Throughout the regular season, certain NHL stars will shine brighter than others in terms of offensive production and explosiveness. Additionally, certain NHL stars will contribute to a greater extent than others, which boost their overall value to the team. These players are most likely the leaders of the team both on and off the ice. They are often the ones making the players around them better and sparking the team's offense.
Although there is only one Hart Trophy (MVP) winner awarded at the end of each NHL season, there are many deserving candidates from every NHL team each given year. These possible deserving candidates could range from young rookies to long-time NHL superstars, which might even include the least expected player at the beginning of the season! All in all, the most valuable player on every NHL team always varies since the talent in the NHL is so diverse.
In today's article, we will take a comprehensive look at the unanimous MVP of every NHL team for the 2016-17 season.
30 Anaheim Ducks - Ryan Getzlaf
For Ducks fans, they must be more than pleased that their captain has not regressed, but has continued to lead the team in points. After a disappointing first round exit to the Nashville Predators last season, Getzlaf has efficaciously led the charge in Anaheim to a return to the Stanley Cup playoffs. He's definitely the type of player who makes players around him better. As the Ducks' captain, he has been extremely reliable in all situations: power play, penalty kill and when the team is down a goal in the third period.
At the age of 31, it's spectacular that he has managed to produce yet another almost point-per-game season, collecting 73 points in 74 games. This season was the sixth time Getzlaf has eclipsed 70 points. His unique combination of size and skill, coupled with his pristine hockey sense, makes him an elite player in all aspects of the game, and is the reason why Getzlaf has produced yet another fantastic season for the Ducks.
29 Arizona Coyotes - Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Although Oliver Ekman-Larsson didn't lead the Coyotes in scoring this year like in previous seasons, he still deserves the MVP award for his team because of his incredible hockey IQ and puck-moving abilities. He is undoubtedly one of the toughest competitors on the back-end in the entire league; his strength on the puck is best evidenced through his one-on-one battles. Though the Coyotes have certainly struggled this season, Ekman-Larsson always competes hard and works arduously to get the puck out of harm's way.
Despite his decrease in offensive production this season, the Coyotes' entire season has been marked with mediocrity. Their disappointing season makes it especially difficult to find positives, but with a young team replete with promising prospects, there's much to look forward to in Arizona for Ekman-Larsson and company.
28 Boston Bruins - Brad Marchand
After a three-year drought, the Bruins made their stately return to the playoffs, and this time, a new man was leading the charge: Brad Marchand. The 2016-17 season has been marked as a career year for Marchand as he has set personal records in almost every stat category, including goals, assists, points, power play goals, power play points and game-winning goals amongst others. The 2006 draftee is finally breaking out of his shell and fulfilling his fullest potential as a dangerous scorer.
With 85 points in 80 games, Marchand is entering the playoffs in stride and with much-needed momentum. However, he was suspended for the final 2 games of the season because of a heedless and unnecessary spear. For Bruins fans, it must be uplifting to see Marchand amongst the scoring leaders. Let's hope he doesn't cross the line as there will surely be ramifications for his actions.
27 Buffalo Sabres - Jack Eichel
Although he is only 20 years old, he is already making the headlines down in Buffalo. After yet another overall disappointing season for the Sabres, it must make you wonder how Jack Eichel still manages to excel in just his second season with the hockey club. He posted a second straight 50-plus point campaign, a feat he managed to eclipse in only 61 games played due to an ankle injury. Nevertheless, Eichel continues to be a star in Buffalo when it seems like there's nothing to look forward to for Sabres fans.
Eichel's growth has definitely been one of the few strong points in Buffalo this season. He is slowly becoming a leader in the room, with the guidance of veterans Ryan O'Reilly and captain Brian Gionta. The 2nd-overall pick in 2015 is blooming nicely into a future #1 centerman, and at the young age of 20, there's still plenty of time for him to reach his fullest potential.
