As always, my expanded ballot includes players I think would fit in the All-Star Game. This includes players included on the official ballot, players would be obvious picks, players nearing the end of a strong career, struggling big-name players who typically perform better, and less-skilled (but still skilled) players with a high degree of popularity with their team’s fan-base.
There are 175 forwards on this list. There is at least one centre, one left winger, and one right winger, from each team on this list, and every non-rookie forward on the official ballot (more on that later) is included. For the most part, it’s the typical high-scorers, but lower-scoring defensive stalwarts, “legacy picks” and fan favourites are also included. The latter comes with a caveat though, that even the fan favourites still need to make a kind of impact. That means no potential John Scott successors here.
Andrew Cogliano (Left Wing-7-Anaheim)
In addition to holding the NHL’s longest active iron-man streak, Cogliano is one of its most reliable defensive forwards.
Corey Perry (Right Wing-10-Anaheim)
Perry has six 30+ goal seasons in his career, with three consecutive years over 30. He also has two 40+ goal seasons, one of them a 50-goal season.
Ryan Getzlaf (Centre-15-Anaheim)
Every year I remark about how complete a player Getzlaf is. While his goals are down this year so far, his early production have him on pace for a rebound in points.
Ryan Kesler (Centre-17-Anaheim)
A Selke Trophy winner in 2010/11 with 41 goals and 73 points, Kesler is coming off his first 50+ point season since 2011. He scored 53 points and it was also his third straight 20+ goal season.
Jakob Silfverberg (Right Wing-33-Anaheim)
After scoring 18 points in 16 games during Anaheim’s 2015 playoff run, Silfverberg finished with 39 points for the second straight year. He also scored 20 goals for the first time. On pace to eclipse 50 points for the first time.
Rickard Rakell (Left Wing-67-Anaheim)
The 2011 first-rounder has scored at a high pace since being re-signed and returning from injury in late November.
Martin Hanzal (Centre-11-Arizona)
Has been the Coyotes’ first-line centre only due to the lack of better options, but Hanzal has largely held his own as a big-bodied two-way forward, even if he’s been dogged by injuries and high-end offensive production has eluded him.
Max Domi (Left Wing-16-Arizona)
Domi finished third among NHL rookies last season with 52 points.
Radim Vrbata (Right Wing-17-Arizona)
Even though he dropped dramatically from 31 goals and 63 points in 2014/15, it seems Vrbata can be relied on to pick things up offensive simply by going back to the Coyotes.
Shane Doan (Right Wing-19-Arizona)
Doan entered this season with 945 points in 1466 games, all with the original Jets/Coyotes franchise. He is also the NHL’s longest-tenured captain, having worn the “C” since 2003/04.
Patrice Bergeron (Centre-37-Boston)
Bergeron’s 32 goals last season were a career-high, and his 68 points were third. With three Selke Trophies under his belt, it’s his defensive game that’s made him as much of a star as he is.
David Backes (Right Wing-42-Boston)
The physical veteran two-way forward, Backes had three straight seasons of scoring at least 20 goals and 40 points with the Blues, for whom he had worn the “C” for five seasons before joining the Bruins.
David Krejci (Centre-46-Boston)
Krejci scored a career-third-best 63 points last season. In a full 82-game season, that’s 72 points.
Brad Marchand (Left Wing-63-Boston)
While known predominantly for being a notorious agitator, Marchand has shown for years that he does have the skill to justify a first-line roster spot. He surprised with 37 goals last season.
David Pastrnak (Right Wing-88-Boston)
Pastrnak suffered a sophomore slump last season, but has been one of the elite scoring forwards this season.
Brian Gionta (Right Wing-12-Buffalo)
Gionta isn’t a big offensive producer anymore, but still managed to eclipse 30 points last season. The one-time 89-point scorer is in his third season as Sabres captain.
Jack Eichel (Centre-15-Buffalo)
Eichel finished second in scoring among rookies last season with 56 points. Eichel recently came back from an injury and played his first game of the season, showing no signs of rust.
Kyle Okposo (Right Wing-21-Buffalo)
After topping 60 points in two of his last three seasons with the Islanders, Okposo is leading the Sabres in points.
Sam Reinhart (Centre-23-Buffalo)
Reinhart finished eighth in scoring among rookies with 42 points last season. Reinhart is currently second on the team in scoring.
Matt Moulson (Left Wing-26-Buffalo)
Moulson scored 41 points in 2014/15 and 51 the year before. Though he scored only 21 points last season, he’s rebounding some and is tied for the team lead in goals.
Zemgus Girgensons (Centre-28-Buffalo)
Once again I put Girgensons on this list. He scored 30 points in 61 games in 2014/15, when the whole nation of Latvia voted Girgensons into the All-Star Game. The defensive forward isn’t scoring as much these days, but we have less TOI to blame for that.
Tyler Ennis (Centre-63-Buffalo)
Back in 2014/15, Ennis scored 20 goals and 46 points. He has missed most of this season and last with injuries, but was one of the more productive forwards during the very disappointing pre-Eichel years.
Ryan O’Reilly (Centre-90-Buffalo)
Despite an inauspicious start to the year involving a truck and a Tim Hortons, O’Reilly took an a larger offensive role than he had in Colorado, scoring 60 points.
Kris Versteeg (Right Wing-10-Calgary)
While Versteeg hasn’t reached 50 points, or even 40, since 2011/12, he is third on the Flames in points per game. Last season, I had him on my expanded ballot as a member of the Hurricanes.
Mikael Backlund (Centre-11-Calgary)
Backlund has been a solid second line centre for the Flames. Though not a huge scorer, Backlund has offered solid secondary scoring and two-way play. He is coming off a career-high 21 goals, 26 assists, and 47 points.
Johnny Gaudreau (Left Wing-13-Calgary)
The 2014 Hobey Baker winner and 2015 Calder runner-up scored 30 goals and finished seventh in the NHL in points.
Sean Monahan (Centre-23-Calgary)
Monahan is coming off back-to-back 60-point seasons. After the Flames went through the early 2010s without one, they have a no.1 centre in Monahan.
Michael Frolik (Right Wing-67-Calgary)
Frolik scored 15 goals and 32 points in his first year with the Flames. In a season not shortened by injuries, he would have scored 19 goals and 41 points.
Jordan Staal (Centre-11-Carolina)
The veteran two-way centre is back to being the only Staal on his team. He tied for second on the Hurricanes last season with 48 points.
Elias Lindholm (Right Wing-16-Carolina)
I put the 2013 first-rounder on my list last season in the midst of a 39-point season.
Lee Stempniak (Right Wing-21-Carolina)
After scoring 28 points between the Rangers and Winnipeg in 2014/15, Stempniak scored 41 points in his time with New Jersey before getting more for Boston after the trade deadline. After scoring six points in his first five games of the season, Stempniak has scored only four in 18 games.
Victor Rask (Centre-49-Carolina)
Carolina’s surprise first-line centre, Rask shot up 10 goals and 15 points from his 2014/15 rookie season. Rask is second in team scoring.
Jeff Skinner (Left Wing-53-Carolina)
The 2011 Calder winner and two-time 30-goal scorer improved from 31 points to 51 in 2015/16. He is the Hurricanes’ leading scorer at present.
Artem Anisimov (Centre-15-Chicago)
Last season, his first with the Blackhawks, Anisimov centred a line with eventual Art Ross and Hart winner Patrick Kane and Calder winner Artemi Panarin. While he didn’t reach anywhere near the heights of either two, he was two off his previous career-highs in goals and points. He is so far producing at a much higher clip this season.
Jonathan Toews (Centre-19-Chicago)
Though Toews has seen his offensive numbers drop in recent seasons, the veteran captain is still an excellent defensive centre. He is also still one of Chicago’s better offensive forward.
Artemi Panarin (Left Wing-72-Chicago)
Panarin won the Calder Trophy last season with 30 goals and 77 points. Despite being a bit off his scoring rate last season, Panarin has defied expectations that he’d slow down in year two.
Marian Hossa (Right Wing-81-Chicago)
Hossa fell from 61 points to 33 last season, but has recovered so far this season. One of the most well-regarded two-way wingers in the NHL, Hossa is still top-five among Blackhawks forwards in average TOI.
Patrick Kane (Right Wing-88-Chicago)
Kane scored 46 goals and 106 points last season and won the Hart Memorial Trophy, Art Ross Trophy, and Ted Lindsay Award. He’s back to scoring at closer to his career-average rate, but even with that, his inclusion in this list, as well as in the All-Star Game itself, is a given.
Matt Duchene (Centre-9-Colorado)
Well-known for his skating speed, Duchene scored 30 goals in a season for the first time last season. Duchene has spent time this season both at centre and on the right wing.
Jarome Iginla (Right Wing-12-Colorado)
While Iginla is struggling offensively this season, he is coming off a 47-point season. He scored 57 the year before and has 12 seasons of 30 goals or more.
Rene Bourque (Right Wing-17-Colorado)
After scoring only eight points in 49 games last season, it seemed Bourque, once a 50-point scorer and decent playoff performer, was washed up. He’s scoring goals at a rate comparable to his career-high.
Nathan MacKinnon (Centre-29-Colorado)
MacKinnon scored 63 points and won the Calder Trophy in 2013/14. After failing to do so again in the two seasons since, MacKinnon could this season.
Gabriel Landeskog (Left Wing-92-Colorado)
Another strong offensive performer whose numbers are hurt by Colorado’s poor play, Landeskog scored 65 points in 2013/14 and 53 last season. This is Landeskog’s fifth season as captain.
Alexander Wennberg (Centre-10-Columbus)
Wennberg has burst forth as Columbus’ first-line centre. After improving from 20 points to 40 in his second season, he’s matched his rookie production by December.
Cam Atkinson (Right Wing-13-Columbus)
Columbus’ leading scorer and second-leading goal-scorer, Atkinson has emerged as an elite winger. Sure it’s happened a few years later than expected, but it’s happened.
Brandon Dubinsky (Centre-17-Columbus)
Dubinsky was on the 2014/15 ballot following a 50-point season. Even though he’s struggled offensively this season and declined in terms of possession in the last couple, he’s relied on more for defence anyway, and performes well in that role.
Brandon Saad (Left Wing-20-Columbus)
A major element of the Blackhawks’ mid-2010s Stanley Cup wins, Saad has been allowed to flex his offensive muscle in Columbus. He scored 31 goals in his first year with Columbus, and is on pace to eclipse last season’s career-high of 53 points.
Boone Jenner (Left Wing-38-Columbus)
Bouncing back from an injury-plagued sophomore season, Jenner surprised by being Columbus’ second 30-goal scorer last season. He was rewarded for his efforts by being named an alternate captain. This season, Jenner has scored nine points (5G, 4A) and posted a 49.7 CF% in 28 games and is on pace for 27 points (15G, 12A) in 82 games.
Scott Hartnell (Left Wing-43-Columbus)
Hartnell is aging and his contract will become a problem before too long, but he scored 60 points and fell two goals short of 30 in his first season in Columbus, 2013/14. He topped 40 points last season and could this year.
Nick Foligno (Left Wing-71-Columbus)
It was surprising when Foligno scored 31 goals and 73 points in 2014/15. It wasn’t when he scored 12 and 37 last season. Foligno is defying expectations by scoring at a rate comparable to his All-Star season.
