Predicting Each NHL Team's Top Scorer Three Years from Now
In the year 2012, NHL fans are gritting their teeth because of the lockout, but for a moment look three years into the future. The NHL is getting ready to start the 2015-16 season, but who will be each team's top scorer scorer?
Although players like Alex Ovechkin, Claude Giroux and Sidney Crosby are still at the top of the charts in 2011-12, here are the players who will lead each team in scoring three years from now.
Anaheim Ducks: Bobby Ryan
Bobby Ryan is one of the NHL's top young scorers, and by the start of the 2015-16 season, there is no reason why he shouldn't be one of the NHL's top overall scorers.
He has already exhibited that he has a ton of talent and skill, so three years from now he should be a more accomplished player.
Ryan has already started his career off with four consecutive 30-goal seasons so by the year 2015-16, there is no reason why he won't be a 40-goal and 90-point scorer.
Boston Bruins: Tyler Seguin
Tyler Seguin is one of the youngest and most talented centers in the game today. He is a complete two-way player who has grown so much during his time in the NHL.
Seguin took a big leap for the Bruins this past season, posting a stat line highlighted by 29 goals, 38 assists and a plus-minus rating of plus-34 in 2011-12.
Three years from now, there is no reason why Seguin can't be a 40-goal and 80-point player year after year.
Buffalo Sabres: Joel Armia
Joel Armia likely will make his debut during the 2013-14 season, so there is no reason why Armia won't emerge as the Buffalo Sabres top scorer three years from now.
Armia is a great two-way player with good vision and a laser-quick wrist shot. He loves to dig it out below the hash marks in the trenches, and he can play with skill in both ends.
Armia has a bright future with a ton of upside and he will be a skilled 30-goal scorer three years from now.
Calgary Flames: Sven Bartschi
The Calgary Flames are one of the NHL's older teams, so they will be going through a rebuild during the next few seasons. Sven Bartschi is their top prospect and he is a scorer who can become the face of the rebuild.
Bartschi is a speedy winger standing at 5'11" and 185 pounds and he has a lot of offensive upside.
He spent a brief part of the end of the 2011-12 season with the Calgary Flames, and his speed and offensive creativity was something that stood out.
If the NHL currently wasn't locked out, Bartschi is a prospect who would have likely made it to the NHL by the end of training camp, so three years from now there is no reason why he won't be an impact player.
Carolina Hurricanes: Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner is a key part of the Carolina Hurricanes franchise and he is signed through the next six seasons. Skinner has put up some impressive numbers during his first two seasons in Carolina despite battling injury.
The young center/winger is a versatile scoring forward and he will become the face of the Hurricanes franchise three years from now.
Chicago Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews
Jonathan Toews is the face of the Chicago Blackhawks and is one of the league's top players. Toews is a born leader, a feisty competitor and a skilled scorer and playmaking forward.
Toews has great vision when it comes to finding teammates on the ice, or when it comes to picking corners over a goaltender's shoulder.
No matter how you slice it, three years from now, Toews will still be on top in Chi-Town.
Colorado Avalanche: Gabriel Landeskog
Gabriel Landeskog became the youngest captain in NHL history this summer and he is also the league's reigning rookie of the year.
Landeskog is a highly skilled two-way player who illustrates great maturity and composure at all times.
Landeskog will develop his game during the next few seasons, and by 2015-16, he will be the Avs' top offensive forward.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Ryan Johansen
Ryan Johansen is the Columbus Blue Jackets top young offensive forward, and three years from now he will be a 23-year-old.
The skilled center had no problem producing at an above average level in Juniors and he is expected to do the same at the NHL level.
This young forward now has the skills to be a solid goal scoring forward, but he will start to blossom during the 2015-16 season.
Dallas Stars: Jamie Benn
Jamie Benn scored 26 goals and assisted on 37 others for 63 total points during the 2011-12 season and the next few years will be great for his development.
Benn is one of the league's rising stars and will only continue to grow as he inherits more ice time.
Benn has quality linemates and he will continue to thrive as a member of the Dallas Stars three years from now.
Detroit Red Wings: Henrik Zetterberg
Henrik Zetterberg is expected to become the next captain of the Detroit Red Wings and he will be the face of the franchise. Zetterberg is a solid two-way forward who is an excellent scorer and play maker.