26 Calgary Flames - Mikael Backlund
At the age of 28, Backlund is finally becoming the top-6 forward the Flames hoped he would be. This NHL season, Backlund set personal records in goals (22), assists (31) and points (53). With a career year under his belt, he is shaping into one of the better two-way forwards in the league, and with the Flames becoming a more competitive team overall, there's no reason why Backlund won't continue developing his skills as an experienced centerman.
Over the years, Backlund has shown steps of development, but this NHL season finally allowed him to exhibit the skill he always had in him. This huge step forward is definitely a positive for the Flames, as he provides them with secondary scoring. Centering the "3M" line between Michael Ferland and Matthew Tkachuk for the majority of the season, Backlund has also been able to mentor the youngsters and assist them in adjusting to the NHL. For Backlund, his best years are still ahead of him, and with a newfound confidence, there's nothing that can stop him from improving.
25 Carolina Hurricanes - Jeff Skinner
For the Carolina Hurricanes, it was yet another lackluster season that saw them fall short of the NHL playoffs. Although they came close to qualifying after a serious push near the end of the season, the young team ultimately could not compete for a playoff spot. However, a strong point this year for them is the resurgence of Jeff Skinner. Originally drafted 7th-overall in 2010, the 24-year-old scoring winger has had continual struggles with consistency.
This season, Skinner accumulated 63 points - 10 more points than last season's total. Furthermore, he set a personal record in goals with 37. For Hurricanes fans, although their team failed to qualify for the playoffs again, Skinner's return to form this season will definitely pave the way for success in the team's future.
24 Chicago Blackhawks - Patrick Kane
The Blackhawks had yet another spectacular season, finishing atop the Central Division once again. Leading the way, of course, was leading scorer Patrick Kane. After a career year last season, he has a subpar year this season according to his standards. Nevertheless, Kane never ceases to find the back of the net with his nifty stickhandling and his soft yet crafty hands.
This year, Kane finished with 34 goals and 89 points in 82 games. Although it wasn't as flashy as his 106-point season last year, he still managed to find a way to lead the Blackhawks to the playoffs and continue their supremacy. He, along with teammate Jonathan Toews, have been quintessential leaders for the incoming rookies this season. As Kane enters into his prime, Blackhawks fans should expect more great things from the 28-year-old superstar sniper.
23 Colorado Avalanche - Nathan MacKinnon
As bad as the Colorado Avalanche's season was, there must be at least one standout player who stepped up to the plate - and that player was Nathan MacKinnon. At times, the young and fast team seemed talentless, but MacKinnon consistently provided the team with energy, skill and hockey smarts. Although he has experienced a few rough seasons with the Avalanche since his successful 63-point rookie campaign back in 2013-14, the 21-year-old has definitely taken strong strides since then and has adopted more of a leadership role in the young locker room.
The former 1st-overall pick in 2013 accumulated 16 goals and 53 points this season, which is nothing to be proud of as a former top pick, but considering the season the Avalanche had, the best of MacKinnon has yet to come. Despite their lackluster performance last season, MacKinnon and company have nowhere to go next season but up.
22 Columbus Blue Jackets - Sergei Bobrovsky
The 2013 Vezina Trophy winner had an absolutely fantastic season this year with the overpowering Columbus Blue Jackets. As a result of his stellar performances, for the first time since the 2013-14 season, the Blue Jackets qualified for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Bobrovsky excelled immensely under coach John Tortorella, who complimented him game after game. He was definitely Columbus' best player throughout the duration of the season and was a major contributor to their success.
Standing at 6-foot-2, the 28-year-old goaltender set a number of personal bests this season, including most wins (41) and most shutouts (7) in a given season. As a result of his outstanding play all season long, he was deservedly nominated for the Hart and Vezina Trophies to cap off an amazing year.
