Whether you like soccer, basketball, baseball, football, or hockey, there are two main things that sports fans really care about, and that is high scoring games and the offensive production of individual players. This is a fact that is true in all professional sports, because let’s face it, games are typically a lot more entertaining when the scores are incredibly close and high, or when one player is having an incredibly high scoring game or immensely productive season. In the NHL and the game of hockey, there is a huge emphasis placed on the amount of points a player earns during a season, and that it is actually quite the accomplishment to finish a season with the most points on their team.
In hockey, there are two ways in which a point can be recorded, by either scoring a goal or being one of the two primary players who assisted in the goal being scored. Each and every team in the NHL possesses at least one star player, and in most cases those individuals are the best all around player and the top point producer on the team; and sometimes they can even lead their team in points for multiple consecutive seasons. With the upcoming 2016-17 season now basically only two months away, the time has come for fans (especially those involved in fantasy leagues) to start identifying the players on each team who will put up the best numbers; so here is a list of the 30 players who will lead their NHL team in points next season.
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30 Anaheim Ducks - Corey Perry
The NHL’s Western Conference has by far been the better of the two for the past decade now, as it is home to several of the league’s powerhouse teams, and for a good portion of that time, the Anaheim Ducks have been one of those powerhouses. In the past ten years the Ducks have made the playoffs multiple times, which includes a Stanley Cup championship in 2007, and a big reason for their success has been their ability to score. Corey Perry has been with Anaheim his entire ten year career, and for most of that time, he has been a part of their top line alongside Ryan Getzlaf; and one of those two have led the team in scoring nearly every year since playing together. Perry is a former fifty goal scorer, and just last season he scored 62 points for the Ducks, which was good for the second most on the team despite starting the year off in a prolonged scoring slump; which is why, barring another bad start, he will likely lead the team in points next season.
29 Arizona Coyotes - Max Domi
Ever since the original Winnipeg Jets franchise relocated to Arizona in 1996, the franchise has not had any real success, finishing near the bottom of the standings most years. The Coyotes as they are called now, are currently in yet another rebuilding phase, but this time feels different, as they have managed to draft some pretty good young players so far to properly build around. Max Domi is one of these young players, and unlike his father and former player Tie Domi, he has real offensive skill. Max was drafted in 2013, but he did not debut with the team until last season where in 81 games he scored 52 points, which was the second most scored by anyone on the Coyotes’ roster. If next season, Max manages to perform better than he did in his rookie season, then he may very well be the Coyotes’ leading point scorer.
28 Boston Bruins - Patrice Bergeron
As one of the NHL’s original six franchises, the Boston Bruins have had a lot of great scorers in their history, including the likes of Hall of Famer Bobby Orr. The Bruins have had a good amount of success the past couple of years, making the playoffs several times, reaching the Stanley Cup Final twice, and winning a championship in 2011. Patrice Bergeron was drafted by Boston in 2003, and has spent his entire twelve year NHL career with the Bruins, where he has served as both the team’s number one centre, and one of their leading point getters for the past seven seasons. Bergeron has led the Bruins in scoring three times, including the last two seasons where he scored 55 and 68 points respectively, so it is a fair assumption that he will lead the team in points again next season barring any kind of long term injury.
27 Buffalo Sabres - Jack Eichel
In last year’s draft, there was no doubt that Connor McDavid was going to be the number one pick, and many people assumed that the Buffalo Sabres who had the worst record in the league were going to get him. As luck would have it though, Buffalo ended up getting the second overall pick, which turned out to be Jack Eichel, who was, and likely will be, a great player in his own right. Eichel debuted last season, and it became immediately apparent that the nineteen year old has what it takes to become a superstar in the NHL. In his rookie season, Eichel managed to lead Buffalo in goals with 24, and overall managed to score 56 points which was the second most on the team. Eichel appears to be a pure scorer, and he is incredibly fast and skilled, meaning that he will at some point lead the Sabres in scoring, and that point will probably come as early as next season.
