Each NHL Team's Best Homegrown Player
More and more nowadays, NHL teams are building through the draft. As a result, the amount of homegrown players will increase in the coming years.
Of course, teams will continue to try to make their team better by signing free agents and making trades, but if you look at all 30 teams, the biggest star of the team will more than likely be homegrown.
Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos are arguably the biggest stars in the NHL and all were drafted by the team they currently play for. I may have given away Pittsburgh, Washington and Tampa Bay's slides, but hey, those were obvious.
Who is the best homegrown player on each team? Let's find out.
Anaheim: Corey Perry
Drafted: 28th overall in 2003
Well this one could have come down to any number of players. Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, Cam Fowler, but I have to go with the reigning Hart and Maurice"Rocket" Richard Trophy winner Corey Perry. Last season was Perry's breakout year and he looks to be one of the NHL's premier players for a long time.
If Perry can hover around the 50-goal mark for the next five seasons or so, Perry will join Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya as the most-beloved Ducks of all-time. For now, Getzlaf and Ryan will have to play catch-up in that category.
Case in point, the Ducks have announced that Oct. 16 will be "Corey Perry Night."
Boston: David Krejci
Drafted: 63rd overall in 2004
In a few years, this spot could very well go to Brad Marchand, but for now, David Krejci holds the role. He has scored more than 50 points in three straight years. That being said, he gets most of his points via assists. If he doesn't start picking up the goal total, he will lose his spot sooner than expected.
On a team such as Boston with no real superstar, it is harder to stand out because of the shared workload. Krejci was the player the Bruins chose when both he and Phil Kessel were up for restricted free agency, and Boston likes its choice.
They might not be getting the pure goal-scoring talent that Kessel provides but the Bruins will definitely live with Krejci's playmaking ability.
Buffalo: Ryan Miller
Drafted: 138th overall in 1999
This is another one that is just too easy. Without Ryan Miller, Buffalo might not have made the playoffs the last few seasons and might not be the team that players want to go to today.
Calgary: Mikael Backlund
Drafted: 24th overall in 2007
Well it might be a stretch to name Mikael Backlund Calgary's best homegrown talent so soon, on a team consisting mostly of older players acquired through trade and free agency, there wasn't much choice.
Backlund played 73 games last season, collecting 25 points along the way. As the projected center for Jarome Iginla going into the season, he will be expected to up his point total substantially. If he can, he will earn this title.
Carolina: Eric Staal
Drafted: 2nd overall in 2003
No doubt about it, Eric Staal is the best homegrown talent in Carolina. The only player that might challenge him for that role in a few years is Jeff Skinner.
Chicago: Jonathan Toews
Drafted: 3rd overall in 2006
This was another tough one, as Chicago has at least five players that could be in this spot.
I have to give it to Jonathan Toews over Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford just based on his track record. All of them, except Crawford have Stanley Cup rings. Toews, Keith and Seabrook have Olympic Gold medals. Toews, however, was named as the best forward in the Olympics and the Conn Smythe winner when the Blackhawks won the Cup.
Chicago has one of the best in the league in Toews, and it's unfortunate that when most people think of the NHL's best, Toews isn't likely to be brought up in the first few names.
Colorado: Matt Duchene
Drafted: 3rd overall in 2009
This one was between three players: Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk.
Although Hejduk has been a steady producer for the Avalanche over many years and Stastny has been the offensive leader for the team for the last few seasons except for last season, I have to give it Duchene.
He might be one of the youngest players on this list, but with his potential, he will be Colorado's captain before too long and will be the providing most of the offense from now on. With Gabriel Landeskog most likely on his left wing to at least start the season, his production will only grow.
Columbus: Rick Nash
Drafted: 1st overall in 2002
With the trouble Columbus has had in its decade in the NHL, it is no question that Rick Nash takes this spot. With only Steve Mason being anywhere close to be being the best homegrown talent on the team, the title has to go to Nash.
