The 2011-12 NHL season is only a few months away, and training camps are set to begin in just a few weeks.
As the new year approaches, it's nice to take a fresh look at the top players at each position heading into the new season.
Whether you're unfamiliar with the NHL, or you enjoy playing fantasy hockey, you will enjoy this list.
Let's look at the top 10 players at each position.
Nicholas Goss is a Boston Bruins featured columnist for Bleacher Report and was the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals in Boston.
Boston Bruins playmaker David Krejci is one of the most underrated players in the NHL, and is one of the best passers in hockey.
His importance to the Bruins during their 2011 Stanley Cup run was immeasurable, as Krejci led the 2011 NHL playoffs in points and goals scored.
Mike Richards is one of the best leaders and defensive forwards in all of hockey.
He was traded to the Los Angeles Kings from the Philadelphia Flyers this offseason, and will try to lead the Kings deep into the playoffs.
Richards is an all-around forward who has averaged 70 points the last four seasons.
Brad Richards was the most coveted free agent of the summer, and was signed to a big contract by the New York Rangers.
Richards is a great goal scorer but also makes everyone around him better, and he will drastically improve the Rangers offense.
He also brings playoff experience to the Rangers.
One of the most gifted offensive players in the NHL, Canucks captain Henrik Sedin is an all-around talent who is always a threat to break the 100 point mark every season.
Sedin is a fabulous passer and also has great shooting skills and moves.
Evgeni Malkin's season was cut short last year because of a knee injury, but when he's healthy he is an elite player.
Malkin is a great all around player with amazing goal scoring and playmaking abilities.
He has 418 career points in 352 games played.
Steven Stamkos is barely old enough to legally drink in the United States, but he’s already one of the best players in hockey.
Stamkos has scored 96 goals the past two seasons, and plays the game with great passion and physicality.
He signed a new five year contract this summer to stay with the Tampa bay Lightning long term.
Eric Staal is one of the most underrated players in the NHL, and he has become an elite player despite playing for the mediocre Carolina Hurricanes.
Staal is a tremendous leader for the Hurricanes and serves as the team’s captain.
In addition to his goal scoring abilities, Staal is also a very good defensive player.
If Staal went to a major hockey market he would be considered a top 5 player in the NHL, but unfortunately he plays in Carolina.
Jonathan Toews is a natural born leader and winner. At age 23, Toews already has captained a Stanley Cup champion and is a top offensive player.
He averages 70-plus points per season and has very good defensive skills.
Toews does everything a center is supposed to: win faceoffs, be a playmaker, score, etc.
Few players in the NHL do more for their team than Toews does for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Pavel Datsyuk is one of the best all-around players in the NHL, and is one of the best defensive forwards ever.
He has won two Stanley Cups, three Frank J. Selke trophies, and four Lady Byng trophies.
Datsyuk has 651 points in 662 career games, and has a career plus-minus rating of 187. He is a certain hall of famer and will once again be a top center in 2011-12.
Sidney Crosby is only 24 years old and he’s already one of the best players ever. His 572 points in 412 career games is unbelievable, and his points per game rating is among the best ever.
His ability to see the game so well and make the best decisions is something few players are able to do. He is a once in a generation talent.
Not only can Crosby score, he is one of the most gifted passers in hockey.
Andrew Ladd is an all-around talent who is a fierce competitor on the ice and displays great leadership abilities as captain of the Winnipeg Jets.
His physical style of play is contagious amongst his teammates.
Mike Cammalleri is a goal scorer and leader on the Montreal Canadiens.
He is an alternate captain for the Habs and was the team's best goal scorer last season.
Brendan Morrow is the captain of the Dallas Stars, and scored an impressive 33 goals last season.
With Brad Richards departing Dallas via free agency this summer, Morrow's production is certainly going to increase.
Bobby Ryan is one of the fine young goal scorers on the Anaheim Ducks, and was the second overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft.
His soft touch combined with his physical style of play makes him difficult to defend.
Zach Parise only played in 13 games last season, but he is healthy for the 2011-12 season and will once again be a top NHL forward.