26 Calgary Flames - Johnny Gaudreau
The Calgary Flames used to be located in Atlanta, but it was not until the team relocated to Calgary in 1980, that the franchise actually managed to become a success. The Flames have had their fair share of point scorers like current Hall of Fame member Lanny McDonald and future member Jarome Iginla, and thanks to their recent draft choices, they have likely found yet another prolific scorer. One of these draft choices is Johnny Gaudreau, who Calgary selected in 2011, and from the time he debuted with the team at the end of the 2013-14 season, he has been one of the Flames’ top offensive threats. Two seasons ago, Gaudreau scored the second most points on the team with 64, and last season his performance was even better as he led the entire team in scoring with 78 points; and should his level of production stay the same or manage to increase again, then he will definitely lead his team in points again next season.
25 Carolina Hurricanes - Jeff Skinner
Before the Hurricanes came to Carolina in 1997, the franchise was located in Hartford where the team was known as the Whalers, and in nearly twenty years in Carolina, the franchise has only truly had a handful of successful seasons, which includes a Stanley Cup championship in 2006. For the past couple of seasons, the Hurricanes have been in a pseudo rebuilding phase, and as a result, they have finished near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Carolina believes that Jeff Skinner, who they drafted in 2010, will be one of the core players to build their future team around, which is smart thinking considering that in his now six year career, he has been one of the team’s highest point producers. Just last season, Skinner led the team in points with 51, and with the team set to look virtually the same next season, then it will not be all that surprising that Skinner will again lead the roster in points.
24 Chicago Blackhawks - Patrick Kane
The Chicago Blackhawks have been the most successful franchise in the NHL the past six years as they have won three Stanley Cups in that time, and that level of success is heavily attributed to the core group of great players they have drafted. Patrick Kane is one of these draft picks, and ever since he was drafted first overall in 2007, he has been one of Chicago’s and the league’s best scorers. In his now nine seasons with the Blackhawks, Kane has been one of the team's top point getters five times, and he has led the team in points four other times including last season where he scored 106 points, a number which also led the entire NHL last year. Chicago will be one of the best teams in the league again next season, and their entire core group will be back again to put up more impressive numbers, and Kane will likely lead the team in points again as well.
23 Colorado Avalanche - Gabriel Landeskog
From 1979 to 1995 the team that is now located in Colorado played in Quebec City where they were known as the Nordiques; but it was not until the franchise moved to Denver and became the Avalanche that it became successful. Since being in Colorado, the franchise has won two Stanley Cups, and has been home to some truly great point scorers like Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic, and as of right now, the team possesses two great young scorers as well. Gabriel Landeskog is one of them, and he has been a part of Colorado’s main roster ever since he was drafted in 2011, and along with teammate Matt Duchene, the two of the best point producers on the team. For the past three seasons, Landeskog has finished with the second most points on the team, scoring 53 just last year, so it stands to reason that he will at some point take the number one spot on the team, and the 2013-2017 season seems like a good time to do so.
22 Columbus Blue Jackets - Cam Atkinson
As of right now, the Columbus Blue Jackets are the youngest franchise in the NHL, only coming into the league in 2000, and since coming into the league, they have not been all that successful, making the playoffs only twice in sixteen years. For a long time the Blue Jackets have been near the bottom of the standings, and even though they have greatly improved over the past few seasons, injuries have crippled any postseason aspirations. Cam Atkinson though, has been lucky enough to not sustain any long term injuries as of yet, which is a very good thing considering that he has been one of the team’s leading point scorers the past three seasons. Atkinson was drafted by Columbus in 2008, and last season proved to be a career year for him as he scored 53 points, good for the second most on the team. The past three seasons have seen Atkinson play better each year, and should that trend continue next year, he will lead Columbus in points.
