best shooter 2020
When discussing the best players to wear each jersey number, the comparison is usually all-time. Today, we try to determine which player was the best to wear each jersey number based on the 2020-21 season only. This means that players who usually dominate the league like Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Seguin and Jonathan Toews who would be locks, may be missing due to injury.
The rules for this experiment are simple. Based on the 2020-21 regular season, which player performed the best compared to others who wore the same jersey number. Each player must have played in one game to qualify. Here are the top players to wear each jersey number this season.
Swayman played 10 games in the NHL this season with Boston. He went 7-3 with a .945 save percentage (SV%) and two shutouts. The Bruins goalie helped them secure a playoff spot and showed Boston fans they have a solid successor to Tuukka Rask when he decides to hang them up. Although he only played 10 games, he was a star and deserving of his spot on the list.
Runner-up: Casey DeSmith, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Marcus Hogberg
Leddy continues to be a force on the blueline for the Islanders. The 30-year-old played in every game for New York this season, averaging 21:35 TOI. He was also a force offensively, registering 31 points in 56 games. A player who can contribute at even strength, powerplay and on the penalty kill, Leddy leads that Islanders group which is always in the conversation for the strongest defensive unit in the NHL.Nick Leddy, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Zach Whitecloud, Duncan Keith, Dylan DeMelo
Jones brought the offense from the blue line this season, racking up 28 points in 56 games. He was a bright spot in an overall disappointing season for Columbus, averaging 25:14 of ice time. Despite his team¨s poor, Jones is still worthy of being named the best #3 in the NHL this season.
Runner-up: Justin Holl, Adam Pelech, Keith Yandle
In the battle for #4, Pionk squeaks out a win over Miro Heiskanen. Pionk played a shutdown role on the Jets this season while racking up 32 points. His play allowed Winnipeg to clinch the third seed in the North Division this season. He contributed on the powerplay with 12 points and was second on the team in goals by the defenseman this season. Despite not being talked about much, Pionk had a great season and deserved his spot on the list.
Runner-up: Heiskanen, Brenden Dillon, Rasmus Andersson
The case for Giordano is interesting because if not for an injury, this spot would go to Aaron Ekblad. Either way, Giordano should be recognized for the season he had on a Flames team that was not very good. He put up 26 points, including nine goals this season. The Flames captain played in every situation on the ice averaging 22:57 a game. The 37-year-old continues to show age is just a number and that he can shut down anyone in the league.
Runner-up: Ekblad, Andrej Sekera, Connor Murphy
The Vancouver Canucks sniper put up 23 goals and 49 points on a team that had trouble finding the back of the net. He drove the offense most nights, leading the team with 141 shots on goal. Despite the Canucks awful powerplay, he led the team with 8 powerplay goals and ranked third in points with 14. He was missing his centremen for most of the season but still managed to produce this year.Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Shea Weber, Ryan Pulock, Adam Larsson
Toews had an incredible season playing mostly alongside Cale Makar on a Colorado team that won the Presidents¨ Trophy. He put up a career-high 31 points, including nine goals. His 24:46 TOI led the team, and was a plus-29 was one of the tops in the league. Toews took a major step forward this season and played like one of the best defensemen in the league.
Runner-up: Alex Pietrangelo, Brady Tkachuk, Jordan Eberle
For the first time since he came into the league, Alex Ovechkin was not the best player to wear No. 8. That honor goes to Colorado¨s Makar. He put up 44 points in 44 games and averaged 24:19 TOI. Yes, he was injured for a part of the season, but his play throughout surpasses everyone else who wore eight this year. Makar is an incredible player and drives a blueline in Colorado, one of the strongest in the NHL.
Runner-up: Ovechkin, Zach Werenski, Drew Doughty
Kane was one of the few bright spots on the ice for the Sharks this year. Yes, he had some off-ice issues, but he was still productive, leading the Sharks in goals, assists and points. This was his seventh 20-goal season and he tied a career-high with 27 assists. Kane is still a good player despite the negative media attention and is deserving of the number nine slot.
