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Gunnar Odinsson and Why He Should Win the S79 Dustin Funk Trophy


fromtheinside
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Gunnar Odinsson and Why He Should Win the S79 Dustin Funk Trophy

written by fromtheinside

 

For those of you who don't know, Gunnar Odinsson is a right winger for the first place Malmo Nighthawks of the VHL. He is ran by none other than legendary community member @BOOM . At the time of writing this article, Odinsson currently sits at the very top of the leaderboard in numerous statistical categories including goals, points, plus-minus, game winning goals, and more. The Norwegian winger has amassed 45 goals and 57 assists to already eclipse the 100 point plateau on the season. He is currently a force that you cannot stop, but can only hope to temporarily contain. The synergy he has found with his new teammates in Malmo this season is truly something special as it seems General Manager @hylands has found lightning in a bottle so to speak. But how did Odinsson get here?

 

Well it has been a long and winding road thus far throughout the winger's career. So far it's been a journey with a number of peaks and valleys along the way. Many readers may not know that Odinsson originally started off his VHL career as a highly touted offensive defenseman. He stormed onto the scene in Season 75 in the VHLM with the San Diego Marlins. He was part of Founder's Cup caliber team there and he enjoyed quite a nice season that got himself noticed by a ton of VHL teams. Come draft day, Odinsson was taken 11th overall in the Season 76 VHL Entry Draft by the Helsinki Titans. In a draft filled with incredible talent, the Titans got a slam dunk pick with pick eleven.  To the surprise of many, halfway through his rookie campaign, Odinsson was sent to the Toronto Legion in exchange for Toronto's S77 1st round pick (which ended up being Aurelien Moreau).  This move seemed like a huge win for Toronto, as they had just locked down their fourth major up-and-coming defenseman. 

 

Toronto's defensive core going forward would have been Jolly Greene Giant, Kristof Welch, Scotty Kaberle, and the newly acquired Gunnar Odinsson. Had this timeline played out, I often wonder how scary the Legion could have been. But, as many know, things change in the blink of an eye in Toronto. In Season 77,  Odinsson converted into a winger, partially to help balance out the power in the Legion's roster. The immediate returns on this decision actually played out fairly well. Gunnar broke the 30 goal plateau and finished with over 70 points and the young and up-and-coming Legion got a taste of playoff action, albeit only for one round. However, things quickly went south in Toronto as Season 78 could only be summed up as a disappointing campaign both for Odinsson and the Legion. After constant trades and line juggling, Toronto lost all form of cohesion and chemistry. This eventually led to Odinsson being dealt to Calgary for Guy Lambert and a S80 2nd round pick. 

 

Odinsson ended up with just 43 points between Calgary and Toronto last season. Season 78 was unquestionably a step in the wrong direction for Gunnar, but the bright side was he was a free agent to start Season 79 and he was free to choose where his path would continue going forward. Fast-forward back to present day and he clearly made a great choice. Odinsson is part of a hungry core of players in Malmo that look to be lethal come playoff time. Odinsson has already more than doubled his point total from last year. He is currently playing at a 2 points per game pace, and should he keep it up, he would even double his best season back in Season 77 in Toronto. He has truly kicked his game into a whole new gear this season and he could be the recipient of a number of awards come the offseason. To me, I don't see how he isn't a shoe-in for the Dustin Funk Trophy which is awarded to the league's most improved player. Surely, there are a number of great candidates but you will be hard pressed to find one the caliber of Odinsson!

 

 

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Toronto acquired Odinsson knowing he wanted to switch to forward. I often wonder how things could have gone for Toronto had we actually played like the second highest TPA team in both forward and defense categories instead of missing the playoffs altogether. It'll always be a stain on my opinion of STHS. 

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Funny, I was going to write an article on why Pistil Stamen should win (38 total points last year, 81 at this moment. Stamen will likely end with almost 300% more points than he had last season ). I planned on using some fuzzy math to make it look closer than it really is between Stamen and Odinsson (because Odinsson will also likely end up with close to 3x more points than last season and obviously a higher point total). 

But my main point was going to be that Odinsson is going to win every other award so might as well give one to someone else. I still believe this.

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