Parise has the potential to score 85 points this season, and has the ability to score 40 goals.
If he can stay healthy, Parise will once again be a dangerous offensive player this season.
Patrick Marleau is one of the San Jose Sharks’ best players, and one of the reasons the team has made the Western Conference Finals the past two seasons.
Marleau is a very good passer, and is always a threat to score 30 goals in a season. He scored 37 goals last season with 36 assists for 73 points last season.
Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic is one of the best power forwards in hockey, and scored 30 goals last season for the Bruins.
Lucic is one of the most physical players in the league, and also has very good speed.
He is a nightmare to defend, just ask Kevin Bieksa.
Daniel Sedin won the scoring title last season with 104 points (41 goals and 63 assists), but the lasting memory of last season is his terrible performance in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins.
Sedin is still among the NHL’s best goal scorers and passers, and his chemistry with twin brother Henrik allows him to thrive on the Canucks first line.
Sedin is a lock for 80 points next season, and is an offensive machine.
Another fantastic player for the Detroit Red Wings who is an all-around talent is Henrik Zetterberg.
Zetterberg is a fantastic scorer but is also a superb defensive forward.
He has scored 70 points in five of the last six seasons, and has scored 30 goals four times.
Zetterberg is also a leader on the ice, and is an alternate captain for the Red Wings.
Alex Ovechkin is a goal machine and is one of the faces of the NHL.
Ovechkin is a physical forward who has great shooting skills and has an exceptional all-around skill set.
However, for all his great talent, he Ovechkin has not been able to lead the Washington Capitals to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Ryan Callahan is a leader on the ice for the New York Rangers, and plays the game with a ton of passion.
He is a leader in blocked shots and his defensive abilities as a forward are superb.
Callahan could easily be a future captain in New York.
Martin Havlat is one of the best playmakers in the NHL, and can create great scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.
Havlat is also a good defensive forward.
One of the best young snipers in the hockey, Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel has 40 goal potential but unfortunately doesn't play alongside a talented playermaker.
Kessel would easily be higher on this list if he could improve his defensive abilities this season.
Philadelphia Flyers winger Claude Giroux is one of the best all-around players in the NHL, and has a great combination of goal scoring and penalty killing abilities.
He also is a great faceoff winner, and is a leader on the ice.
Patrick Kane is a great goal scorer and skates as fast as anyone.
He has 303 points in just 4 full NHL seasons, and is only going to get better with talented players around him on the Chicago Blackhawks.
Danny Briere is one of the offensive leaders for the Philadelphia Flyers and is a very good goal scorer.
His defensive abilities are also solid, and he's a leader on the ice.
Briere is also a career point per game player in the playoffs.
Jarome Iginla has been one of the best all-around forwards in the NHL for a decade, and at age 34, he does not appear to be slowing down.
Iginla scored 43 goals with 43 assists for 86 points last season for the Calgary Flames, and does not play with much talent around him.
He is also a great leader and one of the premier power forwards in the NHL.
Martin St. Louis is still one of the best offensive players in the NHL despite being in his mid-30's.
He is a really fast skater and a solid goal scorer, and gives everything he has on every shift.
If he didn't play with such great talent around him, he would be higher on this list.
Rick Nash is one of the best players in the NHL and is the best power forward in hockey, but since he plays for the Columbus Blue Jackets, few people know how good he really is.
Nash is a very good goal scorer with underrated passing abilities, and is the captain of the Blue Jackets.
Corey Perry won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP last season, and is a 50 goal talent.
He scored 50 goals with 48 assists last season, and is also a good defensive player.
Perry is also one of the strongest on-ice leaders for the Anaheim Ducks.
Kevin Bieksa is a solid all-around defenseman for the Vancouver Canucks, and signed a multi year xontract extension to stay with the team this summer.
Bieksa is a leader for the Canucks, and scored the game winning goal of the 2011 Western Conference Finals.
Dan Boyle is a leader for the San Jose Sharks and an excellent offensive defenseman.
He scored 9 goals with 41 assists last season for 50 points.
Brent Seabrook is a great young defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks, and is a physical player with offensive talents.