Sam Gagner (Centre-89-Columbus)
Gagner, whose career-high in points was 49 scored in his rookie season, was bought out after a bad season with Philadelphia last season. Gagner could end the season with over 30 goals and 60 points.
Patrick Sharp (Left Wing-10-Dallas)
Sharp is a four-time 30-goal scorer and is coming off a bounce-back season. He returned to the 50-point mark last season.
Jamie Benn (Left Wing-14-Dallas)
Benn scored 35 goals and 87 points to win the 2015 Art Ross Trophy, and did even better last season with 41 goals and 89 points. Even though he’s back to his pre-lockout scoring rate, it’s good for second in team scoring.
Patrick Eaves (Right Wing-18-Dallas)
The 2003 first-rounder hasn’t scored 20 goals in a season since 2006, and hasn’t scored 30 points since 2007. But if he keeps up his current pace, he could eclipse 30 goals and 50 points. Being the third wheel for Benn and Seguin certainly has its perks.
Jason Spezza (Centre-90-Dallas)
Spezza scored 62 points in 2014/15 and scored 33 goals and 63 points last season, his second with Dallas. That was his fifth 30+ goal season.
Tyler Seguin (Centre-91-Dallas)
Seguin was a central figure offensively with Boston, but he’s been an elite scorer and playmaker for Dallas, with seasons of 37G-84 PTS, 37G-77 PTS, and 33G-73 PTS. Though he’s missed some time with injuries the past two seasons, he’s been in the Art Ross race for most of his stint with Dallas and is their leading scorer so far this season.
Gustav Nyquist (Right Wing-14-Detroit)
The Swedish winger hasn’t hit the same heights of his 28-goal, 48-point, 57-game season in 2013/14 since that season. Even though he’s performing barely any better than last season, Nyquist is fourth in team scoring.
Tomas Tatar (Left Wing-21-Detroit)
Like Nyquist, Tatar is also struggling. In fact, he’s scoring less than Nyquist. Still, he scored 29 goals and 56 points in 2014/15 and is fifth among Red Wings forwards in average TOI.
Henrik Zetterberg (Left Wing-40-Detroit)
Zetterberg fell from 66 points in 77 games 2014/15 to 50 in 82 games in 2015/16. The fifth-year captain is on pace for a bounceback season though. He is the Red Wings’ leading scorer and first among forwards in TOI.
Frans Nielsen (Centre-51-Detroit)
Typically, Nielsen is known for being a two-way second-line centre who delivers in shootouts. His spot on this list comes from 2013/14, when the absence of John Tavares resulted in more ice time and a career-high 58 points, and 2015/16, when he scored 52 points.
Thomas Vanek (Left Wing-62-Detroit)
Vanek is this season’s signature reclamation project. Bought out after scoring 41 points for Minnesota last season, Vanek started strong with four goals and eight points in seven games to open the season. Vanek has cooled off, scoring four assists in eight games since an 11-game absence due to groin and knee injuries. Vanek is probably on the ballot just as much based on his reputation as he is for his strong start.
Dylan Larkin (Centre-71-Detroit)
One of the fastest tracks from draft pick to NHL regular in recent Red Wings history, Larkin finished sixth among NHL rookies with 45 points. Detroit’s lone representative in the 2016 All-Star Game, Larkin became the fastest player to skate a full circuit of the rink at the Skills Competition, beating Mike Gartner’s 1997 record despite a brief wipeout. He is Detroit’s current leader in goals, despite a sophomore slump in total points and especially assists.
Jordan Eberle (Right Wing-14-Edmonton)
Eberle hasn’t hit 30 goals since 2011/12, though he did score at a 30-goal pace last season. Eberle is third on the Oilers in scoring and third in TOI among forwards.
Milan Lucic (Left Wing-27-Edmonton)
Playing last season for Los Angeles, Lucic rebounded from 44 to 55 points. Despite being a downgrade in every important way from Taylor Hall, the one-time 30-goal scorer is on pace for his best season since 2014, thanks in no small part to playing with Connor McDavid.
Leon Draisaitl (Centre-29-Edmonton)
A failure in his 2014/15 rookie season, Draisaitl was called up not long before McDavid’s injury and finished with a respectable 19 goals and 51 points. Even if it’s a distant second, Draisaitl is currently second on the Oilers in scoring and on pace for a 30-30 season.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Centre-93-Edmonton)
RNH hasn’t scored any more than 56 points in a season since 2014/15, when he scored it in 76 games. That season, he represented the Oilers in the All-Star Game. He is on pace for a career-worse offensive season, currently sixth on the team in scoring.
Connor McDavid (Centre-97-Edmonton)
The 2015 first-overall pick was limited by injury to 45 games last season, but scored 48 points. McDavid currently has seven more points than he has games, and five more than the NHL’s second-leading scorer.
Jonathan Huberdeau (Left Wing-11-Florida)
The 2013 Calder Trophy winner scored 59 points last season, a carer-high. He made up one of the NHL’s most productive scoring lines with Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr last season. Sadly, he has missed the entire season thus far with an injured Achilles tendon.
Aleksander Barkov (Centre-16-Florida)
Barkov also scored 59 points last season, but he did so in 66 games, for a 73-point pace. He’s scoring at a considerably slower pace, but is still second in team scoring.
Derek MacKenzie (Centre-17-Florida)
MacKenzie hasn’t reached 20 points since 2010/11, and posts weak possession numbers. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have MacKenzie on this list, but I’m including every current team captain.
Vincent Trocheck (Centre-21-Florida)
While Trocheck is on pace for less than last season’s 28 goals and 53 points, he did reach that last season. He was playing on one of the most effective second lines in the NHL, and of those three, is the most effective this season, currently sitting on fourth in team scoring.
Nick Bjugstad (Centre-27-Florida)
Bjugstad led the Panthers in scoring in 2013/14 and was on pace for 30 goals when fan voting opened for the 2015 All-Star Game. His offence has dwindled with his icetime in recent years, and he has produced very little since returning from a season-opening wrist injury, but he’s on the list based on that earlier success.
Jussi Jokinen (Left Wing-36-Florida)
The veteran made up one third of a very productive second line last season. He improved from 44 points to 60, the most he’s had in a season since 2010, when he scored 65.
Jaromir Jagr (Right Wing-68-Florida)
Scoring a team-leading 66 points last season, Jagr has been lavished with praise, and his apparent agelessness borders on memetic. Sadly, this is looking to be the start of Jagr’s decline, as he is on pace for fewer than 40 points. For two straight years, I’ve reserved a spot on these lists for Jagr as a “he’ll probably be retired soon so why not?” kind of pick. That rings far truer this season than any since he came back to the NHL.
Jonathan Marchessault (Right Wing-81-Florida)
Marchessault’s signing by the Panthers was good when they were adding an offensively-minded fourth-line forward following a decent season in Tampa Bay’s bottom-six. It’s great now that Marchessault is leading the team in scoring. His 19 points at present are already a career high.
Anze Kopitar (Centre-11-Los Angeles)
Kopitar’s 74 points last season were the most he’s scored since 2012. While his legacy was already cemented by leading Los Angeles to two Stanley Cups, 2016 was when he got some real recognition for his own impact. He won both the Lady Byng as the league’s most sportsmanlike skill player, and the Selke as its best defensive forward. He was subsequently named team captain.
Marian Gaborik (Left Wing-12-Los Angeles)
Though injuries have dogged him for the past five years, he barely topped 10 goals and 20 points last season, and has yet to score a goal this season, Gaborik scored 41 goals and 76 points for the Rangers in 2011/12 and his 27 goals and 47 points in 2014/15 prorate to 32 goals and 56 points.
Tanner Pearson (Left Wing-70-Los Angeles)
Pearson is currently sixth in Kings scoring, and on pace for a career-high in points. He was named as one of the rookies to participate in the 2015 All-Star Skills Competition before injuries hit.
Tyler Toffoli (Right Wing-73-Los Angeles)
With 31 goals and 58 points last season, Toffoli emerged as Los Angeles’ next great sniper. Like basically the entire Kings team, Toffoli is experiencing a marked drop in offensive output.
Jeff Carter (Centre-77-Los Angeles)
Carter, who fell barely eclipsed 60 points and fell just short of 30 goals the past two seasons, is one King who is decidedly not sharing in his team’s offensive struggles. He’s been the Kings’ main weapon and is on pace to top 30 goals for the first time since he played for Philadelphia.
Charlie Coyle (Right Wing-3-Minnesota)
I put the big forward on my All-Star list last season when he wound up finishing with 42 points. Now that he’s tied for the team scoring lead, he really belongs on this list.
Mikko Koivu (Centre-9-Minnesota)
The veteran, still the only player in Wild history to have been named captain on a full-season basis, enjoyed a modest resurgence when he finished with 56 points last season.
Zach Parise (Left Wing-11-Minnesota)
Parise scored 33 goals and 62 points in 2014/15, coming the closest to his New Jersey days as he’s had since joining Minnesota. He fell to 25 goals and 53 points last season, and whether he even reaches 20 goals or 40 points this season is under question. It’s obviously past seasons that have him on the ballot.
Eric Staal (Centre-12-Minnesota)
Staal wound up scoring 39 points, his lowest total since his 2003/04 rookie season, and that’s even counting the lockout year, despite playing a whole 83 games between Carolina and the Rangers. Staal was a reclamation project, but he has flourished under new coach Bruce Boudreau, for whom Staal is leading the Wild in points and is on pace to approach 60.
Jason Zucker (Left Wing-16-Minnesota)
Two seasons ago, Zucker scored 21 goals in 51 games, a 34-goals pace. While he only managed 23 points in 71 games last season, he’s rebounding. He is currently on pace for nearly 50 points.
Nino Niederreiter (Right Wing-22-Minnesota)
Niederreiter, in his fourth year with the Wild, is on pace for a career-high in points, threatening to top 50 after finishing with 43 last season.
Jason Pominville (Right Wing-29-Minnesota)
Having fallen to 54 points in 2014/15 and 36 in 2015/16, Pominville isn’t the impactful scorer he once was. However, he has scored at least 30 goals and 30 assists in a season three times, the most recent being a 60-point season with Minnesota in 2014/15.
Mikael Granlund (Centre-64-Minnesota)
The Wild are trying to groom Granlund as Minnesota’s next first-line centre. Having topped 30 assists the past three seasons, Granlund has the playmaking aspect down pat. He just needs to pick up his goal-scoring. He scored 13 goals last season, showing that he has made some progress in this respect, and he is on pace for even closer to 20 this season.
Brendan Gallagher (Right Wing-11-Montreal)
Despite being one of the shorter players in the NHL, Gallagher has a reputation for being chippy. A fixture in the top-six for his mix of physicality and scoring ability, he scored a career-high of 47 points in 2014/15, and scored at a pace for 30 goals and 62 points last season.
Tomas Plekanec (Centre-14-Montreal)
Typically used as a second-line centre nowadays, Plekanec scored 60 points two seasons ago, his highest total since he scored 70 in 2010. Plekanec scored a more typical 54 points last season, but has struggled on offence this season.
Alex Galchenyuk (Centre-27-Montreal)
Canadiens brass finally had the good sense to play Galchenyuk at his natural centre position with quality linemates, and he has rewarded that good sense. He finished last season with 30 goals and 56 points, the first time he scored 30 goals for 50 points in his NHL career.
