Hockey Correspondent, White Cover Magazine
Some things you take for granted. Captains, sometimes, are one of them. A player who can play well without the puck? A player who’s bigger than his statistics imply?
Well, taking them for granted is… granted. It’s guaranteed.
New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan went down on Tuesday with some kind of pulled, tweaked, or popped shoulder. He sustained the injury in a fight with Maxime Talbot, although it was more of an accidental tussle than a brawl worth mentioning.
Now, Callahan is apparently out 10-14 days. The Rangers are about to learn just how valuable he is. They’re already guiding along without success, and the loss of their captain will do anything but alleviate that.
Here are the Top 10 Players Who Are Better Than Their Statistics, in no particular order:
Ryan Callahan, New York Rangers
He’s the total package, and he’s still underrated everywhere outside the place formerly known as New Amsterdam.
Callahan’s highest point total over one season was last year with a less-than-that-impressive total of 54. 29 of those 54 were goals, and Callahan can take credit almost all of New York’s wins.
It’s great the Rangers picked up Gaborik, Richards, and Nash recently… but Callahan’s the real reason New York has a very godo shot at a Stanley Cup in 2013.
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks
Okay, so Kaner doesn’t exactly fly under the radar. But, most will be surprised to hear that Kane has only once eclipsed a point-per-game season total.
He does, however, have an Olympic silver medal (from a tournament where he was the best players), a Stanley Cup, a Stanley Cup-winning overtime goal, and a reputation as the scariest shootout player this side of Datsyuk’s shin pads.
Dan Hamhuis, Vancouver Canucks
He’s known by many as the best defensive defenceman in the NHL, or at least the best solely defensive defenceman in the NHL.
But, those guys don’t get the girls, do they?
Guillaume Latendresse, Ottawa Senators
Latendresse’s highest yearly point total was 40, acquired in a season split between Montreal and Minnesota. He’s often overlooked, except when you’re playing against him. He’s one of the best and most effective power forwards in the league… and, he’s damn cheap.
Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes
Doan’s another guy who’s already plenty famous for his natural talent at playing hockey, just playing hockey, man. He’s a hockey player’s hockey player, they say (whatever that means). Every team wants him.
Doan has never shot the puck through the roof. His point total peaked at 78 in 2008, but it’s steadily fallen since then and ended at 50 last year.
Of course, even with just 50, he led his Coyotes to the third round of the playoffs, which is the furthest that franchise has ever gone — including their years as the Winnipeg Jets.
Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
If you forgot Victor Hedman was a No. 2 overall pick (just behind John Tavares and just ahead of Matt Duchene), you’re not alone. Hedman isn’t the lightning rod (*pun intended) you’d expect a first-rounded draft pick to be. He doesn’t score a lot, even though his point totals are far from poor. He’s just a very solid, stable blueliner who passes and carries the puck extremely well.
He’s the NHL’s Mario Williams, and he’s only getting better.
Scott Gomez, San Jose Sharks
Anyone who goes a calendar year without a goal better be offering more than their sharpshooting. In Gomez’s case, it was enough to get him bought out and booted from Montreal, but he’s since joined a Sharks team that embraces his style.
He’s smooth, he skates well, and he quarterbacks a play. Montreal’s emotions have betrayed them yet again.