2011 NHL Draft: The Top 50 Late Round Picks Playing in the NHL Today

Alison MyersCorrespondent IMay 31, 2011

2011 NHL Draft: The Top 50 Late Round Picks Playing in the NHL Today

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    The 2011 NHL Draft is just a little under a month away. Experts are starting to get their mock drafts ready, and as always, a lot of hype surrounds top picks such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

    However, a draft cannot only be about the top 10-20 players available. Little is made of prospects who are selected later on. It can be easy to think these players are not as noteworthy or talented as their highly ranked counterparts, but that is simply not true.

    Over the years, a lot of talent has been found in later rounds of the draft. Some of these players have gone on to become NHL All-Stars, Stanley Cup champions and Olympic gold medalists. No one can imagine saying certain players don't have an impact just because of their draft position. 

    For this slideshow, we will look at the top 50 late round picks currently playing in the NHL. These are players that were drafted in the fifth round or later but have blossomed into key players or have a bright future.

50. David Moss: Right Wing, Calgary Flames

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    Drafted: Seventh round, 201st overall by Calgary in 2001

    Moss has been playing for the Flames since 2006-07. He had his best season in the 2008-09 campaign, posting 39 points. He had 30 points this year for his second 30-point season.

    The last time Calgary made the playoffs, which was in 2009, he had three goals in six games in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

    Moss only played 58 games this season due to injury, but he still had 92 hits, good for seventh on the Flames.

49. Kent Huskins: Defenseman, San Jose Sharks

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    Drafted: Sixth round, 156th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1998

    Prior to joining San Jose, Huskins won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. That year, he had three points in 33 regular season games and one point and a plus-four in 21 playoff games. The following season, he posted a plus-23 rating.

    Last season, his first in San Jose, he had 22 points and a plus-six in 82 playoff games. His production dipped this year because he only played 50 games, but he still managed 10 points and a plus-eight. He had one assist in five playoff games.

    Huskins was eighth on the Sharks in the regular season with 58 blocked shots.

48. Daniel Winnik: Center, Colorado Avalanche

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    Drafted: Ninth round, 265th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2004

    Winnik has posted two 20-point seasons to date, the first coming in 2007-08 while he was a member of the Coyotes. He had 26 points that year.

    He matched that total this year as a member of the Avalanche. His statistics included two shorthanded goals and two power-play goals.

    He finished the season seventh with 52 blocked shots and fourth with 49 takeaways.

47. Marc Methot: Defenseman, Columbus Blue Jackets

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    Drafted: Sixth round, 183rd overall by Columbus in 2003

    Methot has been one of Columbus' more dependable players as the team struggles to make a name for itself. This year, he improved on his 2009-10 total of eight points and minus-eight by posting 15 points and a plus-two.

    His 19:53 of ice time per game was fifth on the Blue Jackets, and he played nearly three minutes a game on the penalty kill (2:56) to be ranked second. He was also second with 176 hits and third with 98 blocked shots.

46. Brent Johnson: Goaltender, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Drafted: Fifth round, 129th overall by Colorado in 1999

    Johnson previously had backup goaltender roles with the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals before joining the Penguins last season, where he has been solid when stepping up for Marc-Andre Fleury.

    In 2009-10, Johnson went 10-6-1 with a .906 save percentage and 2.76 GAA in 23 games. He played 23 games again this season, going 13-5-3 with a .922 save percentage and 2.17 GAA. 

    His 2010-11 year was highlighted with taking starting netminder duties while Fleury struggled and a fight with New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro.

45. Matt Hendricks: Center, Washington Capitals

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    Drafted: Fifth round, 131st overall by the Nashville Predators in 2000

    Hendricks spent his 2009-10 season with the Avalanche, where he scored 16 points in 56 games.

    He improved upon coming to the Capitals this year, finishing the regular season with 25 points in 77 games. He had three game-winning goals.

    Hendricks especially proved himself in the faceoff circle, where he had a 53.1 percent win percentage during the regular season (fourth on the Capitals). He also won 50 percent of his faceoffs in the playoffs (fifth).

    In addition, he was second on the team with 169 blocked shots in the regular season. His 14 hits in the playoffs were ranked seventh.

44. Maxime Talbot: Center, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    Drafted: Eighth round, 234th overall by Pittsburgh in 2002

    Talbot has posted at least 20 points every season but once. The only exception came when he missed significant time in the 2009-10 season to recover from shoulder surgery.

    His best year was in 2007-08, when he posted 26 points as the Penguins prepared for their Stanley Cup Finals run. In those playoffs, he had nine points in 17 games, but Pittsburgh's Cup quest fell short against the Detroit Red Wings.

    In the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals, Talbot became a cult hero for scoring both Penguins goals in Game 7 as the Penguins won their third Stanley Cup. He finished the postseason with 13 points in 24 games.

    This season, he was fourth on the Penguins with 2:55 of ice time on the penalty kill and seventh with 154 hits. He also had 21 points in the regular season and four points in seven playoff games.