21 Dallas Stars - Tyler Seguin
The former 2nd-overall pick in 2010 has shaped nicely into Dallas' no.1 center. After being acquired from the Boston Bruins, he was an immediate force in their forward group and has not slowed down since. Although Seguin's offensive output has steadily decreased since his arrival in Dallas, he certainly has been a game-changer for them and has been the main driving force behind their offence.
Despite the Stars' disappointing season, the 25-year-old centerman will definitely have more fire in his belly next season when the entire team is healthy. Having already won the Stanley Cup once with the Boston Bruins in 2011 will help Seguin immensely when it comes to playoff experience. For now, however, Seguin must hone his leadership skills in order to eventually lead his team to the playoffs.
20 Detroit Red Wings - Henrik Zetterberg
For Henrik Zetterberg, it was a bounce-back season; for the rest of the Red Wings team, not so much. The Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs for the first time since 1990 - an unprecedented 25-year playoff streak; which means that this season is the first season that Zetterberg has missed the playoffs. Pretty impressive, huh? The 36-year-old accumulated 68 points throughout the regular season, and just managed to squeak in his 1,000th NHL game before season's end.
The current Red Wings captain has been an outspoken leader in the Detroit locker room for years now, and at the age of 36, he is demonstrating to the league that he still has the passion and motivation to lead his young team. With rookies like Dylan Larkin and Xavier Ouellet in the lineup, Zetterberg's expertise and experience is a valuable asset to the team, making him a quintessential captain.
19 Edmonton Oilers - Connor McDavid
This decision is definitely not up for debate. Oilers captain Connor McDavid followed up his rookie season with an exceptionally successful sophomore season that saw him reach the pristine 100-point plateau. He accumulated 30 goals and 70 assists, and showcased his unwavering skill all season long. The former 1st-overall pick in 2015 used his blistering speed, dynamic agility and goal-scoring instincts to lead Edmonton to prominence this NHL season.
In his first season as the Oilers' captain, he has succeeded expectations by tenaciously leading the youthful yet talented team to a playoff berth for the first time in 11 years. Although it took the Oilers quite a while to complete their rebuild, captain Connor McDavid seems to have lifted the team on his shoulders and aspired to obtain success.
18 Florida Panthers - Aleksander Barkov
The former 2nd-overall pick in 2013 has proven that he is a top-line forward in Florida and worthy of all the attention he gets. Though injuries have eluded him from playing an entire 82-game season, Barkov still finds ways to shine amidst his physical struggles. The 21-year-old forward has posted back-to-back 50-point seasons, despite only playing less than 70 games in each of the past two NHL seasons.
The Finnish forward is known for his flashy moves and accurate wrist shot. As a centerman, he has been fairly reliable in the face-off dot and has been a threat on the power-play as well. With talented youngsters in Florida to accompany him, such as Aaron Ekblad and Vincent Trocheck, Barkov fits perfectly in their line-up and will use his superb goal-scoring instincts to lead Florida back into the playoffs.
17 Los Angeles Kings - Jeff Carter
The former 2003 draftee is aging quickly; however, at the age of 32, Carter is more consistent than ever. He has posted three consecutive 60-plus point seasons with the Los Angeles Kings, including capturing two Stanley Cup championships with the team in 2012 and 2014. The former 11th-overall pick has been a staple on the Kings' first line since his arrival in Los Angeles; his superb offensive stats are indicative of his incredible utility.
This season, he surpassed the 30-goal plateau for the first time since the 2010-11 season when he playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. Carter also recorded 22 power-play points and scored 9 game-winning goals. Playing alongside offensively talented forwards Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson, Carter was able to emerge as the Kings' top scoring player, as well as represent the Kings at the 2017 NHL All-Star game.
16 Minnesota Wild - Devan Dubnyk
One word to describe Devan Dubnyk's season - extraordinary. A former 1st-round pick in 2004, he has developed nicely albeit slowly into an elite starting goaltender for the Minnesota Wild. This season, he set a personal best in wins for a single NHL season, as well as tied his personal best in shutouts with 5. His remarkable 2.25 GAA and .923 Sv% backstopped the Wild to success, which ultimately led them to qualify for the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs.
