We’re right in the heart of the countdown of the Top 100 players in the NHL. So let’s just jump right into it with numbers 60-51.
With help from Brandon Schlager, Chris Ostrander, Colin Bruckel, and Zachary Zielonka, Queen City Sports has tallied up votes and has come up with the top 100 players in the NHL today. If you’ve missed the first four parts, or just need a refresher, click the following links: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 part 4
#60 – Marc-Andre Fluery – Pittsburgh Penguins
#59 – Carey Price – Montreal Canadians
Despite a career 2.56 GAA and a .916 save %, Price gets a lot of flack from the fans in Montreal due to not yet leading the team to a Stanley Cup. Price is a very good goaltender, and maybe if Canadians fans took a step back, they would see that.
#58 – Dustin Byfuglien – Winnipeg Jets
The “Big Buff” is the guy in Winnipeg. He is the leader on the defense, and is even one of their top offensive threats. With rumors running rampart about whether or not Evander Kane wants out of Winnipeg, Byfuglien is really all Jets fans have to count on….for now.
#57 – Mike Richards – Los Angeles Kings
Richards went from being one of the leaders and core members of an underachieving Flyers team to just another guy in Los Angeles. That situation seemed to have help him settle down. He only put up 44 points in LA, but he fit nicely into the role that the Kings put him in, and he won his first Stanley Cup.
#56 – Kris Letang – Pittsburgh Penguins
Letang is one of the top young blue-liners in the league. Even in an injury-riddled season, Letang nearly matched his career high 50 points from 2011 with 42 in just 51 games. If he plays a full season in 2012, Letang can very well reach 60 points for the Penguins.
#55 – Cam Ward – Carolina Hurrincanes
If Ward didn’t play in Carolina, he would be more respected. A consistent, reliable goaltender, Ward has been the biggest reason for the Hurricanes even being competitive in recent years. If Eric Staal, and now Jordan Staal, can perform for a full season, then Ward can easily backstop them to the postseason.
#54 – Danny Briere – Philadelphia Flyers
When people think small players who play like their a big man, most often think of Briere. Briere likes to play around the front of, and behind, the net, and is often rewarded for his gritty play. Whenever he is on the ice, Briere makes teams notice him due to his ability to seemingly score whenever he is around the goal.
#53 – Ryan Callahan – New York Rangers
Callahan is quickly becoming Mr. Ranger. The 27-year old Rangers captain has been one of the most reliable players on the Rangers roster not named Lundqvist. With point total increases in each of the last three seasons, Rangers fans should expect another strong season from the Rochester native.
#52 – Alex Pietrangelo – St. Louis Blues
Chris: After taking a few years to round into form, Pietrangelo has become the franchise cornerstone he was drafted to be. His offensive game is great and he is just as good defensively. Perhaps he is lauded more for his puck moving, but he is big and effective in all three zones.
#51 – Dustin Brown – Los Angeles Kings
The new Captain America, Brown lead the Kings to their first ever Stanley Cup, and became just the second American-born captain to win a Stanley Cup. The first was Derian Hatcher with Dallas in 1999. Brown was constantly involved in trade rumors around the deadline last year, but I think it’s safe to say that, that won’t happen again any time soon.
*All photos courtesy Getty Images