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4 players off to strong starts in their new cities

Candice Ward / USA TODAY Sports

It happens in the NHL every month: A player gets traded to a new team in a different city that he's - usually - never played in before.

Sometimes, it's a perfect fit; other times, not so much.

In honor of former Shark and current Maple Leaf Patrick Marleau's return to San Jose, we take a quick look at four players experiencing stellar starts to the season in newfound homes.

Mike Smith, Calgary Flames

The much-maligned Smith joined the Flames in the offseason to very little fanfare. But, after a well-rounded start, supporters in Cow Town are quickly changing their tune.

That's mostly because Smith has posted solid numbers, registering a 2.31 goals-against average and .931 save percentage to go along with a 6-5-0 record. But also because he has been a workhorse, starting in 11 of the Flames' first 12 contests.

Calgary may be waiting to hit its stride, but Smith is already in fine midseason form.

Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues

One of the more overlooked deals of this past offseason was Schenn's move to the Blues from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Jori Lehtera and draft picks.

It was a steep price for Blues GM Doug Armstrong to pay for a guy who has never topped the 26-goal plateau.

However, Schenn is already silencing his critics, and his hot start in his new town - 10 points, plus-7 rating - is a big reason why the Blues find themselves at the top of the NHL's standings.

Patrick Marleau, Toronto Maple Leafs

Marleau came out of the gates blazing, tallying three goals and two assists across his first five games in blue and white. Not bad for a 38-year-old who was supposed to have his best campaigns behind him.

That may still be true, as there's plenty of games this season and years on his contract left to be played. But at this point, on the heels of his strong start, Marleau and his three-year, $18.75-million contract are proving to be steals.

James Neal, Vegas Golden Knights

From steal to real deal, Neal has been exactly that for the upstart Knights, as the Nashville castoff is quickly proving Predators GM David Poile should have considered hanging on to the forward a little bit longer.

In addition to being Vegas' off-ice leader, Neal is posting solid offensive numbers, leading the team in goals (7) and points (10) across his first 10 games on the Strip.

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)

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