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Best Individual Performances from Every Season of the 2000s

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2016

Best Individual Performances from Every Season of the 2000s

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins are streaking right now.

    It's as if they have take the baton from the Chicago Blackhawks and are now the team that is moving at full speed.

    After beating the Boston Bruins 2-1 on March 17, the Penguins have won nine games in a row. They are led by Sidney Crosby, who leads the league in scoring with 48 points in 30 games.

    Crosby missed 41 games in 2010-11 and 60 games last year as a result of concussion-related health issues.

    Crosby is back on top this year.

    Here's a look at the players who had the best individual performances in every season since 1999-2000.

Pavel Bure, Florida Panthers, 1999-2000

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    There were several outstanding individual performances in 1999-00, including that of defenseman Chris Pronger of the St. Louis Blues, who won the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP. Pronger laid out big hits all season and recorded 14 goals and 48 assists to give the Blues consistent offense from the blue line.

    Jaromir Jagr of the Pittsburgh Penguins was the league's leading scorer with 96 points.

    However, Pavel Bure of the Florida Panthers was the best individual performer that season. The Russian Rocket scored 58 goals and demonstrated the ability to blast the puck past any goalie or make moves around the net to make opponents look foolish.

Jaromir Jagr, Pittsburgh Penguins, 2000-01

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    Jaromir Jagr was in the prime of his career in 2000-01. He was on top of his game and was the league's leading scorer that season.

    Jagr scored a league-best 121 points with 52 goals and 69 assists. That gave him a slight edge over Joe Sakic, who scored 118 points. Pavel Bure followed with another brilliant season, scoring 59 goals.

Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames, 2001-02

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    Jarome Iginla's hallmark in the NHL has been his consistency. Starting with the 2000-01 season, Iginla has scored 30 or more goals in every 82-game season he has played.

    But Iginla has also opted for the spectacular as well. He was brilliant in 2001-02 with 52 goals and 44 assists for 96 points. Iginla was also plus-27 that season.

    Iginla was immovable when he planted himself in front of the net. Goalies simply had no chance when Iginla jumped on rebounds or deflected shots on their way to the net.

Milan Hejduk, Colorado Avalanche, 2002-03

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    Milan Hejduk has been a solid goal scorer and impact player throughout his long career with the Colorado Avalanche.

    However, Hejduk has not always been just a solid player. In the 2002-03 season, he was an explosive scoring machine.

    Hejduk was the leading goal scorer in the league that season with 50 goals. He also had 98 points, which was the fourth-leading total in the NHL.

    Hejduk has been known for his special hands throughout his career, and that season he picked nearly every corner available. Hejduk tied teammate Peter Forsberg with a plus-52 rating that season, and he connected on 20.5 percent of his shots.

Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning, 2003-04

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    The 2003-04 season was not as brilliant a year for individual scorers and offense as prior years had been.

    However, it was a spectacular year for Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning. St. Louis was Tampa Bay's best player, and he led head coach John Tortorella's team to a shocking Stanley Cup triumph.

    St. Louis led the league in scoring with 94 points, seven more than runner-up Ilya Kovalchuk of the Atlanta Thrashers. St. Louis had 38 goals and 56 assists, and he led the league with eight shorthanded goals.

Joe Thornton, Boston Bruins-San Jose Sharkts, 2005-06

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    The 2005-06 season marked the return of hockey following the full-season lockout of 2004-05.

    Early in that season, the Boston Bruins traded their former No. 1 draft pick, Joe Thornton, to the San Jose Sharks.

    The deal was a culture change for Thornton, who left the pressure-packed atmosphere of Boston for a somewhat more relaxed atmosphere in San Jose.

    That jibed with Thornton's personality and he had a spectacular season. Thornton led the league with 125 points. The lanky center scored 29 goals and showed off his passing ability with 96 assists. That was 25 more helpers than Ottawa's Jason Spezza, who finished second in that category.

Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins, 2006-07

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    Sidney Crosby had served notice that he was going to live up to the hype and more when he scored 102 points as a 19-year-old during his rookie season in 2005-06.

    The following year, Crosby was the best offensive player in the NHL. He scored 36 goals and 84 assists for a league-high 120 points in 2006-07.

    Crosby outdistanced Joe Thornton (114 points) of the San Jose Sharks and Vincent Lecavalier (108 points) of the Tampa Bay Lightning to become the league's leading scorer.

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals, 2007-08

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    There was a time when Alex Ovechkin was the most dynamic and explosive player in the NHL.

    His ability to accelerate towards the net and put the puck in the net in spectacular fashion raised Ovechkin to stratospheric heights.

    He was at his best in the 2007-08 season. Ovechkin scored a spectacular 65 goals and a league-best 112 points. Ovechkin was nearly unstoppable with the man advantage, scoring 22 power-play goals.

    Ovechkin was a non-stop shooting machine. He put 446 shots on net and connected on 14.6 percent of those shots.

Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins, 2008-09

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    The Boston Bruins began their run as one of the NHL's most consistent teams in the 2008-09 season.

    The Bruins were the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference and the top seed in that conference's playoffs after recording 116 points.

    They never would have achieved that if it had not been for Tim Thomas. The Bruins' goalie was spectacular in winning the Vezina Trophy as the league's best puck stopper.

    Thomas had a 36-11-7 record, a league-best 2.10 goals against average and a .933 save percentage, which also led the league. Thomas also had five shutouts for the Bruins.

Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks, 2009-10

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    The Vancouver Canucks have been one of the lead dogs in the Western Conference over the last five years.

    They have gotten to one Stanley Cup Final and regularly been at or near the top of the regular-season standings.

    Henrik Sedin has been a major reason behind their success. The 2009-10 season was the best of Sedin's career. He led the league with 112 points, and he also won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's MVP, edging out Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.

Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks, 2010-11

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    Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks is one of the league's best goal scorers.

    He proved that during the 2010-11 season when he scored 50 goals. Perry led the league in that category, scoring five more goals than Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Perry was also third in the league in scoring with 98 points. Perry had 11 game-winning goals, tying Alex Ovechkin for the league lead in that category.

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, 2011-12

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    Steven Stamkos has served notice that he will belong in a category with the game's best all-time goal scorers before long.

    He's at the top of the class of current snipers. He has scored 50 or more goals twice in his career, and he was spectacular in 2011-12 with 60 goals.

    Stamkos scored an eye-catching 48 of his goals while the Lightning were at even strength and 12 of his goals were game-winners.

    Stamkos' performance was good enough to give him a slight edge on leading scorer Evgeni Malkin, who had a league-best 109 points.

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