Paul Byron (Left Wing-41-Montreal)
Few waiver pickups typically qualify as star players, but Byron has been impressive. Despite being mostly a fourth-line forward, Byron has scored 17 points in 30 games, a 47-point pace.
Alexander Radulov (Right Wing-47-Montreal)
All the focus going into this season as far as Radulov was concerned was focused on his character and his attitude. As the season has gone on, however, it’s been rightfully focused on his on-ice contribution. He is on pace to top 70 points this season, even though his sniping may not quite be where people expected it to be.
Max Pacioretty (Left Wing-67-Montreal)
Last season was a bit of a drop offensively for Pacioretty, especially in terms of goals. He still scored 30 goals and 64 points however. He is on pace for his lowest totals since he made the NHL for good, though he should pick things up in time.
Filip Forsberg (Left Wing-9-Nashville)
Forsberg scored 63 points in his rookie season despite slowing down at the end of the year and falling out of the Calder race. He followed that up with 33 goals and 64 points last season.
Mike Fisher (Centre-12-Nashville)
The last few seasons have been rough for Fisher. After scoring 51 points in 2011/12, his non-lockout seasons have either seen him underproduce despite playing a whole season, or produce at a rate to eclipse that 51-point total only to miss extended periods with injury. On the heels of his lowest-scoring season since 2000/01, at age 36, and in his first year as team captain, Fisher is on pace for a career-high in points.
James Neal (Right Wing-18-Nashville)
Neal, in his second season with Nashville, flourished under Peter Laviolette. The season saw him score 31 goals and 58 points, his highest totals in either category since 2012, when he scored 40 goals and 81 points for Pittsburgh. He is even on pace to flirt with 40 goals and 60 points again this season.
Viktor Arvidsson (Left Wing-38-Nashville)
Arvidsson found himself being sent down a couple times to the minors, scoring 18 points in 56 NHL games after a strong preseason set expectations much higher. This season, one of the NHL’s shorter players, is on pace for a much-improved 20-20+ season.
Mike Ribeiro (Centre-63-Nashville)
Though Ribeiro fell to 50 points last season, Ribeiro’s on this list because of what he accomplished the year before, scoring 62 points as Nashville’s first-line centre.
Ryan Johansen (Centre-92-Nashville)
Johansen broke out with 33 goals and 63 points in 2013/14. The following year, a jump to 71 points made up for a drop to 26 goals. Last season’s further decline in points and general struggles overshadowed the fact that with 60 points altogether, Johansen had a pretty good year. He is on pace for a slightly lower-scoring season than last year, his lowest-scoring season since his rookie year, 2011/12, though is still at a point where he could return to a 60-point pace.
Taylor Hall (Left Wing-9-New Jersey)
The 2010 first-overall pick is a few years removed from when he scored 80 points in a season, and still has yet to reach 30 goals like a scorer of his calibre should. Despite this and an eight-game absence due to injury, Hall is third on the Devils in scoring and is on pace for his highest goal and point totals since 2014.
PA Parenteau (Right Wing-11-New Jersey)
I’m aware that Parenteau has kind of disappointed this season, but I do feel there’s good reason for him to be here. Firstly, last season, his 20 goals last season led the Leafs and his 41 points were only four off the team lead. Secondly, Parenteau is being deployed as a top-six forward, having recently played on the top line and averaging the sixth highest average TOI among of Devils forwards. Thirdly, he scored at a 39-point pace through the first 17 games of the season, not far off last years, mark, and is merely slumping. Of any players in the NHL whose current team acquired them via waivers, Parenteau is probably the best.
Michael Cammalleri (Left Wing-13-New Jersey)
So far, Cammalleri has stayed healthy all season, only missing six games due to personal reasons, and the veteran has been among the team’s best scorers. He is only a few points off the team lead because of that absence, and is the only Devil on pace for at least 30 goals. Closer to 40 in fact.
Adam Henrique (Centre-14-New Jersey)
Henrique is having the worst non-lockout season of his career, on pace for his less-than-40-point season in his career. Still, Henrique is coming off his second 50-point season and his first with 30 goals.
Travis Zajac (Centre-19-New Jersey)
Zajac hasn’t scored 60 points since 2009/10, back when he had Zach Parise and a pre-decline Patrik Elias on his team, but with some of the moves to improve the offence this season, namely Hall and Cammalleri, paying off, he’s on pace for his best offensive season in years.
Kyle Palmieri (Right Wing-21-New Jersey)
Last season, following only three seasons spent entirely in the NHL and with a career-high of 31 points, Palmieri joined the Devils and surprised with 30 goals and 57 points.
Josh Bailey (Right Wing-12-NY Islanders)
Since the Isles let go of some major offensive contributors last season, Bailey has been among the Isles’ top scorers. Even if that’s partly due to playing with John Tavares, there are players that have played with Tavares this season who don’t share Bailey’s production.
Andrew Ladd (Left Wing-16-NY Islanders)
Despite his struggles, Ladd scored 46 points last season and 62 the year before. Ladd is on this list based on the strength of his play in past seasons with Winnipeg.
Anders Lee (Left Wing-27-NY Islanders)
Lee has scored only 12 points in 30 games this season, after a disappointing 36 points in 80 games last season. However, he scored 25 goals and 41 points in 76 games as a rookie in 2014/15.
Brock Nelson (Left Wing-29-NY Islanders)
Last year, Nelson fell from 42 to 40 points, but jumped from 20 to 26 goals. Nelson is playing top-line minutes, tied for second on the Isles in scoring, and is on pace to reach 50 points.
Nikolay Kulemin (Left Wing-86-NY Islanders)
Though Kulemin hasn’t done well in recent years, he currently has a 3.0 CF%Rel. Back in 2014/15, he had a decent defensive season, posting a 52.3 CF% and scoring 15 goals and 31 points, all with a 49.2 Offensive Zone Start% and 0.75 QualCompCorsiRel.
John Tavares (Centre-91-NY Islanders)
Tavares fell last season from 38 goals and 86 points to 33 goals and 70 points. Tavares is struggling this season, on pace for his first non-lockout, non-injury season with less than 30 goals and 70 points since 2011. Even so, a bad season for Tavares is a great season for many.
JT Miller (Left Wing-10-NY Rangers)
After improving from 23 to 43 points last season, the 2011 first-rounder is in a breakout season. Though he is on a cold streak that’s resulted in him being demoted to the fourth line, he is on pace to reach 60 points.
Kevin Hayes (Centre-13-NY Rangers)
After a sophomore slump that resulted in him going from 45 to 36 points, Hayes has cemented himself as a top-six forward. He has centred the second line and is on pace to reach 30 goals and 60 points.
Chris Kreider (Left Wing-20-NY Rangers)
After finishing last season with 43 points, three fewer than the year before, there were questions of whether Kreider would take the next step offensively. He has put those concerns to rest so far this season. He is another Ranger on pace to top 60 points, and is currently the team leader in points per game.
Derek Stepan (Centre-21-NY Rangers)
Though Stepan has yet to reach 60 points in a season and isn’t on pace to do so this season either, Stepan remains the Rangers’ first-line centre, and their second-leading forward in average TOI.
Mats Zuccarello (Right Wing-36-NY Rangers)
Last season saw Zuccarello, the third-shortest player in the NHL, lead the Rangers in points with 61. This season, he is on pace for a worse offensive year, but he is still fifth in team scoring.
Michael Grabner (Left Wing-40-NY Rangers)
Ever since Grabner was a Calder runner-up with 32 goals on the season in 2010/11, Grabner has failed to live up to expectations, his only notable moment since then being his appearance on Team Austria at the Sochi Olympics. Whether it’s due to the Rangers being great offensively or just on a hot streak, Grabner is leading the team in goals and is on pace to eclipse 40.
Rick Nash (Left Wing-61-NY Rangers)
Nash’s ups and downs with the Rangers have been frustrating. He had an excellent 2012/13, only to miss part of 2013/14 with injury and fall below 40 points for the first time since his 2002/03 rookie season. A 2014/15 season that saw him score 42 goals and 69 points was followed up with 15 and 36 last season. Nash is having another, albeit more modest, up this season, currently ranking second on the team in goals and scoring at a pace for over 30 goals and 50 points.
Mika Zibanejad (Centre-93-NY Rangers)
When the Rangers acquired Zibanejad, I took note that he had scored 50 points in a season for the first time earlier than Derick Brassard, the player the Rangers traded to get him, and Derek Stepan, the incumbent no.1 centre, and that he’d have much better results playing with the Rangers’ more potent offence. I have been right. Even though he has missed seven games with a broken fibula, and will miss many more, his scoring rate would have him leading the team in points by a decent margin and on pace for 65 points.
Kyle Turris (Centre-7-Ottawa)
Back in 2014/15, Turris took over as Ottawa’s first-line centre following the trade of Jason Spezza to the Stars. The move allowed Turris to flourish, resulting in 64 points in 82 games. After being hampered and sidelined by injries last year, Turris has rebounded this season, and is on pace to top 30 goals for the first time in his career.
Bobby Ryan (Right Wing-9-Ottawa)
Ryan, originally an Anaheim draft pick, topped the 30 goal-mark in each of his first four seasons, from 2008/09-2011/12. Even though he hasn’t produced that kind of offence since then, he has been a consistent 45-55 point man in the years since.
Derick Brassard (Centre-19-Ottawa)
While Brassard was an offensive disappointment with Columbus, and has struggled since joining the Senators, Brassard is on this list due to his offensive achievements with the Rangers. As a Ranger, he scored 60 points in 2014/15 and 27 goals in 2015/16.
Mark Stone (Right Wing-61-Ottawa)
Stone tied for the rookie scoring lead in 2015 with 64 points, and followed that up with 61 points, scored in 75 games for a prorated 66 point total. He is currently tied for second in team scoring and on pace for over 60 points again.
Mike Hoffman (Left Wing-68-Ottawa)
While Stone led all NHL rookies in overall points in 2015, Hoffman led them in goals, being the only to score 27. Hoffman followed that up with 29 goals and 59 points, frustratingly only one goal away from a 30-30 season. So far, Hoffman is tied for second in team scoring and one pace for that 30-30 finish.
Brayden Schenn (Left Wing-10-Philadelphia)
While it was great seeing Schenn score a career-high 59 points last season, a look at how those points were distributed shows a more interesting picture. In the second half of the season, Schenn scored 36 of his points, versus only 23 prior. That’s a 58-point pace versus a 74-point pace. He’s on pace to only top 50 points, indicating that the second half was just a hot streak. Though it’s a rather distant fourth, he is fourth in team scoring.
Sean Couturier (Centre-14-Philadelphia)
Couturier finished last season with 39 points and a 54.2 CF%. Those 39 points came in 63 games, a 51-point pace. This season, he has a 54.5 CF%. His strong possession numbers, taking into account the fact that he’s generally relied on for defence, make up for a lack of scoring.
Wayne Simmonds (Right Wing-17-Philadelphia)
Simmonds has developed into one of Philadelphia’s top offensive weapons. While other Flyers stagnate, Simmonds is coming off his first 30-goal season and his second 60-point year, and is on pace to eclipse both 30 goals and 70 points. He is also the team leader in points at the moment.
