Every Team's MVP

Welcome to our 1st edition of the Franchise MVP article for this season!

This is the time where teams are feeling best about their rosters. Playoffs hopes are high, some teams feeling happy about their kids development. Everyone feels they’ve taken steps in the right direction, whether it’s rebuilding, re-tooling or getting those new pieces to put themselves over the top.

With that being said, here is this season’s first instalment of the Most Valuable Player selections/predictions. 

As typical for these articles, we’re going to start by going through each player we have selected as our prediction for the Wales Conference;

WALES CONFERENCE

1. Boston Bruins - Ziggy Palffy (RW)

The Bruins made great strides last year by qualifying for the post season and making it to the 2nd round of the playoffs prior to being swept by the cup finalist Philadelphia Flyers. 

This is a new season and the Bruins are looking to ascend the ladder of the Wales even further, and to do so Ziggy Palffy is going to help them get there. Last season Palffy finished 3rd in scoring in the Bruins with 81 points (39 goals and 42 assists) which was 9 short of the team leading 90 points that Scott Young put up. Palffy did play in 3 less games than Young and it's rumoured that he put in a lot of work on the offseason to improve. 

This one is tighter but we're feeling like Palffy is going to be the Bruins MVP this season. 

2. Hartford Whalers - Mario Lemieux (C)

The Whalers are looking to re-tool things and have been vocal about moving some players from the roster to do so. One name that has never really ever been rumoured to be shipped is their MVP Mario Lemieux. 

Mario Lemieux does it all for the Whalers and is consistently amongst the tops in the league in scoring. Last season he finished with 121 points (46 goals and 75 assists), which was good for 1st in the Whalers and 1st in the league. Did we mention he won the Art Ross and the Hart? Zero debate here. 

Mario Lemieux will be the Whalers MVP this season. 

3. Quebec Nordiques - Joe Sakic (C)

Our first team from Quebec on the list.  The Nordiques made some big moves this offseason and their new GM Pat Blais has been just as aggressive as he was in St.Louis before jumping ship to the Nords with a fresh cupboard of talent. This is a roster that will likely make the postseason, although how far they can go remains to be seen. 

Our pick for MVP came down to rugged defenceman Scott Stevens and the offensive Juggernaut Joe Sakic. For us we're going with Sakic. 

Sakic finished last season with 89 points (24 goals and 65 assists) which was good for 1st on the team. He also was 3rd in plus mins going +13 and of note Scott Stevens led the team in plus minus going +20. Stevens also amassed 302 penalty minutes which hurts his case a bit. 

Not for nothing it's rumoured that Quebec is shopping Stevens, even if the price is allegedly astronomical and Quebec's own management is saying Sakicnis going somewhere. They'd like agree that Joe Sakic is the Nordiques MVP this year. 

4. Buffalo Sabres - Markus Naslund (C)

Still in the midst of their rebuild the Sabres are likely looking at another lottery pick in the upcoming offseason. That being said there are plenty of good prospects within the Sabres organization and they have much to look forward to. It's tough to pic their MVP amongst this group and last year we were wrong a lot. This season we're going with Markus Naslund. 

Naslund will be centering one of the top two lines for the Sabres this season and he appears to have some of the better scoring touch, passing and puck control amongst this group. It should be interesting to see how his season shakes out but in a team as thin as the Sabres he's as good a pick as any. 

Markus Naslund will be the Buffalo Sabres MVP. 

5. Toronto Maple Leafs - Brian Mullen (C)

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in an interesting state after making the playoffs last season, only to be ousted by the eventually Wales Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers in 5 games. Many would say they thought the maple Leafs overachieved by making the postseason and they are surely ready to prove it was no fluke. 

The biggest reason for their success this year will be the same as last and that's Brian Mullen. 

Mullen lead the Leafs in scoring last year with a whopping 93 points (34 goals and 59 assists). That was 32 points better than the next in line and his plus minus of +10 was the best on the team of anybody that studied up more than 24 games for the buds. 

It's hard to really think about selecting anyone else for the maple Leafs. Brian Mullen is the Toronto Maple Leafs MVP. 