43. Scott Nichol: Center, San Jose Sharks

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    Drafted: 11th round, 272nd overall by the Buffalo Sabres in 1993

    Nichol is an NHL journeyman whose career has taken him to Calgary, Chicago, Nashville and now San Jose.

    Last season, his first with the Sharks, he had 19 points and an even rating while posting one shorthanded goal. He also had two points in 15 playoff games.

    This year, he finished with seven points in regular season. Although his production decreased, he was still second in faceoff wins (59.4 percent) during the season and fifth in the playoffs (52 percent). He was also fourth on the Sharks with 114 regular season hits.

42. Nate Thompson: Center, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Drafted: Sixth round, 135th overall by the Boston Bruins in 2003

    Thompson started his NHL career with the New York Islanders, posting 10 points and a minus-five over one and a half seasons. 

    Since being traded to Tampa Bay, Thompson is starting to find his niche. He had a career year this past year with 25 points, which included one shorthanded goal. He had four points and a plus-three in 18 playoff games. He also excelled in the faceoff circle, winning 54.2 percent of his faceoffs.

    During the playoffs, Thompson became one of Tampa's most dependable penalty killers, ranking first with 4:13 of ice time while the Lightning were shorthanded. He was fifth on the team with 21 blocked shots.

41. Radim Vrbata: Left Wing, Phoenix Coyotes

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    Drafted: Eighth round, 212th overall by Colorado in 1999

    Prior to coming to Phoenix, Vrbata played with the Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes and the Blackhawks. He has posted at least 30 points per year almost every season and has four 40-point seasons.

    Last year, he had 43 points in his first season with the Coyotes and also had seven power-play goals and four-game winning goals. He improved on his point total this year, finishing with 48 points and 10 power-play goals in addition to two game-winning goals.

    He also logged 3:13 of ice time per game on the power play, which was ranked fourth on the Coyotes.

40. Antti Miettinen: Right Wing, Minnesota Wild

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    Drafted: Seventh round, 224th overall by the Dallas Stars in 2000

    Miettinen started his NHL career with the Stars, where he had 56 points in 159 games. He has posted at least 30 points in every season but one.

    Since coming to Minnesota, he has 121 points in 234 games. This season, he had 35 points to go with eight power-play goals and four game-winning goals. He finished seventh on the Wild with 109 hits.

    Miettinen represented Finland at the 2010 Olympics, where he had one goal in six games as Finland won a bronze medal. He was also named to the 2006 team but did not play.

39. Jamie Benn: Left Wing, Dallas Stars

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    Drafted: Fifth round, 129th overall by Dallas in 2007

    At 21 years old, Benn is one of the NHL's rising stars. In his rookie season in 2009-10, he posted 41 points. He improved this season, posting 56 points to go with six power-play goals and three game-winning goals. He was also fifth in the NHL with four shorthanded goals and was fourth on Dallas in scoring. 

    Benn is also a solid physical player, as he was sixth on the Stars with 124 hits.

38. Doug Murray: Defenseman, San Jose Sharks

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    Drafted: Eighth round, 241st overall by San Jose in 1999

    Murray has four full seasons with the Sharks under his belt. In his first season, he posted a career best plus-20 to go with 10 points in 66 games. He had his best offensive season last year, posting 17 points.

    This year, he had 14 points in 73 games as a key defenseman for San Jose. He led the Sharks with 203 hits during the regular season and was second with 140 blocked shots. He also ranked third with 2:04 of ice time on the penalty kill.

    He also set a record for hits in a game by a San Jose player, as he delivered nine during the Sharks' game against the Ducks.

    Murray kept up his defensive contributions in the playoffs, as he led the Sharks in both hits (69) and blocked shots (48).

37. Rob Scuderi: Defenseman, Los Angeles Kings

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    Drafted: Fifth round, 134th overall by Pittsburgh in 1998

    Scuderi played the first part of his NHL career with the Penguins, where he had his best season. During the 2008-09 campaign, he had 16 points and a plus-23 in the regular season. He added to that with five points and a plus-five rating in 24 playoff games as the Penguins won the Stanley Cup.

    Scuderi's Penguins teammates nicknamed him "The Piece" as a result of his strong defensive play, specifically where he blocked last minute shots by Johan Franzen of the Red Wings in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals to force the deciding game of the championship series.

    In his first season with the Kings, he had 11 points and a plus-16 rating. He improved on his points totals this year with 16 points and was second with 122 blocked shots in the regular season. In the playoffs, he led Los Angeles with 18 blocked shots.

36. Jaroslav Halak: Goaltender, St. Louis Blues

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    Drafted: Ninth round, 271st overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2003

    Halak will probably be best remembered for his 2010 Stanley Cup playoff run with Montreal.