21 Dallas Stars - Tyler Seguin
Ever since winning the Stanley Cup in 1999, the Dallas Stars have been an up and down franchise, but if the last two seasons are any indication, the Stars are definitely on their way to becoming one of the league’s elite teams. The biggest reason for their new found success, is the fact that they have become an offensive powerhouse thanks to drafting and trading for some highly skilled players like Tyler Seguin, a former second overall pick from the 2010 draft. Seguin was initially drafted by Boston, but due primarily to off-ice related issues, they traded him to Dallas in the 2013 offseason, which turned out to be the best possible thing to happen to Seguin, as he is now one of the league’s best scorers. In three years with Dallas, he has led the team in points once, and came in second twice including last season where he scored 73 points. Both times he came in second though, he missed a fair stretch of games due to injury, meaning he likely would have been the team’s leading point scorer those years if he was in the lineup for those games. As long as he stays healthy next season, there is no doubt that Seguin will the Stars in points.
20 Detroit Red Wings - Dylan Larkin
The Detroit Red Wings have had some incredibly proficient point scorers in their 90 years of existence, including the likes of Brett Hull, Nicklas Lidstrom, Steve Yzerman, Gordie Howe, and Pavel Datsyuk. Detroit has also been one of the best drafting teams in the NHL for the last two decades, drafting some immensely skilled players that other teams overlooked, and the 2014 draft was no different when they selected Dylan Larkin in the middle of the first round. Larkin made his NHL debut with the team last season, where in 80 games he scored 45 points which was the third most on the entire roster; not bad for a rookie. This coming season, the Red Wings will be without Pavel Datsyuk, and captain Henrik Zetterberg (at 35 years old) will be another year older, which leaves the door wide open for Larkin, who will undeniably be Detroit’s next star player, to be their next leading point scorer.
19 Edmonton Oilers - Connor McDavid
As mentioned earlier on this list, Connor McDavid was the unanimous number one pick in last year’s draft, and it was the Edmonton Oilers who were lucky enough to win the first overall pick in the draft lottery. The Oilers have had some of the best point producers in NHL history, with the likes of Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky being at the top of that list, and if what every hockey scout and insider is correct, then McDavid will be a generational player in the same way Gretzky was. In his rookie season with the Oilers, McDavid only played in 45 games because of a broken clavicle, but despite playing for only a bit more than half a season, he still managed to score 48 points, which was good for third most on the team. With last year’s top point scorer now elsewhere, McDavid will have no problem getting the most points on the team next season, especially if he does not break anything else.
18 Florida Panthers - Jonathan Huberdeau
The Florida Panthers have been marred with multiple disastrous seasons that saw them near the bottom of the league’s standings many times, but thanks to some great draft picks, the Panthers seem to be rising into possible championship contention. One of these draft picks is Jonathan Huberdeau which Florida took third overall back in 2011, and since debuting with the team in the 2012-13 season, he has been one of their top scorers. In his now four years with the team, Huberdeau has led the team in point scoring twice, and last season was fourth overall in total points, finishing only eight points behind Jaromir Jagr who was first. Each year has seen Huberdeau’s point total go up, and if the trend continues next season, then he will likely lead the Panthers in points again.
17 Los Angeles Kings - Anze Kopitar
The Los Angeles Kings have been quite lucky in their fifty years of existence when it comes to having premium point scorers, as they have had Hall of Famers like Luc Robitaille and Wayne Gretzky play for their franchise. They were also incredibly fortunate to draft Anze Kopitar in 2005 at eleventh overall, because he has arguably been the Kings’ best player ever since he debuted with the team in 2006. He has been instrumental in the team’s recent success which includes two Stanley Cup wins in 2012 and 2014, and in his now ten year career with Los Angeles, he has led the team in point scoring the past nine straight seasons. Anze Kopitar is one heck of a player, and of all the players on this list, he is most likely going to be one of the only ones who will without a doubt lead his team in points next season.
16 Minnesota Wild - Zach Parise
Minnesota once had an NHL franchise known as the North Stars which was ultimately relocated to Dallas in 1993, but luckily for the hockey fans in Minnesota, the league returned in 2000 with the new Minnesota Wild franchise. The Wild have been an up and down team for the past sixteen years, where they were a team more focused on defense for a long time, but their philosophy has changed over the past few years resulting in more than one playoff appearance. The signing of forward Zach Parise in the 2012 offseason was indicative of that change in philosophy as they added a premium scorer who had spent the first seven years of his career in New Jersey. Parise has now spent four seasons with Minnesota, and in that time he has led the team in points twice, while coming in second the other two years, including last year where he scored 53 points. Minnesota has been a great fit for Parise, and there is a high chance that next season will see him reclaim the mantle the leading point getter for the Wild.
