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Presenting: The Top 50 NHL Franchise Cornerstones *6-8*
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BirdsFan06050


Joined: 02 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd just like to point out that it was very hard to leave out some players who I feel are some of the finest the league has to offer. Nonetheless, with only fifty spots available, this was bound to happen given the myriad of young talent in the league right now. For fans of clubs whose players just missed the cut, I basically just want to say that this is by no means a knock against that said player, rather just an indication of how loaded and skilled the league is becoming. Just based on a quick comparison between my list now and 4 years ago, I'd say this one is the superior group of talent by a good margin, especially in the latter stages and bottom ten. People are going to be surprised to see how such notable players were left off the list.

Now, without further ado, the first set of players!


50. Evander Kane, LW, Jets



A questionable/bad attitude isn't going to keep this dynamic winger off the list. His blazing speed and offensive skill should give defenses fits for years to come in this league, and at just twenty years of age, the young Canadian already has three seasons under his belt. He has the ability to play at center or the wing, although I personally like him on the wing because his greatest asset is his skating ability. He also has amazing hands and a knack to finish. Kane isn't afraid to throw his weight around either, and I expect him to get bigger in the future too. He's been benched in the past for supposed lazy defensive play, but when he's going he plays with an edge and fire, and I love that about him.

Kane's first two seasons were fairly inconsistent, but he was arguably the Jets' best offensive player in their first season in Winnipeg. Posting 30 goals and 57 points in just 74 games, he led all forwards on the Jets in on-ice goals for per 60 minutes with a 3.13 mark, and his on-ice plus/minus per 60 minutes also led the team. He also ranked amongst the top 10 left wingers in goals per game last season too. The production is already very noticeable for this promising young player.

Offensive Upside - A-
Defensive Upside - C

Evander Kane Dazzles


49. John Carlson, D, Capitals



The young puck-moving defenseman was recently labeled a futur Norris candidate by The Washington Post, and while I may not go that far, he's certainly one of the brightest young blueliners the game currently has to offer. He has all the tools to forge into a great two-way defenseman, with his poise and hockey IQ being arguably his greatest assets, enabling him to make quick, smart decisions with the puck and superb outlet passes. He's also a mobile defenseman, which you will note with just about every defenseman on this list, and the Capitals already rely on him in all situations, including both on the penalty kill and power-play. I could see him quarterbacking their PP in the future, although his defensive skills will probably be more valuable for their franchise given their current crop of defenders.

In 2012, the young American defenseman took a step backwards, and it nearly left him as a honorable mention, but because he was so good just last season at his age and I love his potential, Carlson was kept on. We have to remember that defenseman often develop slower than forwards, and there are more growing pains involved. While he was less than spectacular when you look at the stats this year, he still managed a respectable 32 points in just his second full season. However, during his rookie campaign, Carlson amassed a one-ice plus/minus per 60 minutes of .94, leading all Capitals d-men. This rating placed him 11th amongst ALL blueliners in remarkably just his rookie season. Furthermore, that year he posted 37 points and displayed his offensive prowess too. Great things are in the future for this kid.

Offensive Potential - B+
Defensive Potential - A-


Carlson cements himself in the history books with OT goal


48. Matt Duchene, C, Avalanche



Duchene is the full package and has the makings of an offensive stud. He possesses both dynamic slap and wrist shots, giving him the potential to be a full-fledged sniper in the NHL. However, he's also a strong play-maker with the puck on his stick and can be very creative in the o-zone. Perhaps a knock against the kid is that he doesn't quite shot enough given how strong of a shot he possesses and his majestic hands. The former 3rd overall pick is also a superb skater, and while he's never been labeled by scouts as a penalty-killer or ultra-strong defensive player, he's far from a liability in his own zone.

Like the above, he was a tough inclusion because of his poor season that was riddled with injuries. However, I still view this kid as a potential 80-90 point scorer in the NHL, and with given that projection, I felt he was a necessary inclusion. He's also got a terrific track record given his age in spite of his injury riddled 2012. Just last season, Duchene posted 67 points to place him amongst the top 30 scorers in the league. The young Canadian also posted a respectable 55 points during his rookie campaign for the Avalanche. So while he had a disappointing most recent season, the production in the past is certainly there and I expect the dynamic to froward to bounce back with a vengeance.

Offensive Upside - A-
Defensive Upside - B-


Duchene's goal of the year!
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BLick12


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Strong start. Duchene is pretty low but he did have a rough season this year.
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jetsfan4life51


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BirdsFan06050 wrote:
jetsfan4life51 wrote:
What if the player hasn't played in the regular season yet? Laughing


I believe you're referring to Kreider, right? Laughing

As was the criteria for my last list, you have to play at least 30 NHL games to qualify, although I forgot to include this in my OP.