Claude Giroux (Centre-28-Philadelphia)
While Philadelphia’s veteran top centre hasn’t been able to repeat his 93-point run in 2011/12, Giroux has still been a top offensive centre. Giroux has the fifth-most points since the lockout, is coming off a 67-point season, and is on pace to top 70 points.
Jakub Voracek (Right Wing-93-Philadelphia)
Voracek fell from 81 points in 2014/15 to only 55 in 73 last season. It was just a short-lived slump however, and he is on pace to return to the 70-point mark.
Nick Bonino (Centre-13-Pittsburgh)
The veteran centre has never been a big scorer. His highest total was 49 points in 2013/14, and he has dropped 10 points in each of the following seasons. What is worth noting however is that during the latter half of his season, 31 games, he scored 21 points, a 56-point pace, and formed the productive HBK line with Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel. I have both of them on this list, so I included Bonino too.
Bryan Rust (Right Wing-17-Pittsburgh)
Rust didn’t have a particularly noteworthy season, playing 41 games as an injury call-up, and only scoring nine points through 23 playoff games, but he scored five of those playoff points in Pittsburgh’s seven-game playoff series against Tampa Bay. This season, he is doing much better, on pace to eclipse 20 goals and 30 points.
Conor Sheary (Left Wing-43-Pittsburgh)
Sheary had the same kind of season as Rust, playing only 44 games as an injury call-up and scoring only 10 points through 23 playoff games. This has been a much stronger season for Sheary however. He has played top-six minutes and is on pace to top 20 goals and 50 points.
Carl Hagelin (Left Wing-62-Pittsburgh)
Hagelin scored a career-high 39 points last season, and while that’s not very impressive, 27 of those points came in 37 games after his trade to Pittsburgh, as opposed to 12 in 43 for Anaheim, a 60-point pace versus a 23-point pace. He is on pace for fewer than 30 points this season, but since he also played on the HBK line with Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel last season, he’s on this list.
Evgeni Malkin (Centre-71-Pittsburgh)
Injury-shortened seasons have masked the fact that Malkin has been a more-than-a-point-per-game player every season of his career except 2010/11. Malkin is on pace to top the 30-goal and 80-point marks for the first time since he won the Art Ross in 2012, and if he can keep up his recent injury luck, there’s no reason to believe he won’t.
Patric Hornqvist (Right Wing-72-Pittsburgh)
With only two 50+ point seasons under his belt prior to his trade to Pittsburgh in 2014, Hornqvist has topped the 50 mark in both of his seasons with the Pens. This season, Hornqvist is even doing better than a barely-over-50 man, on pace for over 70 points.
Phil Kessel (Right Wing-81-Pittsburgh)
Here is a member of the HBK line who stands here on an entire career of merit. From 2008/09 to 2011/12 and again 2013/14, Kessel was a routine 30+ goal scorer. He hasn’t topped 30 since 2014, despite the expectation that he’d get 40 with Pittsburgh last season. He just had to settle for 22 points in 24 playoff games and his first Stanley Cup. He’s on pace to top 80 points this season, and with a really good scoring game at some point, could put himself on track for 30 goals.
Sidney Crosby (Centre-87-Pittsburgh)
Of course Crosby would be on the list. Forget that he’d simply skip the All-Star Game for whatever reason, just note that he’s fourth in the league in scoring despite scoring well over a point a game, and is leading the league in goals, on pace to top 60.
Joe Pavelski (Right Wing-8-San Jose)
Pavelski has been one of the most dynamic scorers of the post-lockout era. He scored a career-high 41 goals and 79 points in 2013/14. Eclipsing 70 points and scoring closer to 40 than 30 goals each of the past two seasons, he was a no-brainer to be named captain. He is still on pace for over 70 points despite a dip in goals.
Patrick Marleau (Left Wing-12-San Jose)
Marleau has seen an uneven decline. Eclipsing 30 goals and 60 points in all but one season between the two lockouts, only falling below 70 once in that time, Marleau topped both 30 goals and 70 points in 2013/14. Marleau scored 57 and 48 points in the past two seasons, and is on pace for less than 40 this season, making him more of a legacy pick.
Joe Thornton (Centre-19-San Jose)
Thornton enjoyed a strong late-career rebound, scoring 19 goals and 82 points, his most since 2011, but the longtime elite playmaker is finally declining himself. He is on pace for fewer than 10 goals and barely 50 points.
Joonas Donskoi (Right Wing-27-San Jose)
Finally making his NHL debut in 2015/16, Donskoi had a solid rookie season with 36 points in 76 games. He followed that up with 12 points in 24 games during the playoffs. While he has struggled this season, I chalk that up to a sophomore slump.
Logan Couture (Centre-39-San Jose)
Couture enjoyed back-to-back 30-goal seasons prior to the lockout, his first two in the NHL. Though he hasn’t returned to that mark since, he scored a career-high 67 points in 2014/15, led the entire 2016 playoff with 30 points.
Tomas Hertl (Left Wing-48-San Jose)
Hertl is slumping, but he is coming off a 21-goal 46-point season. Really, I just had to reserve a place on this list for someone who scored four goals in a game in as spectacular a fashion as he did in 2013/14.
Robby Fabbri (Centre-15-St. Louis)
Despite being selected fairly late in the first round in 2015, Fabbri made the Blues right away in 2015/16. The rush job didn’t seem to harm him much, as he finished with 18 goals and 37 points as a rookie.
Jaden Schwartz (Left Wing-17-St. Louis)
Schwartz has played on St. Louis’ top line since 2013/14, and the Blues have gotten strong production from him. He scored 63 points in 2014/15, and while he only scored 22 points in 33 games last season, he is on pace to top the 30- goal mark this season.
Alexander Steen (Left Wing-20-St. Louis)
Bizarrely, Steen has emerged as an offensive threat since the end of the lockout-shortened season. He scored 33 goals and 62 points in 2013/14, and followed that up with 64 points in 74 games in 2014/15. His 52 points last season were a 64-point pace in a full season. Even though lately he’s been falling back to earth, he makes up for it by being good defensively.
Paul Stastny (Centre-26-St. Louis)
Stastny returned to the 60-point mark in 2013/14, his last season with Colorado, and while he hasn’t even seen 50 in a season since then, he did score at a 63-point pace last season and a 51-point pace the year before. Sadly, he’s on pace for just over 20 goals and 40 points this season. He scored seven points in his first six games,
David Perron (Left Wing-57-St. Louis)
I’m putting Perron here because of his 28-goal 57-point season in 2013/14 with Edmonton. He averaged 0.51 points per game in the two seasons since then, and is now back with St. Louis, his team before he joined Edmonton. His offence has largely recovered, and he is on pace for over 20 goals and 50 points.
Vladimir Tarasenko (Right Wing-91-St. Louis)
The now-two-time 30-goal and 70-point man earned an appearance on the cover of EA’s NHL 17 after scoring 43 goals and 74 points, both career-highs, last season. He is on pace to top 40 goals and 80 points and is tied for fourth in both goals and points.
Tyler Johnson (Centre-9-Tampa Bay)
Johnson was the centre of the Triplet line back in 2014/15, when he scored 29 goals and 72 points. He fell last season to 14 goals and 38 points. This season, he is on pace for a 20-20 season.
Ondrej Palat (Left Wing-18-Tampa Bay)
Palat started his career of as a productive two-way winger, finishing second in scoring among rookies with 59 points and followed that up with 63 points in 2014/15. He scored only 40 points last season and is on pace for career offensive lows. This is more okay for Palat, as he was always the more defensive-oriented of the Triplets.
Jonathan Drouin (Left Wing-27-Tampa Bay)
Drouin shouldn’t have spent as much time in the minors as he did last season. His four goals and 32 points overall in his 2014/15 rookie season weren’t great, but worse players have stuck in the NHL for doing far less. The mistake was corrected when Drouin was given a larger role for the playoffs. He scored 14 points in 17 playoff games.
Valtteri Filppula (Centre-51-Tampa Bay)
With Steven Stamkos out from Rememberance Day 2013 until Trade Deadline 2014, Filppula handled first-line centre duties, scoring 25 goals and 58 points. While he scored only 48 and 31 points in the last two seasons, he’s in a rebound season on pace to reach 50 points.
Nikita Kucherov (Right Wing-86-Tampa Bay)
While the other Triplets haven’t replicated the success of 2014/15, Kucherov has continued his progression and become an elite goal-scorer. He finished last season with 30 goals and 66 points, leading the team in scoring. Kucherov is second in the league in points and is on pace to eclipse the 40-goal and 90-point marks.
Steven Stamkos (Centre-91-Tampa Bay)
Last year was a down year for Stamkos. He scored 36 goals and 64 points in 77 games, which is still really good by many NHLers’ standards. Injuries have hampered Stamkos in recent years, and he missed the last chunk of last season. With nine goals and 20 points in 17 games, Stamkos has been out since November 17 with a knee injury.
James van Riemsdyk (Left Wing-25-Toronto)
In his first non-lockout season with the Leafs, van Riemsdyk scored 30 goals and 61 points, a major jump from his previous career-highs of 21 goals and 40 points with Philadelphia. While he didn’t manage quite as many points in 2014/15 and missed most of the last season due to injury, he has taken leadership of a rookie-laden Leafs squad and in on pace for nearly 40 goals and 70 points.
Tyler Bozak (Centre-42-Toronto)
Posting a 51.4 CF% last season and a 50.2 CF% this season, Bozak has done a better job under Mike Babcock of earning his reputation as a defensive forward. The main reason I haven’t had Bozak on these expanded ballot lists is that he’s had the luxury of star linemates, yet has a career-high of 49 points. This season, he is on pace for nearly 60 points, and is on the official ballot.
Nazem Kadri (Centre-43-Toronto)
Kadri hasn’t reached his offensive potential, his high point being 44 points in 48 games in 2012/13 and 50 points the following year. After bouncing back last season from 39 to 45 points, Kadri is on pace to top 30 goals this season despite playing on the third line.
Leo Komarov (Right Wing-47-Toronto)
Scoring 19 goals and 36 points last season in 64 games, Komarov was the Leafs’ lone representative in last season’s All-Star Game, a good example of a more middle-of-the-road player talent-wise getting recognized for making an impact through hard work.
Brandon Sutter (Centre-20-Vancouver)
Ordinarily, Sutter is the third-line centre on a team, second at most. This season, his second with the Canucks, sees him playing on a line with the Sedin twins however. So far, the grinder is on pace to top the 40-point mark for the first time since 2009/10, his second year with Carolina.
Loui Eriksson (Right Wing-21-Vancouver)
A member of the vaunted 2003 Draft class, Eriksson made his mark as a hybrid two-way forward and sniper. He was a one-time 30-goal scorer and three-time 70-point man with Dallas. Last season, his third and last with Boston, saw Eriksson score 30 goals and 63 points. Eriksson has played on depth lines to spread out scoring, but the Canucks’ lack of offensive depth means Eriksson has nothing to work with, and is on pace for fewer than 20 goals and 40 points.
Daniel Sedin (Left Wing-22-Vancouver)
While 2014/15 saw Sedin the winger score 73 points, the most since he scored 104 in 2010/11, last season saw Sedin score 28 goals, his most since he scored 30 in 2011/12. Daniel’s decline is even more pronounced this season than in past years, as he’s on pace for fewer than 60 points despite having not missed any games since 2013/14.
