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AHL Top Scorers

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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Dakkster's avatar

Lots and lots of people knew about Schultz’s offensive ability. The question was his defense. But I guess you don’t follow NCAA or read prospect scouting reports.

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 12/18/12 at 02:18 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Dakkster feels the need to attack despite the fact that all facts are squarely against him.

I know Justin Schultz showed he was a good offensive defenceman in the NCAA.  Everyone who follows hockey knows this.  He scored 44 points in 37 games in his final NCAA season.  He scored 47 points in 41 games the year before that.  Its impressive.  Its a 1.17 point per game scoring rate in the NCAA.

When he jumps to the AHL level everyone expects his scoring rate will drop.  After all it is a higher level of hockey.  It hasn’t.  He has scored 38 points in 26 games so far.  This is 1.46 points per game.  Nobody expected that.

Dakkster’s point is similar to his condemning me if I showed surprise that Erik Karlsson was leading the NHL in scoring at this point in December.  Sure I know he is a good offensive defenceman, but I have no expectation that he will lead the league in scoring.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/18/12 at 05:30 PM ET

Dakkster's avatar

I’m not surprised that you just point to a simple point per game pace and then say “but oh, it will drop in a better league”. I’m talking about actual scouting, looking at his skills, how he acts out on the ice and how that might translate to the NHL. But you’ve proven time and time again that you don’t actually watch hockey, you just read hockey stats.

So again, lots of people are NOT surprised by Schultz’s production. Yes, it’s inflated because of RNH, Eberle and Hall because of the lockout circumstances, but it would still be high even if they weren’t on the Barons right now.

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 12/19/12 at 01:37 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Again you miss the point.

No scout predicted Schultz would lead the AHL in scoring as a rookie with all the NHL-level talent in it.  They did suggest he would score.  He would likely be an All Star but that is a world away from being the top scorer in the league.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 12/19/12 at 02:14 AM ET

Dakkster's avatar

There is a huge difference between “I predict that this guy will lead league X in scoring” and “I am not surprised that this guy is scoring a ton”. Reading comprehension much?

Posted by Dakkster from Southern Sweden on 12/20/12 at 06:24 AM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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