The final line of defense for the Wild has definitely not disappointed this season, and as a result of his phenomenal performances night in and night out, the Wild substantially improved from last season's results. If Dubnyk continues his on-ice dominance next year, the Wild will surely be a serious Stanley Cup contender.
15 Montreal Canadiens - Carey Price
After an injury-riddled season last year, the British Columbia native had a stellar 2016-17 bounce-back season with the Montreal Canadiens. His return to regular season hockey was much anticipated by the hockey world, so to his delight, he did not disappoint a bit. Price returned to top shape immediately and helped Montreal gain a position of playoff contention. He eventually ended the season with an admirable 2.23 GAA and .923 Sv%, along with 37 wins and 3 shutouts.
The 29-year-old is in the prime of his career, so the Canadiens' best chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup is right now. Price is undoubtedly one of the league's best goaltenders and was deservedly nominated for the Vezina Trophy this season. Barring any more injuries, you can expect Price to backstop the Canadiens to another playoff berth and possibly a Stanley Cup Finals run.
14 Nashville Predators - Ryan Johansen
Since his arrival in Nashville in January of 2016, Johansen has produced like an All-Star and solely driven the Predators' offense. He has helped Nashville succeed as a team and become a legitimate contender. His accurate wrist-shot and pristine hockey sense is immensely evident through Nashville's success this season. Although he didn't even hit the 20-goal plateau this season, he has helped the team in numerous other ways, especially in the face-off dot and on their deadly power-play.
As demonstrated through his recent successes, the British Columbia native has transitioned nicely into his top-line role with the Predators. The 24-year-old is a clutch performer and can make big-time plays. If Johansen exhibits the same level of dominance or higher next season, there's no reason why the Nashville Predators won't return to the Stanley Cup Finals.
13 New Jersey Devils - Taylor Hall
The new addition in New Jersey has definitely asserted his dominant presence on the team. Since his arrival in New Jersey last off-season, Taylor Hall has proven to be an integral part of the young team. He joined former junior teammate Adam Henrique, so instant chemistry was established. The dynamic left-winger contributed greatly to the Devils on even-strength as well as on the power-play.
The 25-year-old forward finished with 53 points, enough to tie Kyle Palmieri for the team lead, and played in 8 less games. The former 1st-overall pick for the Oilers somehow influenced the odds to favour the Devils, who ended up with the 1st-overall pick in this year's draft. With a young team already, that top pick will fit perfectly into their line-up alongside a successful former 1st-overall pick in Taylor Hall.
12 New York Islanders - John Tavares
The former 1st-overall pick and franchise centerman for the Islanders has once again led the team in points and used his leadership qualities to motivate and inspire his fellow teammates. Although he had an offensive setback this season, Tavares is still an elite NHL centerman and his declined production will certainly serve as personal motivation to improve and succeed next season.
On a good note, the 26-year-old centerman experienced international success at the beginning of the season when he won the 2016 World Cup with Team Canada. If he wants to translate that into team success with the Islanders, he's going to have to elevate his already high level of play and continue to persist in his efforts to lead the Islanders to the Stanley Cup playoffs next season.
11 New York Rangers - Ryan McDonagh
The Rangers captain has defended their blue-line perfectly for another NHL season and has proven himself to be a dominant force of the back-end once again. His unwavering offensive and defensive consistency has led the New York Rangers to yet another playoff berth, and although they ultimately fell short of the Stanley Cup, he experienced an increase in offensive production which will most certainly raise his confidence heading into next season.
The established 28-year-old defenseman finished the season with 42 points, one point shy of his personal best. All throughout the year, he has been extremely reliable and effective on the Rangers' power-play. If McDonagh and company want to make it past the second round next season, they must find an extra gear and use their previous playoff shortcomings as motivation to succeed in next year's playoffs.
