While there are a few players each year that one can count on to put up really good numbers and be among the best statistically, each year brings up some different players putting themselves into the equation.
This year already is no different.
There's Phil Kessel, who finally seems to be hitting his potential and currently leads the NHL in points, goals and plus/minus rating.
Then there's Nikolai Khabibulin, who is leading in many of the goaltending categories and is arguably the hardest goaltender to beat this year.
It's the same at every position.
Let's take a look at the 10 best players at each of the five positions: goaltender, center, right wing, left wing and defenseman.
Dwayne Roloson and the Tampa Bay Lightning have gotten off to a rough start this season, but it's still early and there's plenty of time for them to improve those stats.
Last year, especially during the postseason, Roloson was practically unbeatable.
With one shutout among the other games this season, there is a good chance that Roloson will finish this season strongly, too.
Miikka Kiprusoff is often overlooked, despite having had a goals against average less than three for years and save percentage of more than .900 as well.
This while playing for a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 2009, too.
This year, Kiprusoff is off to another good start with a GAA of 2.33 and save percentage of .919.
Ilya Bryzgalov has struggled this season with the Philadelphia Flyers, with a current GAA of 3.04 and save percentage of .887.
However, I don't think that's enough to disqualify him from this list, especially since he's put up such great statistics in the past.
Bryzgalov hopes he can bounce back to those type of numbers, and the Flyers do, too.
Tomas Vokoun moved up in the Southeast Division, leaving the Florida Panthers for the Washington Capitals this season.
Vokoun is currently 7-1 with the Capitals, including one shutout.
He also currently has a GAA of 2.36 and save percentage of .920, proving that he's pretty difficult to beat.
Pekka Rinne has proven that he's among the best goaltenders in the league, one to build a franchise around.
The Nashville Predators clearly agree, since they signed him to a seven-year, $49 million extension yesterday.
This year, he has a GAA of 2.50 and save percentage of .922, as he looks to improve his win-loss record.
Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins has really emerged the past couple of seasons as one of the best goaltenders. He has been improving his consistency as well.
This season is no different, as Fleury has posted a pretty incredible GAA of 1.86 and save percentage of .934.
He's definitely very difficult to beat.
Last season, Tim Thomas was amazing, leading the Boston Bruins to their Stanley Cup victory over the
The Bruins are off to a little bit of a slow start this season, with Thomas going 4-4 thus far.
However, Thomas has still put up good personal statistics, with a GAA of 2.25 and save percentage of .924.
Henrik Lundqvist is easily one of the best goaltenders in the league, especially since he's played a primary role in the New York Rangers' success over the years.
So far this season, the Rangers are struggling, but Lundqvist has still played well.
He's posted a GAA of 2.18 and save percentage of .932.
Another goaltender that routinely gets overlooked when talking about the best in the game is Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings.
So far, Quick is third in the league in both GAA and save percentage, at 1.52 and .947, respectively. He's also first in the league in shutouts with three.
Clearly, it's quite difficult to get anything past Quick this year.
Perhaps the biggest surprise this season has been Nikolai Khabibulin.
We all knew he was an exceptional goaltender, especially considering his integral role in the Tampa Bay Lightning's 2003-04 Stanley Cup win.
Yet it seemed like Khabibulin was past his prime. However, the 38-year-old Russian netminder is proving that he's still got it.
Khabibulin has gone 5-0-2 so far this season, with a GAA of 1.12—the best in the league—and save percentage of .960—the second-best in the league.
Ales Hemsky is a player that hasn't garnered too much attention over the past few years, but he has been outstanding for the Edmonton Oilers.
That will probably all change, especially if free agency nears and Hemsky—who is set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1—is still not extended.
So far, Hemsky has only played two games this season, but once he's healthy, he'll remind everyone why he should stay in the front of their minds.
Alexander Semin is often criticized for his lack of consistency, and the fact that he has never played a full season doesn't help.
However, when he's at his best, Semin has one of the most lethal shots in hockey.
He's faring pretty well so far this season, with six points (two goals, four assists) in 10 games.
Once upon a time, Jaromir Jagr was one of the best players in the NHL.
At 38, Jagr isn't the player he was 20 years ago anymore, but in just 13 games with the Philadelphia Flyers in his return to the NHL, Jagr is proving that he's still got it.
He has as many points as he's played in games, with five goals and eight assists.
If he keeps at it, he could be one of the best players this season.
Anyone who follows Martin St. Louis or has watched him play cannot believe that this guy went undrafted—he's just a very talented player, despite his small stature.
Sure, it's the young stars that get much of the credit for the Tampa Bay Lightning's success, but St. Louis was right there alongside linemate Steven Stamkos, leading the team to success.