6. Montreal Canadiens - Sergei Fedorov (C)

The Canadiens are a team on the rise and very likely have playoffs aspirations on their minds in the very near future. Although their depth is thin, they have some very nice pieces in place and will be contenders before you know. Leading the way for them, as it has been for some time, is Sergei Fedorov. 

Fedorov lead the Canadiens in just about every category last season. He was first in points with 77 (30 goals and 47 assists), his 227 hits lead the team, and his 197 shots lead the team. Unfortunately his plus minus of -37 was 2nd worst on the team. That being said this was a team that had a lottery pick and he was playing major minutes. 

Montreal has made some great strides this offseason and Sergei Fedorov will be their MVP. 

7. New Jersey Devils - Kirk McLean (G)

The New Jersey Devils fought their way to to the number one seed in the Wales and the Conference finals last season, ultimately losing to the Philadelphia Flyers in 7 games. This is a roster full of talent and they have a real chance to go deep once again. The biggest reason for their success pst season was their play in between the pipes. 

Kirk McLean is an extremely underrated goaltender in the NFHL. Last season McLean played in a whopping 64 games for the Devils, while posting a 2.89 GAA. He also amassed an .884 save pct and had two shutouts to boot. Look for McLean to have another big season this year.

Kirk McLean is the New Jersey Devils MVP. 

8. New York Rangers - Nicklas Lidstrom (D) 

The New York Rangers shocked many by moving several quality assets in an attempt get both move up in the draft and get better now. They started by giving up a embarrassment of riches to be able to select Jarome Iginla overall and then moved several other pieces to acquire superstar goalie Patrick Roy. 

The Rangers are pounding their chests and telling anyone that will listen that they are a playoff team now. In order for that to be true their MVP will have to be Patrick Roy. He has the pedigree to make it happen. 

No need for fancy statistics here, as the Rangers product in the ice today is better than it was last season. Playoffs don’t seem to be a guarantee. It only time will tell. 

Patrick Roy will be the New York Rangers MVP this season. 

9. New York Islanders - Alexei Yashin (RW)

The New York Islanders are rebuilding and have some very nice talent they’ve acquired along the way to getting back to their days of glory. The biggest piece they have certainly has to be reigning Rookie of the Year Alexei Yashin. 

Yashin burst onto the scene last year, eclipsing the 30-goal mark with 32 and putting up 66 points in his rookie campaign. His 66 points lead the Islanders and he also lead the team with a jaw dropping 8 game winning goals. A nice extra is that he lead the Islanders in shots with 179. 

This one isn’t particularly close for us. Alexei Yashin will be the MVP for the Islanders this season. 

10. Florida Panthers - Mark Messier (RW)

The Florida Panthers finished last season but being unceremoniously ousted in the 1st round of the playoffs by the Boston Bruins in 6 games. Despite making several moves through the year Florida’s GM Was unable to seem to find the consistency with the on-ice product he was looking for. 

This offseason the large amount of movement continued and Florida also added some nice draft picks to the organization. If Florida is to go deeper into the playoffs this season it will have to come from their current (because it could change tomorrow) MVP Mark Messier.

Mark Messier lead the Panthers in points last season with 85 (29 goals and 56 assists). He was 2nd on the Panthers in hits with 213 And 1st in shots with 252. Messier is the prototype of a leader on and off the ice. 

Mark Messier will be the Florida Panthers MVP. 

11. Tampa Bay Lightning - Bruce Driver (D)

The Tampa Bay Lightning narrowly missed the playoffs in their inaugural season within the NFHL last season. This offseason it was obvious their goal was to add young assets to accerlerate their build as fast as possible. They made quite the splash before the draft, trading away the number one overall pick in exchange for the number 4, number 7 overall picks and Mattie's Ohlund from the New York Rangers. 

Entering this season, the Lightning team is understandably short on all-star names. However, we think Bruce Driver is going to be their guy this year. 

Driver brings a solid defensive game to stabilize the Lightning blue line when coupled with his skating and passing can chip in offensively and move the puck. Honestly for a team at this stage he's one pick of many more many middle of the line type players. 