Henrik Sedin (Centre-33-Vancouver)
Sedin the centre is also badly in decline, setting a pace for under 60 points just like his brother. The main difference is that Henrik failed to score 60 points last season too. The two Sedins are tied for the team lead in scoring.
Bo Horvat (Centre-53-Vancouver)
Horvat is currently third on the Canucks in scoring after scoring 40 points as a sophomore last season. Horvat is on pace to break 20 goals, 20 assists, and 50 points.
Alex Ovechkin (Left Wing-8-Washington)
Ovechkin remains an elite goal-scorer, though with his current scoring prorated to 82 games, it seems his grasp on the 50-goal mark is slipping away. And with his assists having been a mere fraction of his goals since the lockout, Ovie is on pace for his lowest point total in a non-lockout season. Still on track for over 40 goals and 60 points though.
Justin Williams (Right Wing-14-Washington)
Williams’ 52 points last season were his most since he scored 59 for the Los Angeles Kings in 2011/12. Sadly, he hasn’t done anything of note since the end of the season. This season, he isn’t even on track to reach 10 goals or 20 points despite playing on a line with Ovechkin. Even his playoff prowess seems to have left him. In 2014, he scored 25 points in 26 playoff games as the Kings won a second Stanley Cup. In 2016, he scored seven points in 12 playoff games as the Capitals were eliminated in the second round. He’s on this list based on last season.
Nicklas Backstrom (Centre-19-Washington)
Backstrom has enjoyed a renaissance since the end of the lockout. Prone to lengthy injury-induced absences in the early 2010s, Backstrom has only missed seven games, all last season, since the end of the lockout. He has also been productive, eclipsing 70 points in each of the last three seasons.
TJ Oshie (Right Wing-77-Washington)
Oshie, for whom his shootout clinic during the Sochi Olympics is a career highlight, has been out since November 20 with an upper-body injury. He is on pace, assuming he can return in short order and pick up where he left off, to top 30 goals for the first time in his career, as well as over 50 points.
Marcus Johansson (Left Wing-90-Washington)
With career-highs of 20 goals and 47 points, both set in 2014/15, it was incredibly frustrating seeing a player in Johansson’s situation, playing with Ovechkin and Backstrom, score like the typical mid-six forward. This season, he is tied for second in team scoring and is on pace to break both 30 goals and 60 points.
Evgeny Kuznetsov (Centre-92-Washington)
Kuznetsov, hyped prior to joining the Capitals as the most talented player not in the NHL, disappointed with 37 points in his rookie season. Last season, Kuznetsov lived up to the hype by leading the Capitals, and finishing tenth in the NHL overall, with 77 points. It’s for that reason that he’s on this list and the official ballot in spite of being on track for even less than his rookie totals.
Bryan Little (Centre-18-Winnipeg)
It’s a shame that Little has missed 60 games in this and the last two seasons. After scoring 64 points in 2013/14, Little scored at a 61-point pace the last two seasons. This season, Little was injured in the season-opener and came back only on November 29. His scoring has him on pace to reach the 30-goal and 50-point marks.
Blake Wheeler (Right Wing-26-Winnipeg)
2015/16 saw Wheeler jump from 61 points, his lowest total in a non-lockout year since 2011, to 78 points, a career-high that got him to eighth in league scoring. It got Wheeler named captain, and though he’s scoring at a slower rate than last year, he is on pace for a fifth straight non-lockout season of over 20 goals and 60 points.
Nikolaj Ehlers (Left Wing-27-Winnipeg)
Last season, Ehlers scored 38 points as a rookie, his production really taking off once he joined a line with Wheeler and Scheifele. This season, he has found a permanent spot on the first line, and though he’s much more playmaker than sniper, on pace for barely over 10 goals, he is on pace for over 60 points, and is third in team scoring.
Mark Scheifele (Centre-55-Winnipeg)
Last season, Scheifele finished with 61 points in 71 games, a 71-point pace in 82 games.This season, Scheifele has continued where he left off, centring Ehlers and rookie Patrik Laine as one of the NHL’s most productive first line units. He is currently first on the Jets and ninth in the league in points and is on pace, assuming a quick return from injury, to reach the 40-goal, 40-assist, and 80-point marks.
On defence, there are 85 players on this list. All of the defencemen on the official ballot are included here. As with the forwards, the majority of the players here are here for their offensive impact, though there are a handful of lower-scoring defencemen who make a positive possession impact.
Cam Fowler (Defence-4-Anaheim)
Fowler scored 40 points as a rookie in 2010/11, and scored 36 and 34 points in the 2013/14 and 2014/15, respectively. Though he has generally not lived up to his early offensive success in the past, he has been very reliable defensively. This season, he is leading the Ducks in average TOI and is on pace to break 20 goals and 50 points.
Sami Vatanen (Defence-45-Anaheim)
After finishing with a career-high 38 points last season, Vatanen is having a down year offensively. He is still doing okay though, setting a pace to top the 30-point mark for a third-straight season.
Hampus Lindholm (Defence-47-Anaheim)
Lindholm has been used more this season for defensive purposes rather than offensive. He fell from 34 points in 2014/15 to 28 last season. Struggling offensively, he is fifth on the team in Corsi%.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (Defence-23-Arizona)
Established for some time now as a great shooting defenceman, Ekman-Larsson is in his second full season as Arizona’s no.1 defenceman, coming off a season of 21 goals and 55 points, the former his second 20-goal finish and the latter his first 50-point year. He is having a down year offensively, but nearly everyone else on the team is struggling too. Ekman-Larsson is still on track for more than 10 goals and 40 points.
Alex Goligoski (Defence-33-Arizona)
Goligoski has been a very underrated offensive defenceman. He scored 42 points in 2013/14, and while his role with the Stars diminished as shiny new John Klingberg joined the team, he still had 36- and 37-point finishes the last two seasons. He is on pace for a similar year to last.
Zdeno Chara (Defence-33-Boston)
Missing a large chunk of time in 2014/15 due to injury and finishing with 20 points, 26 prorated, it seemed like Chara was entering the final stage of his career, the decline. The Dougie Hamilton trade meant Chara had to remain the top-pairing minute muncher, and he rebounded with 37 points.
Torey Krug (Defence-47-Boston)
Though Krug scored significantly fewer goals last season than the prior two, Krug’s overall offence went up, Krug going from 39 points to 44. Currently, Krug is in another down year, on pace for just over 30 points.
Cody Franson (Defence-46-Buffalo)
Last season, I put Franson on the expanded ballot list because of his performance the previous season, a 36-point breakout mostly achieved through 32 points in 55 games prior to his trade from Toronto to Nashville. He is on pace to eclipse the 20-point mark, and has been a strong possession player.
Rasmus Ristolainen (Defence-55-Buffalo)
Ristolainen has turned into a real gem for Buffalo. He scored 41 points last season, and has been one of Buffalo’s top overall performers. While he has been a poor possession performer as a Sabre, he is on pace to beat his offensive output from last season.
Dmitry Kulikov (Defence-77-Buffalo)
Last season, I put Kulikov on the expanded ballot because of his strong possession performance, 51.2 CF%, and 22 points the previous season. Even though he was a poorer possession player last season, scored only 17 points, hasn’t scored a point this season, and has missed so far missed 13 games with a back injury, he has been second in average TOI and a strong possession defenceman this season when healthy.
Mark Giordano (Defence-5-Calgary)
It’s obvious why Giordano would be on this list. He’s having a down year just like almost everyone else on the team, but the captain scored 21 goals and 56 points last season. In the two years prior, he topped the 40-point mark twice, finishing with prorated totals of 60 and 65 points.
Dennis Wideman (Defence-6-Calgary)
In 2014/15, Mark Giordano’s injury meant more icetime for Wideman, who took advantage of the expanded role to finish with 56 points, proving he could handle the extra TOI. I’m not sure I can tell whether his offensive struggles this season and last are from age or the whole team’s struggles, but he’s third on the team in average TOI.
TJ Brodie (Defence-7-Calgary)
After scoring 45 points last season, more was expected of Brodie. Still, the whole Flames team has struggled offensively under Glen Gulutzan, and Brodie is still on pace to reach 20 points, while currently ranking second on the team in average TOI.
Dougie Hamilton (Defence-27-Calgary)
After rising to the challenge of the increased TOI from the absence of Zdeno Chara in Boston, Hamilton was traded to Calgary and put out a career-high 43 points. He’s having a down year too, but is fourth on the team in average TOI, and is leading Flames defencemen in points, currently being the only one with over 10 points.
Noah Hanifin (Defence-5-Carolina)
After being the fifth-overall pick of the 2015 Draft, Hanifin made the NHL right away. He rewarded the Canes for their faith in him by finishing with 22 points. He’s flirting with a 30-point pace and performing well from a possession standpoint.
Justin Faulk (Defence-27-Carolina)
Faulk scored 49 points in 2014/15, and followed that up scoring at a 48-point pace last season. It seemed that this season Faulk was supposed to break the 50-point mark. This season however, he’s on pace for fewer than 30 points. It’s probably just a slump and he should get out of it at some point this season.
Ron Hainsey (Defence-65-Carolina)
Hainsey is another defenceman who has been having a strong possession season. He is also on pace for over 20 points and is third on the team in average TOI.
Jaccob Slavin (Defence-74-Carolina)
Slavin scored 20 points in 63 games last season as a rookie. This season, he is on pace for over 20 points, is the Canes’ second-best possession defenceman, and is second on the team in average TOI.
Duncan Keith (Defence-2-Chicago)
Keith is a two-time 60-point scorer and a two-time Norris winner, both happening in 2010 and 2014. After two straight 40-point seasons, the latter prorated to 52 points, Keith is on pace to reach 50 points and is tenth in league defenceman scoring despite having yet to score his first goal of the season.
Niklas Hjalmarsson (Defence-4-Chicago)
Hjalmarsson is noted for being a shut-down defenceman, with the usual trappings like lots of shot blocks, who is still an effective player, thanks to his puck-moving ability. In recent years, Hjalmarsson has shown an offensive side, topping 20 points in two of his last three seasons. He is on pace to do so a third time.
Brent Seabrook (Defence-7-Chicago)
Seabrook, whose previous career-high in points was 48, set in 2010/11, set a new one with 49 last season. He also saw a major increase in his goals, scoring 14. On pace for under 50 points, this is another typical offensive season for the bruising defenceman, which is still pretty good. He is 12th among defencemen in scoring.
Brian Campbell (Defence-51-Chicago)
Campbell rebounded last season from 27 to 31 points in his last season for Florida. Originally traded to Florida by Chicago in order to get out from under his contract, he was signed back in order to round out the top four. He is only on pace for over 20 points, and is having a weak possession season, so he’s here more in recognition of past seasons than this one.
Tyson Barrie (Defence-4-Colorado)
Two seasons ago, Barrie scored 53 points. He followed that up with 49 points in 78 games. It would seem that Barrie, already a weak possession player, is also struggling offensively, but he’s still on pace for over 40 points this year.
Erik Johnson (Defence-6-Colorado)
Johnson seemed to be turning a corner offensively when he finished with 39 points in 2013/14 and scored at an identical pace in 47 games the following season. He scored 11 goals but only 27 points in 73 games last season. This year, he having a strong possession season and is on pace for just under 40 points.