He's at it again this season, with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 12 games.
Jarome Iginla is one of the classiest players in the NHL, one of the best captains and, oh yeah, he's a pretty good hockey player, too.
Iginla has consistently led the Calgary Flames in scoring, even during some of the team's less successful times.
So far this season, Iginla has seven points (four goals, three assists).
The past couple of seasons, Danny Briere has really re-emerged as one of the elite players in the game today.
He has also been one of the Philadelphia Flyers' best players the past two postseasons.
This year looks to be no different, as Briere has already tallied 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 11 games.
Bobby Ryan sometimes gets less attention than his superstar linemates—Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry—but Ryan is very talented as well.
He's scored more than 30 goals each of the past three seasons, and it seems inevitable that he'll do the same again this season.
Ryan already has five goals this season and six points.
Like his teammate and linemate Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry is one of the best forwards in the game today (Note: both are listed as right wings, therefore both were included under right wings).
Last season, Perry even won both the Rocket Richard Trophy with the most goals in the league and the Hart Trophy as the league MVP.
Perry is off to another strong start, with nine points (five goals and four assists) in 13 games.
Patrick Kane is one of the league's young stars and one the Chicago Blackhawks' young stars, particularly after the team's 2010 Stanley Cup victory.
This season, Kane is off to a fast start, with 12 points in as many games.
Those points are comprised of four goals and eight assists.
Phil Kessel is arguably the best player so far this season and the NHL agrees, naming him one of October's three stars of the month.
Kessel currently leads the NHL in many scoring categories: points, goals and plus/minus rating.
He has 10 goals and 21 points in 13 games, as well as a rating of plus-10.
One of the reasons the Mike Richards trade to the Los Angeles Kings this summer was so surprising was the fact that Richards is such a highly-talented player.
In fact, Richards could be one of the best overlooked two-way forwards in the league.
He's done alright so far out in LA this season, with 10 points (two goals and eight assists) thus far.
"Jumbo Joe" Thornton is among the best centers in the league, consistently putting up a high number of points and helping the San Jose Sharks to successful regular seasons.
Unfortunately for Thornton and the Sharks, that won't be enough for much longer, and they'll need to win the Stanley Cup to really prove themselves.
Perhaps that will be this year.
Eric Staal is another forward that's among the best in the league, and he plays an integral role of his team's success.
The Carolina Hurricanes recognized that and made Staal captain last season. As a result, Staal immediately increased his scoring.
He's off to a bit of a slow start this season, but there is still plenty of time for Staal to get hot.
A few seasons ago, when discussing the best players in the league, it was all about Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.
Now, that conversation includes Steven Stamkos.
Two seasons ago, Stamkos tied Crosby to win the Rocket Richard Trophy and last season, Stammer only came a few goals shy of another one.
Perhaps this will be the year he gets his second, though, as he already has 10 points in 12 games, including six goals.
Sidney Crosby hasn't played since January; however, we all remember and agree that he's still probably one of the best players in the league, even if he will have permanent damage from his concussion.
However, I suspect once he does return, he won't have lingering effects and will show that he is indeed still one of the top forwards in the league.
Pavel Datsyuk is one of the most dangerous players in the NHL, partly because he's so adept at his notorious "Datsyukian Dekes" that the goaltenders never see them coming.
He's among the best in terms of scoring beautiful goals and he's a fantastic two-way forward, as his multiple Selke trophies show.
Evgeni Malkin is once again battling injuries, which doesn't help his production and won't help his future.
However, for now, he's still among the top centers in the game.
This season, Malkin has seven points (two goals and five assists) in just six games he's appeared in. Imagine where he would be if he were 100 percent healthy.
Jonathan Toews is another young player who has already proven he's one of the top players in the game today.
He's led the Chicago Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup victory and helped Team Canada capture Olympic Gold in 2010.
Looks to be another big year for Toews, as he's already scored five goals for eight total points to begin the year.
Last year was Ryan Kesler's coming out party in the NHL, as he scored 41 goals during the regular season and was a big reason the Vancouver Canucks advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals.
He also picked up a Selke Trophy at the 2011 NHL Awards.
It should be another good season for Kesler now that he's back from rehabbing after undergoing hip surgery over the summer.
Claude Giroux emerged last year as one of the Philadelphia Flyers' and the NHL's star forwards. He seems to be continuing that trend this season.
In just 13 games, Giroux has scored 17 points, good for second in the league.
Of those 17 points, eight are goals.
The Philadelphia Flyers are lucky to have another young emerging star in James van Riemsdyk.
Van Riemsdyk already has nine points this season, five of which are goals. If he continues, he could be among the top scorers this season.
Last summer, Ilya Kovalchuk was the most in-demand free agent, and it is easy to see why.