    After a regular season where he posted a record of 26-13-5 with five shutouts to go with a .924 save percentage and 2.40 GAA, Halak helped the Canadiens make a Cinderella run to the Eastern Conference Finals. Although the Habs were eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers, Halak had a solid 9-9 record with a .923 save percentage and 2.55 GAA.

    He was traded to St. Louis in the 2010 offseason, where he stepped up as the Blues' starting goaltender. In 57 games, he went 27-21-7 with seven shutouts and a .910 save percentage and 2.48 GAA.

    Halak represented Slovakia at the 2010 Olympics, going 3-4 and posting a 2.41 GAA.

35. Darren Helm: Center, Detroit Red Wings

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    Drafted: Fifth round, 132nd overall by Detroit in 2005

    Helm is one of the players the Wings will turn to as they prepare for the future.

    In his first full season in 2009-10, Helm had 24 points with three shorthanded goals and three game-winning goals. He improved this year, tallying 32 points and a plus-nine to go with two shorthanded goals and two game-winning goals.

    After finishing fourth on Detroit with 128 regular season hits, he led the Wings with 28 hits in the playoffs. He is also a valuable penalty killer, as evidenced by his 3:03 of ice time on the penalty kill in the regular season (second) and 3:09 during the playoffs (third).

34. Paul Gaustad: Center, Buffalo Sabres

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    Drafted: Seventh round, 220th overall by Buffalo in 2000

    Gaustad has been a permanent member of the Sabres roster since 2005-06. He is a consistent 20-point scorer who has two 30-point seasons.

    One of those 30-point seasons came this year, as he improved on his 22 points from 2009-10 by putting up 31 points. His best season was in 2007-08, when he had 36 points.

    This season, Gaustad led the Sabres in faceoff wins with a 59.8 percent success rate. He continued his solid work in the circle during the playoffs, winning 54.9 percent of the time.

33. Troy Brouwer: Left Wing, Chicago Blackhawks

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    Drafted: Seventh round, 214th overall by Chicago in 2004

    Brouwer had back-to-back 30 point seasons to start his career with the Blackhawks. He had 40 points last season to go with a plus-nine rating. He also posted seven power-play goals and seven game winners.

    This year, Brouwer had 36 points and added seven power-play goals and five game-winning goals.

    During the Hawks' 2010 Stanley Cup run, he had eight points in 19 games. He did not get on the score sheet in this year's run, but he still posted a plus-two.

    Brouwer was third on the Hawks with a 62.5 percent success rate in the faceoff circle and was first with 262 hits.

32. Jonathan Ericsson: Defenseman, Detroit Red Wings

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    Drafted: Ninth round, 291st overall by Detroit in 2002

    Ericsson made a good impression on the Wings during their quest to repeat their 2008 Stanley Cup championship. Although the Wings felt short, he was still impressive, putting up eight points and a plus-nine in 22 games.

    After posting 13 points in 2009-10, Ericsson had 15 points and a plus-eight this past year. He also had a goal on the power play.

    He had 107 hits during the regular season (ninth on Detroit) and 23 in the playoffs (fifth). In addition, he is beginning to stand out as a shot blocker, ranking eighth with 37 blocked shots in the regular season and fourth with 15 during the playoffs.

31. Jussi Jokinen: Left Wing, Carolina Hurricanes

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    Drafted: Sixth round, 192nd overall by Dallas in 2001

    Jokinen was acquired by the Hurricanes in a 2009 trade with Dallas. He had 27 points in 71 games with the Stars and Hurricanes that year.

    During the Canes' 2009 playoff run, Jokinen scored the latest game-winning regulation goal in Stanley Cup playoff history. He scored with 0.4 seconds left in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals with the New Jersey Devils to help Carolina tie the series.

    After posting a career-high 65 points in 2009-10, he put up a respectable 52 points in 70 games. He was tied for fourth on Carolina in scoring and was second with eight power-play goals. He was also ranked second with a 52.8 percent faceoff win percentage and was fifth with 3:28 of ice time on the power play. 

    Jokinen played for Finland at the 2006 Olympics, posting four points in eight games as Finland won a silver medal.

30. John-Michael Liles: Defenseman, Colorado Avalanche

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    Drafted: Fifth round, 159th overall by Colorado in 2000

    Liles joined the Avalanche after playing just five AHL games once his college days were over.

    In that time, he has become one of the best offensive defensemen on the team, posting at least 30 points every year. He has three 40-point seasons, and his best year was 2005-06, where he had 49 points.

    This season, he improved on his 2009-10 point total of 31 points by tallying 46 points and three power-play goals. He was second on the Avs with 22 minutes of ice time and first with 3:13 of ice time per game on the power play. In addition, he led the team with 153 blocked shots.

    Liles played for Team USA at the 2006 Olympics, posting two points in six games.

29. Greg Zanon: Defenseman, Minnesota Wild

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    Drafted: Fifth round, 156th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2000

    After spending three seasons with the Nashville Predators, Zanon joined the Wild for the 2009-10 season. He had 15 points, his best offensive season to date. This year, he put up seven points.