Bruce Driver is our current pick for MVP of the Lightning. 

12. Philadelphia Flyers - Wayne Gretzky (C)

The Philadelphia Flyers came oh so close last season, literally coming a game short and blowing a 3-1 lead in the NFHL finals to the Detroit Red Wings. The Flyers are all in for this upcoming season and have many top end players worthy of being an MVP of several franchises. For us it's hard to pick anyone other than Wayne Gretzky. 

Last year Gretzky posted 88 points (36 goals and 52 assists) through 77 games played, which was good for 3rd on the Flyers. We think he's going to have a big resurgence this season. Yes there are huge names like Leclair, Goulet and Brind'amour, but we just can't pick against the great one. 

Wayne Gretzky is the Philadelphia Flyers MVP this year. 

13. Pittsburgh Penguins - Sean Burke (G)

The Pittsburgh Penguins have much to be happy about after finally qualifying for the playoffs last season after years of futility and taking the #1 seed New Jersey Devils to 6 games before being ousted from the postseason. This Penguins roster hasn’t seen much change l, however they’re anticipating being even stronger as nearly every player in this roster has improved over the offseason. 

Despite all of the improvements amongst the skaters, the biggest reason they made the playoffs and could hang with the Devils was the strong play of goaltender Sean Burke. 

Sean Burke posted a 3.85 GAA and a .878 save pct. last season for the Penguins. He also managed to snap a single shutout. While these numbers are not impressive in their own, the Penguins as a whole are better offensively and defensively and they also don’t show how Burke stole some games they didn’t deserve to be in. 

Sean Burke will be the MVP for the Penguins this season. 

Now that we’ve finished selecting the MVPs of the teams in the Wales. Let's now have a look at the Campbell Conference. 

 CAMPBELL CONFERENCE

1. Colorado Rockies - Steve Yzerman (C)

The Rockies, like the Flyers are another team that is poised for a cup run and has several player that would be an MVP on many franchises. It's a crowded list of names, but we're going to go with Steve Yzerman. 

At the ripe age of 30 Yzerman is amongst the youngest of the Rockies top 6 players. Last season he finished with 94 points (33 goals and 61 assists), which is a great total, but was still 4th of the Rockies. He was 1st in shots with 227 and he also lead forwards and the team with 191 hits. Larionov and Tremblay are also a year older. For us Yzerman is the guy with Svoboda being a close 2nd. 

Steve Yzerman is the Rockies MVP. 

2. Columbus Blue Jackets - Dominik Hasek (G)

The Columbus Blue Jackets are fresh off a season where they suffered a disappointing loss in the first round in 7 games to the Minnesota North Stars. They now find themselves in an interesting position as to whether they push forward with the core they have or to hit the reset button and start fresh. As it stands they still have several players that are at the top of their game, but for us the best of the group is Dominik Hasek. 

Full stop Hasek is the toast of the league as far as goaltenders go. Last season he put up a 3.17 GAA and a .873 save pct. Very solid numbers. He also managed an excellent 5 shutouts in that span. The Blue Jackets always have a chance to go all the way as long as they have the Dominator. 

Dominik Hasek is the Columbus Blue Jackets MVP. 

3. Detroit Red Wings - Denis Savard (LW)

The Detroit Red Wings were your NFHL champions last season. Can’t really improve on that this upcoming season, but you can bet the Red Wings are hoping to repeat as champions. In order to do so they’re going to need Denis Savard to continue to excel. 

Denis Savard leads a talented group of players on this Red Wings team. Last season he put up 93 points (44 goals and 49 assists) which lead the Red Wings in scoring. He also lead in shots with 213 and put up a team high 14 powerplay goals and 2 short-handed goals. This team could repeat and has a ton of talent, but it’s Savard who’s the main man in Detroit. 

Denis Savard is the Detroit Red Wings MVP. 

4. Minnesota North Stars - Dmitri Khristich (C)

The Minnesota North Stars are a team on the rise and took big steps last season when they made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs and nearly upset the Juggernaught Rockies in a 7 games series. The North Stars are no doubt looking to improve in their finish last year and the to do so they will need another huge season out of Dmitri Khristich. 