15 Montreal Canadiens - Max Pacioretty
The Montreal Canadiens are one of the original six teams, but they are also the most successful franchise in the NHL’s history, having won a combined 24 Stanley Cups in their over 100 years of existence. The Canadiens have had dozens of Hall of Fame players, many of which were incredible point scorers in the eras in which they played, with Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, and Guy Lafleur being some of the prime examples. Montreal is looking to win their 25th championship with the help of their superb goalie as well as their core group of forwards which is led by team captain Max Pacioretty a forward who they drafted in the first round in 2007. Pacioretty debut with the team during the 2008-09 season, but it was not until the 2011-12 season that he became the impactful player that he is today. He has led the Canadiens in points the last five straight seasons, scoring 64 last season alone, and based on the fact that the makeup of the Canadiens’ roster is basically the same for next season, expect to see Pacioretty lead Montreal in points for a sixth straight year.
14 Nashville Predators - P.K. Subban
Players get traded during the offseason in every sport, but this past NHL offseason saw a huge trade take place, involving Montreal who sent star defenseman P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators in exchange for fellow star D-man Shea Weber. The Predators have been a part of the league since the 1998 season, and for the first fifteen years, they were a team who mainly focused on defense because of a lack of high quality scorers. For the past two seasons though, a new coaching staff have implemented a much more offense based system, which has proved to be much more successful, and which is ultimately the reason why they traded for Subban. P.K. was initially drafted by Montreal and spent parts of his first seven NHL seasons with the team before being traded, and in that time he led all Montreal defensemen in points virtually every season, and finished second overall in team points three times. The coaching staff in Montreal had forced P.K. to play a more defensive game, and he still scored 51 points last season, but now that he is on the offensive minded Predators, his numbers are surely going to soar.
13 New Jersey Devils - Taylor Hall
The New Jersey Devils have been in some serious need for highly skilled offensive players for a long time now ever since Zach Parise signed with Minnesota, and that is a need they certainly filled this offseason when they acquired young forward Taylor Hall in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers. In the 2010 draft, Edmonton took Hall with the first overall pick, and his skill became abundantly clear that following season, where as a rookie, he finished second on the team in overall points scored. In his six years with the Oilers, Hall was one of the team’s most productive players, scoring the most points on the team three times, including last season where he scored 65 points. It is the hope of the Devils that Hall will be able to bring over the offensive production he had while with Edmonton, and he probably will if he stays healthy, which will make him the clear favorite to be the leading point scorer on his new team next season.
12 New York Islanders - John Tavares
The New York Islanders have quite the legacy, as they are one of the only NHL franchises who can say that they have won four consecutive Stanley Cups. For a nearly two decade long stretch of time, the Islanders found themselves in terrible shape, finishing low in the standings multiple times, but the franchise’s fortunes has changed for the better the past few seasons primarily as a result of their team captain John Tavares. Tavares was taken by the Islanders first overall in the 2009 draft, and he was considered by many scouts and hockey insiders to be a bonafide superstar. As it happens, those individuals have been proven right, as Tavares is not only a great team leader, but also the centrepiece of the Islanders’ offense. In his now seven seasons with the team, Tavares has led the team in points for six of them, including last season where he scored 70, and despite two of the team’s other top scorers signing elsewhere this offseason, Tavares will still find himself leading the Islanders in points next year.
11 New York Rangers - Mats Zuccarello
Like other members of the original six teams, the New York Rangers have had many skilled players throughout their ninety year history, and that trend continues today as they have several good players who have helped to bring the team into the postseason the past six straight years. Mats Zuccarello is one of these good players and he has been a part of the Rangers' roster ever since 2010 when he signed with the team as an undrafted free agent. Combined, Zuccarello has played in New York for six seasons, but it has been the last three years in particular that have seen him become a part of the Rangers' offensive core, as he has led the team in points twice in those three years, including last season where he scored 61 points; which happened to be a career high. Based on how evenly spread out the Rangers’ offense is, there is a great chance that Zuccarello will not only find himself near the top of the Rangers' points list again next season, but he will likely also finish in the top spot for a second year in a row.
