GDHQNHL15_f-Hidden Gems 2

Winnipeg Jets Gameday HQ

The NHL is a league that loves to hand out awards. Whether it’s the Hart Memorial Trophy, given to the league’s most valuable player, the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the top goaltender, or the Conn Smythe Trophy, given to the playoffs MVP, there are no shortage of trophies for the league to hand out. Generally, these trophies tend to go to players who fill the stat sheet. These are usually players who score a lot of goals and dish out a lot of assists. For example, last year the Hart Trophy was awarded to Sidney Crosby, who also led the NHL with 104 points. The Calder Trophy, given to the league’s top rookie, was awarded to Nathan McKinnon, who led all rookies with 63 points. Even the Norris Trophy, meant for the league’s top defenseman, was awarded to Duncan Keith, who had the most points of any defenseman to also earn a positive plus-minus rating. Players like Crosby, McKinnon, and Keith are certainly of tremendous value to their respective teams. Every team needs players who put the puck in the net, and those players have shown that they are excellent at doing exactly that. At the same time, hockey is a game about more than just scoring goals. It’s about players who sacrifice their bodies to block pucks in front of the net. It’s about players who deliver hard hits and help their team earn possession of the puck. It’s about players who can put enough pressure on opponents to draw penalties and earn power plays. Every good NHL team has a player who doesn’t necessarily get postseason awards consideration or accolades from the media, but does tremendous work in helping their team win in ways that aren’t measured on the stats page. These are the secret superstars of the league. Putting the spotlight on the NHL’s most overlooked stars. Jamie Sabau; Mike Stobe; Andy Devlin; Debora Robinson/NHL/Getty Images


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