The end of November is officially upon us, which means that the 2021 NHL season is in full gear. Offering no shortage of storylines through the first month of the year, the Florida Panthers currently lead all teams with 31 points. This has put them alone in first place in their respective division. Along with this, in one of the shockers across the league, the Anaheim Ducks sit in fourth place in the Pacific Division, while the Minnesota wild sit all alone atop the suddenly struggling Central Division.
Anaheim enjoyed an eight games win streak behind a resurgence season from captain Ryan Getzlaf and a stellar performance in net from veteran goaltender John Gibson. With star center Connor McDavid and sniper Leon Draisaitl currently leading the points race once again, here we are going to take a look at five under-the-radar 2021 NHL campaigns.
Five Under the Radar 2021 NHL Campaigns
5. Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets
Beginning to take a leap forward in his sixth year in the league, Connor has been red hot for Winnipeg early on. The 24-year-old winger currently sits in a tie for sixth place on the NHL’s goals list with McDavid and Troy Terry. He also remains on pace to smash his career-high assists total of 35 and his career-high points total of 71 set back in 2019. The University of Michigan alumni already has 10 helpers in 18 games played.
Stepping up early on in the season when captain Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele were placed in the league’s Covid-19 protocols, he was named the NHL’s first star of the week. This was after racking up eight points in just three contests. With points in six of his last eight games, look for him to earn the nod to make his first all-star appearance this season.
4. Tyler Bertuzzi, Detroit Red Wings
Back after undergoing season-ending back surgery, Bertuzzi played in just nine games a year ago. Expected to be out longer, the 26-year-old has picked up right where he left off to begin his 2021 campaign. Currently, the former second-round pick trails only rookie winger Lucas Raymond on the Red Wings with nine goals and nine assists in 17 games.
This is while remaining the only unvaccinated player across the NHL, making him unable to play games in Canada. Skating on the team’s top line alongside Dylan Larkin and Raymond, he consistently finds a way to get under his opponent’s skin. Averaging over 19 minutes of ice time per night, the Sudbury Ontario native has helped Detroit to a fourth-place standing in the Atlantic Division.
3. Andrew Mangiapane, Calgary Flames
Mangiapane is making a solid case to submit his status as one of the game’s best goal scorers this season. The 25-year-old forward trails only Draisaitl with 15 markers in 20 games. Sitting in a tie with star Washington Capitals sniper Alex Ovechkin, he will already surpass his career-high goal total of 18 within the next few games.
Remaining deadly on the power play, the Barrie Colts alumn sits in a tie for fifth place with four totals with the extra man early on. This has helped the Flames rank as the number six overall unit. Sitting on Calgary’s second line with Blake Coleman and Mikael Backlund, the Bolton Ontario native has helped the team round out their top six with production on both of their top two lines.
2. Troy Terry, Anaheim Ducks
Terry has finally blossomed into the player that many Ducks fans thought he could be after selecting him in the fifth round in 2016 and through his historic run at the World Junior Tournament. The 24-year-old has helped lead his team to the first wild card spot in the Western Conference. Sitting in a tie for seventh place on the NHL’s points list, the Denver Colorado native started out his 2021 campaign with a 16 game point streak.
This is the second-highest mark in the league behind McDavid and the franchise’s longest streak since Correy Perry’s 19-game run in 2009. Already surpassing his career-high goal total of seven set a year ago, the United States National Development Program alumn already has 12 totals on the year.
Campbell was given the reigns to be the number one net minder in Toronto after former starter Frederik Anderson inked a deal with the Carolina Hurricanes in the offseason. Continuing his dominant stretch of play after a historic run to close out last season, the 29-year-old remains on a shortlist of early Vezina favorites. Leading the Maple Leafs to a second-place spot in the Atlantic Division, he has started 17 games for the team.
Racking up 11 victories, he is currently fourth in the NHL with a 1.68 goals-against average while also racking up a .943 save percentage. This is while facing the fifth most shots against across the league. Destined to continue to be the lead option in net when veteran goaltender Petr Mrazek returns from his groin injury, the former first-round pick could be pricing himself out of Toronto with unrestricted free agent status looming at the season’s end.