by PuckStopsHere on 12/18/12 at 01:27 AM ET
When I last looked the AHL scoring race a month ago, rookie defenceman Justin Schultz of the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oiler farm affiliate) had taken control of the AHL scoring race. He remains on top with 38 points but has been caught by teammate Jordan Eberle. The two of them are nine points ahead of any other player in the league.
Oklahoma City is an interesting team this year because they have more proven NHL players than any other team in the league. Alongside Eberle is Taylor Hall, who was late joining the team and hence has eight fewer games played, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who is currently away at the Canadian World Junior Team training camp and also has seven fewer games played.
Oklahoma City may have big name frontline talent but they are not the best AHL team. Currently they sit in fifth place in their conference with a 13-13 record with four regulation tie points. They are among the league leaders in goals for and also goals against.
It probably is no surprise that Jordan Eberle is tied for the AHL scoring lead. He scored 76 points at the NHL level last year. Players of that calibre do not play in the AHL under normal circumstances. The surprise is Justin Schultz. Not only is he a defenceman, he is also a rookie at the AHL level. He last played in the NCAA and was not the top scorer on his team. Who would have expected him to score at this rate when he jumped to a higher level of play?
I think that Eberle taking over the scoring lead in the league is quite likely if the NHL season does not begin. He is a far more proven scorer, but I continue to be amazed with how well Schultz is playing.
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