Who Is The NHL's Greatest Unsung Hero?

The NHL awards discussions have been in full swing for some time now and everyone's got their picks.  ESPN jumped into the discussion with a league-wide player poll on things like most over-rated and dirtiest player.  But I wanted to know who is the most overlooked, the most under-rated, the biggest unsung hero in the league.  Call it the Butch Goring award.

I decided to poll the SB Nation Hockey Writer's Association in the hopes that a broad range of opinions would unearth some solid nominees.  To be honest, the majority of nominees were a bit strange and not at all what could be considered under-rated.  Jordan Staal and his $4,000,000 salary was nominated.  Patrick Sharp, Ed Olczyk's mancrush was repeatedly nominated, though he's being paid $3,900,000.  Jamie Langenbrunner, New Jersey Captain and Olympian was nominated.  Even Henrik Sedin and Tomas Kaberle were nominated.

Sifting through the less-than-stellar nominations, I found a couple of fellows that actually did fit the bill.  Below the jump is a review of the finalists for the Butch Goring Award.


Marcel Goc

#9 / Center / Nashville Predators

6-1

200

Aug 24, 1983

2010 Cap Hit: $775,000

Contract Status: Expires 2010-2011


 

Unable to find a job in the off-season, Goc signed on the cheap with Nashville.  He's been asked to take defensive zone faceoffs and kill penalties and he's done it with aplomb.  He's quietly become a reason for Nashville's success.

 


GP G A P EV +/- EV +/- 60 EV Rk QC Rk
QT Rk
Corsi RK
ZS Rk
FO%
2007 - Marcel Goc
51 5
3
8 -13 -1.66 12/12
5/12 9/12 8/12
9/12 51.4
2008 - Marcel Goc 55 2 9 11 -4 -.37
11/13
11/13 10/13
3/11
11/13 58.2
2009 - Marcel Goc 71 12 18 30 +10 .68
2/11
9/11
4/11 4/11
10/11 52.6

 

 


Jan Hejda

#8 / Defenseman / Columbus Blue Jackets

6-3

218

Jun 18, 1978

2010 Cap Hit: $2,000,000

Contract Status: Expires $2010-2011

 



An annual finalist for the Langway Award, Hejda takes on the tough matchups each and every game and comes out ahead.  He's a better version of Rob Scuderi, but he's gone without notice in Edmonton and Columbus.

 


GP G A P EV +/- EV +/- 60 EV Rk QC Rk
QT Rk
Corsi RK
ZS Rk
Hits
2007 - Jan Hejda 81 0
13
13 +15 .68 1/6
1/6 2/6 5/6
6/6 148
2008 - Jan Hejda 82 3 18 21 +17 .72
4/11
1/7 6/7
6/7
7/7 168
2009 - Jan Hejda 62 3 10 13 -14 -.83
1/11
2/8
6/8 8/8
8/8 111

 

 


Rich Peverley

#47 / Center / Atlanta Thrashers

6-0

185

Jul 08, 1982

2010 Cap Hit: $1,325,000

Contract Status: Expires 2011-2012


 

Cast off from Nashville and claimed by the Thrashers on the waiver wire, Peverly has been one of the best scorers in the NHL over the last year and a half for a bargain-basement price of $487,500.  His ES PTS/60 of 2.48 and 1.99 is exceptional for a league minimum player.

 


GP G A P EV +/- EV +/- 60 EV Rk QC Rk
QT Rk
Corsi RK
ZS Rk
ES PTS/60
2008 - Rich Peverly 39 13 22 35 +9 .70
1/12
3/12 2/12
3/12
5/12 2.48
2009 - Rich Peverly 79 22 33 55 -11 -.66
13/15
5/15
13/15 3/15
11/15 1.99

 

 


Roman Polak

#46 / Defenseman / St. Louis Blues

6-1

227

Apr 28, 1986

2010 Cap Hit: $1,100,000

Contract Status: Expires 2010-2011



The big man has become this year's Michalek or Schultz, as he's been asked to climb uphill all year long so that the Blues can shield Erik Johnson and Carlo Colaiacovo.  Polak is last in the entire NHL in Zonestart.

 


GP G A P EV +/- EV +/- 60 EV Rk QC Rk
QT Rk
Corsi RK
ZS Rk
Hits
2008 - Roman Polak 69 1 14 15 -9 -.49
6/6
2/6 6/6
6/6
4/6 110
2009 - Roman Polak 77 3 17 20 +1 .05
4/7
1/7
4/7 6/7
7/7 137

 

 


Wayne Simmonds

#17 / Right Wing / Los Angeles Kings

6-2

183

Aug 26, 1988

2010 Cap Hit: $821,666

Contract Status:  Entry-level contract expires 2010-2011



The "Meat Train" is a Battle Of California favorite, and with good reason.  He's a killer at even strength, he's physical and he's eating up the opposition's second-best.

 


GP G A P EV +/- EV +/- 60 EV Rk QC Rk
QT Rk
Corsi RK
ZS Rk
Hits
2008 - Wayne Simmonds 82 9 14
23 -7 -.42
3/12
2/12 7/12
10/12
11/12 132
2009 - Wayne Simmonds 74 16 24 40 +18 1.10
2/12
6/12
7/12 7/12
9/12 120

 

 

 

*All underlying stats courtesy irrepressible Gabriel Desjardins of the Behindthenet.ca and the outstanding Behind The Net Hockey.

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