    Although Zanon's point totals are nothing to write home about, his overall defensive play is. He was second on the Wild with 183 hits last season and 169 this year. He was also tops on Minnesota in blocked shots the last two years, with 196 this year and 212 this year. His blocked shots total this season was first in the NHL.

    In addition, Zanon was third on Minnesota with 21:32 of ice time per game.

28. Marty Turco: Goaltender, Chicago Blackhawks

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    Drafted: Fifth round, 124th overall by Dallas in 1994

    Turco spent 10 seasons with Dallas, where he had six 30-win seasons. One of his best seasons was in 2005-06, when he went 41-19-5 with a .898 save percentage and 2.55 GAA. He also had three shutouts that year.

    Unfortunately, Turco struggled with Chicago this year. He lost starting netminder duties to rookie Corey Crawford and posted a record of 11-11-3 with one shutout to go with a .897 save percentage and 3.02 GAA.

    Turco has a career regular season record of 273-165-26-40 with a .910 save percentage and 2.35 GAA. In the postseason, he is 21-26 with a .914 save percentage and 2.47 GAA.

    He also holds Stars franchise records for most wins and shutouts by a goaltender.

27. Adrian Aucoin: Defenseman, Phoenix Coyotes

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    Drafted: Fifth round, 117th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 1992

    Aucoin has played in over 1,000 NHL games with the Canucks, Lightning, Islanders, Blackhawks, Flames and Coyotes. He has posted 386 points in 1,008 career regular season games. His totals include six 30-point season, and his best season came with the Islanders in 2003-04, when he had 44 points. 

    This season, his second in Phoenix, he posted 22 points and a plus-18 in 75 games. His 21:39 of ice time per game was second on the Coyotes, and he was second with 2:59 of ice time on the penalty kill. During the playoffs, his eight blocked shots led the Coyotes.

    Aucoin was an NHL All-Star in 2004 and won a silver medal with Canada in the 1994 Olympics.

26. Brooks Laich: Center, Washington Capitals

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    Drafted: Sixth round, 193rd overall by Ottawa in 2001

    Laich has been with the Capitals organization for the last six seasons and has had two 50-point campaigns. His 59 points in 2009-10, an improvement on his 53 points from 2008-09, were a career high.

    This year, Laich had 48 points and a plus-14 and tallied seven points in nine playoff games. He also acted as a Capitals alternate captain.

    During the postseason, he ranked second in ice time on the power play (3:35) and the penalty kill (3:42). In the regular season, he was fifth with 113 hits.

25. Brett Clark: Defenseman, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Drafted: Sixth round, 154th overall by Montreal in 1996

    Before joining Tampa Bay this season, Clark spent a large part of his career with the Avalanche. It was there he had his best year offensively, posting 39 points in 2006-07. He has 170 points in 599 career regular season games.

    Clark had another 30-point season with the Bolts, putting up 32 points and adding six power-play goals. He finished the playoffs with three points and a plus-one in 18 games.

    During the regular season, he led the Lightning with 157 blocked shots and had 39 in the playoffs to finish fourth on the team. He was also fourth during the regular season with 117 hits.

24. Patric Hornqvist: Right Wing, Nashville Predators

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    Drafted: Seventh round, 230th overall by Nashville in 2005

    Hornqvist played just his second full season with the Predators this year, but he has already tallied back-to-back 40 point seasons. He put himself on the map in 2009-10 with 51 points a plus-18 rating while leading Nashville with 30 goals, 10 of which came on the power play. 

    This season, he had 48 points and a plus-11. He was one of the key parts of the Predators' power play, posting six goals on the man advantage. His 2:45 of ice time on the power play during the regular season was second on the team. He also had three points in 12 playoff games.

    Hornqivst was a member of Team Sweden at the 2010 Olympics, posting one goal in six games.

23. Matt Moulson: Left Wing, New York Islanders

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    Drafted: Ninth round, 263rd overall by Pittsburgh in 2003

    Moulson was never signed by the Penguins after being drafted in 2003 and ended up starting his career in the Kings organization. However, he only got into 29 games, putting up just 10 points.

    Things have taken off for Moulson now that he is a member of the Islanders. In his 2009-10 campaign, he had 48 points with eight power-play goals and five game-winning goals. He led the team in game winners.

    This year, he tied with P.A. Parenteau for the team scoring lead with 53 points. His nine power-play goals were first on the Islanders, and he was second with three game-winning goals.

    He was fifth with 3:21 of ice time on the power play and 18:52 of average ice time per game. He was also ranked seventh with 84 hits.

22. Stephane Robidas: Defenseman, Dallas Stars

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    Drafted: Seventh round, 164th overall by Montreal in 1995

    Robidas, currently an alternate captain for Dallas, also played with Montreal and Chicago.

    He had back-to-back 30-point seasons in 2009-10 and this season. In 2009-10, he had 41 points and seven power-play goals, while this year, he had 30 points.

