Predicting the Top 10 Goal Scorers for 2013 NHL Season

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2013

Predicting the Top 10 Goal Scorers for 2013 NHL Season

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    This top spot in this category was once the sole property of Washington Capitals' superstar Alex Ovechkin.

    This year, Ovechkin won't even find a spot in the top 10.

    Steven Stamkos is the best goal scorer in the NHL right now, and that's not likely to change, even in this truncated season. Stamkos simply has the gift for putting the puck in the back of the net. Whether it's his vicious wrister or his skill around the net, Stamkos is going to score.

    Here's a look at our predictions for the top 10 goal scorers for the 2013 NHL season.

10. Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks

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    2011-12 Goals Scored: 29

    2013 Goal Prediction: 21

    Marian Hossa saw his 2011-12 playoff season come to an abrupt end when he took a head shot from Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes.

    Hossa suffered a severe concussion, but he has come back strong and healthy. Hossa wants to show that he is still one of the dominant players in the league, and he has gotten off to a brilliant start with four goals in his first two games.

    Obviously, he can't keep that same pace up all season, but Hossa will lead the Blackhawks in goal scoring this year.

9. Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens

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    2011-12 Goals Scored: 33

    2013 Goal Prediction: 23

    The Montreal Canadiens are expected to struggle in 2013. However, they have some solid players, and none of them appears to be more exciting than Pacioretty.

    He proved to be one of the best goal scorers in the league last year and he should be coming into his own in 2013.

    Pacioretty, 24, has enough experience to understand the nuances of the goaltenders and the defenses he is facing. He also knows how to use his 6'2" frame to get the perfect shooting angle when he is attacking the net.

8. Radim Vrbata, Phoenix Coyotes

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    2011-12 Goals Scored: 35

    2013 Goal Prediction: 24

    Radim Vrbata is one of the most underrated goal scorers in the league.

    His 35 goals from last season were his career high and there's no reason to think that he's going to slow down anytime soon.

    In the video above, Vrbata uses his remarkable balance to take a decent scoring opportunity and turn it into a slam-dunk goal.

    Vrbata can undress opposing defensemen and he also has a quick and accurate shot.

7. Rick Nash, New York Rangers

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    2011-12 Goals Scored: 30

    2013 Goal Prediction: 26

    Rick Nash will face significant pressure this season. The Rangers added him in the offseason because they didn't have enough goal scoring last year and Nash can give the Rangers big-time production.

    Nash has an array of moves that allows him to score artistic goals, which is somewhat surprising because he's so big  at 6'4" and 219 pounds.

    It may take him a couple of weeks to adjust to life in New York City, but he will grow comfortable with his new teammates and should become the great goal scorer that John Tortorella expects him to be.

6. Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks

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    2011-12 Goals Scored: 37

    2013 Goal Prediction: 27

    Corey Perry should be one of the most motivated players in the league this season.

    He is set to become one of the most popular free agents in the league next offseason, and nothing will serve his interests more than another explosive season as a goal scorer.

    Perry has all the tools needed to score consistently, but it is his ability to out-wait the goaltender and make him make the first move that allowed him to score 50 goals in 2010-11.

5. Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers

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    2011-12 Goals Scored: 32

    2013 Goal Prediction: 28

    Jordan Eberle may well emerge as the leader of the young and explosive Edmonton Oilers.

    This team is gifted and they will become one of the better teams in the league. If they can make defensive strides, that rise could take place this year.

    Eberle is already a proven commodity. His 32 goals last year ago has given him the lead in the clubhouse—along with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—among the big-time young studs in the Oilers' lockerroom.

    There should be no slowing down this year.

4. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

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    2011-12 Goals Scored: 28

    2013 Goal Prediction: 29

    Philadelphia Flyers' head coach Peter Laviolette believes that Claude Giroux is the best player in the NHL (source:

    There is little doubt about his all-around ability. He is an excellent skater, a brilliant playmaker and he is not afraid to hit.

    He also can put the puck in the net, if that is what is needed. The Flyers will need him to do a lot of that this year, and he should not disappoint.

3. James Neal, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    2011-12 Goals Scored: 40

    2013 Goal Prediction: 30

    James Neal became a star last year with the Penguins, scoring 40 goals and showing a skill level that easily matched his determination.

    Neal has a wicked shot, but he can also go to the net and score the tough goals. He has gotten off to a hot start with three goals in his first two games in 2013.

    There should be no stopping Neal this season, as opposing defenses have to focus on Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

2. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    2011-12 Goals Scored: 50

    2013 Goal Prediction: 31

    Evgeni Malkin is coming off a season in which he won the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer and the Hart Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player.

    He did this while his superstar teammate Sidney Crosby missed the majority of the season.

    Malkin is probably one of the three most talented players in the league and he has the ability to score the kind of goals that most others couldn't dream about executing.

    His famed reverse backhand shot to the top corner in the 2009 playoffs against the Carolina Hurricanes will live on as one of the greatest shots of all-time.

    It seems like Malkin can score any time that he wants to put the puck in the net.

1. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    2011-12 Goals Scored: 60

    2013 Goal Prediction: 34

    Steven Stamkos is the best goal scorer in the league.

    In his last three seasons, he has scored 51, 45 and 60 goals, respectively. His ability to put the puck in the net is reminiscent of Hall of Famer Mike Bossy, one of the NHL's all-time greatest goal scorers.

    His 60-goal season last year was a thing of beauty. He has a wrist shot that allows him to score from distance and a vicious slapper.

    He is also quite clever around the net and uses his head fakes to draw opposing goalies out of position.

    As long as Stamkos is healthy, he is basically unstoppable as a goal scorer.