Steven Stamkos. Losing Nikita Kucherov for the season hurts, but it hurts a little less when Stamkos is at the top of his game. He’s been great for Tampa so far.
Tyler Toffoli. As much as I want to pick Nick Suzuki, who has been an absolute stud up front, it’s Toffoli who has had the most hit-you-in-the-face sort of impact. Nine goals through 11 games? The steal of free agency.
Mark Stone. Not a big shock. He’s a top-five player in the league and he should get real Hart consideration if he keeps this offensive production (11 points in seven games) up.
William Nylander. The easier (and maybe smarter) choice is Mitch Marner, who’s lighting up the scoresheet through 11 games. But let’s go with Nylander because he’s been a lightning rod for criticism (and trade rumors) in Toronto over the past few years and he’s doing his best to shut all that down with his strong play.
Cale Makar. Did you see him break that guy’s ankle with a crossover? This guy rules.
David Pastrnak. He’s only played three games but, uh, he’s got five goals and seven points. The Bruins are a different team with him in the lineup.
Zdeno Chara. Am I biased as a Bruins guy? Maybe. But Chara is still playing 20 minutes a night and is top 10 on the team in points at 43 years old. He’s basically playing at minimum salary and maximum value.
Jordan Kyrou. Despite not getting a ton of ice time, Kyrou has already set career records in goals (five) and points (12) and is leading the team in scoring through 11 games this season. The Blues needed someone to emerge to help offset the loss of Vladimir Tarasenko and Kyrou may be breaking through.
Andrei Svechnikov. I was tempted to go with Vinny Trocheck just because of his newfound life in Carolina, but Svechnikov is just too good. Six goals in eight games. Guy’s a monster in the offensive end.
Mark Scheifele. The Jets need the front end of their lineup to carry a lot of weight and Scheifele has been up to the task (14 points in 11 games).
Joe Pavelski. Sure, a lot of Pavelski’s production (15 points in eight games) has come on the power play, but a lot of the Stars’ production has come on the power play in general. He’s still been a major force up front, which is big in the absence of Tyler Seguin.
Keith Yandle. There are several routes you could go here — I almost went with Carter Verhaeghe, who is a strong breakout candidate — but had to choose Yandle based on everything that went down just before the start of the season. It looked like he was going to be scratched and/or traded, but he’s in the lineup and he’s producing (7 points in seven games).
Kevin Hayes. James van Riemsdyk, who is leading the team in points through 11 games, is an equally strong candidate here, but Hayes is an all-around contributor who leads forwards in ice time so I’ll give him the edge.
Connor McDavid. 24 points in 12 games? Is that good?
Kirill Kaprizov. After the long wait for his arrival, Kaprizov seems to be living up to the hype. He might be the exciting offensive star that Minnesota has been needing for a long time.
Jacob Markstrom. Some people criticized the signing this offseason but the Flames needed an upgrade in net and Markstrom has been worth his contract so far. This team would be in much, much worse shape without him.
It’s either Matt Barzal or Semyon Varlamov, but Barzal (10 points in nine games) is the sexier choice so let’s just go that way.
Sidney Crosby. More or less by default.
Filip Forsberg. Through 10 games, he’s got six goals and is the only guy on the team with more than three. He’s personally responsible for 21% of the team’s goal scoring.
Not Pierre Luc-Dubois. Come on, I couldn’t resist.
Bo Horvat. Quinn Hughes is leading the team in points, but he’s been a liability on the back end so far, so let’s go with Horvat. Elias Petterson has been surprisingly quiet out of the gate so a lot has fallen on Horvat to pick up the slack, and his line has done a good job producing.
Artemi Panarin. I was going to make the “Not Tony DeAngelo” joke but I figured two times in a row would be a bit much. Anyway, Panarin (15 points in 10 games) is still the lifeblood of this offense … no shock there.
Kevin Lankinen. Uh, who? We had no idea what was going to happen in net for the Blackhawks this year but a wild Lankinen has emerged. He’s got a .928 save percentage and 6.60 goals saved above average through eight games behind a bad defense.
Rasmus Ristolainen. For as much criticism as Ristolainen has received for his defensive play over the past few years, he’s been pretty damn good to start this season. Not only has he been half of a shutdown pair (along with Jake McCabe), he’s also been doing damage as a net-front presence on the power play.
MacKenzie Blackwood. Jack Hughes and Miles Wood could easily be the choices here (and you can argue they deserve it because they’ve played more games), but Blackwood has been unreal through three starts for the Devils thus far. A .948 save percentage and 5.11 goals saved above average? Are you kidding me?
Anze Kopitar. He’s racking up the assists (11 in nine games), even if the majority have come on the power play.
Conor Garland. Garland has emerged as an offensive beacon for the Yotes and has 10 points in 10 games. In just his second full season, he might be entering the league’s “most underrated” discussion.
Logan Couture. I guess?
John Gibson. He has a .924 save percentage and 5.57 goals saved above average behind one of the worst teams in the league. Somebody please, please put this guy on a good team so that we don’t have to watch an incredible career go to waste.
Bobby Ryan. Listen, I know Dylan Larkin is actually the real answer, but Ryan’s hot start in the opening week may actually be the highlight of their season. Not kidding.
Tim Stutzle. He’s their leading goal scorer despite only playing eight games (as a rookie) so far. He’s almost single-handedly made one of the league’s worst teams worth watching just to see what he’s capable of on a nightly basis.
Published: 2021-02-05 19:47:54
Tags: #NHL #Power #Rankings #biggest #standout #players #team