While William Karlsson was clearly the biggest surprise of the line, both the other two guys are players clearly showing they belong among the leagues elite and have put together a great season thus far. Reilly Smith had a great year finishing 4th in team scoring with 60 points but he did so only playing 67 games. Prorated you are looking at a player who would have had 73 points this year. Unlike Karlsson, Reilly has had some success in the past including two seasons where he broke 20 goals and he also hit at least 50 points. Reilly was a player who has done well but was more of a salary dump by the Panthers who felt they had loads of other young players set to get big pay days and needed the room. Good for a team with a need for talent and lots of cap space.
Last one from the top line is my favourite player of the three and arguably maybe even the most talented. Originally Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, he was a player who played very well in the Q but always was deemed too small. However, he managed to score very well in the AHL as well but despite some excellent production (295 games, 254 points) he would only see 49 NHL contests between the Jackets and Lightning over three seasons. Caught deep in the depth chart meant he was expendable and the Panthers decided to give him a shot. A few injuries to the Panthers roster gave him some more ice time and he delivered scoring 30 goals with the Panthers last season. Seeing there was a looming salary cap issue (perhaps Luongo's crazy contract has lead to these issues) they didn't protect him and Vegas said thank you very much!
So time will when this Cinderella story will end and regardless of it's outcome I know this will be among one of the greatest stories in modern NHL history and we can certainly say the top line had much to do with the success Vegas has achieved.
What are your thoughts? Have you had a few of the Vegas players in your collection without realizing it? When do you think this season will end for them?