10 Ottawa Senators - Erik Karlsson
Yet again, Senators captain Erik Karlsson has risen to the occasion and led his team to a playoff berth after missing it last season. His superb hockey sense and crafty hands have benefited the Senators greatly as he is effective in all on-ice situations. However, his leadership goes beyond his on-ice performances. The mature defenseman is often inspiring his fellow teammates through his incredible work ethic and dedication to all aspects of the game.
Although Karlsson experienced a setback in his offensive setback numbers this regular season, he is immensely successful in the playoffs, scoring 18 points in 19 playoff games and leading the Senators to a Eastern Conference Finals berth, all while playing on an injured foot. Not too shabby for an elite defenseman, eh? As Karlsson enters his prime, there's no stopping the 27-year-old Swedish defenseman from improving his offensive production to become a greater defensive threat.
9 Philadelphia Flyers - Wayne Simmonds
The aggressive and streaky winger has used his physicality and unique scoring touch to benefit the Flyers this past NHL season. Simmonds has been extremely effective on the power-play, ranking 2nd in the league in power-play goals with 16. He also set a new personal best in power-play points with 25. The 6-foot-2 forward used his strength all throughout the season to chase down pucks and stand up for his teammates.
The 28-year-old right-winger has successfully established himself as a dominant power forward in the league because of his toughness and grit. He often situates himself in front of the crease where he deflects pucks or deposits them into the open cage. Simmonds reached the 30-goal plateau once again, and will certainly be looking for more as the Flyers missed the Stanley Cup playoffs in what was considered a heavily disappointing season for them.
8 Pittsburgh Penguins - Sidney Crosby
In his 12th season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, captain Sidney Crosby exhibited yet another season-long display of utmost greatness and excellence. The former 1st-overall pick in 2005 accumulated an astounding 89 points in 75 games this past season, which put him in a tie for second place in the NHL's scoring race along with the aforementioned Patrick Kane. He hit the 40-goal plateau for the first time since the 2009-10 season, and recorded his 1000th NHL point this season as well.
The soon-to-be 30-year-old generational talent and franchise centerman successfully led his team to the playoffs once again. En route to his third Stanley Cup championship and second Conn Smythe Trophy, Crosby accumulated 27 points in 24 playoff games. His devoted efforts this season evidently paid off as he celebrated his third Stanley Cup win with Pittsburgh this month.
7 San Jose Sharks - Brent Burns
The elite offensive defenseman for the Sharks led the way on their blue-line and was a major factor as to how the San Jose Sharks returned to the playoffs this season following last season's heartbreak in the Stanley Cup Finals. Coming off a career year, Burns produced another phenomenal season with a personal best 29 goals and 76 points. The 6-foot-5 offensive machine effectively used his unique combination of speed and strength to create scoring chances and defend in his own zone.
At the age of 32, Burns is playing the best hockey of his career. Coming off two consecutive 70-plus point seasons, he deservedly earned his second Norris Trophy nomination in as many seasons. If the San Jose Sharks want to win the coveted Stanley Cup, they must take advantage of Burns' skill in the near future because it seems like he only gets better with age, just like fine wine.
6 St. Louis Blues - Vladimir Tarasenko
The Russian-born right-winger and former 1st-round pick for the Blues has developed nicely and has been the primary driving force behind the Blues' offense. Ever since his rookie NHL season, Tarasenko has steadily improved and become a greater threat to his opponents. This season, he garnered a personal best 75 points, with his previous two NHL seasons' totals being 73 and 74 points, respectively.
The 25-year-old streaky winger is well known for his scoring abilities, as well as his nifty hands and creative puck-handling. He continued his playoff success with the Blues as he led them to his fifth consecutive playoff appearance in as many seasons, only for his bid for the Stanley Cup to end shorter than expected after a second round loss. However, this should serve as motivation for him to return stronger come next October.
