NHL Predictions: 5 Players Who Will Hit the 50-Goal Plateau This Season
For the majority of the season, it seemed as though no one would reach it.
Sidney Crosby was on pace for one of his best seasons ever, and one surely assumed it included at least 50 goals. However, reoccurring concussion symptoms kept him out of the second half of the season.
In the 2009-2010 season, both Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos tallied 51 goals, tied for the league lead.
The following five players have the best chances to reach the 50-goal plateau in the upcoming season.
5. Daniel Sedin
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Position: Left wing, plays on a line with his brother Henrik, a center
Drafted: Second overall in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft by the Vancouver Canucks
2011-2012 Team: Vancouver Canucks
Last Season’s Stats: 41 goals, 63 assists, 104 points (82 games)
Daniel Sedin is a strong player, a force to be reckoned with.
His 41 goals were tied for first on the Vancouver Canucks with Ryan Kesler.
Daniel and his brother are able to make blind passes to each other and hit them almost every time, because they have played together for years.
They are arguably the best brother pair to ever play in hockey together, and they account for two-thirds of Vancouver's top line.
Daniel has been increasing his point totals nearly every year he has been playing in the NHL, and he has the drive and determination to score. His 63 assists show that not only can he score goals, but that he also can set them up.
He won the Ted Lindsey trophy last season as the League's Most Outstanding Player.
Not only does Daniel have the skill, but coming off of last season's agonizing loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, his team has the determination.
The Canucks are poised to make another run for the Stanley Cup this year, especially since they are returning most of the players that made a run for it last year.
They will have to overcome the challenge of Ryan Kesler not being 100 percent after his hip surgery, but they can and they will. He is expected to make a quick and full recovery.
4. Sidney Crosby
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Age: 23 (he turns 24 tomorrow)
Drafted: First overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins
2011-2012 Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Last Season’s Stats: 32 goals, 34 assists, 66 points (41 games)
I wish I could rank Sidney Crosby higher, but his reoccurring concussion symptoms kept him out of half of last season.
I know that if he fully recovers he can be the great hockey player that he is, but I have a nagging suspicion that he will not be fully recovered until at least the end of this upcoming season.
Sidney has probably the most raw-scoring talent of any current player in the NHL. In only 41 games, he posted stats that for many would be career highs.
He was on pace for a career-high season until he suffered back-to-back hits to the head on January 1st and January 5th.
Since then, he has tried to get back into playing shape, but has had to stop numerous times because his concussion symptoms came back.
In the 2009-2010 season, Sidney tied with Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning for most goals in the league, with 51.
His goal totals have mostly increased, and if he can stay healthy, then he will continue to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
I for one cannot wait for Sidney to become fully healthy so he can be at full playing caliber. Sidney is an amazing player to watch, and I cannot wait for this opportunity again.
3. Alexander Ovechkin
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Position: Left Wing
Drafted: First overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Washington Capitals
2011-2012 Team: Washington Capitals
Last Season’s Stats: 32 goals, 53 assists, 85 points (79 games)
Alexander Ovechkin is one of the most recognizable faces in hockey today and is arguably one of the best Russian-born players ever.
He has cracked the 50-goal plateau four times so far in his professional career, so it is very likely that he will have at least one more.
Ovechkin can stick handle like no other, and his slick moves and knack for notching goals make him one of the top snipers in the NHL. He is another player who does not only notch goals himself, but one who sets them up too.
On March 8, 2011, Ovechkin recorded his 600th career point. On April 5, 2001 he recorded his 300th career goal.
He won the Ted Lindsey Award for Most Outstanding Player in 2008 and 2009 (when it was known as the Lester B. Pearson Award) and in 2010.
He won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy for the League's Top Scorer in 2008 (65 goals) and in 2009 (56 goals).
Ovechkin won the Hart Memorial Trophy for League MVP in 2008 and 2009.
Although the Capitals always seem to falter in playoffs, they constantly pull off one of the best regular-season records in the NHL.
Hopefully, Ovi will again have a 50-plus goal season.
2. Corey Perry
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Position: Right Wing
Drafted: 26th overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
2011-2012 Team: Anaheim Ducks
Last Season’s Stats: 50 goals, 48 assists, 98 points (82 games)
Corey Perry was the only player in the NHL last year to even reach the 50-goal plateau.
His goal production has generally increased. It went from 27 goals in the 2009-2010 season to 50 the next.
Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan make up one of the top lines in the NHL. They are all 6'2" or taller and 200-plus lbs., making them not only skilled, but big. They all notched more than 70 points last season and all finished plus-nine or better.
Simply, Corey Perry will have at least 50 goals again next season because he plays on such a great line. Their communication and ability to find each other in front of the net is stellar. Not one of them is a puck-hog; they all pass and feed the open man.
Perry is a stellar playmaker, and even though he may not be the best skater, he has a habit of making the unexpected play that results in a goal.
Corey Perry also not only won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy for being the NHL's top goal-scorer last season, but he also was the recipient of the Hart Memorial Trophy for League MVP.
1. Steven Stamkos
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Drafted: First overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning
2011-2012 Team: Tampa Bay Lightning
Last Season’s Stats: 45 goals, 46 assists, 91 points (82 games)
Steven Stamkos registered his first 50-plus goal season at the tender age of 20 and in only his second NHL season, with 51 goals.
This tied him for the league lead with Sidney Crosby and earned him a share of Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy in 2010. His 51 goals was five more than his points total from his rookie season (the previous one).
He is a high-energy center and not only extremely talented, but he is also the youngest player on this list.
A great center, Stamkos can not only win faceoffs, but he can score. Stamkos is a very exciting player to watch, and his skill only increases from season to season.
Steven was the first player in the NHL to hit the 40-goal mark this season.
Considering his youth, Stamkos has many 50-plus seasons ahead of him.
The Lightning made it to the conference finals, losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Boston Bruins. They are returning basically the same team they had last season, so expect them to make another run for the Cup this year.
Stamkos is also the cover athlete for NHL 12.