It’s time for part two of our NHL Top 100 players of 2012. After a couple surprises in the first ten, the next ten are sure to cause some conversation, so let’s get right to it. Again, a big thanks to Chris Ostrander, Colin Bruckel, Zach Zielonka, and Brandon Schlager for helping with this list.
#90 – Keith Yandle – Phoenix Coyotes
Born: – Boston, MA
Height: 6.02 — Weight: 195 — Shoots: L
Yandle has spent his entire 6-year career in the Phoenix organization, and has become arguably the best defenseman currently on the Coyotes roster. Since becoming a full-time NHL player during the ’07/’08 season, Yandle has averaged 30 points per year making him Phoenix’s top offensive defensemen. He’s even will to join the rush from time to time. Yandle has gone quietly unnoticed among the masses in the NHL, in large part because he plays out West. However, but for those who have followed his play, he is a very talented top-4 blue-liner. His durability, and offensive and defensive presence made him a lock for the top 100.
#89 – David Perron – St. Louis Blues
Born: – Sherbrooke, PQ
Height: 6.00 — Weight: 200 — Shoots: R
David Perron is like a folk hero to fans of the St. Louis Blues. After missing 96 games due to concussion symptoms, Perron came back in December of 2011, and immediately made an impact by scoring a goal in his first game of the season. Although he played in just 57 regular-season games last year, Perron managed to finish second on the team in goals (21), and fifth in points (42). The 24-year old Quebec native has shown tremendous promise of becoming a top line center in the NHL, and by signing a four-year extension with the Blues, the legend of DP should grow even more in the Gateway City.
#88 – Matt Moulson – New York Islanders
Born: – North York, ONT
Height: 6.01 — Weight: 210 — Shoots: L
Talk about a guy who took advantage of a chance. After not being able to crack the lineup in two years in Los Angeles, Matt Moulson has played in every game during his three years with the Islanders. He is also a player that has seen his production increase year over year on Long Island, scoring 48, 53, and 69 points in the last three seasons. Moulson has become one of the most consistent goal scorers in the NHL, putting up 30 goals every year as a full-time NHL winger. While many believe that he should be higher on the list, it’s still hard to see if he is just a beneficiary of playing with John Tavares, or is he really that good.
#87 – Milan Lucic – Boston Bruins
Born: – Vancouver, BC
Height: 6.04 — Weight: 220 — Shoots: L
Chris: Lucic has become the model for which teams have begun to re-tool. He is a big, physical winger who can fight and score goals. His embarrassment of the Buffalo Sabres last year sent Darcy Regier on a frenzied run to fit his roster with more size, grit and pugnacity. While not an electric player, Lucic is a gamebreaker in his own right, and is a player that almost every team would love to have on their roster.
#86 – Vincent Lecavalier – Tampa Bay Lightning
Born: – Ile Bizard, PQ
Height: 6.04 — Weight: 208 — Shoots: L
Chris: He is no longer the Michael Jordan of hockey, however, he is a tremendous talent. His skill set is still among the league’s best and he is more than capable of putting up 60+ points on an annual basis. With Steven Stamkos at his side, Lecavalier is that much more productive.
#85 – Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks
Born: – Plover, WI
Height: 5.11 — Weight: 195 — Shoots: R
Known as “Little Joe” in San Jose, Joe Pavelski is quickly becoming one of the faces of a new culture in Silicon Valley. With the incumbent “leaders” of Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau currently drawing the ire of the media and fans in San Jose, Pavelski has been looked at as the center of the next core group that should take over the team sooner rather than later. He’s a consistent 20 goal, 50+ point scorer for the Sharks who should only see his numbers rise with an increase in playing time. If he continues to see his numbers rise, he’ll find himself higher on the list soon enough.
#84 – Evander Kane – Winnipeg Jets
Born: – Vancouver, BC
Height: 6.02 — Weight: 190 — Shoots: L
By far the best offensive player in Winnipeg, Evander Kane is a player that the Jets community has fallen in love with. Showing flashes of brilliance throughout the 2011 season, Kane has started to become the Winnipeg organization hoped he would be when they drafted him 4th overall in 2009 while the team was still in Atlanta. However, Kane’s feelings towards Winnipeg may not be the same. Currently a Restricted Free Agent, Kane has yet to come terms with the Jets on a new contract, and as each day goes by, the chances the Jets will be able to get something done becomes slimmer and slimmer. Kane has the ability to carry a team to the playoffs with his offensive potential. If Winnipeg can’t keep him, then they may have to start yet another rebuild process.
#83 – Logan Couture – San Jose Sharks
Born: – London, ONT
Height: 6.00 — Weight: 195 — Shoots: L
Logan Couture is another member of the next core that is ready to take the reigns in San Jose. In his first full season in 2010, Couture surprised everyone when he put up 32 goals for the Sharks, instantly becoming a fan favorite. In 2011, he proved that it wasn’t a fluke when he put up 31 goals. If he has another season that is as good as his first two, then he should find himself higher up next season.
#82 – T.J. Oshie – St. Louis Blues
Born: – Mt. Vernon, WA
Height: 5.11 — Weight: 195 — Shoots: R
Chris: Becoming a well-rounded talent who is dominant at both ends of the ice. He is well built and can score at a nice clip. He was a great two-way talent at North Dakota and is translating that to the NHL. Between David Perron and Patrik Berglund, the Blues have an impressive youth movement at their disposal.
#81 – Brooks Laich – Washington Capitals
Born: – Wawota, SASK
Height: 6.02 — Weight: 205 — Shoots: L
The Washington Capitals have been accused of quitting on their coaches, giving up on shifts, and not going 100% every shift. The one player who shouldn’t be in that discussion is Brooks Laich. A physical, scoring power forward, Laich embraces the role of playing in the tough areas on the ice, and he often gets rewarded for it nicely. They may be viewed as “garbage”, but Laich knows how to put the puck in the net when given the opportunity. He also has good ice vision which has allowed him to put up more than 30 assists in three of the past four seasons.
Next week we will unveil numbers 80-71, and just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s #100-91: http://www.queencitysports.net/2012/08/01/the-top-100-nhl-players-of-2012/