NHLDownload App

5 NHLers Who've Come from out of Nowhere, to Somewhere

Stan FischlerContributor ISeptember 25, 2016

5 NHLers Who've Come from out of Nowhere, to Somewhere

1 of 6

    As everyone who watches hockey knows, there's such a thing as a rollercoaster season and for some stick-handlers there's a roller coaster career.

    One never can predict from one campaign to another who's going to be a star and who's going to flop.

    Here's The Maven's list of five big-leaguers who once lived in the NHL's community called Nowheresville and have since gained a mortgage on center stage.

5. Mike Smith

2 of 6

    So low on the Lightning totem pole that GM Steve Yzerman dumped him altogether.

    Smitty was signed as a free agent by Don Maloney and has since kept the Coyotes in the playoff hunt. 

    The Kingston, Ontario native already has set a personal win record and has been Phoenix's most important weapon during the homestretch.

4. Joffrey Lupul

3 of 6

    Toronto's Brian Burke wasn't sure what he got after dealing Francois Beauchemin to Anaheim for Lupul in February 2011.

    Playing alongside Phil Kessel, Lupul has set a career high in points and has been the brightest light in an otherwise typically disappointing Leafs campaign.

3. Brian Elliott

4 of 6

    A total bust in Ottawa, this unusual goalie not experienced a turnabout, but a metamorphosis into super stardom.

    Originally slated to be a St.Louis backup, Elliott climbed to the top of the NHL in goals against average and save percentage and sparked the Blues to a dandy season in the Western Conference.

2. David Clarkson

5 of 6

    Under Jacques Lemaire's stewardship, the Toronto native had been a grunt forward who managed a dozen goals over 82 games last season.

    This year,  playing for his former junior coach in Kitchener, Peter DeBoer — Clarkson has become almost as sharp a shooter as Ilya Kovalchuk.

    The Devils would never be playoff contenders without Dauntless Dave.

1. James Neal

6 of 6

    Moving from Dallas to Pittsburgh has been the difference between being an understudy and a star.

    With Sidney Crosby out for most of the year, Neal has emerged as a chief reason why the Penguins have been an elite team all season. 

    Neal already has set career highs in goals (30) and assists (32).

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices