Most Valuable Player for Each NHL Team, Non-Goalie Edition
Every NHL team has a sizable amount of talent on the ice and on the bench. With the 2011-12 season underway for just under a month, a few trends have made themselves evident.
The Pens and Caps are predictably the picks of the litter in the East, the Oilers and the Avalanche are surprising in the West, and the most recent Stanley Cup Champion is tied for the second worst record in the NHL.
Most teams have a few players that will bring it every night. Who is the best of the best thus far? By using the "point share" statistic we can read into some preliminary front-runners.
Excluding goalies, the following slideshow features each team's MVP, ordered by the "least" Most Valuable Player first.
Calgary Flames: Alex Tanguay (PS: 0.9)
The Flames left-winger has notched two goals in 10 games, one of the "game winning" variety. He has also logged seven assists.
We can expect Tanguay to continue to excel on a largely unimpressive team this season. His career 18.8 percent shooting percentage is number one amongst active players.
Honorable Mention: Rene Bourque
Minnesota Wild: Devin Setoguchi (PS: 1.0)
Minnesota's new acquisition is tied for the team lead with four goals and with seven points in 11 matches.
The right winger has two 40 point seasons to his credit, including a 65 point season with San Jose in 2008-09.
Honorable Mention: Dany Heatley
Columbus Blue Jackets: Vinny Prospal (PS: 1.2)
Prospal, the Blue Jackets elder statesman, is leading Columbus with five goals, and is tied with Rick Nash for the team lead with a total of 10 points in 12 games.
The left winger is 10 games short of 1,000 regular season NHL games.
Honorable Mention: Fedor Tyutin
New Jersey Devils: Patrik Elias (PS: 1.2)
Elias hasn't slowed down in his 16th year with the Devils. He is leading the team in points, with eight in the teams first nine games.
Elias has scored even-strength, on the power play and short-handed.
It should come as no surprise that he is currently the most efficient player on the team, rating as highly as he does on the list of All-Time New Jersey Devils.
Honorable Mention: Mark Fayne
Winnipeg Jets: Kyle Wellwood (PS: 1.2)
Wellwood is leading the "new" team with five goals in only 12 shots.
He is playing with his third new team in the past three seasons, and has never scored more than 18 goals in a single season. The center may be ready for a breakthrough season.
Honorable Mention: Tobias Enstrom
New York Rangers: Ryan McDonagh (PS: 1.3)
With 25 minutes per game, the second year defenseman ranks second on the Rangers in time on ice.
He leads the Rangers defensive corps with three goals in the teams first 10 matches.
His biggest impact is in his own zone. With Marc Staal out with a concussion, he has made the most of his increased ice time, helping the Rangers to a 87.5 percent penalty kill rate.
Honorable Mention: Michael Del Zotto
Phoenix Coyotes: Ray Whitney (PS: 1.3)
Whitney has averaged a point per game in his 20th NHL season. After 10 games, he leads the Coyotes with five goals.
With two All-Star appearances, one Stanley Cup championship and 1,157 games played at the NHL level, Phoenix would do well to follow his lead.
Honorable Mention: David Schlemko
Carolina Hurricanes: Jeff Skinner (PS: 1.4)
Skinner has already appeared in one All-Star game and was a member of the All-Rookie first team.
Only 19 years old and in his second NHL season, he leads the club with six goals and with 12 points in their first 12 games.
Honorable Mention: Jussi Jokinen
Detroit Red Wings: Nicklas Lidstrom (PS: 1.4)
At the age of 41 and in his 20th NHL season with Detroit, the ageless defenseman leads the team with 24 minutes per game on ice.
Lidstrom is no stranger to success, with four Stanley Cups and 11 All-Star selections to his credit, as well as seven James Norris Memorial Trophies. He can serve Detroit as a bridge from their past success to their future.
Honorable Mention: Johan Franzen
Colorado Avalanche: Kyle Quincey (PS: 1.5)
Quincey, a defenseman in his third year with Colorado, is tied for the team lead with eight points.
He is on pace to nearly double his career high of 38 points, set in 2008-09 while still with the Los Angeles Kings.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Wilson
Montreal Canadians: Yannick Weber (PS: 1.5)
In Weber's fourth season with the club, he has graduated to a markedly larger role for the Habs.
The defenseman has scored two goals and three assists for the Canadians, and has seen his time on ice average increase by four minutes, to 20 minutes per game.
Honorable Mention: Josh Georges
Nashville Predators: Ryan Suter (PS: 1.5)
Suter is in his seventh NHL season, all with the Predators.
The Defenseman leads Nashville with 27 minutes average time on ice. He leads the Preds defensive corps with six points in their first 11 games.
Honorable Mention: Shea Weber
Chicago Blackhawks: Nick Leddy (PS: 1.6)
The 20-year-old second year defenseman leads the Blackhawks with seven points and an impressive plus-six rating.
He is an important cog that has seen Chicago open the season 7-2-2 with a 92 percent penalty kill.
Honorable Mentions: Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa
Florida Panthers: Kris Versteeg (PS: 1.6)
Versteeg, a right winger, is tied for the Panthers lead with five goals and with 11 points.
He is on pace to crush his personal bests, set with Chicago in 2008-09 when he scored 22 goals and 31 assists.
Honorable Mention: Jason Garrison, Tomas Fleischmann
Ottawa Senators: Jason Spezza (PS: 1.6)
Spezza has tabbed six goals and nine assists, leading the Senators with 15 points in the first 13 games this season.
A veteran of nine NHL campaigns, Spezza has three times averaged more than a point per game over the course of a season, but his last one was in 2007-08. To keep the overachieving Senators relevant, he needs to keep the intensity he has shown thus far this season.
Honorable Mention: Milan Michalek
St. Louis Blues: Alex Steen (PS: 1.6)
In 11 games this season, the seventh season center is leading the Blues with six goals and nine points.
He has averaged 41 points per game throughout his career thus far, and last year posted a career high with 51 points on 20 goals and 31 assists.
Honorable Mention: Jason Arnott
Boston Bruins: Tyler Seguin (PS: 1.7)
As a rookie center, Seguin helped Boston to a Stanley Cup championship by tabbing 22 points over 74 games.
In spite of the Bruins woeful start to the season, Seguin is playing like he wants a repeat performance. He is leading the team with seven assists and with 11 points. His plus-eight rating by far is the best rating on the Bruins.
Honorable Mention: Zdeno Chara
Edmonton Oilers: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (PS: 1.7)
For those that thought that maybe the 18-year-old rookie center shouldn't be brought along so fast, Nugent-Hopkins has shown that he belongs in the big show.
Leading the surprising Oilers with 11 points in their first 11 games, Nugent-Hopkins is a big reason that Edmonton is in their unfamiliar position on top of the Northwest Division.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Smyth
Anaheim Ducks: Teemu Selanne (PS: 1.8)
In his 19th NHL season, the 41-year-old Selanne has shown no signs of slowing down.
With 642 career goals, the "Finnish Flash" ranks second among active NHL players in scoring.
The 10-time All-Star leads Anaheim with five goals, nine assists and 14 points. Selanne had talked about retiring before the season, but it seems he has (at least) one more season in the tank.
Honorable Mention: Corey Perry
New York Islanders: John Tavares (PS: 1.8)
Selected with the first overall pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Tavares has lived up to some expectations.
He increased his goals and assists in each of his first two seasons with the club, and hopes to continue that trend this season. He's off to a good start.
He leads the Islanders with seven goals and with 11 points in their first nine games.
Honorable Mention: Mark Streit
Los Angeles Kings: Anze Kopitar (PS: 1.9)
Leading the Kings with six goals and 14 points, Kopitar is helping the Kings send a clear message. The Kings are looking to win the battle for California, and are in the lead so far.
The sixth year player and two-time All-Star has tallied over 60 points in each of his NHL seasons to date.
Honorable Mention: Jack Johnson
Tampa Bay Lightning: Marc Andre-Bergeron (PS: 1.9)
We all expected Stamkos to score 50 goals and Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis to lead this team, and they are all making solid contributions. However, Bergeron leads Tampa Bay with 11 assists and with 13 points.
His best season thus far was 2006-07, when he assisted on 32 goals and totalled 46 points between the Oilers and the Islanders. He is currently averaging well above those numbers, totalling over one point per game.
Honorable Mention: Steven Stamkos
Washington Capitals: Dennis Wideman (PS: 1.9)
Ten games into the new NHL season, a defenseman is the most valuable player on a team that features forwards Alexander Semin and Alex Ovechkin.
In his seventh NHL season, Wideman leads the Caps defensemen with seven assists and 10 points. He also boasts a league third best plus-seven.
Wideman can easily contribute 50 points to the cause. Washington should capture the Presidents' Trophy this season.
Honorable Mention: Nicklas Backstrom
Philadelphia Flyers: Claude Giroux (PS: 2.1)
A fifth-year right winger, Giroux's numbers have improved in each successive season. 2011-12 will prove no exception.
Giroux leads the Flyers with seven goals and 16 points. He also leads the talented Flyers forwards with 20 minutes average time on ice.
Honorable Mentions: Jaromir Jagr, Scott Hartnell
San Jose Sharks: Joe Pavelski (PS: 2.1)
Pavelski has averaged 0.72 points per game through his six season career to this point. This season, he is leading the Sharks with eight goals and 13 points.
The Sharks penalty kill is atrocious, only succeeding 74 percent of the time in killing off their penalties. As a leader and above average defender, Pavelski needs to let some of his knowledge and veteran leadership rub off on some of his teammates.
Honorable Mention: Brent Burns
Dallas Stars: Sheldon Souray (PS: 2.2)
Dallas is leading the Western Conference with an 8-3-0 record and three-time former All-Star Souray is a big reason why.
In his 12th NHL season, he leads the Stars defensemen with three goals and with five assists. His plus-eight rating is tied for second best in the NHL.
Honorable Mention: Loui Eriksson
Vancouver Canucks: Alexander Edler (PS: 2.2)
With nine assists and 12 points, Edler leads the Canucks defensemen. He leads Vancouver with 23 minutes of ice time per night.
In his sixth NHL season, all with Vancouver, Edler looks to improve on his career high of 42 points, set in 2009-10.
Honorable Mentions: Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Sami Salo
Pittsburgh Penguins: Kris Letang (PS: 2.3)
In the absence of Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin, Letang has stepped up his game.
Coming off his first career All-Star season, the sixth season defenseman is leading the Eastern Conference leading Penguins with 10 assists, and is tied with James Neal for the team lead with 11 points.
Honorable Mention: James Neal
Buffalo Sabres: Thomas Vanek (PS: 2.5)
Vanek, the seventh year left winger and former All-Star, is helping the underachieving Sabres keep pace in the Eastern Conference.
He leads the team with eight goals and 16 points. With four 60 point seasons to his credit, Vanek figures to remain one of Buffalo's MVPs for the foreseeable future.
Honorable Mention: Jason Pominville
Toronto Maple Leafs: Phil Kessel (PS: 2.8)
Kessel leads the Maple Leafs, and the NHL, with 10 goals and 18 total points. After 11 games, the sixth year center is poised for a career season.
Last year, Kessel had his first 30/30 campaign. If the Leafs stay in contention deep into the season, it will doubtlessly be in no small part due to Kessel's continuing contributions.
Honorable Mention: Dion Phaneuf