Being one of the NHL's elite and being stuck on a team that hasn't been competitive for most of its life hasn't done wonders for Nash's career, but now with the acquisitions of Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski, Columbus has shown that they want to fight for a playoff spot and Nash couldn't be happier.
Dallas: Steve Ott
Drafted: 25th overall in 2000
Dallas' homegrown talent really only extends to Steve Ott, Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn in terms of the team's top players. While it might be easy to give this spot to Benn on pure offensive potential, I'm giving it to Ott because of his all-around play.
He has been a good offensive contributor while still being one of the NHL's best agitators. He racks up the penalty minutes, but he doesn't have the reputation of a dirty player, at least in my opinion. With Brad Richards leaving, Ott will be asked to pick up his offensive stats from now on.
Detroit: Nicklas Lidstrom
Drafted: 53rd overall in 1989
The only word I can think of to explain Nick Lidstom's ownership of this spot: Duh!
Edmonton: Taylor Hall
Drafted: 1st overall in 2010
Okay, this might be a stretch, but when most of Edmonton's homegrown players are under the age of 24, I think it's forgivable.
Jordan Eberle could have been here, so could Sam Gagner, but with Taylor Hall, Edmonton has one of the NHL's future premiere players to grow with the team and eventually lead the Oilers back to prominence.
Florida: David Booth
Drafted: 53rd overall in 2004
With the massive reshuffling of Florida's roster, they didn't have many homegrown players left. Only David Booth, Stephen Weiss and Dmitry Kulikov were players of note that were originally drafted by the Panthers. I have to give it to Booth just because of offensive output.
Now fully recovered from the concussion that he suffered in 2009, Booth will be counted on, along with Weiss, to lead the Panther's new offense, and he will have more pressure on him than ever before.
Los Angeles: Drew Doughty
Drafted: 2nd overall in 2008
Here's another one that is just too easy. Drew Doughty will be the anchor of the Los Angeles defense for the foreseeable future and he will be holding on to this spot for a long time.
Minnesota: Mikko Koivu
Drafted: 6th overall in 2001
Another team that has had a little bit of a reshuffle is the Minnesota Wild. I have to give this spot to Mikko Koivu, their captain. With his new contract that begins this season, he is entrenched as the Wild's on- and off-ice leader and will be in Minnesota for a long time.
Give it a few years and he might just be better than his older brother Saku. That is, if he isn't already.
Montreal: Carey Price
Drafted: 5th overall in 2005
It was considered a surprise when the Montreal Canadiens took Carey Price so high in 2005. Six years later, it is starting to work out for them.
Although it was Jaroslav Halak that led the Habs to the Eastern Conference finals two years ago, Price has now taken the reins and will look to be the best goaltender they have seen since Patrick Roy.
If Price can come anywhere close to Roy, the Canadiens will know they made the right choice.
Nashville: Shea Weber
Drafted: 49th overall in 2003
Although it looks like Shea Weber's time in Nashville might be coming to an end, while he is still a Predator, he will hold onto this spot.
With the tremendous seasons that Weber has had the in the last three years, he has shown himself to be one of the NHL's elite defensemen and will be winning Norris Trophies before long.
New Jersey: Martin Brodeur
Drafted: 20th overall in 1990
Martin Brodeur gets to hold on to this spot for one more year before Zach Parise takes it (that is if he's still a Devil).
New York Islanders: John Tavares
Drafted: 1st overall in 2009
On a young team such as the New York Islanders, John Tavares takes the spot as the Islanders' best homegrown talent.
With the group of young, dynamic offensive players that the Islanders have coming through the pipeline, Tavares may have trouble holding on to the role, but he will remain one of the Islanders' top players for a long time and will be a big part of the Islanders' push to the playoffs in the coming years.
New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist
Drafted: 205th overall in 2000
When you're a member of the New York Rangers, chances are you were signed by the Rangers or you were traded there. That being said, the Rangers have a few good homegrown players, Henrik Lundqvist being the best.
He has kept the Rangers in the playoff hunt when, at times, the Rangers didn't play like a playoff team. He has been a Vezina nominee three times and he might eventually win it if the Rangers ever do some damage in the playoffs.
