For a number of NHL players who signed contracts during September training camp, the opening half-month of the 2013-14 season has been full of unexpected production and playing time.
A startling portion of the outcast free agents who earned full-time contracts late in the offseason are truly lighting up the box scores so far this year.
From Mason Raymond's point-per-game pace in Toronto to Damien Brunner's New Jersey-leading point total to Ron Hainsey's 20-minute nightly workload with Carolina, September signings are exceeding expectations across the league.
Take a glimpse below at some of the top-performing late summer signings around the NHL:
|F Mason Raymond||Maple Leafs||Sept. 23||4||4||8|
|F Brad Boyes||Panthers||Sept. 28||4||2||6|
|F Damien Brunner||Devils||Sept. 24||3||2||5|
|D Ron Hainsey||Hurricanes||Sept. 12||2||0||2|
|F Chuck Kobasew||Penguins||Oct. 2||2||0||2|
|F Radek Dvorak||Hurricanes||Oct. 3||2||0||2|
|F Brendan Morrow||Blues||Sept. 23||1||1||2|
|D Tom Gilbert||Panthers||Sept. 29||0||2||2|
|G Tim Thomas||Panthers||Sept. 26||1-3-0||.880||4.31|
Note: Only players who played for a different team in 2012-13 are included.
It's frankly astonishing that, after a late offseason of such unusual activity, so many training camp signings are producing with regularity.
All nine of the above players, with the obvious exception of Thomas, are on pace for campaigns of 20 or more points. By comparison, only one Sept. 2011 signing (Kyle Wellwood) and four Sept/Oct. 2010 signings (Jeff Halpern, Matt Hendricks, Ruslan Fedotenko and Brendan Morrison) accomplished that milestone in the directly following season.
Raymond's eight tallies trail only Joffrey Lupul's nine for the team lead on the 6-2-0 Toronto Maple Leafs. He's currently tied for 17th in the league in points, ahead of such stars as Bobby Ryan, Zach Parise, Patrick Kane and Thomas Vanek.
Brunner is tied with Marek Zidlicky at the top of the Devils' scoring leaderboard, proving so far to be one of the only reliable producers on the still-winless team.
Florida's quartet of late signings—Boyes, Gilbert, Thomas and Ryan Whitney—all earned deals after impressing on tryout contracts during the preseason. The foursome have accounted for 16.7 percent of the Panthers' points and 38.9 percent of the Panthers' saves to date.
Dvorak scored in both of Carolina's two season-opening games, all within a week of his official contract inking just two days before opening night. Hainsey, meanwhile, has found the back of the net in the Hurricanes' past two contests after a 122-game goal drought.
As the season progresses this autumn, the impact of the summer's final movers should remain an intriguing storyline to follow.
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