The new minute men
Tampa Bay's Paul Ranger is sixth overall in the league for ice time per game. Boston's Andrew Ference is 24th.
Not bad, really, considering those two teams are doing quite well and these are guys regarded as depth defenders.
A few other unheralded players getting pretty big minutes so far this season (in some cases justified, some not):
Andy Greene, NJ: 22:13, 2:00SH, 3:40PP
Dan Girardi, NYR: 21:03, 3:11SH, 2:36PP
Greg Zanon, Nas: 20:41, 4:39SH
Tobias Enstrom, Atl: 20:26, 5:29PP
Braydon Coburn, Phi: 19:30, 1:48PP
Steve Wagner, StL: 18:57, 2:54SH, 2:12PP
Jan Hejda, Cmb: 18:37, 4:40SH
Kent Huskins, Ana: 18:32
Bruno Gervais, NYI: 18:09, 3:26SH, 2:52PP
Andrei Zyuzin, Chi: 18:08, 4:37PP
Matt Jones, Phx: 18:05, 2:15SH
Mike Richards, Phi: 20:17, 2:54SH, 3:42PP
Richard Zednik, Fla: 19:54, 4:44PP
Trent Hunter, NYI: 18:26, 3:27SH, 3:07PP
R.J. Umberger, Phi: 17:27, 3:03SH
Valtteri Filppula, Det: 16:09, 2:17SH
Eric Perrin, Atl: 16:00, 2:17SH
David Krejci, Bos: 15:43
Jay McClement, StL: 15:37, 2:56SH
Patrick O'Sullivan, LA: 15:21, 3:37SH
Joe Motzko, Was: 15:14, 4:19PP
Wagner, Jones, McClement and Motzko I've heard virtually nothing about this season, despite the fact they're playing reasonably significant roles so far. Jones has had the quietest 70~ game NHL career to date, while McClement's 36 points last season went completely unnoticed outside of St. Louis.
Wagner, well, he's a pleasant rookie surprise, one of the few real unknowns to make the league this season (he was undrafted coming out of the NCAA).
The Capitals sent Motzko down after he picked up some pretty major minutes on the power play and with Alex Ovechkin in three games.
Anyone know why Zyuzin is quarterbacking the Blackhawks' power play? Anaheim needs Mathieu Schneider back: Huskins was strictly a 10-minute guy during the postseason last year. Filppula's done zilch in big minutes with the Red Wings.
Coburn, Greene, Girardi, Gervais: Some pretty good young talent on the blue line in the Atlantic Division. And I didn't even mention Marc Staal, who has acquitted himself well so far.
How long before O'Sullivan breaks out in L.A.?
Richards is getting stud minutes at age 22. He's the captain there when Jason Smith moves on.