Ottawa Senator: Daniel Alfredsson
Drafted: 133rd overall in 1994
Sure, I could have given this spot to Jason Spezza, but Daniel Alfredsson has been a great offensive producer and leader for the Senators, therefore, in my opinion, he is the Senators' best.
With the Senators rebuilding, Alfredsson's experience will be needed to help the young Senators as they will more than likely go through a tough season or two before they are ready to challenge for the playoffs again.
Philadelphia: Claude Giroux
Drafted: 22nd overall in 2006
Well, thanks to the Flyers' massive retooling, naming a player for the Flyers got a little harder. Had Mike Richards or Jeff Carter not been traded away, one of them would have surely taken this spot. Without them, I have to go with the Flyers' breakout performer from last season, Claude Giroux.
Giroux and James Van Reimsdyk will be counted on to lead the Flyers offense now that their two biggest contributors from last season are gone. It will be interesting to see if they can handle the pressure.
Phoenix: Shane Doan
Drafted: 7th overall in 1995
Well, he might not have been drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes themselves, he was drafted by the original Winnipeg Jets.
There is really no one else in Phoenix that can come close to Doan's experience and talent. The day that Doan leaves, which might be at the end of this season, Phoenix will be dealt another huge blow that the city of Glendale might not be able to withstand.
Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby
Drafted: 1st overall in 2005
Sorry to do this again. Duh!
San Jose: Patrick Marleau
Drafted: 2nd overall in 1997
This was another one that wasn't that hard. Patrick Marleau is the San Jose Sharks' leader in goals and points. The only player that could take this spot away from Marleau is Logan Couture, and he won't for a long time.
As San Jose tries to once again make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, Marleau will be counted on to lead the Sharks, along with Joe Thornton, and hopefully get them past the point that they have had trouble getting past in the last few seasons.
St. Louis: Alex Pietrangelo
Drafted: 4th overall in 2008
The second player from the top five picks of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft to be on this list, Alex Pietrangelo looks to be the most underrated players from that list.
With Erik Johnson now in Colorado, Pietrangelo will be counted on to be an offensive leader on the blue line in St. Louis. He could be in line for a breakout season if all goes well for him.
Tampa Bay: Steven Stamkos
Drafted: 1st overall in 2008
While Vinny Lecavalier or Martin St. Louis might have a good argument to be in this spot, I have to give it to Steven Stamkos. He is the only player that I mentioned in the introduction that has anyone that could challenge for the spot.
Newly re-signed, Stamkos looks to lead the league in many offensive categories for the next few seasons.
Toronto: Luke Schenn
Drafted: 5th overall in 2008
This one fell between Luke Schenn and Nikolai Kulemin and, in the end, I just have to go with Schenn. He is a force in the backend and will be one of the NHL's leaders in hits every season he plays. The Leafs might not get much offense from Schenn, but they don't need it.
If Schenn continues to play the way he does, he will be an alternate captain before long and might eventually wear the "C."
Vancouver: Daniel & Henrik Sedin
Drafted: 2nd and 3rd overall in 1999
Okay, so I'm cheating a little. Really, if I'm going to put one Sedin here, I have to put the other one there too. Henrik and Daniel have won back-to-back Art Ross trophies, the only brothers to ever accomplish that feat.
Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa are the only others in Vancouver that could challenge for this spot, but when a team has two of the best players in the league, it was going to be hard to take this spot from them.
Washington: Alex Ovechkin
Drafted: 1st overall in 2004
Expecting someone else?
Winnipeg: Evander Kane
Drafted: 4th overall in 2009
Evander Kane keeps the first five picks of 2008 from having a clean sweep as he just edges out Zach Bogosian in my opinion.
Kane will be a fan favorite on the new Winnipeg Jets. If the Jets even want a chance to make the playoffs, Kane is going to have to continue to develop quickly and be their top offensive player. With Kane's talent, I don't see it being that hard.
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