By: The NHL Nosebleed Team
Peter Bolt - Aleksander Barkov (Florida Panthers)
Barkov is truly a special talent and is by far one of the most underrated players not just in the East, but the entire league. The Finnish stud just turned 23 years old and has recorded 249 points in just 331 career games. Barkov is extremely dominant on both ends of the ice and has incredible hands. Barkov is also one of the league’s youngest alternate captains which shows the leadership skills he possesses. The fact that Bovada.LV, a sports betting website, has better odds for Ilya Kovalchuk (whose 35 years old) to win the Hart Trophy over Barkov proves my point in and of itself. If he was on a big market team he would be talked about nonstop.
Colin Noonan - Anders Lee (New York Islanders)
Has there ever been a 40 goal scorer who gets less league-wide fanfare than Anders Lee? The dude is a fantastic player. He’s an immovable object in front of goal and demonstrates great hands when he works in tight spaces. Some might say he owes all of his success to Johnny PJ’s. They’d be wrong. Even when he wasn’t playing with 91 he still put up 25goals when healthy. He’ll be playing with a better playmaker this year in Mat Barzal so expect another strong season from the former Notre Dame captain.
Chris Yackel- Nicklas Backstrom (Washington Capitals)
Nicklas Backstrom has been a consistent force for the Washington Capitals for a decade plus. Every year Backstrom is a lock for 70 plus points and is always among the top 5 assist leaders in the league. Yet besides being perhaps the best pure passer in the league for over 10 years he still is extremely underrated. Maybe it's because he’s behind Alex Ovechkin or maybe it’s because he is a soft spoken guy, but he does not get enough credit for how important he is to the Caps and how good of a player he is in general. If Backstrom continues doing what he’s doing he is a hall of fame lock. In 815 career games Backstrom has 799 career points. He is almost at that point per game level for his career. He also has 590 assists which is crazy for a guy who is just 30.
Jack Fenty- Anders Lee (New York Islanders)
Last season when you thought about the top players on the Islanders you thought of John Tavares, Mathew Barzal, and Josh Bailey. While these three players should have been mentioned, one player in particular was left out of the conversation, Anders Lee. But why? The stats are there...In the 2016-2017 season, Lee recorded 34 goals and 18 assist. In the 2017-2018 season, Lee put up career numbers with 40 goals and 22 assists. 40 goals guys, Lee finished only behind Ovechkin, Laine, William Karlsson, Eric Staal, Malkin, McDavid, and was tied with Seguin in the goal department. Being undervalued is not new for Lee after he was drafted in the 6th round of the NHL draft in 2009. A now 40 goal scorer was drafted in the 6th round! I believe Anders Lee is the best power forward in the entire league and that will show when he takes home the biggest contract among power forwards come 2019, when his contract expires. Oh and I forgot to mention I believe that his goal total will go up this upcoming season because he will be playing with Barzal.
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