Over the past couple of weeks, there’s been plenty of discussion about both Antti Niemi’s and back up goalie Alex Stalock’s play in net, and how Brent Burns’ absence from the San Jose Sharks’ lineup was a detriment in the Sharks’ playing ability. However, I’m not here to talk about them.
Out of all the players I’ve noticed the most as I watched the Sharks play in their last ten games, I’ve found one particular player to stand out more than the others. Want to take a guess? It’s not Hertl. Nor Vlasic. Okay, I’ll give it to you. It’s Tommy Wingels. That’s right. I’ll say it again: Tommy Wingels.
During the time Burns spent rehabbing an injury suffered earlier in the season, the usual third-liner proved to be an exceptionally versatile player quickly able to mesh in with Joe Thornton and Tomas Hertl on the top line to replace one of the Sharks’ big guns. Of course, that’s referring to Brent Burns.
Drafted by San Jose in the 2008 NHL Draft, the young 25-year-old forward has been one of the more important assets to the Sharks organization and has shown himself to be a hard working player who’s not afraid to go for the puck and drive the net.
His stats speak for themselves. After last night’s 5-1 domination of the Tampa Bay Lightning, in which he scored two goals in his first career multi-goal effort, and despite having a disallowed game winner against Buffalo and assist on a game winner against Winnipeg he has, already, a career-high seven goals and nine assists with 16 points in his last 22 games.
That’s impressive, is it not?
After the rout against Tampa, Thornton had this to say about Tommy Wingels:
Tommy, you can just tell, he’s playing with so much confidence right now. That line looked dangerous all night long. Good for Tommy to keep it going.
(Quote credit to csncalifornia.com)
Some of it may be luck. Some of it’s hard work, but either way you look at it Tommy Wingels is quite literally flying under the radar (pun intended) for now.
That is why — so far — in my eyes, he’s an unsung hero for the San Jose Sharks.
Feel free to let me know what you think.