2) First The Best NHL Pivots (Centers). Probably an under rated position of importance in hockey. The centre takes all faceoffs important in initiating puck possession. They also have to be defensively sound, being the first back to assist the D, and first to move the puck into the offensive zone.
- Sidney Crosby: (Pit) Although now probably damaged good, when healthy there is no better player in the league. No one does everything well like Sid can from scoring in close, winning important draws to setting up his team mates, he's the best
- Henrik Sedin: (Van) The play making twin. Despite he and Daniel's disappearance against Boston he is one of the best pure passers/ play makers in the game
- Steve Stamkos: (TB) The 21 year old has been one of the best snipers from the center position the past 2 seasons, with 96 goals during that time. He isn't shabby in the distributing department either. Also doesn't hurt that he plays with talented line mates
- Ryan Kesler: (Van) The Livonia, Michigan native really came into his own with the Olympics last year and carried that through to a great playoff run(until his injury in The Finals)
- Evgeni Malkin: (Pit) The 'other' super star center in Steel Town. Has won a scoring title and Conn Smythe Trophy. If healthy one of the best play makers in the game. Less over shadowed when Sid is out of the lineup
- Jonathan Toews: (Chi) Although still only 23, has developed into one of the best 2-way centers in the league. Already with a Cup to his credit and still getting better
- Ryan Getzlaf: (Ana) One tough and talented kid. Hard to say if his numbers are so good because of his line mates or if he is the reason for their superior production. Probably both. We'd certainly take him on my team in a heart beat!
- Joe Thornton: (SJ) Probably the best play making center in the game. Lacks superior scoring touch, but makes up for it with a nifty passing 6th sense . We'd prefer more intensity, but there's no denying Joe is a top 10 NHL Center
- Pavel Datsyuk: (Det) Datsyuk had a bit of a down year in 2010-2011 mostly due to a hand injury, but it should not overshadow what he is capable of doing as one of the best 2-way centers in the game.
- Eric Staal: (Car) One of the more consistently productive centers. Has a Cup ring and despite having less than super star talent around him continues to produce in Raleigh
3) Next the Wings: Right then Left: Both are usually the top goal scorers/snipers by trade. Not usually vital to defense but they do have that role nonetheless, covering their counter parts and/or the point. For this exercise its offense that elevates them in my list
- Martin St. Louis: (TB) Even at 36 is one of the best players in the NHL. Under rated in the extreme in our opinion. Had he played north of the border he'd of been easily a Hall of Fame candidate
- Corey Perry: (ANA) The reigning Hart/Richard Trophy winner. Along with Getzlaf make one of the more formidable 1-2 punches in the NHL
- Patrick Kane: (Chi) Kane will only get better as one of the younger right wingers in the league. Already is one of the NHL's premiere young snipers, and probably best American-born NHL-er
- Bobby Ryan: (Ana) Perhaps, and understandably overshadowed by Corey Perry, but he has developed into one of the NHL's best power forwards, and appears to get better every year
- Danny Briere: (Phi) If as projected he plays on the Flyers #1 line with Claude Giroux and James Van Riemsdyk, he might have his best year ever. Not mention in the post season he is pure clutch!
- Rick Nash: (Clb) Still considered one the NHL's top power forwards, despite seldomly paired with a legit top center. If Carter is that guy, Nash might have a great season
- Phil Kessel: (Tor) While it is true that Kessel does not have the benefit of playing alongside an offensive play maker, he possesses enough pure ability that he should post 30+ goals. Sorry Leaf fans, we don't see Connolly as that guy
- Jarome Iginla: (Cal) Even for a team in decline Jarome still scored 43 goals in 2010-11 and has also quietly averaged nearly 40 goals per year for the past five seasons. Even at an advanced age for hockey(34) remains one of its top RW's
- Shane Doan: (Phx) Still good for 60-70 pts to go along with one of the best leaders in the league. Toiling in both the literal and figurative NHL desert has not helped garner respect for all the good things Doan can do
- Marian Gaborik: (NYR) If he can stay healthy the combo of Richards and Marian could potentially develop into a deadly combination for opposition goalies to face. 'Gabby' is as gifted a pure goal scorer as there is
- Alex Ovechkin: (Wst) Despite seeing a huge decline in his stats last season #8 remains the top LW(if not overall player with Crosby hurt) in the NHL today. We look for a rebound type season, and if he plays 80 games, another 50 goal campaign
- Zach Parise: (NJ) One of the more underrated snipers in the league. He also has the speed to skate past most defenders one-on-one, and the stick-handling ability to create offense for the players around him. One of the top American born players in the game today
- Ilya Kovalchuk: (NJ) Kovalchuk had a season to forget last year registering a mere 60 points. He did manage 30 goals and we'd expect the Russian sniper to have a bit of a rebound season of 40 goals/80 pts+ this time around
- Daniel Sedin: (Van) Daniel had the best season of his career last season . He eclipsed 100 points and 40 goals and will probably do that again this year. It doesn't hurt that, he has the guarantee of one of the top set up men in the game being on the ice with him every shift.
- Thomas Vanek:(Buf) Tough to live up to the huge mega contract that Edmonton's Kevin Lowe helped engineer. Yet Thomas remains an underrated sniper from the left side, where he and center Derek Roy provide a lot of the offense in Buffalo
- Henrik Zetterberg: (Det) Has almost no flaws to his game. Probably the best all around forward in the NHL. It would be interesting to see the offensive numbers Zetterberg would put up if he played less defensively responsibly
- Loui Ericksson: (Dal) Despite increasing point totals for the past 5 seasons it remains to be seen how much will Richards' departure affect Eriksson's production?
