Who is the Most Underrated Player in the West?
By: The NHL Nosebleed Team
Peter Bolt - John Klingberg (Dallas Stars)
I’m not sure if there is any other defensmen in the league whose put up 40+ points for the past 4 seasons and gets as little recognition as John Klingberg does. Klingberg averaged over 24 minutes a game last season and is the backbone of the Dallas Stars defense. Last season, Klingberg averaged 1.7 PTS/60 and was tied for 2nd with Brent Burns in points among defensemen. The Swedish stud is only 26 years old and still has a lot of room to grow. It is baffling to me that this guy fell to the 5th round in the 2010 draft. Don’t be surprised if he wins the Norris within the next 2-3 years.
Colin Noonan - Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets)
The lack of national coverage Mark Scheifele gets is astounding to me. He’s one of the league’s elite centers on one of the league’s best teams but because Winnipeg is a small-exposure market in Canada and even more so in the US, he flies under the radar a lot. Laine and Wheeler get the headlines, but Winnipeg’s 1C continues to be their unsung hero.
Chris Yackel - Mikko Rantanen (Colorado Avalanche)
The 10th overall pick in the stacked 2015 draft made his name known to the rest of the league last season as he had 84 points in just his second season. The 21 year old has a ton of skill and seems to have great chemistry on a line with Colorado’s other two stars Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. Rantanen is a big body at 6’4, 211 pounds that started to use his size last season to become a dominant power forward. I think he has scary potential and a one-two punch of him and MacKinnon might be a scary thought for the rest of the Western Conference.
Jack Fenty - Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg Jets)
As Noonan stated above the Winnipeg Jets players do not get enough love from the national media. To me that is the biggest factor in being labeled “underrated”. Wheeler is a star and if you watched any of the Jets games during this last season and postseason you would understand that. The problem is a lot of people before that did not appreciate how great of a player he really was due to where he plays. In this past season, Wheeler scored 23 goals and had 68 helpers for a grand point total of 91, 91 points! Wheels finished 9th in the points in the league only behind McDavid, Giroux, Kucherov, Malkin, Mackinnon, Hall, Kessel, and Kopitar...Pretty good group if you ask me. Blake Wheeler is an elite talent in the NHL and people do not realize it.
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