Zetterberg can line up at center or patrol the wing, so this versatility provides him more opportunities to score. The Swedish forward will continue to lead the team in scoring three years from now and he will have developed into a great captain and leader.
Edmonton Oilers: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is an outstanding player and is one of the future faces of the National Hockey League. RNH has amazing vision, soft hands and scorer's touch. During his first season in the NHL, RNH put up 52 points in a shortened season limited by injury.
By the time the 2015-16 season rolls around, don't be surprised when RNH is a 100-point-player and leading the Edmonton Oilers to a division title.
Florida Panthers: Jonathan Huberdeau
Jonathan Huberdeau is one of hockey's top prospects. He was slated to make his NHL debut this season.
During the lockout, Huberdeau will continue to play for the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL, where he should continue to dominate.
Huberdeau is a force to be reckoned with on the ice because he is gifted with a great skill set, which is complemented by his agile hands and size.
By the time the 2015-16 season rolls around, Huberdeau will be one of the NHL's most dominant playmaking centers.
Los Angeles Kings: Anze Kopitar
Anze Kopitar really came through in the clutch for the Los Angeles Kings during their Stanley Cup run and was solid during the regular season as well.
Kopitar scored 25 goals and assisted on 51 others for a grand total of 76 points during the regular season—a breakout year for him.
The Slovenian forward has continued to improve his overall game and there is no reason why he can't hit the 85 to 90-point mark three years from now.
Minnesota Wild: Mikael Granlund
Mikael Granlund will suit up for the Houston Aeros in 2012-13 to make his North American professional debut during the NHL lockout, and three years from now he will be the Minnesota Wild's best player.
Granlund has worked hard and has illustrated that he has the tools to be one of the NHL's next top playmakers and that is evident from his speed, skill and finesse.
During the 2015-16 season, Granlund will lead the Wild with about 75 to 85-points.
Montreal Canadiens: Alex Galchenyuk
Alex Galchenyuk is a Montreal Canadiens prospect who has tons of potential. Galchenyuk is a solid goal scorer with speed and offensive skill.
He is going to be a piece the Canadiens will continue to build around, and the franchise is in for some better days when he hits the NHL level.
Galchenyuk is dying to prove that he is a healthy player. Look for him to be a future Calder Trophy candidate.
By the time the 2015-16 is over, Galchenyuk will have about 75 to 80-points to his name.
Nashville Predators: Colin Wilson
Colin Wilson is a young forward for the Nashville Predators and a player who has a lot of potential. Wilson is only 23-years-old and three years from now he will have five years of NHL experience.
Wilson is an apt passer who has continued to grow in the NHL and he stands the best chance to emerge as the Predators' top scorer n 2015-16.
New Jersey Devils: Ilya Kovalchuk
Ilya Kovalchuk led the New Jersey Devils with 83 points during the 2011-12 season, and 37 of his points were goals.
Kovalchuk stands the best chance of being named captain this season, so it is expected that he will lead the team in more ways than one.
Kovy has the potential to return to his 50-goal potential, but at the very least he will be a leading goal scorer in 2015-16.
New York Islanders: John Tavares
John Tavares is an elite offensive forward who has produced on a New York Islander team that has struggled the past few seasons. His talent is undeniable and he has the tools to become one of the league's next stars
2011-12 was a huge step in the right direction for Tavares, but 2012-13 will be even better for him and by the time 2015-16 rolls around, 90 points or more shouldn't be out of the question for the future captain of the New York Islanders.
New York Rangers: Rick Nash
Three years from now, there is no guarantee that the team's top scorer, Marian Gaborik, will be a member of the New York Rangers. Rick Nash stands to be the Blueshirts' top sniper not only in 2012-13, but for the foreseeable future.
Nash's skill set includes size, speed, grit and a booming shot that will be enhanced with Brad Richards teeing up tape-to-tape passes for the next few seasons.
The newest New York Ranger could easily score 40 goals and 80 points playing aside Richards, so the sky is the limit three years from now.
Ottawa Senators: Jason Spezza
Jason Spezza has been a mainstay for the Ottawa Senators and is growing as a player. Spezza had a solid season, scoring 34 goals and assisting on 50 others for 84 points last year, and is only going to continue growing as a scorer.