Don't worry though, I won't spoil the fun but there's at least one Ranger on the list.


Awesome, even though Lundqvist is 30 years old I know he's #1. Wink

Callahan is 27 so it has to be him. Although I think Staal and McDonagh don't get their due.
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RainbowCarebear


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good reads so far.
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playmaker8267


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the world of Matt Duchene, but when you look at his injury-riddled season and tendency to get outmuscled, I understand why he's so low at this point in time.

Evander Kane is going to be as good as he wants to be. He needs to gain some weight, and if he gets a coach that can coax good defensive effort out of him, he'll be one of the best players in the league. He's already knocking on the door.
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the lone star


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BLick12 wrote:
Strong start. Duchene is pretty low but he did have a rough season this year.


he'll bounce back fo sho. He'll be healthy this year. This past season he was just riddled with injuries.
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BirdsFan06050


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

playmaker8267 wrote:
I think the world of Matt Duchene, but when you look at his injury-riddled season and tendency to get outmuscled, I understand why he's so low at this point in time.

Evander Kane is going to be as good as he wants to be. He needs to gain some weight, and if he gets a coach that can coax good defensive effort out of him, he'll be one of the best players in the league. He's already knocking on the door.


In the grand scheme of things, he's really not that low. I really think people are going to be surprised by some of the players that I was forced to leave off the list.

I'm possibly expecting a few gripes with my next few players, but we'll see.

Overall, I like where Duchene is given his potential.
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the lone star


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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2012 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BirdsFan06050 wrote:
playmaker8267 wrote:
I think the world of Matt Duchene, but when you look at his injury-riddled season and tendency to get outmuscled, I understand why he's so low at this point in time.

Evander Kane is going to be as good as he wants to be. He needs to gain some weight, and if he gets a coach that can coax good defensive effort out of him, he'll be one of the best players in the league. He's already knocking on the door.


In the grand scheme of things, he's really not that low. I really think people are going to be surprised by some of the players that I was forced to leave off the list.

I'm possibly expecting a few gripes with my next few players, but we'll see.

Overall, I like where Duchene is given his potential.


I really hope you didn't leave Landeskog off the list. I can understand leaving off Henrique, but not RNH or Gabriel.
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Dr. Philly


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PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Following.
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BirdsFan06050


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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 1:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

47. Sean Couturier, C, Flyers



Perhaps a surprise inclusion to some if you haven't seen much of this kid, but the man has been dubbed "little Ron", a reference to former Penguins/Hurricanes center Ron Francis, by teammate and future hall of famer Jaromir Jagr for good reason. If you're a regular in the forum, then you know I've always been high on this kid, even before he was selected by my Flyers. Mono caused him to slip in the draft, which likely has clubs already shaking their heads, despite leading the Q in PPG and playing on Team Canada's checking line at World Juniors as just a 17-year old. This was a kid who before the illness was expected to go #1 overall. As far as talent is concerned, the tools are all there. Couturier possesses sweet hands, a lethal wrist shot, defensive shutdown capabilities, terrific size, and a hockey IQ that's off the charts. I believe that he will be a 70-80 point player, and that's a conservative estimate, who will battle for Selke trophies. In other words, a potential superstar.

The offensive numbers in his rookie season aren't overwhelming, but he still played a very prominent role for the Flyers despite being relegated to 4th line duty for most of the season. Around the mid-point of the season, it became obvious that Couts was the Flyers most intelligent and best defensive forward, always putting himself in the right position and making smart decisions. Subsequently, coach Laviolette used him to shutdown opposing top-line centerman, including the likes of Evgeni Malkin in the playoffs. He excelled in this role, leading all Flyers forwards in on-ice plus/minus per 60 minutes with a 1.16 mark in the regular season, placing him amongst the top in the league. He was also the only Flyers forward who had a on-ice goals against per 60 minutes mark under 2, and his was a staggering 1.59. His defensive presence was certainly felt, and it was a joy watch him play at this kind of level as just an 18-year old rookie. However, next year, and especially in future years once he establishes himself as the club's 2nd line center, I expect him to considerably improve upon his offensive numbers, because he is equally skilled at the offensive end of the ice too.

Offensive Upside - B+
Defensive Upside - A

Couturier's playoff magic


46. P.K. Subban, D, Canadiens



The fiery defenseman is known to have a short temper, as noted by the several fueds with fellow teammates at practice this past season, but you have to admire his passion, physicality, vision, speed, and monster shot as a player. Subban is one of those guys that still needs to fully mature, but there's no question in my mind that he's one of the brightest young blueliners in the game. He wasn't the most highly touted prospect, getting taken in only the 2nd round by the Montreal Canadiens, but as I mentioned in the above, he possesses the make-up of a top-pairing defenseman. Furthermore, his superb play in Juniors and for Team Canada, where he was a part of two gold-medal winning teams, put him on the map, and Subban hasn't looked back since.