10 Philadelphia Flyers - Wayne Simmonds
The Philadelphia Flyers came into the league as a part of the NHL’s first expansion in 1967, and despite winning back to back championships in 1974 and 1975, the franchise has at best been moderately successful. During the 2011 offseason, the Flyers traded with the Los Angeles Kings in order to acquire Wayne Simmonds who they believed would be able to help their offense. The young winger had played the first three years of his career with the Kings where he was an effective second and third line forward, but it was not until he got to Philadelphia that he became a legitimate offensive threat. As of now, Simmonds has played five seasons with the flyers, and in every one of those seasons he finished in the top five in points, including last season where he finished second with 60 points. In all likelihood, Simmonds is in store for another career year next season, which will put him in a prime spot to overtake Claude Giroux for the top point scorer on the team.
9 Pittsburgh Penguins - Sidney Crosby
Like Philadelphia, the Pittsburgh Penguins came into the league through the 1967 expansion, but unlike the Flyers, they have been a very successful franchise, winning four Stanley Cups in their history with extraordinarily skilled players like Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Evgeni Malkin, and Sidney Crosby. The Penguins were a franchise on the verge of financial collapse prior to the 2005 offseason where they hit the jackpot and won the first overall draft pick in that year’s draft; a pick which turned out to be Sidney Crosby. Crosby was an immediate star, and after eleven seasons with Pittsburgh, he is still one of the most elite hockey players in the world. He has led the team in points eight times, which includes the past four straight seasons, and with no real sign of him slowing down in terms of production, it is basically guaranteed that next year he will lead the Penguins in points for a fifth straight year.
8 Ottawa Senators - Erik Karlsson
There have been times where the most productive player on an NHL team is that team’s best defenseman, with the most famous case being the great Bobby Orr, and as of right now, the Ottawa Senators are in a similar situation with their defenseman Erik Karrlsson. The Senators drafted Karlsson in 2008, and they did not bring him up to the main roster until the 2009-10 season where he began to show signs of a high skill level right away. It was not until the 2011-12 season that Karlsson became Ottawa’s undisputed number one defenseman, eventually earning the captaincy as a result. Karlsson has led the Senators in points three straight seasons now, with last year’s 82 points marking a new career high, and considering that the award winning defenseman is currently in the prime of his career, there is little doubt that he will not be able to extend his streak of leading the team in points to four years next season.
7 San Jose Sharks - Joe Thornton
Unless the San Jose Sharks are able to win the Stanley Cup next season, it is quite possible that Joe Thornton will go down as one of the best players to play in the NHL without ever winning a championship. Thornton started his career with the Boston Bruins, the team which he spent the better part of his first eight seasons with, until he was traded to San Jose early in the 2005-06 season. The trade proved to be very fortuitous for Thornton, as he flourished with San Jose, where in eleven seasons with the team, he has led them in points seven times, including last season where he scored 82. He may be near the end of his career, but Thornton is still one of the most productive players in the league, and even if he does not win a cup next season one thing is definitely certain, he will lead the Sharks in points again.
6 St. Louis Blues - Vladimir Tarasenko
1967 was the inaugural season for the St. Louis Blues, and despite a five year rebuilding phase that ended six years ago, they have been a rather successful franchise who have made it into the postseason thirty times in their nearly fifty year history. For the past few seasons, St. Louis has had some of the best records in the entire NHL, and that is mainly due to draft picks like the incredibly skilled Russian winger Vladimir Tarasenko. The Blues drafted Tarasenko in 2010, and waited until midway through the 2012-13 season to call him up to the main roster, where his ability to score points became quite evident. It goes without saying that Tarasenko is now St. Louis’ best player, as he has led the team in points the past two seasons with 73 and 74 points respectively, and considering that he is now entering into his prime, next season will probably see him reach a new career high in points while again leading the entire Blues roster.