Runner-up: Ivan Provorov, Joshua Norris, J.T. Miller
Panarin continues to produce in New York. The playmaker had 41 assists and 59 points this season despite only playing in 42 games. Just like Makar, his play was so outstanding that he surpassed everyone else with the same number despite missing time with an injury. He is a superstar and deserves to be recognized for his fantastic season.Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Brayden Schenn, Andres Bjork, Nicolas Roy
Kopitar has been a model of consistency since entering the league. He just finished his eighth consecutive season in which he records 50 points or more and hit the 1,000 mark for his career. Kopitar is still an elite shutdown center playing on an LA team that took a step back this season. Kopitar is headed for the Hall of Fame and proved this season why he is still in the conversation as one of the best in the game.
Runner-up: Jonathan Huberdeau, Zach Hyman, Mikael Backlund
The former second-rounder has found a home playing with Patrick Kane in the NHL and just finished up a season that saw him finish with 56 points in 54 games. DeBrincat is blossoming into a star and could be the successor to Kane in the windy season. He led the team with 32 goals and was a bright spot for Chicago this season.
Runner-up: Patrick Marleau, Craig Smith, Josh Bailey
Lucky number 13 goes to the man who led Long Island in points this year, Barzal. Since coming into the league, he has been an offensive threat and continued that trend this year with 45 points in 55 games. He is strong in his own end, has great offensive awareness and is buying into Barry Trotz¨s defense-first gameplan. Barzal is fun to watch and should help the Islanders achieve a lot of success in the future.
Runner-up: Johnny Gaudreau, Charlie Coyle, Alexis Lafreniere
Eriksson Ek had an underrated season with Minnesota this year. He scored 19 goals and had 30 points on a Wild team where all the focus was on Krill Kaprizov. He contributed to the penalty kill and was just a solid player throughout the season. Eriksson Ek may not have put up big numbers, but his play was extremely impressive this season.
Runner-up: Sean Couturier, Nick Suzuki, Adam Henrique
Clutterbuck is the ideal fourth liner that a team needs to be successful. He is not afraid to throw hits, is defensively reliable and can chip in offensively from time to time. He contributes to the penalty kill and had a very underrated season. Yes, he only had 11 points, but he does his job and is a big part of that Islanders team.Cal Clutterbuck, New York Islanders (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Alexander Kerfoot, Ryan Getzlaf
Barkov has developed into a premier two-way defender in the league. His 26 goals led the Panthers this year, and 58 points were second on the team. He is also nominated for the Selke this season and based on performance, should win the award. He puts up points, is a killer in the faceoff dot and can play physical hockey. Barkov is the perfect package and a player that every team would love to have.
Runner-up: Mitch Marner, Joe Pavelski, Jason Zucker
Hronek led the Detroit Red Wings this year with 26 points in 56 games. He was also the leader in ice time with 23:23 and powerplay points with 11. There was not much attention on Hronek due to his team¨s poor season, but this is a player who really stepped up this season. He continues to develop and this year did take a step forward. A player many should be keeping an eye on as he has the toolset to be a great defenseman in the NHL.
Runner-up: Bryan Rust, Josh Anderson, Tyson Jost
St┨tzle came into the league this year as a 19-year-old and did not look out of place. He put up 29 points in 53 games and was a highlight-reel machine. This kid is extremely good and may be the next great German to play in the NHL. He did not get a lot of attention due to playing for Ottawa, but he is special and will light the league up in the next few seasons.
Runner-up: Ondrej Palat, Cedric Paquette, Jordan Greenway
Hamilton finished the season with 42 points in 55 games. He is the rock of the Carolina blue line and continues to show he can play at a Norris Trophy level year after year. Hamilton can deliver on the powerplay, kill off penalties and rarely makes mistakes in his own end. A great player and someone who is going to get a big raise this offseason through free agency.
Runner-up: Nicklas Backstrom, Jared McCann, Matthew Tkachuk
Aho has become an elite sniper in the NHL. He put up 24 goals and 57 points to help Carolina clinch the division. Carolina is a good offensive team and Aho is their leader. He is dangerous every time he has the puck on his stick and has the ability to find teammates wherever they are on the ice. Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Chris Kreider, Ryan Sutter, Slater Koekkoek
Robertson was nominated for the Calder Trophy this season after he put up 45 points in 51 games. The reason Robertson gets to nod over Brayden Point is the team around him. Robertson had less to work with in Dallas than Point does in Tampa. Robertson is going to be a star player in the NHL. This season, he was not given anything, he worked for every opportunity and was rewarded.