He scored 9 goals with 39 assists last season for 48 points.
His partnership with Duncan Keith is one of the best defensive pairing in hockey.
Drew Doughty is a great young defenseman, and has very good offensive abilities for the Los Angeles Kings.
2011 was a down year for Doughty who is currently a free agent, but he is still very young and will one day be a top 5 defenseman in the NHL.
Chris Pronger is a towering presence on the ice and is the heart and soul of the Philadelphia Flyers defense.
His combination of defensive prowess and leadership make him one of the most valuable players in hockey.
Dennis Seidenberg is one of the most underrated defenseman in the NHL, but was one of the best players in the 2011 NHL playoffs.
His ability to shut down elite offensive players helped the Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup last season.
Seidenberg is a physical player who makes great decisions and is solid offensively.
Duncan Keith is a player you build a team around.
In addition to his shut-down defensive abilities, Keith is a stellar offensive player who can score goals from the point.
He is also a leader and passionate player.
Keith has already won a Norris Trophy and a Stanley Cup in his short career.
Nicklas Lidstrom is still ono of the best defenseman in the NHL despite being 41 years old.
Last season he won his seventh Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman, which is second to Bobby Orr who won eight Norris'.
Lidstrom will be back for the Detroit Red Wings this season, and there is little reason to expect him to show his age.
Shea Weber is the best all-around defenseman in the NHL, and will win multiple Norriis trophies during his career.
Weber is a shut-down defenseman for the Nashville Predators, and is their captain and leader.
Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is the tallest man to ever play in the NHL, standing at 6'9" tall.
He used his great size to his advantage by having a great poke check, tremendous checking ability, and intimidating opponents.
He also is a great offensive player, and has the hardest slapshot in the NHL.
Jonas Hiller is one of the best goalies in the NHL when healthy, and is a major reason why the Anaheim Ducks should be better next season.
In 49 games last season, Hiller had a .924 save percentage which was good for fourth in the league.
The Detroit Red Wings for the most part are a veteran team, but young goalie Jimmy Howard is the future of the team.
Howard is a very good goalie who has played well under high expectations early in his career.
He is also one of the best American born goalies in the NHL.
Carey Price is one of the premier goalies in the NHL but does not have the best team around him.
He is relied upon so much for the Montreal Canadiens, and he tied for the lead in wins last season with 38.
The 2010 Vezina Trophy winner had a down year in 2011, but Ryan Miller still put up better numbers than most goalies.
With an improved defense this season, Miller should return to his elite goaltender status.
There's no question he is the MVP of the Buffalo Sabres.
Miller is also one of the best American players in the NHL.
The Philadelphia Flyers search for an elite goaltender ended this summer when the signed former Phoenix Coyotes netminder Ilya Bryzgalov.
Bryzgalov's .921 save percentage was tenth overall last season.
With a better team around him next season, his numbers could be much better.
Miikka Kiprusoff has been an elite goalie for nearly ten years, and is the reason the Calgary Flames are competitive each season.
As a veteran who has never won a Stanley Cup, Kiprusoff may be traded this season to a contender since the Flames are nowhere near good enough to win a Cup.
Roberto Luongo is a great regular season goalie, and is normally a Vezina Trophy finalist, but his play in the playoffs is typically bad.
In the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals against the Boston Bruins he was atrocious.
If Luongo could be a better big time player, he would automatically be the best goalie in hockey.
Pekka Rinne burst on to the scene last season for the Nashville Predators and was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
His 2.22 GAA, .930 save percentage were third and second best in the NHL respectively last season.
New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist is arguably the best in the NHL, and never gets his due credit because his defense in front of him has been young and subpar the last few seasons.
Fundamentally, Lundqvist is as good as it gets.
He has been nomintated for the Vezina Trophy four times, but has yet to win.
Tim Thomas is the best goalie in the NHL, and had one of the best seasons by a goalie ever last season.
The Boston Bruins netminder had a league record .938 save percentage last season, and won his second career Vezina Trophy.
Thomas also won the Conn Smythe Award as playoff MVP, and was the primary reason the Bruins won the Stanley Cup last year.
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