- Dany Heatley : (Min) Has a lot to prove following his playoff disappearance last spring, and subsequent trade from the Sharks. Will probably be paired up with Mikko Koivu an underrated play maker center on the Wild first line, so it might be a productive season for Dany.
- Patrick Marleau:(SJ) With the departure of Heatley, Marleau will now be the #1 LW (and sometimes in the center slot on the Shark 2nd line)
- Milan Lucic: (Bos) Lucic is an up and coming power forward who seems to excel in close. Lucic had a career high 62 points for the Stanly Cup champion Boston Bruins last season.
4) Defense: This is probably the toughest to rate as they can't be valued by offensive stats alone. What we did was take a players' offensive skill/production, their defensive ability along with an admittedly subjective assessment or intangibles/ clutch play and their leadership ability to compile this list
- Drew Doughty: (LA) Despite a bit of a down year (compared to his Norris runner-up season) still remains a top defensemen able to contribute at both ends with equal talent. Hopefully LA and he will get a deal done soon!
- Zdeno Chara: Big Z not only continues to be a monster in his own end but has been a model of consistency over the past 8 seasons, sticking around the 40 point territory. The REAL Tower of Power!
- Duncan Keith: (Chi) The former Norris Trophy winner along with having a rocket for a shot and possessing exceptional offensive ability he also has stellar, shut-down defensive prowess along with toughness and leadership
- Shea Weber: (Nsh) The quintessential 2 way defender. Great shot, can carry the mail ,and is a punishing checker. He uses his size and strength to impose his will with regularity on forwards thriving on physical play. Simply the complete package now entering his prime
- Nicklas Lidstrom: (Det) Simply what superlative can we add to the ageless wonder? The best defensemen of his generation. Certainly since #7/77 retired from Boston/Colorado. Even over 40 there are few better in the game
- Dan Boyle: (SJ) Quite simply is the prototypical offensive defensemen. Kind of a poor mans Paul Coffey. Few defensemen can skate as well as Dan, and few can run the power play as well. Not the best defensive defensemen on our list but his offense more than over shadows those deficiencies
- Tyler Myers: (Buf) The heir apparent to Zdeno Chara as the tallest/best defensemen in the NHL? The 21 year old plays beyond his years on both sides of the rink and is a force to be reckoned with every time he steps on the ice
- Mike Green: (Wst) It would be hard to not to place the Alberta native into this list. He simply has as much offensive talent as any of his peers despite an injury-laden season. He also continues to improve in his own end as well
- Keith Yandle: (Phx) Playing in the desert "The other Keith"(Duncan) is probably best defenseman that nobody talks about. If he has another season like last year the discussion might be more out in the open! he has tremendous skating ability and mobility with his with superb offensive instincts and can hit as well
- Andrei Markov: (Mtl) The veteren Russian can do it all, but has had injury issues holding him back.
5) Goalies: Finally what is unarguably the most inportant position, the last line of defense. The last few years (outside of this year) the teams vying for the Cup haven't always had the percieved top goalies? There seems to be a 'changing of the guard going on with some of the more familiar names either retiring or late in their careers and no longer in our top 10
- Tim Thomas: (Bos) Currently standing atop the hockey and goalie kingdoms with his Conn Smyth/Vezina and Stanley Cup trophies this past season. At 37 how long will he stay there? Not the prototypical butterfly goalie, more of a Hasek style will probably lend him to leg injuries now that he's no longer a young man, but in the mean time none are better
- Pekka Rinne:(Nsh) With the decline of Kipprusoff, Pekka is now the supreme Finn, if not NHL goalie. His numbers last season were amazing, posting a .930 save %, propelling an offensively challenged Preds team into the post season. It doesn't hurt that he's huge and as nimble as a player a foot smaller
- Roberto Luongo: (Van) Last season was the 2nd best goalie in the regular and post season. Not quite up to the challenge of carrying his team all the way, but it wasn't all his fault. However the best are able to over come/cover for their teams' mistakes and elevate them to win championships. Thus far Roberto has lacked that ability.
- Cam Ward: (Car) One wonders how well Cam would do if he played for a better team or if he was a more consistent goalie. He has shown the ability to carry a team (Cup/Conn Smythe winner) but has also struggled at times.
- Henrik Lundqvist: (NYR) Few goalies are as important to their teams fortunes as Hank is for the Rangers. Without his heroics they probably wouldn't have been a playoff team 5 of the past 6 seasons. Unfortunately thus far those heroics haven't continued into the post season
- Ilya Bryzgalov: (Phi) Now that he is beyond the shadow of playing in Phoenix we will finally see if Ilya is the elite goalie we believe he is. He helped carry the Yotes at times the past few seasons and into the post season (They will miss him!)
- Ryan Miller: (Buf) Possesses the great combination of physical ability with phenominal positioning. If he played for a top team there is little doubt he'd have a ring by now. Easily the best U.S.born goalie today (see 2010 Olympics)
- Carey Price: (Mtl) Had we done this last season Carey would not have been on it, but he had a very solid if not spectacular season guiding a mediocre Habs team into the post season. All taking place in hockey's version of The Cruciable. We will soon find out if he deserves to stay here
- Jonas Hiller:(Ana) Most goalies would hate to be called "Swiss" as in the cheese, but Jonas is easily the best Swiss goalie to come along. Having already stolen the #1 job from J.S. Giguere, Hiller has become an exceptional goalie, possessing great reflexes but its his positioning of always squared to the shooter that stands out
- Marc-Andre Fleury: M-A-F certainly appears to have the ability, and has won a Cup, yet lacks consistency or the ability to stay focused to be considered a top/Vezina challenger.