5 Tampa Bay Lightning - Steven Stamkos
The Tampa Bay Lightning entered into the NHL in 1992, and despite their championship season in 2004, and their recent level successes the past two seasons, the franchise has not really been considered as one of the best ten in the league. Fortunately for Tampa Bay, they have drafted some pretty offensively gifted players, with Steven Stamkos probably being the best of them all. The Lightning took Stamkos first overall back in 2008, and since then he has been one of the two best pure goal scorers in the entire league. In his now eight seasons with Tampa Bay, Stamkos has led the team in point scoring three times, and last season he finished second overall with 64 points, which was just two behind the top spot. Stamkos has had some injury problems in his career though, but if he manages to stay healthy, the former sixty goal scorer has a good chance of being the Lightning’s top point scorer this upcoming season.
4 Toronto Maple Leafs - Auston Matthews
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the final of the original six teams to appear on this list, and for a franchise which is considered to be the most valuable and important in the entire NHL, they have been sort of a laughing stock for hockey fans around the league. Toronto has had its fair share of gifted players, which is why the franchise has won thirteen Stanley Cup championships; the problem though, is that they have not won a cup in 50 years now. After years of front-office incompetence, the Maple Leafs are finally undergoing a proper rebuild, headed by Brendan Shanahan and head coach Mike Babcock, and like most successful rebuilds, a team requires a first overall pick; which is exactly what Toronto got last season. With the top pick, the team chose Auston Matthews, a centre who many believe might have challenged Connor McDavid for the first overall selection in 2015 had he been eligible. Matthews is expected to be a superstar who will greatly help Toronto’s offense, so much so, that he will likely lead the team in points as early as this upcoming season; and it would not be the first time a highly valued rookie pulled such a thing off either.
3 Vancouver Canucks - Henrik Sedin
The Vancouver Canucks, despite never having won a Stanley Cup in their history, have for the most part been a healthy and fairly successful franchise, of which most of it can be attributed to the fact that they were fortunate to grab both Sedin twins back to back in the first round of the 1999 draft. Both Daniel and Henrik Sedin have spent the entirety of their 15 year NHL careers with Vancouver, where they have been the pillars of the Canuck’s offense. The two brothers have played on the same line throughout their careers, and as a result they have been the team’s top two point producers the past ten seasons. Henrik has led Vancouver in points five times, while coming in second six other seasons; including the past two years where his brother beat by slim margins. The upcoming season will likely see both brothers again finish in the top two in scoring for Vancouver, except Henrik will probably take the title back from Daniel.
2 Washington Capitals - Alexander Ovechkin
The Washington Capitals may now be one of the best teams in the NHL, but there was a time not too long ago when the franchise was in financial danger; fortunately though, they hit the jackpot when they were able to draft Alexander Ovechkin first overall in 2004. There is no doubt that Ovechkin is one of the best goal scorers the NHL has ever seen, as he has scored 50 or more goals seven times in his career. Ovechkin has now spent eleven years with Washington, where he led the team in points ten straight seasons, and it would have been eleven straight last season if it were not for fellow teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring just six more points than he did. As skilled as Ovechkin is, it is hard to believe that he will go two consecutive seasons without leading the Capitals’ roster in points.
1 Winnipeg Jets - Blake Wheeler
Blake Wheeler rounds out this list, as he will likely be the player who will lead the Winnipeg Jets in points this upcoming season. Wheeler was initially drafted by Phoenix in 2004, but he did not make his NHL debut until 2008 with the Boston Bruins with whom he played two and a half years for before being traded to the Atlanta franchise which ultimately relocated to Winnipeg in 2011. As of now Wheeler has spent the last five seasons with Winnipeg, and in that time he has become one of the team’s biggest offensive contributors, having scored the most points on the roster three times including last season which saw him get 78 points. Last season proved to be a career year for wheeler, and if he manages to replicate those numbers next season, then he will lead the Jets in points for a second straight year.
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