Runner-up: Brayden Point, Alexander Wennberg, Garnet Hathaway
Pesce may not get the spotlight in Carolina but he is an elite right-shot shutdown defenseman. He averaged 22:48 TOI this season and put up a respectable 25 points in 55 games. Pesce kills penalties and can even step in on the powerplay if needed. Once again, a player who does not get the spotlight much but is a key part of the Hurricanes success.
Runner-up: Tyson Barrie, Nick Holden, Kevin Fiala
Fox had a breakout year with 47 points in 55 games. He averaged 24:42 TOI and was a plus-19 this season. Whether it was on the powerplay, shorthanded, or even strength, Fox delivered for the Rangers. He is slowly becoming an elite defenseman in this league and may even have a shot at the Norris Trophy this season.
Runner-up: Alec Martinez, Esa Lindell, Alexander Edler
Danault is that reliable shutdown center that can play against the other team¨s top lines and succeed. He put up 24 points in 53 games and was a plus-9 this season. He is not a flashy player, but one that is important to a team¨s success. He played 121 minutes shorthanded and was a contributing factor to the Canadiens making the playoffs.Phillip Danault, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Matthew Dumba, Pius Sutter, Ty Smith
Nurse has developed into a top-pairing defenseman and was vital to the Oilers¨ success this season. He averaged 25:38 of ice time per game while registering 36 points in 56 games. Nurse, who is not afraid to throw the body, was the lifeline of that Oilers defense this year. A player who played in every situation, he is becoming one of the premier defensemen in the league.
Runner-up: Jacob Markstrom, Jonas Brodin, Paul Stastny
Petry had an offensive explosion this year with 42 points in 55 games. He averaged 22:44 of ice-time and drove the offense in Montreal. Petry is a reliable defenseman who can cover both ends of the ice. He may not be the best defender but can contribute in the offensive zone. He played in all situations with the Canadiens this year and led them in powerplay points with 15.
Runner-up: Blake Wheeler, Sean Walker, Nic Dowd
Theodore continues his upward trend and has become a top-pairing defenseman in Vegas. He had 8 goals and 42 points this season while averaging 22:33 TOI. He also led the team this year as a plus-28. Regardless of stats, his play in the defensive zone and transition game is what makes him such an effective player. He rarely gives the puck up in his own zone and is not afraid to jump up on the rush. If he continues this play, Theodore may find himself with a Norris Trophy nominee in the future.
Runner-up: Ryan McDonagh, Ryan Graves, Nikolaj Ehlers
Brown finished the season leading the Senators in goals with 21 and finished second in points with 35. He also led the team in shorthanded goals with five this season. He is not a player that many will think of when it comes to great players, but his season this year was worth noting. His leadership and deamination really helped Ottawa late in the season. He is a great penalty killer who can transition the puck well. Brown is very underrated despite having an excellent season this year.Connor Brown, Ottawa Senators (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Runner-up: Claude Giroux, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Oliver Bjorkstrand
Fleury earned his first Vezina Trophy nomination after posting 26 wins in 36 games. His .928 SV% was among the best amongst starting goalies and was accompanied by a 1.98 goals-against average (GAA). Fleury is like a fine wine, he gets better with age. It is amazing to see the 36-year-old still diving out and giving all he has as he looks to capture his fourth Stanley Cup. A guaranteed Hall of Famer, Fleury deserves the Vezina Trophy this year after the season he just had.
Runner-up: Nathan MacKinnon, Leon Draisaitl, Brock Nelson.
The Islanders rookie put on a show this year, posting 13 wins in 22 games with a .918 SV%. He was the backup to Semyon Varlamov but still impressed when he was given a chance. If Sorokin can build off this successful season, he may be the starter when 2021-2022 comes around.
Runner-up: Ilya Samsonov, Matt Murray, Ryan Miller
Shesterkin took the reins in New York and posted 16 wins in 35 games. His .916 SV% made him one of the top 15 goalies in the league this year and his 2 shutouts were tied for 15th overall. This is a young goalie who is going to get better year after year. Fans should learn the name Shesterkin as he is going to have a successful career in the NHL.Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Carey Price, Frederik Anderson, Adin Hill
Larsson is a solid NHL defenseman who registered 7 points this year. He averaged 17:23 TOI and played on the penalty kill for the Ducks this season. He continues to develop and should be a good second-pair defenseman for the Ducks in the future.
