With only a dozen or so games remaining in the NHL regular season, we have a pretty decent grasp on which members of your favourite team have been doing the heavy lifting.
In our NHL Power Rankings: Every Team’s MVP Edition, we single out the most valuable player on each of the 31 clubs.
Some were easy. Others were head-scratchers that we expect to hear about in the comments.
As always, the clubs are ranked below according to which ones scare us the most. The write-ups give some quick insight into why we chose the team MVP we did.
Nikita Kucherov is running away with the Art Ross and likely the Hart, but Tampa’s scoring depth is so ridiculous, the Lightning may have been able to win their division without him. Take Andrei Vasilevskiy (.932 save percentage, 32-8-4 record, six shutouts) off the roster, and we’re not so certain.
Brad Marchand just registered another 30-goal season, he leads all Bruins with 85 points and seven game-winners, plus he kills penalties and is fast becoming hockey’s must-follow tweeter.
Even the Erik Karlsson arrival hasn’t changed the fact that San Jose is still revved by the engine that is Brent Burns, who tops all Sharks and all NHL defencemen with 73 points. Yes, he’s a power-play wookie, but he also have five shorthanded points and five game-winning goals.
We’ll give this one to Johnny Gaudreau — by a nose, over Mark Giordano — because he drives the Flames’ top line from the wing and just registered career highs in goals (30) and points (84). How clutch is Johnny Hockey? He’s scored three OT winners and six game-winners.
At age 33, Alex Ovechkin (46 goals) is set to win yet another Rocket Richard Trophy, reminding all these young shooters who’s boss.
Toronto’s high-scoring cadre of forwards would be having much less fun if Frederik Andersen wasn’t leading the world in saves (1,551), again.
Without Sidney Crosby‘s 33 goals, 90 points, plus-23 rating and all-world defence and leadership, Pittsburgh would be at risk of missing the playoffs.
We’ll force Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler to snap this trophy in half and share it. The Jets may be less dominant than they were at this time last year, but it’s not on these healthy, productive stalwarts up front.
Sebastien Aho — exploding for 30 goals, 77 points, seven game-winners, and a plus-25 rating — will be the reason Carolina snaps its nine-year playoff drought. Helluva platform year.
With its score-by-committee offence, Vegas goes as franchise goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury goes. And with a 34-19-5 record, plus eight shutouts, Fleury still goes pretty good.
The year is 2019 and, believe it or not, we’re still under-appreciating Roman Josi, a force on both special teams and driving a ridiculous amount of the Preds’ offence from the back end.
Can I pick Barry Trotz? The Islanders are such a everyone-pull-on-this-rope kind of team, it’s tough to pick an MVP. New captain Anders Lee gets the nod, but that’s mostly because we can’t choose between two resurgent goalies, Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss, with near-identical stat lines.
Seth Jones has developed into one of the NHL’s best blue-liners, flashing offence (41 points) while logging big minutes and tough assignments.
14. Dallas Stars
The Stars’ Big 3 forwards have all rallied through criticism for nice years, but not enough people are talking about Ben Bishop leading all starting goaltenders with a .932 save percentage. The big netminder’s health is essential.
15. St. Louis Blues
Ryan O’Reilly is the Blues’ leading scorer, top centreman, and plus-22 key to both special teams. This one is a no-brainer.
In a recent poll by The Athletic, NHLers were asked if they had to start one goalie to win Game 7 of the Cup Final, who would they choose? Carey Price.
At risk of hurting Gritty’s feelings, we’ll side with the mascot’s bestie, Claude Giroux. Enjoying another point-per-game campaign, hockey almost takes this guy’s excellence for granted at this point.
18. Arizona Coyotes
The unsung Darcy Keumper has only started 63 per cent of the Coyotes’ games in net, but he owns 82 per cent of their wins.
19. Minnesota Wild
A healthy Ryan Suter has been a rock for the Wild. Not only is he still one of hockey’s best defenders, but Suter also ranks third in team scoring (44 points). Leads all NHLers in ice time.
Nathan MacKinnon, a wonder on blades, has been the pivot point of one of the sport’s most thrilling trios, elevating both Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog to career years while still leading the club in scoring and plus/minus.
With 98 points, seven game-winners and point streak we thought might never end, Patrick Kane is still the scariest American inside your blue line. Incredible that only nine of his 41 goals have come on the power play.
22. Florida Panthers
Aleksander Barkov hit 30 goals for the first time in his career and should set a new career high in points. Yet we find the fact he’s only committed two minor penalties incredible considering he barely leaves the ice.
23. Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid is the man, of course, but Leon Draisaitl narrowed the gap this year.
24. Buffalo Sabres
Captain Jack Eichel does everything for this team. His fourth straight year setting a new career high in points, and another chance at the playoffs lost.
Although he’s cooled of late, rookie Elias Pettersson is the best thing Vancouver has going for it — if you don’t count the oceans, the mountains or the sushi.
26. Anaheim Ducks
Goalie John Gibson enjoyed a fabulous first half, but captain Ryan Getzlaf remains this franchise’s heartbeat — its top scorer and most significant presence.
27. New York Rangers
Top centre Mika Zibanejad has grown into that role, leading his team in all major categories (goals, assists, points, power-play points, game-winning goals).
With reigning league MVP Taylor Hall having his season chopped short due to injury, Kyle Palmieri has been the most reliable player on a star-starved team.
Captain Anze Kopitar may be passing his prime, but he can still be a force at both ends of the ice. Unfortunately, he no longer has the complementary pieces around him.
Centre Dylan Larkin has been a horse, leading all Wings in goals, assists, points, game-winners as well as both power-play and shorthanded production. For his sake, we hope the rebuild is a quick one.
31. Ottawa Senators
Who’s left? Thomas Chabot. Thomas Chabot is left.