5 Tampa Bay Lightning - Nikita Kucherov
With captain Steven Stamkos injured for the majority of the season, someone on the Lightning needed to step up, and Nikita Kucherov did just that. The 5-foot-11 right-winger stepped up for the Lightning when they needed him to and although they fell short of the playoffs, Kucherov had a career year. He finished the NHL season with a personal best 85 points in only 74 games. On top of that, he also scored a personal best 40 goals, with 17 of them coming on the power-play.
The 24-year-old Russian right-winger evidently had a breakout year this past season and luckily for the Lightning, he's showing no signs of slowing down. He set a personal best in goals, assists, points, game-winning goals, power-play goals, power-play points and shots on goal. Kucherov will definitely have more firepower next season as he and Lightning prepare to fight for a spot in next year's Stanley Cup playoffs.
4 Toronto Maple Leafs - Auston Matthews
In his NHL debut, Auston Matthews asserted his dominance which resonated throughout the entire hockey world through his exceptional 4-goal performance. The 1st-overall pick in the 2016 draft has already made a significant impact on the success of the Leafs and cemented his position in the NHL. He finished his immensely successful rookie season with 40 goals and 69 points, which was enough to earn him a Calder Trophy nomination for the league's best rookie.
The good thing for the Leafs is that the 19-year-old centerman still has lots of room to grow and improve, so we should get used to seeing Matthews headlining the news in Toronto. With talented youngsters surrounding him in Toronto, he's bound to improve and excel substantially. The potential future captain of the Leafs will surely lead his team to the playoffs once again after this past season's heroics.
3 Vancouver Canucks - Bo Horvat
For Canucks fans, there isn't too much to be excited about since the Sedins are rapidly aging and their core is becoming thinner and thinner. However, Bo Horvat had a breakout year this season after accumulating a team-high and personal best 52 points. The former 9th-overall pick for the Canucks back in 2013 has developed nicely into a top-6 centerman and used his work ethic to translate his off-ice training into on-ice success.
The 22-year-old centerman certainly assumed a role of higher importance with the Canucks this past season, and with the way he's maturing, there's no reason why he shouldn't lead the charge in Vancouver. He reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career and has remained reliable in the face-off dot. If Horvat wants to help the Canucks qualify for the playoffs, he's going to have to continue improving and come back stronger than ever next season.
2 Washington Capitals - Nicklas Backstrom
The Swedish forward for the Capitals has been highly consistent this season and outperformed his star-studded Russian teammate Alex Ovechkin. In his 10th season with the club, Backstrom scored over a point per game this past season, finishing with 86 points. His role on even-strength and the power-play contributed greatly to the Capitals' success, which ultimately led them to a Presidents' Trophy as the top team in the regular season.
Though the 29-year-old centerman has performed exceptionally well in the shadow of Alex Ovechkin, it's time that he gets recognized for his efforts to lead the Capitals to a coveted Stanley Cup Finals berth. He scored a personal best 5 game-winning goals and reached the 20-goal plateau for the fourth time in his career. Backstrom must continue to inspire his teammates and make them all-around better players if the Capitals want to reach past the second round of the NHL playoffs next season.
1 Winnipeg Jets - Mark Scheifele
The former 7th-overall pick for the Jets in the 2011 Entry Draft has finally become a superstar and a major force in the NHL. He experienced a phenomenal breakout year this season with the Jets as he assumed a top-line role and played on their primary power-play unit. He scored a personal best 32 goals and 82 points in 79 games, as well as 15 power-play points and 5 game-winning goals.
The 24-year-old dynamic centerman is definitely offensively talented and uses it to his advantage to benefit the Jets' offense night in and night out. He has been a consistent force for the entire duration of the season and is only getting better as he enters his prime. His massive technical improvements are evidenced through his rapidly increasing offensive numbers and luckily for the Jets, he's showing no intentions to slow down. If the Jets want to qualify for the playoff next season, Scheifele must translate his personal successes into team success by using his leadership qualities to push his teammates to the next level.