Runner-up: Jonathan Quick, Antti Raanta, Filip Gustavsson
Talbot played great this season, winning 19 games and finishing the year with a .915 SV% in 33 games. He helped The Wild claim the final playoff spot in the Pacific and helped solidify their net this season. It is great to see Talbot succeed as he has bounced around the NHL the last few years. Maybe the perfect guy to help bridge the gap for Minnesota while they wait for their goaltending prospects to develop fully.
Runner-up: Zdeno Chara, Viktor Arvidsson, Colin Miller
This is pretty self-explanatory. He led the league this year in goals and is one of the NHL¨s premier players. No one comes close to the impact Matthews has, who also wears the number 34.
Runner-up: Petr Mrazek, Thomas Hickey, Jake Allen
Demko played lights out this season for a Canucks team that could not defend. He finished the year with a .915 SV% and made the fifth most saves in the league with 1,065. Demko is part of the youth movement in Vancouver. Despite his limited time in the league, he has already proven to compete and keep his team in games.Thatcher Demko, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Tristan Jarry, Darcy Kuemper, Pekka Rinne
H?glander never stops running. A fan favorite already in Vancouver, he burst onto the scene this year with 27 points in 56 games. Despite his size, he was not afraid to play physically. What makes H?glander special is it seems his engine never stops running. A player who is not afraid to get under his opponents¨ skin, he will play a role in the Canucks success in the future.
Runner-up: Jack Campbell, John Gibson, Colin White
Hellebuyck was not nominated for the Vezina but certainly played like he was. He led the league in saves with 1,223 and finished the season with a .916 SV%. His 24 wins were good enough to finish fifth in the league as he led the Jets to the playoffs. Last year¨s Vezina Trophy winner stood on his head this year and should have been in the conversation for the award again this year.
Runner-up: Patrice Bergeron, Andrei Svechnikov, Yanni Gourde
Ferraro had a great season with the Sharks as he continues to develop into a top-four defenseman. He averaged 22:26 TOI while recording 17 points this season. He will be a good two-way defender in this league for a long time.
Runner-up: Brandon Hagel, Boone Jenner, Ryan Hartman
The rookie goaltender had a season to remember finishing with 15 wins and a .932% save percentage in 23 games. He even earned a Calder nomination for his outstanding work this season. Nedeljkovic is the future in net for Carolina. He can move extremely well, is strong in his net and doesn¨t make too many mistakes. Don¨t be surprised if he wins a Vezina Trophy in the future.Alex Nedeljkovic, Carolina Hurricanes (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
Runner-up: Anthony Mantha, Logan Couture, Alex Chiasson
Rask continued his stellar career with another great season. He finished with 15 wins and a .913 SV% this year. Like Fleury, Rask continues to excel despite his age. A player who is Hall of Fame bound, you can add another fantastic year to his resume.
Runner-up: Elias Pettersson, Calvin Peterson, Joel Armia
The 39-year-old turned back the clock this year with a 21 win, .923 SV% season. He held the Oilers in games long enough for McDavid to take over and was an underrated part of Edmonton¨s team this year. A player who creates offensive chances from his own zone, Smith is one of a kind and stepped up huge for the Oilers this year.
Runner-up: Paul Byron, Robert Bortuzzo, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
Forsling had 17 points in 43 games this season. After a slow start to the season, he really stepped up when Ekblad went down with an injury. His play may have even put him in the conversation regarding a selection by the Seattle Kraken in the Expansion Draft. The left-shot defenseman had a good year and showed he could play top-four minutes in the league.
Runner-up: Kasperi Kapanen, Alexandre Texier, Brendan Smith
Despite some defensive struggles, Hughes still found a way to put up 41 points in 56 games. He led the team in powerplay points and ice-time this season. The second year player continues to amaze with his control of the puck and skating ability. He is a major part of the Canucks future and will definitely bounce back defensively next season.
Runner-up: Tom Wilson, Danton Heinen, Colin Blackwell
Reilly had another strong season with 35 points in 55 games. He is the heart of that Maple Leafs¨ defense and is relied upon to push the offense from the backend. He played in all situations and was a big reason Toronto was able to win the North Division during the regular season this year.Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Josh Morrissey
Bernier had a quietly good year with the Red Wings. He finished with a .914 SV% and a 2.99 GAA in 24 games this season. He has gotten to the point of his career where he is a backup that can win you 10-15 games. Still, a solid year for a player who played on one of the worst teams in hockey this year.
