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(Ed. Note: While attending the NHL Players Media Tour in September, we polled 27 skaters and goalies about a few topics in the League. Their answers are anonymous to encourage candor.)
Full disclosure: Loui Eriksson did receive a vote for being the most underrated player in the NHL.
His inclusion on such lists has reached the point of hilarity. Eriksson used to be so underrated that he became overrated for being underrated. Then the Tyler Seguin trade happened, Eriksson’s numbers fell, and apparently in the eyes of at least one NHL peer he’s nestled back in to being underrated.
We asked 27 players on the NHL Players Media Tour last month to give us their most underrated current NHL player. They couldn’t vote for their own teammates. While we don’t want to give an exact number of positions for these players, we’d say the breakdown was about 55 percent forwards, 35 percent defensemen and 10 percent goalies.
Who is the most underrated player in the NHL?
Yes, Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals received the most support for being underappreciated. Which, we guess, would mean he’s appreciated, but let’s not chase our tails around the concept of this poll, OK?
“Tremendous 2-way player. Doesn’t get the credit he deserves,” said one all-star center.
Coming in second was John Tavares of the New York Islanders. Which is a bit of a surprise, given he was nominated for the Hart Trophy last season, but his peers believe he doesn’t get his due.
Tied for third place was Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars, whom NHL players believe you might have missed winning the scoring race last season; and Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks, who basically should have his name atop any “most underrated” player poll.
“He’s definitely one of these guys that doesn’t get enough recognition,” said one NHL all-star defenseman. “One of the best two-way players in the game. A Selke candidate, but he doesn’t get the recognition because he doesn’t play center.”
As your math might have told you, we had more than a few players who received one vote.
Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins
Derek Dorsett, Vancouver Canucks
Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins
Ryan Johansen, Columbus Blue Jackets
Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins (Said one all-star forward: “He scored close to 40 goals two years ago. He’s explosive, has a great shot. Might not work hard all the time, but if you surround him with the right players, he’ll be awesome.”)
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings
Marcus Kruger, Chicago Blackhawks
Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
Antoine Roussel, Dallas Stars
Patrick Sharp, Dallas Stars
Brandon Sutter, Vancouver Canucks
Justin Williams, Washington Capitals
Jonas Brodin, Minnesota Wild
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes (Said one all-star forward: “It’s not that people don’t know about him; he’s just a really great player.”)
Niklas Hjalmarsson, Chicago Blackhawks
Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay Lightning
Who do you think is the most underrated player in the NHL? Answers in the comments, please!
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