NHL Power Rankings: Top Goal Scorers, Stamkos and Sharp Lead the Way

Doug GausepohlCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2010

NHL Power Rankings: Top Goal Scorers, Stamkos and Sharp Lead the Way

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    We're seeing some diversity in the NHL goal scoring department.  At least in comparison to what we saw last year.

    As of right now only one of the current top five goal scorers, Steven Stamkos, was in the top 20 in goals last year. 

    Are these players on the verge of having a breakout year, putting their names up there as some of the best goal scorers in the league?  Or are they just off to an uncommonly hot start, sure things to cool off as the season progresses?

    As always, feel free to leave comments explaining why you think these five players are having such good years.

#1. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning: Eight Goals

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Stamkos, in his third year in the league, has eight goals in eight games, which obviously puts him on pace for 82.  It's hard to fathom that he'll keep up that pace, but not only is he scoring goals, he's helping other guys score.  He has seven assists this year, which leads his Tampa Bay squad.

    One of the scariest things about Stamkos: he's only 20 years old.  He's starting to have Ovechkin-type production just around the same age that Ovechkin broke out.  Everyone gives Ovechkin the nod to challenge Gretzky's mark of 894 goals, but Stamkos has plenty of years ahead of him to give The Great One a serious run for his money.

    After a disappointing rookie season, last year was the first time he encountered any real success.  He's confident now, and his Lightning currently sit atop the Southeast Division.  As long as Stamkos stays healthy 50 goals should be a given and 60 could be reachable. 

#2. Patrick Sharp, Chicago Blackhawks: Eight Goals

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Sharp, a nine-year veteran, only has one 30+ goal season in his career.

    He might be getting ready for his second 30+ goal season though.

    Sharp is currently carrying a big part of the load of the Blackhawks offense right now with his eight goals.  He already has two-multi goal games and has scored at least once in five of his past six games.  He's got a hot hand right now, so he might be moving up on this list in the days to come.  He's also been shooting a ton, with 38 shots on goal already this season, including 13 in a game earlier this month against Columbus.  Sharp must have gotten the memo that shooting more = scoring more.

#3. Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks: Seven Goals

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    I mentioned in the last slide that Patrick Sharp was carrying part of the Blackhawks offense.

    That's because Marian Hossa is carrying the rest.

    Hossa has seven goals, providing Chicago with the early season spark they missed last season when Hossa was out with a shoulder injury.

    It's tough to think where the Blackhawks (5-4-1) might be right now without Hossa and Sharp, who have scored more together than the rest of the Blackhawks combined. 

    Hossa has scored 40 goals or more three times in his 11 full seasons, so expect him to get right around 40, especially when the rest of the Blackhawks offense starts to come around and gives him more support.  Anything more than 45 is unrealistic, as the last time he scored that many was in 2003, and Hossa is now on the wrong side of 30 now.

#4. Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks: Seven Goals

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Apparently Daniel is trying very hard not to let his brother Henrik have Hart Trophy bragging rights anymore.

    Daniel Sedin has seven goals in eight games already, putting him at a previously unforeseen pace of 70 goals.

    Henrik Sedin has always been known as more of a set-up guy than a goal scorer, and he's been setting his twin up consistently this season.  Six of Daniel's seven goals have been set up by Henrik.  If Henrik has a season similar to last season, and if he can set up his brother Daniel on a consistent basis, Daniel is going to score a lot of goals.

    He's only scored more than 30 goals twice before, but with Henrik on his line, you might be able to expect him to score 40—or more—this season.

#5. Phil Kessel, Toronto Maple Leafs: Seven Goals

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    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    The Toronto Maple Leafs have gotten off to a blazing (for them) start this year, and sit in first place in the competitive Northeast Division with record of 5-2-1.

    If the Maple Leafs go on to seriously compete for this division title, they can name Phil Kessel their team MVP. 

    Kessel has seven goals in eight games this year, on pace for about 70 goals.  Kessel has scored over 30 goals in a season just once before, but the offensive load completely falls on Kessel's shoulders this season.  If Toronto competes, you can fully expect Kessel to score well into the 40's.