You're not the only one surprised by Mark Letestu's production. He is too.
Through the first seven games of this season, Letestu leads all rookies in scoring with seven points (four goals, three assists). Considering Letestu never did better than 0.87 points per game per season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, his ability to contribute a point per game at the NHL level has been surprising to just about everyone.
Letestu recently talked about his scoring ability, his versatility and driving across Pennsylvania.
Are you surprised by your production so far?
"Yeah, absolutely. Last year in 10 games, I just had the one goal. I think you told me I'd be close to a point per game, I'd definitely take it. I've surprised myself a litle bit. As games go one here, starting to see it's not an accident. Just keep doing the right things and bounces are going my way."
"I think a lot of times, goal scoring is that way. Just trying to be in the right place, right time. Getting the right break. I don't know if it was Kris (Letang) or Paul (Martin) who took the shot, but it hit (Flyers defenseman) Matt Carle in the face and the puck just drops there. Just a break for me and just being in the right spots."
You have skated on the second and fourth lines mostly. How key is it to fill different roles to stay at the NHL level?
"With the guys in this room - I think there's like nine centers listed on the roster or something ridiculous - versatility is key. If you can play a bunch of different roles, it keeps you in the lineup longer. Dan (Bylsma) looks down the list and sees which guys can fill which roles. Right now, I'm slated on the fourth line but he's been moving me around quite a bit. I never really feel I'm on any particular line."
Are faceoffs part of that versatility?
"Yeah, I think it's another habit or characteristic which has to be good for me. Especially being a right-handed center. Just me and Craig (Adams) are the only righties. I think to be counted on late in games in the other dot would be something big."
How difficult is it to start a game on the fourth line then get bumped to the second line with a player like Evgeni Malkin?
"Obviously I've never had a chance to play with somebody like that ever. He's a special player. But you just try to play the same game you play on the fourth line. I think when you try to do too much or try to 'keep up' so to speak, you kind of get yourself into trouble. "
You drove back and forth between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre several times last season.
"I hope I don't have to make it again. I didn't leave anything in storage there. I love Wilkes-Barre. I loved my time there but I'm ready to be a big Penguin and I'm ready to be here for a long time. It's a bad drive, but it's shorter on the way up."
(Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)