    He was second with 24:31 of ice time and received the most ice time on the penalty kill at 3:17 per game. In addition, he was third with 216 hits and second with 135 blocked shots.

    Robidas was named to the 2009 NHL All-Star Game, a season where he had 26 points and a plus-10 through 72 games.

21. Pavel Kubina, Defenseman: Tampa Bay Lightning

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    Drafted: Seventh round, 179th overall by Tampa Bay in 1996

    Kubina was a member of the 2004 Tampa Bay team that won the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. That year, he had 35 points and a plus-nine rating in the regular season and posted four points in 22 playoff games.

    His best seasons came when he was with the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he had back-to-back 40-point seasons 2007-08 and 2008-09. After leaving Toronto, he spent last season with the Atlanta Thrashers, posting 38 points in 76 games.

    He returned to the Lightning this season and had 23 points and a plus-two in the regular season. He had three points and a plus-two in eight playoff games.

    Kubina has represented the Czech Republic at three Olympic Games. He won a bronze medal in 2006 with two points in eight games and had one assist in four games in 2002. He played in the most recent Olympics in Vancouver, but was scoreless in five games.

20. Michael Ryder: Right Wing, Boston Bruins

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    Drafted: Eighth round, 216th overall by Montreal in 1998

    Ryder has posted four 50-point seasons over his career, with his best year coming with the Canadiens in 2003-04 (63 points).

    He has been with Boston since 2008-09 and has posted 40 points in two out of his three seasons there. He had 53 points in his first year in a Bruins uniform and finished this year's regular season with 41 points. He also posted eight power-play goals (tied with Zdeno Chara for the team lead) and six game-winning goals.

    As the Bruins prepare for the Stanley Cup Finals, Ryder has 11 points and a plus-six through 18 games.

    He finished the regular season first on the Bruins in faceoff wins with a 62.5 percent success rate.

19. Martin Erat: Right Wing, Nashville Predators

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    Drafted: Seventh round, 191st overall by Nashville in 1999

    Erat has been with Nashville since 2001-02 and has posted at least 40 points a year for seven years. His best seasons were in 2007 and 2008, when he put up identical 57 point totals. He holds the Predators franchise record for most points by a rookie, with 33 in his 2001-02 season.

    He had 50 points this year, tying with Sergei Kostitsyn for the team scoring lead. He also had six points in 11 playoff games.

    In addition, Erat is a two-time Olympian with the Czech Republic. He had two points in eight games in 2006 as the Czechs captured a bronze medal and one point in five games in the 2010 tournament.

18. Marek Zidlicky: Defenseman, Minnesota Wild

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    Drafted: Sixth round, 176th overall by the Rangers in 2001

    Zidlicky played with the Predators from 2003-2008, where he set a franchise record for assists in a game with five. He has five 40-point seasons to his credit, with his best year coming in 2003-04, when he had 53 points.

    He has been one of the Wild's best defensemen since arriving in Minnesota in 2008-09. This season, he had 24 points in 46 games and three power-play goals to rank second in defensemen scoring.

    Zidlicky has represented the Czech Republic at two Olympic games. He won the bronze in 2006 with five points in seven games, and he had five assists in five games in 2010.

17. Ryane Clowe: Left Wing, San Jose Sharks

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    Drafted: Sixth round, 175th overall by the Sharks in 2001

    Clowe has been with the Sharks full time since the 2006-07, and he recently just posted his third straight 50-point season. He finished the 2010-11 regular season with a career-high 62 points and was fifth on San Jose with a plus-13 rating.

    He finished the postseason with 15 points and a plus-five in 17 games. His three power-play goals are sixth in the NHL.

    A Sharks alternate captain during road games, Clowe was also second on the team with 153 hits in the regular season and third with 42 hits in the playoffs.

16. Kevin Bieksa: Defenseman, Vancouver Canucks

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    Drafted: Fifth round, 151st overall by Vancouver in 2001

    Bieksa is a Canucks alternate captain who has played for the Canucks for the last five seasons. His best season was in 2008-09, when he had 43 points.

    This past year, he had 22 points in the regular season, and his plus-32 was second in the NHL. He has nine points and a plus-10 rating through 18 playoff games, and his plus/minus rating is again ranked second in the league.

    He had a significant amount of ice time in the regular season with 22:28 per game (fourth on the Canucks), but he has been given even more responsibility in the playoffs, as his 25:56 of ice time leads the team. He is also third with 3:01 of ice time on the penalty kill.

    Bieksa has also played physical, as his 62 playoff hits are ranked second. His 24 blocked shots are ranked third.

15. Pekka Rinne, Goaltender: Nashville Predators

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    Drafted: Eighth round, 258th overall by Nashville in 2004

    Rinne has played at least 50 games per year every year for the last three years. In his career so far, he is 95-54-18 with 20 shutouts to go with a .920 save percentage and 2.33 GAA.

