The new year is a strange thing in the world of the NHL. Though just a day on the calendar, Jan. 1, often serves as a fresh outlook for certain teams and players. Conversely, it's also a point where some hot performers suddenly cool off. It's the virtual midway point of this hockey season, so let's take a look back at eight of the first half's most surprising performers and see which ones seem likeliest to sustain their pace:
Craig Conroy, F, Kings: He thrived early in the season on a line with Pavol Demitra and Alexander Frolov, but cooled somewhat during a 13-game streak without a goal from Nov. 19-Dec. 16. Conroy has goals in four straight games since, however, and so long as he maintains his level of chemistry with his linemates, he should remain a productive fantasy starter. A 32-goal, 78-point, plus-39 pace seems unrealistic, but 25 goals, 65 points and a plus 25 should be well within his reach, making him a solid back-of-your-lineup type.
Olli Jokinen, F, Panthers: A 36-goal, 65-point performer three years ago, Jokinen has settled in nicely in his role as the team's offensive leader this season. He's taking more shots, averaging 3.7 per game, and is on track for 35 goals and 82 points. Despite a lack of depth in the Florida offense, Jokinen's talent should help him get to those numbers, though he won't be anything special in the plus/minus department.