Khristich was in fire last season and was leading the entire league in points for some duration of the year. In the end he finished with  an excellent 109 points (35 goals and 74 assists) which lead the North Stars. His plus minus of +17 lead the team and his 7 game winning goals also lead the team. Khristich put up 12 powerplay goals and also chipped in 2 short-handed goals as he played on both sides of special teams. This was a very easy pick to make. 

Dmitri Khristic is the Minnesota North Stars MVP. 

5. St. Louis Blues - Timo Jutila (D)

The St. Louis Blues appear to have started their long overdue rebuild. First they shipped Patrick Roy to the New York Rangers for an excellent return and then moved Adam Graves for a 1st round pick and some cash. This will be a season of pain for the Blues but they appear to be taking the right steps to make the Blues a competitive team. For this upcoming season it’s hard to pick an MVP, but we’re going with Timo Jutila. 

Jutila played in 75 games for the Blues last season and lead the team in scoring with 55 points (20 goals and 35 assist). Impressive for a defenceman to say the least. Jutila also Was 2nd in plus minus going +13 and was also 2nd in shots with 158. For a team that has some years of pin ahead of it, Jutila will be a bright spots. 

Timo Jutila is the St. Louis Blues MVP. 

6. Chicago Blackhawks - Bill Guerin (RW)

The Chicago Blackhawks are hoping to improve upon last season when they finished in 11th place and were 16 points out of a playoff spot. To qualify they’d need to leapfrog the Kings, Sharks and Blues. If they stay healthy we feel they’re going to do just that, but they will need the help of Bill Guerin. 

Bill Guerin lead the Blackhawks in points last year when he produced 75 points (35 goals and 40 assists) in 80 games played. He also lead the Hawks with an impressive 243 hits, 187 shots and 4 game winning goals. He even chipped in 3 short-handed goals. Bill Guerin so integral to the Blackhawks success and if they wish to make the playoffs this season then Guerin will need to continue to do it all for this team. 

Bill Guerin is the Chicago Blackhawks MVP. 

7. Edmonton Oilers - Teemu Selanne (LW)

 The Edmonton Oilers have completed a very successful re-tooling of their roster that saw them get younger and still remain very much competitive. Last season the Oilers qualified for the playoffs and were eliminated In the 1st round by the eventual cup champions. I jays no reason to fret though as this team will continue to get better each season for some time. Of all their youth and taken, it’s Teemu Selanne who leads the way for the Oilers. 

Teemu Selanne put up 74 points (38 goals and 36 assists) which put him 3rd at the end of the season for the Oilers, although Recchi Played the majority of last season in Edmonton. Selanne Lead the team in shots with 220 was very clutch by scoring 6 game winning goals. Of note, Selanne is also deadly on the powerplay as evidenced by his 11 goals with the extra man. 

Teemu Selanne is the Edmonton Oilers MVP.  

8. Calgary Flames - Kelly Buchberger (LW)

The Calgary Flames are in a rebuild and shocked many at the draft this year by selecting a goaltender in Mikka Kiprusoff after already having blue chip goaltending prospect Jose Theodore. We have to admit that something felt right about Kiprusoff donning a Flames jersey. Despite their draft strategy, the Flames will still be a few years away from being competitive again and picking an MVP wasn’t exactly an easy decision.

Kelly Buchberger played in 75 games for the Flames last season and put up 53 points (21 goals and 32 assists), which put him 3rd on the Flames. He lead the Flames with 183 hits and chipped in on both sides of special teams with 6 powerplay goals and 1 short-handed goal. His 277 PIMs is extremely high, however in this roster that doesn’t even put him In the top 5 as most penalized. 

Kelly Buchberger is the Calgary Flames MVP.  

9. Vancouver Canucks - Paul Coffey (D)

The Vancouver Canucks have slowly been adding to their roster over the past few seasons and are hoping to break through this season and go deeper into the playoffs. Last season they Made the playoffs as a 7 seed only to be beaten in 5 games by the Winnipeg Jets. There are some big name forwards on this roster that could easily be the Canucks MVP, but we’re going with a blue-liner as their MVP. 