    He had back-to-back 30-win seasons in 2010 and 2011. His 2010-11 season of 33-22-9 with a .930 save percentage and 2.12 GAA, along with six shutouts, earned him a Vezina Trophy nominee. His six shutouts were sixth in the NHL, while his save percentage was second and his GAA was third.

    He finished the playoffs with a 6-6 record to rank sixth in wins and also had a .907 save percentage and 2.57 GAA.

    In 2008-09, he set a Nashville record with seven shutouts, the most in a season by a Predators goaltender.

14. James Wisniewski: Defenseman, Montreal Canadiens

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    Drafted: Fifth round, 156th overall by Chicago in 2002

    Prior to arriving in Montreal via trade, Wisniewski spent time with the Blackhawks, Ducks and Islanders. This season, he posted his first 50-point year in 75 games with the Islanders and Canadiens. He also had four power-play goals and two game-winning goals. He posted two points in six playoff games.

    After being traded, Wisniewski finished second on the Habs with 22:42 of ice time per game and first with 4:06 of ice time per game on the power play. He had 3:28 of ice time on the man advantage during the postseason, good for third on Montreal.

13. Joe Pavelski: Center, San Jose Sharks

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    Drafted: Seventh round, 205th overall by San Jose in 2003

    Pavelski has put up at least 50 points a year since 2007-08, and he had a career-high 66 points this year to rank third on the Sharks in scoring. He was first with 11 power-play goals. During the playoffs, he had 10 points and a plus-one rating. 

    He had 3:21 of ice time on the power play during the regular season to rank third on San Jose and was fourth in the playoffs with 3:47 on the man advantage. He was fifth in faceoff wins with a 54.3 percent success rate during the regular season, and in the playoffs, he was fourth with 54.7 percent of faceoffs won.

    In 2010, he became the first player since Mario Lemieux to tally three straight multi-goal games in the playoffs. He accomplished the feat in Game 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against Colorado and Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals against Detroit.

    Pavelski played for the USA in the 2010 Olympics, and he had three points in six games as the USA made an unbelievable run and finished with a silver medal.

12. Andrei Markov: Defenseman, Montreal Canadiens

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    Drafted: Sixth round, 162nd overall by Montreal in 1998

    Markov only played seven games this year due to injury, and he was only able to tally three points. However, that does not mean we should overlook how valuable he is to the Habs.

    In 2008 and 2009, Markov had back-to-back 50-point seasons. He posted 58 points in 2007-08 and a career-best 64 points in 2008-09. He has 366 points over 623 NHL games.

    During the 2009-10 season, Markov led the Canadiens with 23:48 of ice time. He was second with 3:25 of ice time on the power play. He finished the regular season with 34 points and a plus-11 rating.

    In the playoffs, he again led the team in overall ice time with an average of 23:46 per game and power play ice time with 4:15 played per game. 

    Markov has played for Russia in two Olympic tournaments. He had three points in eight games in 2006 and two assists in four games in 2010.

11. Dustin Byfuglien: Defenseman, Atlanta Thrashers

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    Drafted: Eighth round, 245th overall by Chicago in 2003

    Byfuglien was part of the Hawks' 2010 Stanley Cup championship team. He had 34 points with six power-play goals and three game-winning goals in the regular season and 16 points in 22 playoff games. In that postseason run, he also had five power-play goals and five game-winning goals.

    He was traded to the Thrashers in an offseason salary clearing overhaul by the Blackhawks. However, he thrived with his new team, posting 53 points along with eight power-play goals and six game-winning goals. He ranked second with 23:18 of ice time per game and 4:02 on the power play. His 140 hits were also second on the Thrashers.

    Byfuglien signed a five-year contract extension to remain with the organization and also acted as an alternate captain.

10. Sean O'Donnell: Defenseman, Philadelphia Flyers

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    Drafted: Sixth round, 123rd overall by Buffalo in 2001

    O'Donnell is a veteran of over 1,100 NHL games with the Kings (two stints), Wild, Devils, Bruins, Coyotes, Ducks and Flyers.

    He won the 2007 Stanley Cup with Anaheim. That year, he had 17 points and a plus-nine rating in 79 regular season games and two points and a plus-eight through 21 playoff games.

    He was also a 2001 Cup Finalist with the Devils, but New Jersey lost their chance of a repeat at the hands of the Avalanche. Still, O'Donnell had three points and a plus-five in 23 playoff games that year.

    His best season came in 2001-02 with the Bruins, where he had 25 points and a plus-27 rating.

    In his first year with the Flyers, O'Donnell had 18 points and a plus-eight through 81 games and two assists in 11 playoff games. During the postseason, he was ranked fifth with 14 blocked shots.

9. Mikka Kiprusoff: Goaltender, Calgary Flames

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    Drafted: Fifth round, 116th overall by San Jose in 1995

    Kiprusoff joined Calgary for the 2003-04 season after spending 25 games with the team that drafted him. It turned out to be good for Kipper, as the Flames went to the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals.