Runner-up: Sami Vatanen, Brayden Coburn, Parker Kelly
Krejci has been a positive almost every year he has played in the NHL. He continued to produce and finished this year with 44 points in 51 games. No matter what Boston needs, Krejci can step up and help them win. He is a heart and soul player and continues to step up regardless of who his linemates are.
Runner-up: Jared Spurgeon, Trevor Zegras, Lucas Carlsson
Krug had some big shoes to fill with the departure of Alex Pietrangelo this season. He did pretty well and put up 32 points in 51 games. He is an offensive defenseman who can jump up on the rush and convert on the powerplay. He stepped up in his first season with the team and should have continued success with the Blues.
Runner-up: Pierre Engvall, Leo Komarov, Hampus Lindholm
Hertl continues to develop into one of the top offensive weapons in the Pacific Division. He put up 43 points in 50 games including 19 goals. A player who can kill penalties and is strong in their own end, Hertl has become a two-way threat that can transition the puck extremely well. You better be aware when Hertl is on the ice as his speed can burn any team he faces.Tomas Hertl of the San Jose Sharks (Photo by Kavin Mistry/NHLI via Getty Images)
Runner-up: Matt Grzelcyk, Olli Juolevi, Jordan Martinook
Girard has developed into a premier shutdown defender with the Avalanche this season. He averaged 23:13 this season and registered 32 points in 48 games. Despite being a smaller defenseman, he can defend against anyone in the league. His stick work is some of the best in the league and he can join the rush while still getting back defensively. He is turning into another gem on the Avalanche blueline which is one of the deepest in the league.
Runner-up: Braden Holtby, Ivan Barbashev, Max Jones
Binnington led the Blues to a playoff spot with a .910 SV% in 42 games. He played well this season and faced the fourth-most shots on goal with 1,200. Binnington is the backbone of the Blues and will need to keep up his strong play if they want to return to the playoffs next season.
Runner-up: Eric Robinson, Stuart Skinner, Juuso Riikola
Simek dressed in 40 games for the Sharks this season, putting up six points. Simek is a depth defender who can be used on the penalty kill and is strong in his defensive end. He can fill in minutes and had a good season in the Sharks¨ bottom pair.
Runner-up: Jake Gardner, Hayden Fleury, Artem Anisimov
Weegar had a breakout season with 36 points in 54 games. He played an average of 22:07 and was relied upon heavily when Aaron Ekblad went down with an injury. Weegar¨s career year also included finishing as a plus-29. A late bloomer, Weegar really stepped up this year and showed why he should be considered as one of the top 10 defensemen from this season.MacKenzie Weegar, Florida Panthers (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Runner-up: Callan Foote, Martin Marincin, Sean Kuraly
The captain and MVP of the Canucks this season, Horvat brings it almost every night. He leads by example and does whatever he can to win. This season he put up 39 points in 56 games including 11 on the powerplay. Horvat is the ideal second-line center. He plays matchup minutes against the other team¨s top line and can contribute offensively. He will be a solid player for the next few years and Canuck fans hope, the captain that brings them home the Stanley Cup.
Runner-up: Casey Cizikas, Victor Mete, Jeff Skinner
Ryan continued his NHL comeback with a season that saw him put up 14 points in 33 games. He is still an effective third-line winger and should get an opportunity next year with a team looking for depth scoring.
Runner-up: Yegor Zamula, Dakota Joshua, Mattias Samuelsson
Scheifele has become a consistent top-line center for the Jets putting up 63 points in 56 games. He is dangerous on the powerplay and not afraid to play physically if he has to. He is a major component of the Jets¨ success and will continue to be relied upon to produce year after year.
Runner-up: Colton Parayko, Noah Hanifin, Thomas Harley
The winger got an opportunity to play with Draisaitl and McDavid this season and put up 21 points in 52 games. Yamamoto is going to be a good second-line forward in this league. He has the skill, speed and hockey IQ to do some damage. Although small, he does not back away and is a handful for defenders.Kailer Yamamoto, Edmonton Oilers, Oct. 21, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Erik Haula, Marko Da┥o, Kurtis MacDermid
Perron is one of those players that seems to produce every year. He led the Blues in points with 58 and had 21 powerplay points. A player you do not hear about much, Perron needs to be talked about more when it comes to underrated stars.