Paul Coffey suited up for the Canucks in 79 games and scored 65 points (17 goals and 48 assists), which was enough for 4th on the Canucks. Coffey lead the Canucks in hits with 233 and Was amongst the tops of this roster in shots with a respectable 172. For a defencemen that’s taking in the leagues best, especially in the Campbell conference, Coffey’s plus minus of +9 show that he’s a force in 5 on 5 play. 

Paul Coffey is the Vancouver Canucks MVP. 

10. Winnipeg Jets - Al MacInnis (D)

The Winnipeg Jets are a team that many would say has underachieved when you look at their roster. The Jets have several All Star players on this roster, but they just haven’t had the playoff success that one would expect. Last season they made it out of the first round but we’re unexpectedly sweaty by the Detroit Red Wings. Yes Detroit win the cup but a sweep was certainly not expected by the lower seed. It will be interesting to see if Winnipeg will shake things up. Regardless, their biggest strength is their back end and there is nobody better in this roster then Al MacInnis. 

MacInnis played in 77 games for the Jets last season and was better than a point per game player from the blue line when he put up 80 points (14 goals and 66 assists). That put him at 4th in scoring and 1st amongst defencemen. His plus minus rating was excellent at +37 and was 3rd on the Jets. MacInnis also eclipsed the 200 hit mark with 203 and that was also 3rd on this Jets roster. 

Al MacInnis is the Winnipeg Jeys MVP. 

11. San Jose Sharks - Teppo Numminen (D)

 San Jose narrowly missed the playoffs last year, finishing 9th in the Campbell. They do seem to be heading in the eighth direction however as this is still a young roster and will likely improve with time. The Sharks main strength lies in their backend and their biggest bright spot in the roster is definitely a defensemen. 

Teppo Numminen is a slick skating, physical specimen that has a knack for scoring and can make a good first pass to boot. Last season Teppo put up 60 points (18 goals and 42 assists), which put him 3rd in scoring on the Sharks. His 153 hits and 159 shots are both amongst the tops on the Sharks. Teppo does it all for this team, his special teams on both sides of the puck and his -4 plus minus rating when going against the leagues best forwards on a 9th place team speak to his ability to contribute 5 on 5. 

Teppo is the San Jose Sharks MVP. 

12. Anaheim Ducks - Yuri Khmylev (C)

The Ducks are yet another team in the midst of a full rebuild. Rather than relying solely on the draft GM Smirh has traded away and acquired several young players to develop.  The one ice product is understandably thin at this time for the Ducks, but they do have a couple of players that consistently contribute to the success they get. 

Yuri Khmylev split games last season between the Ducks and the Florida Panthers. In that season he put up 42 points (16 goals and 26 assists) through 70 games played. Khmylev is a versatile player that plays both on the powerplay and the penalty kill. He had 3 powerplay goals and 4 short handed goals last season. His over 400 penalty minutes are just stunning, however this entire team is rife with players that eclipse 200 PIMs. 

Yuri Khmylev is the Ducks' MVP. 

13. Los Angeles Kings - Luc Robitaille (LW)

The Los Angeles Kings are a team that is very much in the bubble. Last season, they missed the playoffs by 7 points and have mostly

Made some minor moves this offseason that won't do much to reshape their franchise. It will be interesting to see where the Kings go from here. They did draft a goalie in Brian Boucher and defensemen Brent Sopel in the 1st round so perhaps a rebuild is on the way. 

The Kings have a couple nice players up front and we feel their best is Luc Robitaille. Last season Robitaille put up 79 points (38 goals and 41 assists) through 80 games played for the Kings, which was 2nd best on the team. He was 2nd in the team in shots with 219 and 1st in hits with a whopping 252. His plus minus does however leave a lot to be desired at -19.

This one is really a two pony race between Stephane Richer and Luc Robitaille, but we're going with Robitaille. 

Luc Robitaille is the Kings MVP. 

That's all for our picks for this season. Thanks for reading out article and stay tuned for the next edition as the season progresses!