In 11 games this season, Kovalchuk already has nine points, including two goals. He should only get better as the season progresses.
Before this season, Joffrey Lupul wouldn't have come near this list of top 10 left wings. However, after the start of this season, Lupul has earned his spot.
So far, Lupul has tallied 16 points, the sixth best in the league. Those 16 points are comprised of eight goals and eight assists.
With Lupul and Kessel leading the way, the Maple Leafs may just end this season a lot better than many had projected.
Patrick Sharp is another forward who has had a major role in the success of the Chicago Blackhawks in the past couple of seasons.
This season looks to be no exception.
Sharp currently has 10 points, with three of them being goals and seven of them being assists.
So far this season, Thomas Vanek of the Buffalo Sabres has been hot.
Vanek has 16 points on the season, which ties him for second in league rankings. He has eight goals, which is good for third in the league rankings.
Patrick Marleau hasn't gotten off to a quick start yet this season, as he's scored just eight points in 10 games.
However, Marleau tends to end the season on a high note and has scored more than 35 goals each of the past three seasons.
There's a good chance Marleau will accomplish that again this season.
The Sedin twins are two of the most talented players in the NHL, especially during the regular season. They have taken turns leading the league in scoring.
Neither has been at the top of the leader boards yet this season, but there's still plenty of time, and Daniel Sedin is not too far behind.
Sedin has 15 points thus far, tying him for sixth in the league in scoring.
Henrik Zetterberg is off to a slow start, as are the Detroit Red Wings. But that doesn't mean he isn't among the best left wings in the game.
Last season, Zetterberg scored 80 points, and there is still plenty of time for him to score just as much again this season.
Zach Parise is back after missing most of last season. He has the new title of captain and is quickly showing his leadership by scoring goals.
He currently has five goals and six points, but expect that number to jump quickly and considerably.
Parise is playing for a new contract, after all.
Alex Ovechkin may have been benched at the end of the Washington Capitals game the other night, but that doesn't mean he doesn't still possess the most lethal shot in the league.
Ovechkin currently has 10 points, five goals and five assists, but it's well known that Ovechkin can easily increase that in a very short period of time.
That's why he's so dangerous.
Ryan Suter has been a valuable member of the Nashville Predators' defense. Perhaps not as valuable as Shea Weber, but still valuable.
That's what will make deciding whether they can afford to re-sign both (especially now that Pekka Rinne is locked down long term) such a challenge.
The San Jose Sharks traded for Brent Burns from the Minnesota Wild over the summer, hoping that the addition will help them finally win the coveted Stanley Cup this season.
Only time will tell, but his presence can't hurt.
Keith Yandle is one of the emerging young defenseman in the NHL.
The Phoenix Coyotes recognized this and that's why they signed him to a five-year, $26 million extension over the summer.
It was a good investment.
Drew Doughty was the most watched RFA this summer, partly because it took the Los Angeles Kings forever to finally sign him to a deal.
However, they finally got him locked down long term and now it's up to Doughty to prove he's worth that money.
All signs point to yes, he is.
Duncan Keith is another star member of the Chicago Blackhawks, leading the team's defensive corps.
Keith played a large role in the team's Stanley Cup championship in 2010, and he continues to lead the team's blue line.
Last year, Kevin Bieksa showed everyone that he was an indispensable member of the Vancouver Canucks. So of course, they re-signed him before he became an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Bieksa is a physical defenseman who proved in the playoffs that he can score a clutch goal in the postseason, too.
That's a fantastic defenseman.
Zdeno Chara is among the top defenseman in the league.
With his enormous stature, it's tough to get past him and therefore tough to score on the Boston Bruins (along with Tim Thomas being in net).
Obviously, Chara played a primary role in the team's Stanley Cup championship this past year, and he will play a primary role in the team's future successes.
Chris Pronger has battled various injuries since last season and again this season. Now, he's currently healing from a scary eye injury and is out indefinitely.
It's easy to see why Pronger is one of the best current defenseman, though, just by how his team struggles without him in the lineup.
Shea Weber was the most sought-after RFA this offseason, and many held out the hope that they could figure out a way to acquire him.
Alas, the Nashville Predators re-signed him for the year after he was awarded the largest settlement in arbitration history.
He definitely deserved it and will deserve the hefty, long-term deal that he will eventually sign with either Nashville or whomever else wins that lottery.
As long as Nicklas Lidstrom is still playing, he has earned the title of the top current defenseman in the league.
After all, Lidstrom has an opportunity to win his eighth Norris Trophy this season, tying the record held by Bobby Orr for most Norris trophies.
No other current defenseman can top that, and it will be a long time before any else ever does, either.