandre Burrows, Baltimore Crab

Burrows’ stock has been rising every season, but nobody saw his 49-goal 2010-2011 performance coming. The agitator led the Crab in scoring on a team that also features names like Evgeni Malkin, Daniel Sedin, and Anze Kopitar. Burrows also led the team in plus-minus and scored 8 shorthanded goals.

3. D Lubomir Visnovsky, Portland Winterhawks

Visnovsky is an excellent offensive defenseman – he’s shown it before and has even cracked the 70-point barrier a couple of times. But he added goal-scoring to his resume in 2010-2011, exploding in the second half to finish with 27 goals – more than any other defenseman in the league.

2. LW Wojtek Wolski, Oregon Rugrats

When you play with Marian Gaborik, you’d better believe you’re going to get a few assists. But even with Gaborik, Wolski’s 96-point season is a shocker. He scored 36 goals, shattering his own personal best, and added a whopping 60 assists.

1. LW Jussi Jokinen, Saint Louis Blues

Jokinen has always been a classic tweener – good for a few points  but not really top-six material. He did have a 75-point season two years ago. But last season Jokinen only managed 10 – and one measly goal! – in 43 contests.

So, what on earth happened this year? Jokinen keyed the Blues offense with an astounding 101 points and 53 goals to finish 8th in overall scoring, right alongside some of the league’s very best players. Easily the surprise story of the season – and a big reason the Blues are in the playoffs.

Honorable Mentions: Two players stand out as having breakthrough years on struggling clubs: blueliner Tobias Enstrom, whose 61 points led Altoona in scoring, and Chris Stewart, who potted 37 goals for Delta where the most any teammate could muster was 20.


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