Seth Jones (Defence-3-Columbus)
The difference in offensive output for Jones before and after his trade last season is like night and day. In 40 games with Nashville, he scored 11 points. In 41 games with Columbus, he scored 20, for a 31-point finish overall. Columbus’ leader in average TOI, Jones is on pace to beat last season’s total.
David Savard (Defence-58-Columbus)
Savard scored 25 points in 65 games last season, a 31-point pace, and scored 36 in 82 the year before. Though he is having a down year offensively this season, he is fourth on the Blue Jackets in TOI, their best possession defenceman, and is on pace to hit 20 points.
Dan Hamhuis (Defence-2-Dallas)
Hamhuis last reached the 30-point mark in 2011/12, when he scored 37 for the Canucks. He hasn’t since then, the only times he’s come close are 2012/13, when he scored at a 42-point pace, but it resulted in 24 points in 47 games because of the lockout, and 2014/15, when he scored at a 32-point pace, but it resulted in 23 points in 59 games because of injury. Hamhuis is on pace for fewer than 20 points and has yet to score a goal, but it’s always his defence that’s made him what he is. He is currently Dallas’ best possession defenceman.
John Klingberg (Defence-3-Dallas)
After scoring 40 points in 68 games as a rookie in 201/15, Klingberg scored 58 points in 76 games last season. On pace for fewer than 40 points and with weak possession numbers, it would seem Klingberg’s sophomore slump came a year late and is more of a junior slump. He is still Dallas’ leading defenceman scorer and leader in average TOI.
Mike Green (Defence-25-Detroit)
Green, who was as dynamic an offensive defenceman as they come in the early 2010s, played his first season in Detroit after a few years of decent, but comparatively weak seasons in Washington. This season, Green is Detroit’s leader in average TOI, 13th in league defenceman scoring, and on pace for nearly 50 points.
Niklas Kronwall (Defence-55-Detroit)
Kronwall would definitely constitute a legacy pick. He scored 49 points in 2013/14, 44 in 2014/15, and at a 34-point pace last season. The renowned open-ice hitter began the year missing 11 games with a knee injury, and has missed two non-consecutive games since. Kronwall has seen his possession stats fall under head coach Jeff Blashill, and the soon-to-be 36-year-old is barely on pace for 10 points.
Danny DeKeyser (Defence-65-Detroit)
After scoring 31 points as a sophomore in 2014/15, DeKeyser saw his overall points and his possession numbers fall under Jeff Blashill. DeKeyser is on pace for fewer than 20 points, but is second on the Red Wings in average TOI and coming off a career-high eight goals
Andrej Sekera (Defence-2-Edmonton)
Sekera unexpectedly scored 44 points when he played for Carolina. While he fell far short of that mark the next year, he rebounded last season to 30 in his first year with Edmonton. This season, he is a good possession defenceman and is on pace for over 30 points.
Adam Larsson (Defence-6-Edmonton)
Larsson is a positive possession player for the first time since he was being coached by Peter DeBoer in New Jersey. He is on pace for just under 20 points after scoring 18 last season.
Oscar Klefbom (Defence-77-Edmonton)
Klefbom has taken the reigns as Edmonton’s no.1 defenceman. He has the best CF% in Edmonton’s top-four, and is on pace for just under 30 points while leading the Oilers in average TOI.
Keith Yandle (Defence-3-Florida)
A perennial 50-point defenceman with Arizona, Yandle still managed 47 points despite sub-optimal usage by the Rangers. This season, he is second on the Panthers in average TOI and their top-scoring defenceman, on pace for over 30 points.
Aaron Ekblad (Defence-5-Florida)
After winning the Calder Trophy in 2014/15 with 39 points and following that up with a barely-a-slump 36 points, Ekblad is only on track for over 20 points. It’s a slump that Ekblad has in common with players like budding top centre Aleksander Barkov. Ekblad is still a positive possession player, the Panthers TOI leader, and on pace for nearly 20 goals.
Jason Demers (Defence-55-Florida)
Demers has run kind of hot and cold on a season-to-season basis. In 2013/14, he scored 34 points for San Jose. This season, he has Florida’s fourth-highest TOI average and is on pace to reach 30 points for the first time since 2014.
Jake Muzzin (Defence-6-Los Angeles)
It had appeared as though Muzzin had blossommed into a top-pairing defenceman, scoring 41 and 40 points in his last two seasons, respectively. Muzzin is still bringing positives, being Los Angeles’ top possession defenceman this season and placing third on the team in average TOI, but he’s only pace to reach 20 points.
Drew Doughty (Defence-8-Los Angeles)
Last season, Doughty scored 51 points, his first time reaching 50 since 2009/10, and won the Norris Trophy. He had a slow start, but Doughty, one of the elite NHL defencemen, has picked things up and is on pace for over 40 points.
Alec Martinez (Defence-27-Los Angeles)
For much of his career, Martinez was just a bottom-four puck-moving defenceman. Going into last season, Martinez’s claim to fame was the game-winning goal in the final 2014 Stanley Cup Final game. After scoring 31 points last season, Martinez is second on the team in average TOI and is on pace for closer to 50 points than 40.
Ryan Suter (Defence-20-Minnesota)
Suter is renowned for playing a lot of minutes and being responsible defensively. He has remained that way with the Wild and continued his 40-point scoring ways. After scoring 37 points in 2014/15, Suter scored 51 last season. Though his possession numbers have nosedived under Bruce Boudreau, Suter is on pace to beat his career-highs and reach 10 goals for the first time.
Matt Dumba (Defence-24-Minnesota)
Dumba scored 10 goals and 26 points last season. This year, he is on pace for even closer to 30 points and is third on the Wild in average TOI.
Jonas Brodin (Defence-25-Minnesota)
Drafted in the first round in 2011 as a puck-moving defenceman, I always found it disappointing that Brodin wouldn’t even score 20 points in a season. This season, he is fourth on the team in average TOI and is on pace to reach 30 for the first time. He is also the only Minnesota defenceman on this list who has a CF% over 50.
Jared Spurgeon (Defence-46-Minnesota)
For each season since the end of the lockout, Spurgeon has scored at a 31-point pace, except for 2013/14, when he scored at a 32-point pace. For the first few post-lockout seasons, Suter would be paired with Brodin and Spurgeon with Marco Scandella, despite Suter and Spurgeon having their best results together. The Wild finally played them together last season, and Suter and Spurgeon had career-highs of 51 and 29 points respectively. Spurgeon is second on the team in average TOI and on pace for over 30 points again.
Shea Weber (Defence-6-Montreal)
Weber has become one of the most polarizing players in the NHL. Generally, people will point to his reputation for big hits and his offensive numbers as proof that he’s a Norris-calibre defenceman, while others will point to his poor underlying numbers as proof that he’s not as good as the first group says. Regardless, those are some really good offensive numbers. He is on pace to top 20 goals and 50 points again.
Andrei Markov (Defence-79-Montreal)
Markov has done fairly well for a 37-year-old on the wrong end of years of knee trouble. Two seasons, Markov scored 50 points, and while last season he fell to 44, this season he is on pace for nearly 60. He hasn’t reached 60 points since 2009.
Ryan Ellis (Defence-4-Nashville)
Last season, Ellis managed to stay healthy after being limited to 58 games the previous season. For the first time, he managed to hit the 30-point mark. He has seen significantly more TOI playing on a pairing with Roman Josi.
Mattias Ekholm (Defence-14-Nashville)
Though Ekholm is struggling offensively this season, he took a major step last season. After scoring only 18 points in 2014/15, he jumped to 35 last season. He has seen significantly more TOI playing on a pairing with PK Subban.
Roman Josi (Defence-59-Nashville)
Josi has been on Nashville’s top pairing since Ryan Suter left in 2012. Whole he kind of had to be carried by Weber to start, the last three seasons saw Josi jump from a prorated 31 points to 40, 40 to 55, and 55 to 61. His emergence as Nashville’s top defenceman is probably what encouraged the Predators to trade Weber.
PK Subban (Defence-76-Nashville)
Subban has gotten over a slow start and adjustment period to return to the high-end of NHL defenceman scoring. He is currently tied for ninth among all defencemen. In addition, he is in a dead heat with Roman Josi for the Predators’ lead in average TOI.
Andy Greene (Defence-6-New Jersey)
Greene, as the Devils’ second-year captain and TOI leader, finds himself on the main ballot. His possession stats remain poor like every other Devils defenceman’s, but he is on pace to reach the 20 point mark, which he did in 2014/15 before finishing last season with 13.
Damon Severson (Defence-28-New Jersey)
Severson started off strong in his 2014/15 rookie season, but wound up finishing with only 17 points in 51 games. Last season saw Severson improve to 21 points. This season, he has seen his role expand, and he is second on the team in average ice time and on pace for over 40 points.
Nick Leddy (Defence-2-NY Islanders)
Leddy has emerged as a star player since joining the Islanders. He followed up a 37-point performance in 2014/15 with 40 points last season. This season, though he’s on pace for not quite as much as last year, he is leading the Islanders in average TOI by a nearly-three-minute margin.
Travis Hamonic (Defence-3-NY Islanders)
Though last season saw Hamonic fall from 33 points to 21, Hamonic has remained a major part of the Islanders. After having repaired his relationship with the team, Hamonic is on pace to nearly reach 30 points, though his average TOI is curiously down by over three minutes from last season.
Johnny Boychuk (Defence-55-NY Islanders)
A power play option with the Bruins because of his shot, Boychuk jumped from a then-career-high 23 points in his last year with Boston to 35 with the Isles. So far, that has remained his career-high, though he is on pace for a modest rebound from last season’s 25 points. He is on the main All-Star ballot for the Isles.
Nick Holden (Defence-22-NY Rangers)
This wasn’t a name one would expect in the All-Star conversation, someone who has never scored 30 points in a season and only once averaged 20 minutes in a season. This season, while he isn’t doing the latter, he is on pace for nearly 40 points. Though he trails by four and a half minutes, Holden is second on the team in average TOI.
Ryan McDonagh (Defence-27-NY Rangers)
Though noted for his defence, McDonagh has proven very underrated offensively. The third-year Rangers captain scored a career-high 43 points in 2013/14, and while he scored only 33 and 34 points in the last two seasons, he is on pace to eclipse his career-high.
Dion Phaneuf (Defence-2-Ottawa)
Last season, Phaneuf rebounded from 29 points to 32 as he was traded from Toronto to Ottawa. While he started off very slowly offensively this season, a recent handful of points has him on pace to reach 30 points.
Erik Karlsson (Defence-65-Ottawa)
Karlsson’s blocking a lot more shots this season, which should shut up everyone saying he’s a bad defenceman. Even though he’s “flourishing” with a 47.4 CF%, he is still on pace to reach the 20-goal and 80-point marks.
Radko Gudas (Defence-3-Philadelphia)
Gudas’s reputation is as a big-hitting defensive defenceman, but despite that, he’s a strong possession defenceman. A third-pairing defenceman until he was traded to Philadelphia, he is now third on the team average TOI. After scoring 14 points last season, Gudas is on pace to beat his career-high of 22 points.
Mark Streit (Defence-32-Philadelphia)
Streit has had ups and downs since joining the Flyers in 2013. In his second year, he finished with 52 points, his highest total since 2009. Last season, on the other hand, he only scored 23 in 62 games. He is having a rebound season, on pace for over 40 points, which he regularly accomplished with the Islanders. Back when he signed, I was expecting his age to make him ineffective, and it really hasn’t hurt all that much. The Flyers have gotten much more value out of the deal.