Runner-up: Dontae Fabbro, Tyler Myers, Trevor Van Reimsdyk
Savard is a defensive defenseman any team would be lucky to have. He kills penalties and can match up against anyone. He is not going to give you much offence but is still an important player to have on your team. Look for Savard to be heavily targeted this offseason in free agency.
Runner-up: Kale Clague, Noah Juulsen, Kris Letang
Josi continues to be one of the best defensemen in the league. He led Nashville in points with 33 in 48 games and averaged 24:21 of ice time this season. Year in and year out, Josi is Nashville¨s best player. It is no wonder he was named captain and is continually talked about in the Norris Trophy discussion.
Runner-up: Jake Guentzel, Tyler Bertuzzi, Alex Formenton
Driedger provided fans with someone to cheer for this season as the 27-year-old put up a .927 SV% in 23 games this season. He registered 14 wins and finished the year with three shutouts. Driedger, who was never really given a shot in the NHL, showed that if you are given an opportunity, you should run with it. Now, he goes into the offseason as a UFA and should be getting a big raise this year.
Runner-up: Collin Delia, Alex Belzile, Alex Barre-Boulet
The Golden Knights captain stepped up this season with 61 points in 55 games. His two-way game was so impressive it led to a Selke nomination. Stone is the type of player you want to build your team around. He plays with his heart on his sleeve and has become a fan favorite in Vegas since being traded there.Vegas Golden Knights Right Wing Mark Stone (Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Runner-up: Jacob De La Rose, Justin Braun, Riley Stillman
Lehkonen has really settled into a third-line checking role with the Canadiens. He only had 13 points in 47 games but was a key member of the penalty kill this season. He even had two shorthanded goals. He is a player that impacts can not be seen through point totals. He shuts down the opposition¨s top players and can chip in with offence once in a while. Another strong season from Lehkonen this year.
Runner-up: Brandon Montour, Carl Hagelin, Kevin LaBanc
Regardless of your own personal opinion of Marchand, you have to admit he is a great player. He had 69 points in 53 games which included a 29-goal campaign. This was his sixth straight 60 point season and 25 goal season. He is the straw that stirs the drink for the Bruins. You need to get under someone¨s skin, he can do that, you need a big goal, he is there. Marchand is one of the best players in the game right now.
Runner-up: Tyler Ennis, Jesper Bratt, Evgenii Dadonov
Granlund has turned into a great depth centreman who put up 27 points in 51 games this year. He plays smart in the defensive zone and can kill penalties if needed. He provided some much-needed offense to a Predators team that could not put the puck in the net this year. Around half a point per game, he should be getting some good offers this offseason as a UFA.Mikael Granlund, Nashville Predators (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
Runner-up: David Kampf, Tyler Motte, Matt Luff
He may not have had his best year in the NHL, but Karlsson can still step up offensively. He put up 22 points in 52 games which include eight on the power play. Karlsson needs some downtime to fully recover from his surgeries. Added time combined with more offensively minded players could mean we see a return to greatness next season for EK65.
Runner-up: Danny DeKeyser, Ilya Mikheyev, Markus Nutivaara
Since coming to Vegas, Max Pacioretty has excelled. He put up 51 points in 48 games and led the team with 24 goals. Pacioretty is great at both ends of the ice and has created a killer partnership with Mark Stone. Teams need to be careful when this line is on the ice or else the puck will be off their stick and into the back of the net rather quickly.
Runner-up: Morgan Geekie, Rickard Rakell, Lawson Crouse
The Buffalo Sabers¨ second-year player had a good year putting up 32 points in 56 games. He is an offensively driven forward who can cash in on the powerplay if given a chance. He is still developing but has the potential to be a really special player down the line.
