The National Hockey League is approaching the 1/3 mark of the 2011-2012 season. Here is a quick look at how NHL players of Aboriginal descent are performing so far this season. All the players’ stats below were recorded on December 5.

Aaron Asham – Pittsburgh Penguins, RW
Hometown: Portage La Prarie, Manitoba
GP    G    A    Pts    +/-    PIM
27    2    6    8    -6    33

Asham has bounced back well from a concussion that effectively ended his 2010-2011 season. He remains a fixture in the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup in his traditional role as tough guy while remaining on pace for his customary 20-30 points. The sole black mark on Asham’s year is his well publicized on-ice showboating following a fight with Washington Capitals’ Jay Beagle, during which Asham knocked Beagle unconscious with two punches. Beagle has yet to return to action due to head injuries suffered in that fight.

Rene Bourque – Calgary Flames, LW
Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta
GP    G    A    Pts    +/-    PIM
26    8    3    11    -2    14

Is it possible that Rene Bourque has peaked at the tender age of 29? After a career year in 2009-2010, when Bourque potted 27 goals and 58 points, it has been a steady downward slide for Jarome Iginla’s usual linemate. Bourque remains on pace for 20+ goals this season, but his uninspired play has made him the subject of constant trade rumours, and with the Flames falling back from the rest of pack in the Western Conference, it would not be a surprise to see Bourque moved before the NHL trade deadline.

Kyle Chipchura – Phoenix Coyotes, C
Hometown: Westlock, Alberta
GP    G    A    Pts    +/-    PIM
14    0    3    3    -2    17

The former 1st round pick of the Montreal Canadiens and captain of Team Canada’s entry in the 2006 World Junior Hockey Championship has struggled to find his place in the NHL. Now with the Coyotes, his third NHL team, Chipchura has begun to adapt to his role as a penalty killer and two-way centre, playing on the third or fourth line. The 25-year-old spent much of October with the minor league Portland Pirates of the AHL, but has been a regular in the Coyotes lineup since his recall in early November. Chipchura is still looking to score his first NHL goal since the 2009-2010 season.

Vernon Fiddler – Dallas Stars, C
Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta
GP    G    A    Pts    +/-    PIM
26    3    8    11    0    14

Few would expect that a line of Vernon Fiddler, Eric Nystrom and Radim Vrbata would represent much of an offensive threat. But during the month of November, the grinders led the way for the resurgent Dallas Stars, combining for 22 points. While few expect the trio to maintain such a relatively torrid pace, the possibility exists this season for 31-year-old Fiddler to put up career numbers and make a major contribution as the Stars seek to return to the NHL playoffs for the first time since 2008.

Cody McCormick – Buffalo Sabres, RW
Band/Nation: Chippewa, Mohawk
Hometown: London, Ontario
GP    G    A    Pts    +/-    PIM
17    0    2    2    -3    24

Few players understand the hard work required to stay in the NHL as well as Cody McCormick. After three successive seasons playing under one-year contacts, McCormick was finally inked to a multi-year deal by the Buffalo Sabres this past summer. However, at press time McCormick remains sidelined with a concussion he suffered in a game versus Montreal on November 14. Given some of the physical battles the Sabres have been involved in of late, the team is eager to get the feisty McCormick back in the lineup.

Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens, G
Ulkatcho First Nation
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
GP    W    L    OTL    SO    GAA    Save %
23    10    8    5    2    2.23    .919

After a slow start to the season, picking up just one win in his first seven appearances, Price has returned to form and has been one of the few bright spots on a Canadiens squad that has struggled all year. Price’s recent outstanding play has allowed the Habs to steal points in games where they have otherwise been badly outplayed. However, barring a major turnaround on the ice by the Canadiens, Price is unlikely to hit the 40-win mark this season.

Sheldon Souray – Dallas Stars, D
Hometown: Elk Point, Alberta
GP    G    A    Pts    +/-    PIM
26    4    9    13    8    37

The prodigal son returns. After an injury shortened 2009-2010 season followed by a public battle with the Edmonton Oilers that led to his exile in the AHL for the entire 2010-2011 season, Sheldon Souray is back. And his performance is a big reason why the Dallas Stars are one of the surprise teams in the NHL this season. Souray’s performance and leadership were recently rewarded when the Stars designated him as an alternate captain following an injury to Stars’ captain Brenden Morrow.

Jordin Tootoo – Nashville Predators, RW
Hometown: Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
GP    G    A    Pts    +/-    PIM
26    3    6    9    -1    45

After three seasons plagued by injury and personal problems, Jordin Tootoo appears to have gotten his NHL career on track. Tootoo has played every game this season for the Nashville Predators, however he did receive a two-game suspension for his controversial hit on Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller in early December. Tootoo is on pace for a 30-point season, a personal best, and has become one of the premier agitators in the NHL, successfully getting under the skin of opponents around the league and becoming a rallying point for his teammates.