Shayne Gostisbehere (Defence-53-Philadelphia)
Recalled in mid-November because of injuries on Philadelphia’s blueline, Gostisbehere did so well the Flyers had to keep him up. Scoring 17 goals and 46 points in 64 games, Gostisbehere helped elevate the Flyers to playoff contention. He was a finalist for the Calder Trophy, losing to Artemi Panarin only because Panarin played the entirety of the season. This season, though he had a bit of a sophomore slump to start the year, has recovered offensively and is also leading the Flyers in average TOI.
Justin Schultz (Defence-4-Pittsburgh)
Rushed to the NHL, with a career-high of 33 points, and after an unbelievably bad season, one wouldn’t think to see Schultz in anything to do with an All-Star Game. Last year, he was traded to the Penguins and won a Stanley Cup with them. This season, he’s playing on their third pairing and it is a surprisingly productive one. He is second in Pens defenceman scoring despite being sixth in average TOI, and is on pace for nearly 40 points.
Ian Cole (Defence-28-Pittsburgh)
Cole is Schultz’s partner on the third pairing, and is fifth in average TOI. Despite that, he is third in Pens defenceman scoring and on pace for over 30 points.
Kris Letang (Defence-58-Pittsburgh)
Becoming known for injury issues, Letang found consistent health last season, and it got him a career-high 67 points. This year, he is again on pace to top 60 points.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic (Defence-44-San Jose)
Last season, Vlasic surprised by scoring 39 points, beating by three points a career-high set in 2009. Though he is just an over-20-point defenceman and is once again on pace to only reach 20, Vlasic is one of the best defensive defencemen in the NHL and is reliably a strong possession defenceman.
Brent Burns (Defence-88-San Jose)
In 2013/14, Burns was moved back to his usual position on defence, and the next year, he scored a career-high 60 points. In 2015/16, Burns surprisingly beat that with 75 points. This year, he is on pace to top 30 goals and 70 points.
Jay Bouwmeester (Defence-19-St. Louis)
While Bouwmeester scored 37 points 2013/14, in his first full season with the Blues, the veteran has settled into a defensive role with the team. In all but that first season, he has hovered around a 50 CF%. This season, he is on pace for fewer than 20 points, but is on the official ballot.
Kevin Shattenkirk (Defence-22-St. Louis)
The last two seasons saw Shattenkirk scored at over a 50-point pace, with injuries limiting him to 56 and 72 games and 44 points. This season, he is St. Louis’ best possession defenceman and is on pace for over 50 points.
Alex Pietangelo (Defence-27-St. Louis)
The last couple seasons have seen Pietrangelo take on a more defensive role at the expense of his offensive numbers. Last season saw Pietrangelo scored 37 points, the lowest total he’s posted in a non-lockout season so far. This season, his possession numbers have improved and he is on pace for over 40 points.
Colton Parayko (Defence-55-St. Louis)
Last season saw Parayko surprisingly make the Blues roster out of training camp. Scoring 33 points, he made the NHL’a All-Rookie Team. He is third on the team in average TOI and among defenceman in scoring.
Anton Stralman (Defence-6-Tampa Bay)
Stralman made a name for himself in 2013/14, being lauded as the secret weapon of the Rangers’ blueline despite low scoring numbers. In the years since, he has been paired with Lightning star Victor Hedman. It has been a fruitful pairing, as Hedman has benefitted from Stralman’s partnership and Stralman has had two straight 30-point seasons with the Lightning. He is on pace for a third this year.
Braydon Coburn (Defence-55-Tampa Bay)
Barely on pace for 10 points, Coburn hasn’t reached 30 points since 2008 and hasn’t had a noteworthy offensive season since 2012. Still, he has been a solid possession defenceman throughout his career and is doing particularly well this season.
Victor Hedman (Defence-77-Tampa Bay)
One of the best all-around defencemen in the NHL, Hedman scored 55 points in 2013/14, and returned to 40 last season. While his possession numbers are dipping this season, Hedman has traditionally excelled in that area. He is rebounding offensively, and is on pace to top 50 points.
Morgan Rielly (Defence-44-Toronto)
Last season saw Rielly take a major step offensively. He went from 29 points in 2014/15 to 36 last season as veteran Leafs defenceman Dion Phaneuf was traded to Ottawa. This season, he is leading the Leafs in average TOI, is posting strong possession numbers, and is on pace to top 40 points.
Jake Gardiner (Defence-51-Toronto)
It seems Gardiner alternates between scoring 30 points and not doing that. He reached 30 as a rookie in 2012, spent most of the lockout-shortened season in the AHL, scored 31 in 2014, fell to 24 in 2015, and returned to 31 last season. Posting some of the strongest possession numbers on the team this season, Gardiner is also on pace to buck the aforementioned trend and reach 30 points again.
Christopher Tanev (Defence-8-Vancouver)
Even though Tanev isn’t doing well from a possession standpoint this season, he had one the best CorsiRel%s on the Canucks last season, and had a 52.1 CF% in 2014/15. He is on pace for fewer than 10 points this season, but nearly reached 20 last season.
Alexander Edler (Defence-23-Vancouver)
Edler scored a career-high 49 points in 2011/12. In 2014/15, he did score 31 points, but fell short of that mark in an injury-shortened year, and is on pace for just over 10 points this season.
Matt Niskanen (Defence-2-Washington)
It was to be expected that Niskanen, who scored 46 points in 2013/14, wouldn’t match that total. Still, he has been good for the Capitals. He has posted strong possession numbers since joining the Capitals, and has scored 30 or more points each year. He is on pace for a third.
Dmitry Orlov (Defence-9-Washington)
With career-highs of 60 games and 19 points, both set in 2012, Orlov struggled in the two seasons that followed to get any real playing time. That changed last season, when he played all 82 games and scored 29 points. This season, he has posted good possession numbers and is on pace to reach 30 points.
John Carlson (Defence-74-Washington)
In 2014/15, Carlson scored 55 points, making the Capitals comfortable letting go of Mike Green, and last season, he was scoring at a 57-point pace before injuries shortened his season. This year, he is only on pace for over 30 points, but his still posting good possession numbers, a major improvement over last year.
Jacob Trouba (Defence-8-Winnipeg)
Trouba scored 29 points as a rookie in 2013/14, and while he hasn’t scored that much since, you can blame poor defensive partners for that. He has still reached the 20 point mark in the two seasons since, and is on pace to do so again despite missing the first month of the season unsigned waiting for a trade.
Dustin Byfuglien Defence-33-Winnipeg)
In his first full season as a defenceman since 2012, Byfuglien scored 53 points. Though he started the season off slowly, he is one of Winnipeg’s best possession payers this season and is on pace for nearly 50 points again this season.
Toby Enstrom (Defence-39-Winnipeg)
Though he’s third on the Jets in TOI this season, on pace for just over 20 points, and hasn’t reached 30 since 2014, Enstrom has been an excellent defensive performer for all of his time with the Jets. His importance to the Jets is magnified by the fact that for a long time, he was the Jets’ only reliable left-handed defenceman.
Tyler Myers (Defence-57-Winnipeg)
While Myers has been underwhelming to begin his time in Winnipeg, this season, he was improving before suffering a hand injury. He is on pace for nearly 30 points, and would challenge for 40 in a full season, and his season-by-season possession numbers have been much better than they’ve been in Buffalo.
Yes, I’m aware there are more than 30 goaltenders here, and that kind of diminishes the whole All-Star thing, but I included all the goaltenders on the official ballot, every team’s starting goaltender, as well as handful of 1B goalies who fit neither description, but are doing very well this season or have very recently been All-Star candidates.
John Gibson (Goaltender-36-Anaheim)
Gibson represented Anaheim at the 2016 All-Star Game. He has posted a 10-8-4 record and 0.908 Save% in 22 games.
Mike Smith (Goaltender-41-Arizona)
Smith, who led Arizona to the 2012 Western Conference Final, has posted a 0.932 Save%.
Tuukka Rask (Goaltender-40-Boston)
Rask is a perennial Vezina candidate. This season, he has posted a 0.930 Save%.
Robin Lehner (Goaltender-40-Buffalo)
After missing most of last season, Lehner has posted a 0.920 Save% this season.
Brian Elliott (Goaltender-1-Calgary)
Despite a 3-9-1 recordand 0.886 Save%, Elliott is on the official All-Star ballot.
Chad Johnson (Goaltender-31-Calgary)
John’s 13-6-1 record and 0.924 Save% are much better than Elliott’s.
Cam Ward (Goaltender-30-Carolina)
With a 0.914 Save%, Ward is having his best year since 2012.
Corey Crawford (Goaltender-50-Chicago)
After having led Chicago to two Stanley Cups, Crawford has posted a 0.927 Save%.
Sergei Varlamov (Goaltender-1-Colorado)
Varlamov posted a 0.914 Save% last season.
Sergei Bobrovsky (Goaltender-72-Columbus)
The 2013 Vezina winner has posted a 0.935 Save% this season.
Antti Niemi (Goaltender-31-Dallas)
Niemi has rebounded from a 0.905 Save% last season to a 0.909 Save%. It’s not great, but Niemi is a big-name goaltender and one-time Cup-winner.
Kari Lehtonen (Goaltender-32-Dallas)
Even though Lehtinen has struggled the past few seasons, he posted a 0.919 Save% in 2013/14 and is a big-name goaltender these lists just don’t seem complete without.
Petr Mrazek (Goaltender-34-Detroit)
Mrazek posted a 0.925 Save% last season and won the Red Wings’ starting job.
Jimmy Howard (Goaltender-35-Detroit)
Howard has posted a 0.934 Save% this season and done a good job of reclaiming the Red Wings’ starting job.
Cam Talbot (Goaltender-33-Edmonton)
Talbot has evolved from a backup to a starter, posting a 0.917 Save% last season and 0.916 this season.
Roberto Luongo (Goaltender-1-Florida)
Despite being 37 years old, Luongo has posted a 0.918 Save%. He posted 0.922 last season, returning Florida to the playoffs.
Peter Budaj (Goaltender-31-Los Angeles)
With Jonathan Quick injured, Budaj has handled most of the starts this season, posting a 0.913 Save%.
Jonathan Quick (Goaltender-32-Los Angeles)
This season has been a write-off for Quick due to injury. Last season, Quick posted a 0.918 Save%. Quick also backstopped Los Angeles to two Stanley Cups in recent years.
Devan Dubnyk (Goaltender-40-Minnesota)
Dubnyk has rebounded this season from a 0.918 Save% to 0.947.
Carey Price (Goaltender-31-Montreal)
The 2015 Hart and Vezina winner is back after missing most of last season due to injury and is posting a 0.935 Save%.
Pekka Rinne (Goaltender-35-Nashville)
Rinne has been rebounding from a 0.908 Save% last season to a 0.916 Save% this season.
Cory Schneider (Goaltender-35-New Jersey)
Schneider posted a 0.94 Save% last season, having a strong year despite playing for some weak Devils teams.
Jaroslav Halak (Goaltedner-41-NY Islanders)
Halak is coming off a season in which he posted a 0.919 Save% and backstopped the Isles to a second straight playoff appearance.
