Fan Fuel: Top underrated NHL players

November 17, 2011, 1:23 PM

BY ANDREW GHARIB – FAN FUEL BLOGGER

Do you ever get tired of hearing about Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Toews, Stamkos or Lidstrom?

Here’s a list of who I think are underrated NHL players who are making waves, and deserve some more credit.

James Neal, Penguins – The Pittsburgh winger is a huge reason why the Pens are currently the best team in the league, without Crosby. With 20 points (12 G, 8 A) and averaging nearly 20 minutes a game tells me coach Dan Bylsma trusts him to come up big. When that guy Crosby comes back, well it just won’t be fair.

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James Neal (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Ryan Smyth, Oilers – The gritty veteran is making Edmonton a legit contender, averaging a point per game (10 goals, 7 assists in 17 games) and giving the Oilers a good veteran presence. This is a guy you want leading your team come playoff time.

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Ryan Smyth (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Loui Eriksson, Stars – Possibly the most underrated player in the NHL today, Eriksson averages a point per game for the Stars (9 goals, 8 assists in 17 games), who have surprised people with their play currently sitting at fourth overall in the NHL.

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Loui Eriksson (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mike Fuentes)

Kris Versteeg, Panthers – Over a point a game (9 goals, 11 assists in 17 games), is a plus-11 on the season, and has Florida sitting at 12th in the NHL. When was the last time Florida was 12th in anything?

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Kris Versteeg (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Trevor Hagan)

Erik Karlsson, Senators – His plus/minus isn’t anything to write home about, but he is the engine that runs the Sens on the backend. A prolific puck handler and skater, Karlsson is almost a point per game player (1 goal, 16 assists in 19 games), and averages over 25 minutes a game. We’ll soon be hearing his name in Norris trophy talks.

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Erik Karlsson (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Tyler Seguin, Bruins – Horribly underrated player, underused last year, he has improved every single facet of his game and it shows. So far, his 20 points (11 G, 9A) in 16 games, while averaging only 16 minutes of ice time is very impressive. He has a lethal shot, and is a league leading plus-15 on the season.

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Tyler Seguin (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)

Joffrey Lupul, Maple Leafs – Completely resurrected his career in Toronto, playing behind the spotlight of Phil Kessel – Lupul is a point per game player (9 goals, 10 assists in 18 games) and has been a healthy contributor to Toronto’s surge into the top of the standings.

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Joffrey Lupul (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)

In a star driven league, it’s nice to give other players their due credit who you might not otherwise hear about.

Who do you think should be added to this list, and why?

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