With Daniel Alfredsson nearing retirement, Spezza is the most likely candidate to become the new captain and he will lead the team on the ice during the foreseeable future.
Philadelphia Flyers: Claude Giroux
Claude Giroux had a monster year in which he scored 28 goals and assisted on 65 others for 93 points. In the process, Giroux emerged as one of the NHL's newest stars.
He also emerged as a true leader for a Philadelphia Flyers' squad that was without captain Chris Pronger.
Giroux has a bright future and it will be fun to watch him grow as a player during the next few years. It is safe to say by the time 2015-16 rolls around, Giroux will be one of the league's top stars.
Phoenix Coyotes: Oliver Ekman-Larsson
The Phoenix Coyotes may not be around in 2015-16, but there is a good chance that Oliver Ekman-Larsson will be.
It may seem strange that Ekman-Larsson is listed as the projected top scorer three years from now, but there is a good chance that he could become the next Erik Karlsson.
Ekman-Larsson is a young and talented offensive defenseman with great vision and a great shot, and three years from now he will be one of the NHL's top scoring defensemen.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Evgeni Malkin
Although Sidney Crosby is one of the greatest players in the NHL today, Evgeni Malkin has been the more durable player, and that gives him the edge when it comes to being a dominant scoring forward during the 2015-16 season.
This past season Malkin scored an amazing 109 points in 75 games. That is an impressive stat when you consider he missed seven games. When looking at Malkin, he is already one of the league's top players and you could say that the best is yet to come.
During the 2015-16 season, Malkin will still be on top of the league in scoring.
St Louis Blues: Vladimir Tarasenko
Vladimir Tarasenko opted to return to the KHL during the NHL lockout and that may not be the worst thing for his development.
Tarasenko is a natural goal scorer with a great shot complemented by his quick hands. He is a feisty competitor who plays with grit and aggression, and his KHL experience will give him an edge when he hits the NHL level.
Tarasenko will continue to develop, but he will thrive when he has his opportunity with the St. Louis Blues after the lockout ends, especially three seasons from now.
San Jose Sharks: Logan Couture
Logan Couture is a young center for the San Jose Sharks coming off a successful 65-point 2011-12 campaign. Couture is currently one of the Sharks' top offensive players, so it will be interesting to see how good he is three years from now.
A fair projection for the talented forward would place him in the 30 goal and 80-point range. Couture has the complete package and he will lead the Sharks in the future.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Steven Stamkos
Steven Stamkos scored 60 goals this season and was the main offensive producer for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Stamkos is the NHL's best goal scorer and there is nothing to suggest that he will stop scoring 50 goals a year during the next few seasons.
In 82 games in 2011-12, Stamkos finished with 97 points and continued to improve as one of the NHL's best forwards.
If Stamkos can maintain pace, he could rise through the all-time goal scorers ranks with relative ease.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Phil Kessel
Assuming Phil Kessel is a Toronto Maple Leaf three years from now, he will continue to be the team's top scorer.
Kessel finally played up to his potential last season, scoring 37 goals and 82 points. Kessel got off to a fast start but slowed down after the All-Star Game.
You can expect Kessel to grow in the future, especially if Toronto finally lands him a number one pivot.
Vancouver Canucks: Henrik Sedin
Henrik Sedin has been one of the Vancouver Canucks' top scorers over the course of the past few seasons, and he has had a better offensive career than his brother Daniel to this point.
Henrik is a skilled passer and playmaker but he does come up with a key goal every so often.
Three years from now, the Canucks captain should have no problem leading the team in scoring.
Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin is an offensive-minded player that was forced to play a defensive style under Dale Hunter and that really hurt his offensive numbers.
Even though Ovechkin's production has slid drastically during the last few seasons, the addition of Adam Oates should help Ovechkin get back on his game.
With Oates behind the bench, Ovechkin should thrive in a more offensive system, especially on the power play.
Winnipeg Jets: Evander Kane
Evander Kane is a rising star in the NHL and he has a good chance at scoring 40-goals during the upcoming season. Kane has great tools that include amazing speed, accuracy and a great release.
Kane signed a long-term extension to remain a member of the Winnipeg Jets, and will go on to form one of the league's deadliest 1-2 punches three years from now with prospect pivot Mark Scheifele.
The new Winnipeg Jets are going to shock the world, and Evander Kane will be the player driving the bus.