    In that regular season, he went 24-10-4 with a .933 save percentage and 1.69 GAA. As the Flames made their first trip to the Finals since 1989, he posted a record of 15-11 to go with a .928 save percentage and 1.85 GAA. He also had five shutouts. 

    He was awarded the 2006 Vezina Trophy after posting a record of 42-20-11 with 10 shutouts, along with a .923 save percentage and 2.07 GAA. The following year, in 2007, he was named to the NHL All-Star Game and finished with a record of 40-24-9 with seven shutouts, which went with a .917 save percentage and 2.46 GAA.

    Kiprusoff won a bronze medal with Finland at the 2010 Olympics. He went 3-2 in six games and posted a 2.64 GAA.

8. Ryan Miller: Goaltender, Buffalo Sabres

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    Drafted: Fifth round, 138th overall by Buffalo in 1999

    Miller has at least 30 wins in each of his six seasons with Buffalo, including two 40-win campaigns in 2006-07 (40) and 2009-10 (41).

    His 2009-10 efforts landed him the Vezina Trophy. He had a record of 41-18-8 with five shutouts to go with a .929 save percentage and 2.22 GAA.

    During his first year as Buffalo's starting goaltender, the Sabres went to the Eastern Conference Finals. In those playoffs, Miller had a record of 11-7 with a .908 save percentage and 2.56 GAA.

    He represented the USA at the 2010 Olympics, earning MVP honors after going 5-0 with a 1.35 GAA and .946 save percentage.

    This past season, he had a record of 34-22-8 with five shutouts while posting a .916 save percentage and 2.59 GAA. In the playoffs, he was 3-4 with with a .917 save percentage (seventh in the NHL) and 2.93 GAA.

7. Henrik Lundqivst: Goaltender, New York Rangers

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    Drafted: Seventh round, 205th overall by the Rangers in 2000

    Lundqvist, who has been with the Rangers since 2005-06, is the only goalie in NHL history to record 30 wins in each of his first six seasons in the league. He capped off the achievement this year by going 36-27-5 to finish sixth in the NHL in wins. His 11 shutouts were ranked first, and he also had a .923 save percentage and 2.28 GAA (both were ranked seventh).

    Although Lundqvist only won one playoff game, his save percentage (.917) and GAA (2.25) were still solid and ranked in the top 10 in the NHL.

    He had the most single season wins of his career in 2008-09, when he went 38-25-7 to go with a .916 save percentage and 2.43 GAA. He also had three shutouts that year.

    He has been nominated for the Vezina Trophy three times (2006, 2007 and 2009) and has been named to two NHL All-Star Games (2009 and 2011).

    Lundqvist won a gold medal with Sweden at the 2006 Olympics by going 5-1 with a 2.33 GAA. He also started in goal at the 2010 tournament, and although Sweden didn't medal, he was still 2-1 with an impressive 1.34 GAA. He even posted two shutouts.

6. Mikael Samuelsson: Right Wing, Vancouver Canucks

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    Drafted: Fifth round, 145th overall by San Jose in 1998

    Samuelsson previously played with the Rangers, Florida Panthers and Red Wings before joining Vancouver in 2009-10. He also had brief stints with the Sharks and Penguins. 

    He won a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008, posting 40 points in 73 regular season games and 13 points in 22 playoff games. In 2009, when the Wings aimed to repeat their championship, he had another 40-point regular season and had 10 points in 23 playoff games.

    In his first year with the Canucks last year, Samuelsson had a career-high 53 points and had 15 points in 12 playoff games. He had 50 points this past regular season, and he has three points in 11 playoff games as the Canucks ready for their first Stanley Cup Final since 1994. 

    Samuelsson is a member of the Triple Gold Club. He won a gold medal with Sweden at the 2006 Olympics while posting four points in eight games and then won a gold at the World Championships that same year.

5. Tomas Holmstrom, Left Wing: Detroit Red Wings

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    Drafted: 10th round, 257th overall by Detroit in 1994

    Holmstrom has been with the Wings since 1996-97, and in that time, he has been a member of Detroit's last four Stanley Cup championship squads (1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008). He has 506 points through 952 regular season games and 95 points in 175 playoff games. 

    His best regular season year came in 2005-06, where he had 59 points and a plus-14 rating. His best playoff run was in 1997-98, where he posted 19 points in 22 games as the Wings repeated their 1997 Stanley Cup title.

    This season, he had 37 points in 73 games and seven points and a plus-seven rating in 11 playoff games. His postseason plus/minus rating is ranked 10th in the NHL.

    In addition, he has represented Sweden in two Olympic tournaments. He had one goal in four games in 2002 and four points and a plus-10 in eight games in 2006 as Sweden captured the gold medal.

    He needs just one World Championships gold to join the Triple Gold Club, but he has not participated in a tournament since 1996, and the Swedes did not medal that year.