Runner-up: Samuel Fagemo, Mike Hoffman
Pearson had a difficult year with the Canucks dealing with COVID. Despite that, he managed to dress in 51 games and put up 21 points. His job was to shut down the likes of McDavid and Matthews night after night and was rewarded with a contract extension during the year.Tanner Pearson, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Troy Stecher, Patric Hornqvist, Joonas Korpisalo
Karlsson has turned into a reliable two-way center in Vegas that kills penalties and produces offense. He had 13 goals this season in 56 points and was a plus-19. Usually, a certain Russian would be a lock for this spot, but the young 71¨s are good and are coming for Geno¨s crown.
Runner-up: Evgeni Malkin, Dylan Larkin, Anthony Cirelli
Chabot is a machine that seems never to get tired. He averaged 26:17 this season while putting up 31 points in 49 games. Every year, he seems to get better. If he continues his progression and development from this season, a call to the Olympic team may not be out of the question.
Runner-up: Filip Chytil, Joonas Donskoi, Sergei Bobrovsky
Toffoli had a fantastic year scoring 28 goals in 52 games. His favourite target seemed to be Vancouver who refused to sign him this offseason. He had eight goals and 13 points in eight games against them. Despite that, Toffoli showed his dominance against everyone in the North finishing seventh in the league in scoring.
Runner-up: Charlie McAvoy, Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Conor Sheary
The heir to the goaltending thrown in Nashville, Saros had a fantastic season. He finished with 21 wins in 36 games and a .927 SV%. With Rinne possibly retiring this season, it will be up to Saros to hold down the fort. If this season is any indication, he is more than ready.Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
Runner-up: Ethan Bear, John Carlson, Jaccob Slavin
Clifton is another rising star on the Bruins defense. He put up seven points in 44 games and plays that hard-nosed style the Bruins are known for. Watch out because if Clifton is coming to hit you, it is going to hurt.
Runner-up: Ryan Reaves, Daniel Walcott, Evan Bouchard
Skjei is a reliable defenseman who can play physically and chip in a little bit of offence. This season he had 10 points in 52 games and averaged 20:44 TOI. His claim to fame, having one of the coolest last names in the NHL. Name aside, Skjei is a defender every team wishes they could have as he can shut down anyone in the NHL.
Runner-up: P.K. Subban, Arturs Silovs, Jonny Brodzinski
Hedman continued his domination of the league with 45 points in 54 games this season. He can play physically, has great speed and a rocket for a shot. Despite some injury scares, Hedman is still one of the top-five defensemen in the game.
Runner-up: Jeff Carter, T.J. Oshie, Victor Soderstrom
As steady as they come on the blueline. Brodie may not get you many points, but he will run your penalty kill and shutdown whoever is in front of him. He had 84 blocked shots this season which was third on the Leafs. There is nothing complicated to his game. He knows his job and does it very well.T.J. Brodie, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)
Runner-up: Filip Chlapik, Kole Lind, Daniel Brickley
It was a breakout year for Miller as he put up 12 points in 53 games this year. He is developing into a second-pair defenseman who can play in all situations while being defensively responsible at even strength. You should be hearing his name a lot more in the coming season as this kid knows how to play.
Runner-up: Carter Hart, Ross Colton, Jordan Gross
One of only two-player this year to wear number 80, Vlader had two wins and a .886 SV% this season.
Runner-up: Matiss Kivlenieks
Another great year for Marchessault. 44 points in 55 games and was a special teams machine in Vegas. One of the best selections in the Expansion Draft, Marchessault continues to impress every season. He was a major part of the Golden Knight¨s success this season.
Runner-up: Kyle Connor, Phil Kessel, Erik Cernak
A great young defenseman, Jones took another step forward this season. He only had four points but was decent in his own zone and can transition the puck well. A great prospect in the Oilers pipeline.
Runner-up: Jordan Oesterle, Connor Bunnaman, Ivan Chekhovich
Garland does not get the credit he deserves. He is a solid winger who can drive play at put-up decent numbers. His 39 points in 49 games were good enough for third on the team and his 27 assists ranked him first. He is a solid player who needs to be discussed more.Conor Garland, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Jay Beagle, Matthew Nieto, Karson Kuhlman
Tinordi is a good depth defenseman who can throw hits and clear the front of the net. He was good this year as he continues to play bottom-pairing minutes in Boston.
Runner-up: Maxim Letunov, William Lagesson, Tanner Jeannot
Perreault is a fourth-liner who can still contribute. He registered 19 points in 56 games while playing bottom-six minutes. He is good in his defensive zone and can move up the lineup if needed.