While the Habs had an abysmal season this year, Subban quietly had an outstanding campaign. In his first full season last year, he notched 14 goals and 38 points, and while these stats look great on paper, he struggled at times with his positioning and was often prone to turnovers. Thankfully, he improved on those aspects this season, which enabled him to not only post 36 points, but lead all Montreal defenseman in on-ice goals for per 60 minutes and on-ice plus/minus per 60 minutes. In fact, only Subban and Gorges even posted a positive mark in the latter category, with the subject at hand posting a very respectable .56, especially when we consider the fact that the Canadiens had the 3rd worst record in the NHL. Overall, that's not to say that these flaws don't remain in his game, but Subban definitely showed positive signs of development in his own zone this year. If he can maintain this gradual growth, then I foresee Subban being a true #1 d-man for Les Habitants in the long haul.

Offensive Upside - A-
Defensive Upside - B


Subban's booming OT winner


45. Gabriel Landeskog, LW, Avalanche



Likely the recipient of this year's Calder Trophy, Landeskog was taken #2 overall by the Colorado Avalanche in this year's past draft, and it appears that their front-office made a wise choice in their selection of the Swedish-born left winger. The biggest thing that stands out when you watch him play is that he does all the little things: he works hard in the corners, wins one-on-one battles, and isn't afraid to throw his weight around. These aren't typically characteristics that you find in players drafted that high in the draft, but Landeskog works his tail off every shift and is a sure-fire future captain. He also possesses quick hands and is a force in front of the net, which is where he pots most of his goals. I'd project him to be an annual 30-35 goal scorer at least, and his goals, along with the physicality, leadership, and strong two-way play that he will undoubtedly bring, will make him an invaluable asset to the Avalanche moving forward.

It's no surprise when you look on the stat sheet to find Landeskog putting up eye-popping numbers in just his rookie campaign. He is a more than deserving Calder Trophy winner as far as I'm concerned, and the stats back that statement up. Besides his 22 goals and 52 points as a rookie, the young Swedish forward posted the only positive on-ice plus/minus per 60 minutes on his club with a very respectable .80 mark. Furthermore, he was 2nd on the team with a 2.74 on-ice goals for per 60 minutes. The Avalanche also already rely on him to kill penalties and play tough minutes for their team. He certainly didn't take the league by storm in the first half of the season, but Landeskog was arguably Colorado's best player down the stretch when they made their playoff push, although the team in the end came up just a tad short. However, Colorado fans were able to rejoice in the breakout of their young star.

Offensive Upside - B+
Defensive Upside - A-


Landeskoging!
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Mr. Incredible


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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I absolutely love the trade the Flyers made with Columbus, bringing over Voracek and the 8th overall pick in the draft (Couturier) for Jeff Carter, and I'm sure you can agree with me on that. You summed up his game perfectly. I'm excited for his future in Philadelphia. I expect him to be among the best two-way players in the NHL within a few years.

Landeskog was my favorite prospect from this past year's draft. I love how he plays the game, he does everything right. I can see him as the future captain of the Colorado Avalanche.
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mgoblue44


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PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kane - I like the placement at 50. Although I still dont believe he is a guy you can build a team around, he can be a very good scorer down the wing in a few years.

Carlson - He is definitely the gem of the young Capitals blue line. Love the way he can play all over the ice.

Duchene - Although he struggled this past season, I feel he should be a bit higher. The talent is there for sure.

Couturier - Teams are going to regret passing on him, will only go up on this list in the next couple years.

Subban - Despite being a Hab, love the way he plays the game. Plays on the edge.

Landeskog - Thought he was the safest and most consistent prospect in last year's draft. Completely proved it this year
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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

44. James Neal, RW, Penguins



Already amongst the elite power forwards in the league, Neal possesses the frame of a power forward and the hands of a sniper, making him a duel and potent offensive threat. He's learned to use his size/frame effectively in the NHL, which has empowered his ability to consistently win one-on-one battles and provide a strong net presence too. Neal is also a fairly good skater for a winger of his physical stature. Moreover, his offensive skills have particularly been effective on the power-play, where he ranked amongst the league leaders this past season in both goals and points.

