The NHL is blessed to have so many gifted stars on every team. Pittsburgh boasts Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Oilers have Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and the list goes on.
As the new season approaches, here are the top players by position for the Metro and Atlantic Divisions.
NHL: Atlantic Division Stars
- Center: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs
- Winger 1: Nikita Kucherov, Lightning
- Winger 2: David Pastrnak, Bruins
- Defense 1: Victor Hedman, Lightning
- Defense 2: Thomas Chabot, Senators
- Goalie: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning
There are plenty of names that could have been selected as the top center in the Atlantic, but the reigning Maurice Richard Winner takes the top spot. Auston Matthews incredible shot led to 41 goals last season. And his ability to create offense helps him edge out the likes Aleksander Barkov, Patrice Bergeron, and Brayden Point.
On the wings, it’s hard to find two better players than Nikita Kucherov and David Pastrnak. Kucherov was injured all of last season but came back as the playoff’s leading scorer. Pastrnak is one of the slickest offensive players in the league, but Mitch Marner and Jonathan Huberdeau could also be considered.
Perennial Norris Trophy candidate Victor Hedman takes top billing here, but I’m sure many will question my choice of Thomas Chabot. With the likes of Jeff Petry, and MacKenzie Weegar I totally understand. However; when you consider the team he plays for and the amount of minutes he logs, Chabot is an All-Star.
In goal, Andrei Vasilevskiy. Back-to-back Cups ends this debate for me. His regular season stats are Vezina worthy too.
NHL: Metro Division Stars
- Center: Sidney Crosby, Penguins
- Winger 1: Artemi Panarin, Rangers
- Winger 2: Andrei Svechnikov, Hurricanes
- Defense 1: Adam Fox, Rangers
- Defense 2: John Carlson, Capitals
- Goalie: Semyon Valramov and Ilya Sorkin, Islanders
Sid The Kid is still the best center in the Metro division until Sebastian Aho is ready to knock him off that perch. Crosby is really no longer “the kid” at 34 years of age but he led all Metro centers in scoring last season with 62 points in 55 games.
On the wings, it is hands down the Rangers Artemi Panarin. Over the last two season in the NHL his 1.38 points per game ranks third behind only McDavid and Draisaitl. The up and coming Andrei Svechnikov already is posting big numbers but expect the 21 year-old to improve on his 42 point campaign in 2020-21.
The Rangers come in again with the top defenseman, Adam Fox who won the Norris Trophy as a sophomore. The expectations this year is for him to improve on his 47 point effort and possibly flirt with a 65-70 point season. Another possible Norris candidate joins him in John Carlson of the Capitals.
Trying to decide the Metro’s best goalie was near impossible. No one goalie stood out to me. While Igor Shesterkin could be the division’s best one day, same for Carter Hart, they just aren’t right now. So that led me to pick the goaltending tandem of the best defensive team in possibly the entire league, the Islanders.