Runner-up: Daniel Walcott, Vitaly Abramov
After a so-so rookie season, Hughes stepped up, notching 31 points in 56 games this season. His development has been slow, but he shows flashes of why he was drafted first overall. New Jersey¨s future is bright and part of that reason is number 86.
Runner-up: Joel Farabee, Kevan Miller, Teuvo Teravainen
Crosby continues to dominate and is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He has really improved his offensive game in recent years without sacrificing his offensive game. A generational talent, Crosby is one of the best in the game.Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Kristian Reichel
Once again, Vasilevskiy was one of the best goaltenders in the NHL. He led the league in wins with 31 and had a .925% save percentage. Vasilevskiy continues to dominate and is a big reason why Tampa is one of the best teams in the league year after year.
Runner-up: Patrick Kane, David Pastrnak, William Nylander
What can¨t Tuch do? He can shut down the opposing team¨s best players, score highlight real goals and is one of the fastest players in the league. The third line center for Vegas even put up 33 points this season in 55 games. Tuch is the whole package and the perfect player to run a second or third line.
Runner-up: Sam Gagner, Rasmus Kupari, Pavel Buchnevich
The former Conn Smyth Trophy winner continues to be the engine for the Blues. He had 54 points in 56 games and propelled the Blues to a playoff spot this year. O¨Reilly is the perfect first-line center and continues to dominate year after year.Ryan O¨Reilly, St. Louis Blues (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Marcus Johansson, Robin Lehner, Jesper Boqvist
Tavares is a great player who has found a home on the second line in Toronto. He can still put up big points and create a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. Captain Toronto is still one of the best in the league despite an inability to get it done in the playoffs.
Runner-up: Anthony Duclair, Nazem Kadri, Steven Stamkos
It seems that every year, Landeskog is forgotten when discussing Colorado. Yes, you have MacKinnon and Makar, but Landeskog is vital to that team¨s success. The Avs¨ captain his seventh 20-goal season in the last eight years and finished third on the team with 52 points. Don¨t sleep on Landeskog, as he is one of the best in the game.
Runner-up: Evgeny Kuznetsov, Ryan Johansen, Vladislav Namestnikov
Another player who is often forgotten, Nugent-Hopkins, just continues to produce in Edmonton. His 35 points in 52 games ranked him fifth on the team and he should be getting a big payday this offseason as a UFA. Who knows, he could end up being the number one center next year for the Kraken.
Runner-up: Jakub Voracek, Mika Zibanejad, Sam Bennett
A feisty player, Perry is one of those guys you would love on your team yet hate to play against. Despite only playing in 49 games, he still ended up with 21 points. Not bad for a guy who was signed at the last minute by Montreal.
Runner-up: Ryan Lomberg, Alexander Barabanov
Colorado has one of the deepest teams in the league, and Burakovsky is a great example of it. He can play up and down the lineup, kill penalties and produce offensively. His 44 points in 53 games ranked him fifth on the team and his 19 goals ranked him fourth. Another great player Joe Sakic was able to find.Andre Burakovsky, Colorado Avalanche (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)
Runner-up: Matt Duchene, Justin Bailey, Vinni Lettieri
Rantanen is starting to get the respect he deserves in the NHL after a campaign that saw him lead the Avs in goals with 30 and points with 66. He is the shooter on that deadly first line in Colorado yet can still dish the puck. Rantanen was drafted 10th overall in 2015 but is definitely in the conversation for the second-best player to come out of that draft.
Runner-up: Anders Bjork, Adam Gaudette, Jack Roslovic
McDavid scored 105 points in a 56 game season. He is the most talented player in the league and had a season for the record books this year. There is not much more that needs to be said when talking about No. 97.
Runner-up: Kirill Kaprizov, Joe Thornton, Nikita Gusev
Sergachev is developing into a top-pairing defenseman who is deadly on the powerplay. He had 30 points in 56 games which put him second in defenseman scoring for the Lightning. If he continues this progress, a Norris Trophy nomination is not out of the question down the line.Mikhail Sergachev, Tampa Bay Lightning (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken team. His work can also be found at dubnetwork.ca where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. Adam is excited to be part of the Kraken¨s inaugural season and ready to bring you in depth coverage of the NHL¨s 32nd team.
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