4. Kimmo Timonen: Defenseman, Philadelphia Flyers

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    Drafted: 10th round, 250th overall by Los Angeles in 1993

    Timonen has spent the last four seasons with Philadelphia, but prior to joining the Flyers, he was a member of the Predators from 1998-2007. While in Nashville, he posted the best season of his career, putting up 55 points in the 2006-07 season.

    He was a 2010 Stanley Cup finalist with the Flyers. During the regular season, he had 39 points while producing two shorthanded goals. He had 11 points and a plus-six through 23 playoff games.

    This season, he had 37 points and a plus-11 in the regular season. He led Flyers defensemen in the postseason with six points and also had a plus-three rating.

    Timonen has represented Finland at four Olympic games, and he has three medals. He won a bronze in 1998 after posting one assist in six games, a silver in 2006 with five points in eight games and another bronze in 2010 with four points in six games. He also played in the 2002 tournament, posting one assist in four games, but Finland did not medal.

    He has been named to four NHL All-Star Games throughout his career (2000, 2004, 2007 and 2008). However, he only participated in the 2004 and 2007 events.

3. Henrik Zetterberg: Left Wing, Detroit Red Wings

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    Drafted: Seventh round, 210th overall by Detroit in 1999

    Zetterberg, who is currently a Wings alternate captain, had his best season in 2007-08. He had 92 points and a plus-30 during the regular season to earn a Selke Trophy nomination.

    He added to his regular season success in the postseason by posting 27 points and a plus-16 during 22 playoff games. As a result, he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

    His goal total (13) and points total in that playoff run set a Red Wings record for goals and points in a single postsesaon. He is tied with teammate Johan Franzen for the playoff goal scoring record.

    Zetterberg remains one of the elite forwards in the NHL, as he had 80 points this year. His 56 assists were fifth in the NHL, and he had eight points and a plus-six in seven playoff games.

    He was named to the 2007 NHL All-Star Game and posted 68 points and a plus-26 that season despite playing just 63 games.

    In his rookie year in 2003, he was nominated for the Calder Trophy after posting 44 points in 79 games.

    Zetterberg is also a member of the Triple Gold Club. He won the gold medal with Sweden at the 2006 Olympics, posting six points in eight games. That same year, he was a member of the Sweden team that won gold at the World Championships.

    He has also represented Sweden at the 2002 and 2010 Olympics. He had one assist in four games in 2002 and one goal in four games in 2010.

2. Daniel Alfredsson: Right Wing, Ottawa Senators

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    Drafted: Sixth round, 133rd overall by Ottawa in 1994

    Alfredsson is the current Senators captain and has spent his entire career in Ottawa. He has been with the team since 1995-96 and boasts 1,023 points in 1,056 regular season games and 88 points in 107 playoff games.

    His best regular season total is 103 points, which he posted during the 2005-06 season. His best playoff total is 22 points in 20 playoff games in 2006-07, the year the Senators went to their first Stanley Cup Finals in franchise history.

    He won the 1996 Calder Trophy after posting 61 points and was nominated for the Selke Trophy in 2006. He has also been nominated for the Lady Byng Trophy twice (2004 and 2006). He is a five-time NHL All-Star, having participated in the event in 1996, 1997, 1998, 2004 and 2008.

    Alfredsson is the Senators' all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points. He also holds playoff records for goals, assists, points and most playoff games played. His 14 goals during the 2007 postseason are also a franchise record.

    In international competition, Alfredsson has played in four Olympic tournaments with Sweden. He had five points in four games in 1998 and 2002. In 2006, he won a gold medal after posting 10 points in eight games, and he had three goals in four games in 2010.

1. Pavel Datsyuk: Center, Detroit Red Wings

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    Drafted: Sixth round, 171st overall by Detroit in 1998

    You may disagree with the order of the other 49 picks on this list, and that's fine, but are you really going to try to argue this one?

    Of course, if you want to, you can always leave a comment, but that being said, you're going to have to be REALLY persuasive to get me to believe I'm wrong.

    Datsyuk, a Wings alternate captain, is arguably one of the best players in the NHL today. He is the three-time reigning Selke Trophy winner and is nominated for the award again this year. He might just get it too, after posting 59 points and a plus-11 despite just playing 56 games.

    He had identical 97-point seasons in 2008 and 2009, and both were the best seasons of his career. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion. During the Wings' 2002 Cup run, he had six points in 21 playoff games. In 2008, he had 23 points and a plus-13 through 22 playoff games.

    Although the Wings did not repeat their championship in 2009, Datsyuk still managed nine points and a plus-five in 16 playoff games.

    Datsyuk has been named to three NHL All-Star Games (2004, 2008 and 2009), but he only played in the 2004 and 2008 games. He also won four straight Lady Byng Trophies from 2006 to 2009.

    He is also a three-time Olympian with Russia. He captured a bronze medal in 2002, posting three points in six games. He had eight points in eight games in 2006 and three points in four games in 2010.

    Any questions?