Neal's statistics, especially from his 2012 campaign, are impressive, and he's still only 24 years age. He led the league with 18 PP goals, and potted 40 goals for the first time in his career during his first-full season with the Penguins. This earned the Canadian born winger his 1st all-star appearance. And while he had posted solid numbers in the past with the Stars, never had they been this outstanding. Know, a large part of his success could be attributed to playing with such a talented cast in Pittsburgh, so I felt the middle of the bottom 10 was a suitable placement for Neal. Even so, the league finally got to witness the stunning brilliance that Malkin was capable of playing alongside a talented winger of Neal's calibre, and for that alone he certainly some deserves his own fair share of praise.

Offensive Upside - B+
Defenisve Upside - B


Neal splits D, scores beauty


43. Ryan Suter, D, Predators



The Predators as a hockey franchise breed defenseman like know other club has done in decades, and it has other general managers and scouts wondering what's in the water down in Nashville. The staff of GM Dave Poile has done a phenomenal job, and one of their prize draft picks has been Ryan Suter, who they selected 7th overall in the 2003 draft. From a talent perspective, he's a superb puck-moving blue-liner that possesses top-notch vision and skating ability, enabling him to effectively quarterback a PP at the highest level. He has done wonders for Nashville's transition game as a result, and will do the same for whichever club he signs for in free agency.

The American-born blueliner had arguably his best offensive season this past year, notching 46 points in 79 games and earning his 1st all-star selection in the process, although Suter has always been a infallible bet for around 40 points since his breakout campaign in 2008. As you might expect, Suter was 2nd on the club in on-ice goals for per 60 minutes with a 2.63 mark and on-ice goals against per 60 minutes, posting a solid 2.13. Ultimately, his age and limited potential moving forward cost him a few spots on the list, as well as the fact that he's always been paired with fellow teammate Shea Weber. It will be interesting to see how he performs without his long-time partner should he sign elsewhere this off-season.

Offensive Upside - B+
Defensive Upside - B+


Suter does it himself on the PP


42. Brent Seabrook, D, Blackhawks



The big-bodied, intimidating presence of the Blackhawks' defensive corps is already a well-established all-star at the age of 27, and has a remakrable resume, including both a Stanley Cup and Olympic gold medal with Team Canada. Noted for his defensive presence, positioning, big hits, and powerful slap-shot, Seabrook has been eating up loads of minutes for Chicago for several years now, playing in all situations including on both the PP and penalty-kill. Thus, his universal status as one of the league's best all-around blueliners.

The Canadian d-man was arguably the Blackhawks best defenseman this past season, posting a team leading 3.33 on-ice goals per 60 minutes and .72 on-ice plus/minus per 60 minutes. This coming after a rather average effort by his standards in the prior year, in spite of a career-high 48 points, although Chicago fans didn't seem to mind since both he and fellow teammate Duncan Keith had career years during their 2010 campaigns, which included stellar performances by both of their top-line blueliners en route to a Stanley Cup championship. Neverthless, Seabrook has posted a 20+ or higher rating in 3 of the past 4 seasons, while playing tremendous hockey in all three zones, particularly his own. GM Stan Bowman made a wise choice to lock-up his stud defenseman with a contract extension several months back.

Offensive Upside - B
Defensive Upside - A-


Seabrook's smashing hit sends opposing player into the benches


41. Jeff Skinner, LW, Hurricanes



The recipient of last year's Calder Trophy, Jeff Skinner shocked the hockey world as just an 18-year old rookie with his dynamic offensive play. While scouts have always questioned his short physique and strength, Skinner quickly proved his doubters wrong in the NHL after being selected 7th overall by the Hurricanes. A savvy offensive player, Skinner's best attributes are his blazing speed, wicked wirst shot, and creative skill-set, all making him a handful to deal with for any opposing player. More importantly, the former Kitchener Ranger has a strong work ethic and is always one of the most determined players out on the ice. I absolutely love his character.

His 2012 campaign saw some bumps and lows due to injuries, but he still posted 44 points in 64 games in his sophomore season. However, in terms of production, his rookie year was far more impressive, as the young Canadian winger potted 31 goals and scored 63 points en route to his well-deserving rookie of the year honors. Skinner also became the youngest player to ever earn an all-star berth in the NHL in 2011. In fact, only he and Steve Yzerman have ever been named to the team as an 18-year old. More impressively, hed led all Hurricanes players with a 3.34 on-ice goals for per 60 minutes, a mark which placed him amongst the top 30 forwards in the league. While this past season probably cost him a few spots on the list, there's no doubt in my mind that Skinner remains one of brightest young forwards in the league, with the potential to become one of the NHL's very best offensive players.

Offensive Potential - A-
Defensive Upside - C+


Skinner dekes defender with spin-o-rama and scores
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RainbowCarebear


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love this thread.
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bluesfreak74


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Following this thread for sure.
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