Henrik Lundqvist (Goaltender-30-NY Rangers)
Lundqvist has posted a 0.916 Save% this season.
Craig Anderson (Goaltender-41-Ottawa)
The veteran has taken several absences to be with his cancer-stricken wife, but has come back several times to post a 0.924 Save% on the season.
Steve Mason (Goaltender-35-Philadelphia)
Mason posted a 0.918 Save% last season.
Marc-Andre Fleury (Goaltender-29-Pittsburgh)
Fleury posted a 0.921 Save% last regular season and has had the majority of starts this season for Pittsburgh.
Matt Murray (Goaltender-30-Pittsburgh)
Murray played the majority of last season’s playoff and backstopped Pittsburgh to a Stanley Cup. He has posted a 0.937 Save% this season.
Martin Jones (Goaltender-30-San Jose)
Jones led San Jose to the Cup Final last season, and is posting a 0.920 Save%, even better than last season.
Jake Allen (Goaltender-34-St. Louis)
Allen got the majority of starts last season and posted a 0.920 Save%.
Ben Bishop (Goaltender-30-Tampa Bay)
The big goaltender posted a 0.926 Save% last season and led Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup Final the previous year.
Frederik Andersen (Goaltender-31-Toronto)
In his first year with Toronto, Andersen has posted a 0.916 Save%.
Ryan Miller (Goaltender-30-Vancouver)
Miller has posted a 0.910 Save% this season despite being 36 and in decline.
Braden Holtby (Goaltender-70-Washington)
Holtby is posting a 0.925 Save% after winning 2016’s Vezina Trophy.
Connor Hellebuyck (Goaltender-37-Winnipeg)
Hellebuyck has only posted a 0.909 Save% this season, but posted a 0.918 Save% last season.
On this list, I put every rookie forward who has scored at least 10 points this season, filling in additional notable rookie forwards until I had 20. For defencemen, I picked the top five highest scorers, plus 10 more notable rookie blueliners. It seems arbitrary to separate the rookies into their own category, but I felt it necessary due in part to the fact that some rookies are called up mid-season and make an unexpected impact.
Shea Theodore (Defence-53-Anaheim)
Though Theodore hasn’t done as well as people were expecting him to perform this season, he is on pace for over 20 points despite being demoted to the AHL several times, and is fourth on the Ducks in average TOI. His eight points in 19 games last season prorate to 34 points in a full 82-game season.
Jakob Chychrun (Defence-6-Arizona)
Despite falling from the Top 5 to 16th overall in the draft, Chychrun has proven right all the mid-season reports that he was NHL-ready. He is on pace for nearly 20 points, and is tenth in scoring and 14th in average TOI among NHL rookie defencemen.
Anthony DeAngelo (Defence-77-Arizona)
Recalled in early November, DeAngelo has been one of the more surprising rookie defencemen this season. He is on pace for nearly 40 points. He is eighth among rookie blueliners in both scoring and playing time.
Brandon Carlo (Defence-25-Boston)
The big shut-down defenceman has been paired this season with Zdeno Chara, and has averaged only less TOI than Chara. He currently leads all NHL rookies in average TOI.
Matthew Tkachuk (Left Wing-19-Calgary)
After scoring only one point in his first five games, Tkachuk got the same treatment Johnny Gaudreau got in 2014, a couple of healthy scratches. It worked, and Tkachuk is now on pace for over 40 points.
Sebastian Aho (Right Wing-20-Carolina)
The young centre-winger hybrid made his name last season in international competition. He scored 14 points in seven games with fellow rookies Jesse Puljujarvi and Patrik Laine on his wings for Finland at the World Juniors, and he also scored seven points in 10 games at the World Championships. This season, he is a top-six forward for Carolina and on pace for nearly 40 points.
Mikko Rantanen (Right Wing-96-Colorado)
Though scoreless in the maximum nine games he could play last season and still have his contract slide, Rantanen scored 60 points in 52 AHL games. This season, he is fourth on the Avalanche in scoring and is on pace for over 40 points.
Zach Werenski (Defence-8-Columbus)
It was expected that Werenski would be a major help on the Blue Jackets blueline this season, but not to the extent he has been. He is on pace for over 50 points, and is first among rookie defencemen, sixth among all rookies, in scoring.
Julius Honka (Defence-23-Dallas)
Despite playing in far fewer games due to starting the season in the AHL and his current absence due to injury, Honka is only two points off the Stars rookie D scoring lead. He is also the only positive possession player among Dallas’ three rookie blueliners.
Devin Shore (Centre-17-Dallas)
Shore is 12th in scoring among NHL rookies, and is seventh on the Stars overall. He is on pace for nearly 40 points.
Anthony Mantha (Right Wing-39-Detroit)
After years of somewhat disappointing AHL scoring and questions of whether he could live up to his junior league reputation, Mantha has finally been able to stick in the NHL. Despite only being recalled in November, he is on pace for over 30 points.
Ryan Sproul (Defence-48-Detroit)
One of Detroit’s rookie defencemen, Sproul is on pace for over 20 points. He is doing much better than Detroit’s other two young blueliners. Fellow 2011 second-rounder Xavier Ouellet has tried and failed in the past three seasons to make the NHL full-time and is barely on pace for 10 points, while another 2011 pick Alexey Marchenko scored only 11 points as a rookie last season and is on track for minimal improvement this year.
Jesse Puljujarvi (Right Wing-98-Edmonton)
One of the young Finns projected in the top three of this past summer’s draft, the fact that he fell from potentially second overall to fourth seemed to foreshadow that he’d have an ordinary rookie season. That being said, he’s on pace for 30 points. With that and his strong international performance this year, I had to put him on this list.
Michael Matheson (Defence-19-Florida)
Currently, Matheson is the fifth-leading rookie defenceman in points. He is on pace for nearly 30 points. He is also fifth on the team in average TOI.
Derek Forbort (Defence-24-Los Angeles)
Despite being more of a defensive defenceman, Forbort is sixth in scoring among rookie defencemen. He is on pace for over 20 points.
Kevin Fiala (Left Wing-56-Nashville)
At the start of November, Fiala was reassigned to the AHL, but it’s seemed to have done the trick. He has four points in seven games since being recalled toward the end of last month, versus two in ten games, not counting a healthy scratch, prior to his reassignment. He is on pace for over 20 points, mostly goals.
Nick Lappin (Right Wing-36-New Jersey)
Recalled near the end of October, Lappin has performed well as a rookie for the Devils. He is tied for the team lead in rookie scoring in two fewer games than teammate Pavel Zacha.
Pavel Zacha (Centre-37-New Jersey)
Speaking of Zacha, he is the other rookie tied for New Jersey’s rookie scoring lead. He is on pace for over 20 points. Unlike Lappin, Zacha made the team out of training camp.
Adam Pelech (Defence-50-NY Islanders)
Pelech currently leads Islanders rookie defenceman in average TOI. Since being recalled by the Isles, Pelech is the only one of their rookie blueliners to have neither been sent back to the AHL or healthy scratched. He is on pace for over 20 points.
Anthony Beauvillier (Left Wing-72-NY Islanders)
Beauvillier made the team out of training camp and stuck around while Mathew Barzal was returned to the WHL. He scored five points in his first five games, and while he has slowed down, he is on pace for nearly 30 points.
Jimmy Vesey (Left Wing-26-NY Rangers)
It seemed when Vesey won the Hobey Baker Award as NCAA Hockey MVP and refused to do anything but test free agency in August, that he was destined to not live up to his own hype. On pace for nearly 30 goals and 50 points, it seems he is living up to it.
Brady Skjei (Defence-76-NY Rangers)
Fresh off his college career, Skjei is exceeding expectations. Third in scoring among Rangers defencemen despite being sixth in average TOI, Skjei is on pace for nearly 40 points.
Pavel Buchnevich (Right Wing-89-NY Rangers)
The young winger has missed a lot of time this season due to injury. Despite that, he is tied for third among all rookies for points per game and on pace to reach 50 points.
Ivan Provorov (Defence-9-Philadelphia)
Philadelphia’s top pick in 2015, Provorov is currently leading all Flyers bluelines in average TOI. Despite starting slow, he is on pace for over 30 points.
Travis Konecny (Centre-11-Philadelphia)
Philadelphia’s other 2015 first-rounder, Konecny started off very strong, with seven points in his first eight games. Despite slowing down, with only eight points in the 23 games since, Konecny is on pace to reach 40 points.
Jake Guentzel (Left Wing-59-Pittsburgh)
I’m going to ignore small sample sizes just once here. Guentzel has scored four points in only five games this season on a brief callup. That ties him for third among NHL rookies in points per game.
Kevin Labanc (Right Wing-64-San Jose)
Playing his first pro season, Labanc has earned a permanent roster spot it seems. He was recalled in early November, and though he’s been briefly reassigned to the AHL once since then, he’s back up and has scored two of his six points in the three games since being called up the second time. He is on pace for nearly 20 goals and 30 points.
Brayden Point (Centre-21-Tampa Bay)
Point is currently 14th among NHL rookies in scoring. Ninth in scoring on the Lightning, Point is currently on pace for over 30 points.
Mitchell Marner (Centre-16-Toronto)
Of Toronto’s three most recent first-rounders, Marner, knocked for his size and believed not as experienced, was considered a possibility for reassignment. On pace to reach 60 points, he is proving those doubters wrong. He is tied for second, both on the Leafs and among all NHL rookies, in scoring.
Nikita Zaitsev (Defence-22-Toronto)
Despite concerns over defencemen who have recently come over from Russia, Zaitsev has exceeded expectations. He is third among Toronto defencemen and 15th among all NHL rookies in scoring, and is on pace to reach the 30-point mark.
William Nylander (Centre-29-Toronto)
Of Toronto’s three most-recent first-round picks, Nylander is the lowest-scoring. That’s not saying much though. He is sixth on the team and fourth among NHL rookies in scoring.
Auston Matthews (Centre-34-Toronto)
Matthews, the first-overall pick of the 2016 Draft, is living up to his hype. He scored four goals in his first game, the first player to do so, and despite a slump later on, has recovered and is on pace to reach 30 goals and 60 points. He is tied with Mitchell Marner for second on the Leafs and among NHL rookies in average TOI.
Troy Stecher (Defence-51-Vancouver)
Stecher was signed as a college free agent this summer. Despite a strong preseason, he was reassigned to the AHL. Despite that, when injuries hit, Stecher was recalled and immediately began proving himself NHL-ready. He is Vancouver’s best possession defenceman and one of only two with a CF% over 50, and is on pace for nearly 30 points.
Patrik Laine (Right Wing-29-Winnipeg)
Laine had a slump of his own this season, but he is currently one of the NHL’s best rookies, if not the NHL’s best. He is first among rookies in points, and is a distant first for goals, sitting only a few off of first in the entire NHL. There is talk of Laine winning the Calder Trophy, and possibly even the Rocket Richard Trophy. He is on pace for over 60 points, and is also the only rookie on pace for 40 or more.
Josh Morrissey (Defence-44-Winnipeg)
This is a homer pick. Morrissey is on pace for just over 10 points and while he is 11th in defenceman scoring, he’s closer to zero than the rookie D lead. Still we’ve seen and read about well he’s playing, and he’s Winnipeg’s best possession defenceman this season.