5. Alex Auld (Key Stat: 6W-2L)- Alex Auld was one of the more underrated backup’s in the NHL last season. He didn’t even have double digit wins, yet Jaques Martin knew that when Auld was in net, they had a good chance to win. Carey Price was arguably one of the greatest goalies last season, so having 2 back stoppers who knew how to win defiantly doesn’t hurt. He’s huge, 6’4, 223 pounds, which allows him to cover his angles well and usually lets the puck hit him. When the starter gets injured, he is capable of playing quite well for stretches, usually long enough to let your starter heal, so it seems as though he was never gone.
4. Roman Hamrlik (5 Goals, 29 Assists, 34 Points, second most for a Montreal Defenceman)- Not many $5M men can be considered “Underrated”, but Hamrlik defiantly fits that bill. Never known as an offensive defenceman, the former 1st overall pick had 34 points last season, his best total since 2002-2003. “The Hammer”, along with Hal Gill, were huge for the early development of PK Subban, and will be missed after signing with the Washington Capitals. He excels on the penalty kill, and quarterbacks the power-play from time to time. He has the size (6’2, 207) to be a physical force, even at the age of 37. He plays his best against elite forwards. Just ask Alex Ovechkin.
3. Jeff Halpern (Key Stat: 1 SHG, 3 GWG)- Jeff Halpern is one of the best, and cheapest, depth forwards out there. He has the ability to play both center and wing, and wins a lot of faceoffs at the middle. At only $600K, he brought a lot to the table, like 27 Points on the third line, and can play anywhere he is asked. Halpern has always played a solid defensive game and excels on the penalty kill, where he had one short handed goal, 1 of 10 in his career. He was brought in to replace journey man Glen Metropolit, and clearly did the job well. What is not well known about him is that he possesses solid leadership qualities and was a good mentor for the young guys like Desharnais and Pacioretty.
2. Michael Cammalleri (Key Stat: 0.70 Points Per Game)- How many top line forwards with elite talent are considered underrated? Cammalleri was a top forward everywhere he went, but hasn’t shown that he can achieve 80 points like he did in 2008-2009 with the Calgary Flames. So how is he underrated? His playoff performances with Montreal have been very timely, having 29 points in 26 games in 2 spring tournaments. He plays with a ton of intelligence and is usually in the right place at the right time. He is one of the toughest players you will ever meet, and hes only 5’9. Cammy has outstanding hands that can only be bested by a small handful of NHLers. Cammalleri shoots the puck with aplomb, has excellent offensive skills and a nose for the net, which makes him one of the most valuable players on the team, yet he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.
1. When you think of top NHL forwards, do you ever, ever consider Plekanec? I don’t. But with his talent, 60-70 points doesn’t seem like a huge stretch. In fact, in 2009-2010 (a contract year for him), he had 25 goals and 45 assists, good for 70 points. In his 6 years in the NHL, he has only had one year with less then 20 goals, but that’s not even his specialty. He has excellent speed, hockey sense and playmaking instincts, and his assist count will continue to grow. Plekanec is a 2 way forward who wins many faceoffs, and then comes back to help the defenceman. He may not be a big name forward in the NHL, but he is defiantly one of the most underrated fowards you will ever meet.