A Look at the 10 Most Underrated NHL Players
10 Underrated NHLers
When hockey fans hear the word "Superstar", names like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Claude Giroux, and Henrik Sedin pop into their heads. This slideshow is dedicated to the unsung heroes of the NHL. The guys who aren't appreciated enough, but definitely should be. Each team has that guy that can always be relied on to score that crucial OT winnner, or kill the penalty with a minute left in the game. There are many players that could be tagged as underrated, but these 10 stand out above the rest. These players may not be the common household name, but one day they should be. These are, the 10 most underrated players in the NHL.
10. Jarret Stoll
Despite tallying just 21 points in the '11-'12 campaign, Jarret Stoll can normally be relied on for 40-45 points each season. He fits nicely on the Los Angeles Kings' 3rd line, and can play up on the 2nd line when needed. He can also work on the powerplay, as he tallied 8 of his 21 points last season while working on the second unit with the man advantage. Stoll is also pretty durable, since the 2007-2008 season, he has never played less than 73 games. I think Stoll can be overlooked at times because he plays on the west coast, but don't be fooled, he can burn you and was definitely a key asset to the Kings' Stanley Cup Victory last season. He is an experienced veteran and at the age of only 30, Stoll can be counted on for some more production in the future.
9. Bryce Salvador
Scoring 7 goals total in his last 3 seasons, by no means is Bryce Salvador going to light up the scoreboard for the New Jersey Devils. The 36 year old is one of the better defensive defenseman in the NHL, but he isn't recognized for it. He recorded a +18 last season which ranked 16th amongst NHL defenseman last season. This is even more impressive when he was the only player in the top 18 of that category, besides Wille Mitchell, Johnny Boychuk and Brooks Orpik, that had less than 32 points. Salvador is a shut-down defenseman, and a fantastic penalty killer. Next time your team is up against the Devils, don't be too sure your team will be scoring while Salvador is on the ice. Look for Salvador to be consistent for the last few seasons of his career.
8. Teddy Purcell
The undrafted right winger, Teddy Purcell broke out in 2010-2011. The Tampa Bay Lightning gave him the chance to have a full workload for the first time in his career and he made the most of it. He racked up 51 points for the first time, after never recording more than 16 in his career. In the last 2 seasons, Purcell has totaled 26 penalty minutes, which is crucial for a team like the Lightning. Tampa has the tendency to take silly penalties sometimes and it's great that they can have one of their top scorers on the ice when he needs to be, instead of sitting in the penalty box. Purcell has also proven to be accountable, he's missed just 1 game each of the last 2 campaigns. He is 27 years old, so look for Purcell to max out at anywhere from 70-75 points, after racking up 65 last season.
7. Drew Stafford
Besides last season, Drew Stafford has had some injury issues, but he still finds a way to put up the points. His career high in goals is 31, which is tremendous production from a second liner. Stafford averages a little over 1 point every other game in his career. He can play in front of the goaltender on the powerplay, as well as be productive with the opposing team depleted for 2 minutes. He has 61 powerplay points in 397 career games, which isn't too shabby. Another factor that Stafford brings to the table is being able to kill penalties. He isn't the guy on your first PK unit that's going to shut-down the opponent, but he can get the job done; and last year he even proved he can score shorthanded. Stafford doesn't take a lot of penalties and the Buffalo Sabres can rely on the 27 year old to be a top 6 forward for years to come.
6. Joe Pavelski
Joe Pavelski is the type of player that every team wishes they had. He is a very consistent point producer on an offensively loaded San Jose Sharks team. Last season, Pavelski played all 82 games while tallying 61 points, 31 of which were goals. The great thing about Pavelski is that he fits everywhere in the lineup. He can play both wings, as well as play center on any of the Sharks' top 3 lines. He plays well on the powerplay and kills penalties exceptionally well. Pavelski has 11 career shorthanded points, 7 of them being shorthanded goals. He isn't afraid to block shots, and like other players on this list, he doesn't take a lot of penalties. If the Sharks are ever ready to make a Cup run, they will ride Pavelski's many utilities to victory.
5. Kimmo Timonen
Kimmo Timonen has been one of the most durable and consistent defenseman in the NHL since 2000. Timonen's name never comes up as one of the better defenseman in the NHL, which is a shame. At the age of 37, he is still towards the top of points by NHL defenseman. Last season he had 43 points, and hasn't had less than 37 since the 2000-2001 season. His career high in points is 55, which he recorded during the 2006-2007 season. That season he was also +20 for the Nashville Predators. He has 472 blocked shots combined in the last 3 seasons, and has been a big reason for the Philadelphia Flyers' success. Besides his rookie and sophomore seasons, Timonen has never played less than 72 games. Staying healthy will be key heading down the stretch and the Flyers need his leadership in the locker room. It's hard to find something bad to say about Kimmo Timonen.
4. Stephen Weiss
It took 4 rough seasons for Stephen Weiss to turn into the player he is now, but the player he is now, is a good one. Weiss has recorded 48 or more points 5 of the last 6 seasons he has played. His 57 points last season was a good sign that he would be able to return to the 60 point player he was 3 seasons ago. Weiss is another one of those players that will score on the power play and shorthanded. He has 141 career powerplay points and 7 short handed points to go along with 23 game winning goals. Weiss isn't injured often and he can be counted on by the young Florida Panthers team not only to be a leader, but a role model.
3. Curtis Glencross
The average NHL fan may have never even heard of Curtis Glencross, but he isn't deserving of such blasphemy. The undrafted 29 year old is one of the top 5, 2-way players in the NHL. Last season in only 67 games, he put up 48 points on a bad Calgary Flames team. Glencross has consistently put up 33 or more points in every season of his career that he's had a full workload, except for the '07-'08 campaign, where he had 25 points. You're most likely muttering to yourself that that's not impressive, and you're right, but that production to go along with his Selke-Caliber defensive play make him a very good player, and it's truly a shame his name isn't known outside of the hockey world. He kills penalties of course, and does it exceptionally well, and you guessed it, he plays on the power play! He blocks shots, and bangs bodies. Glencross is the apitomy of a 2-way player.
2. Mikko Koivu
The younger brother of future hall of famer Saku Koivu, Mikko Koivu is often overshadowed. Statistically, Mikko Koivu had his worst season since '07-'08, but he only played 57 games that season, and 55 games last season. He still managed to put up 42 and 44 points in those 2 seasons. In the 3 seasons in between the 2 I just mentioned, injuries weren't really a problem and he didn't have any less than 62 points. Koivu is an absolute beast on the powerplay. One season he even recorded 21 powerplay assists. The captain of the Minnesota Wild is a good leader, and he kills penalties. Koivu has many years to play, unlike his older brother, and he should be putting up more 60 point seasons.
1. Matt Moulson
Moulson has had 30 or more goals in each of his full NHL seasons, which turns out to be his last 3. It is mind boggling to me that his name isn't out there as much as it should be. He is an explosive force, and will be a threat for years to come. Last season he racked up 69 points, giggle giggle, 36 of which were shots that went past the goalie to light the lamp. With another rising star in John Tavares, if the New York Islanders can find some depth and some goaltending, they would be a force. Moulson's point total has increased substantially each season since his breakout season and I predict he'll hit 40 goals next season, and hit 75 points.
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