*NHL Awards: The Top Defensive Forward, Who Can Also Contribute Offensively

Reigning Champ:

Pavel Datsyuk is possibly the best ALL AROUND player in the NHL. I’m not calling Crosby or Ovechkin one dimensional players, but Dastyuk is as strong defensively as he is offensively, and still is one of the best producing players in the game. His total number of takeaways is almost twice as much as the guy with the 2nd most takeaways. He led the NHL in +/-, and it doesn’t hurt that he almost got a 100 points last year too.

Contenders:

Henrik Zetterberg of course could win it. He was 5th in +/- last year, and is will finish top 10 in NHL scoring again this year too.

Mike Fischer doesn’t have the offensive upside that Datsyuk and Zetterberg have, but he’s equally strong on the defensive side of the game. Always one of the leaders in hits, and was top 5 in blocked shots by forwards.

Ryan Kesler is Only 23, and really broke out last year scoring 20 goals, and proving to be a top shut down center. He could be a 25 goal scorer this year, and really emerge as a Jere Lehtinen type player, and not only be known as a player who can shut down the opposition, but can be a productive offensive player.

Jere Lehtinen is old now (35 years old), but played some of the best hockey of his career last year when he wasn’t hurt. He only played in 48 games, but got 39 points, and was on pace to exceed his career totals.

Last year wasn’t a good season for Sammy Pahlsson, but now that he’s healthy he should regain his old form.

Mike Richards became a star last season, and now that he’s never again going to have worry about a contract again (signed a 13 year deal a while ago) he should improve on his 75 points, and become an elite two way forward.

Patrick Sharp got 7 short handed goals last year and scored 35 in total. He could emerge as a very good player this year.

Winner:

This could go to any, but Datsyuk right now looks like he’ll win it. Was brilliant in the playoffs and might be the best player in the game right now.


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