Erik Karlsson (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)
Which players have risen to the top in the calendar 2015 year? Names such as Erik Karlsson, Carey Price and Jamie Benn come to mind pretty easily, but we're assigning accolades for all 30 NHL squads in this round-up.
It’s been a zany season so far, to say the least. Some teams are flying high, while others expected to contend have crashed nose-first into the ground. But who are the players that have defined their teams in 2015? Here’s a look at the MVPs to date, counting the second half of last season and the first half of the one we are currently trying to figure out.
Anaheim – Hampus Lindholm: The Ducks are stuck, but at least the young Swedish defenseman is playing big.
Arizona – Oliver Ekman-Larsson: Amidst some flashy youngsters, OEL is still logging big minutes and putting up numbers.
Boston – Patrice Bergeron: Two-way excellence is his calling card and Bergeron has not disappointed.
Buffalo – Ryan O’Reilly: Brought in to stabilize the top line, O’Reilly has done just that. Honorable mention to Rasmus Ristolainen.
Calgary – Johnny Gaudreau: The Flames are suffering, but Gaudreau has been a points machine up front.
Carolina – Justin Faulk: He’s the franchise tentpole right now, especially with the uncertain futures of Eric Staal and Cam Ward.
Chicago – Patrick Kane: If you hadn’t heard, Kane has been rather good at getting on the scoresheet this season. The Art Ross and Hart are his to lose.
Colorado – Nathan MacKinnon: Sophomore slump behind him, MacKinnon is back to being one of the most dangerous in the NHL.
Columbus – Scott Hartnell: It’s been a rough go for the Jackets, but at least Hartnell is pulling his weight. Sergei Bobrovsky needs to stay healthy.
Dallas – Jamie Benn: Could easily be Tyler Seguin too, but Benn gets the nod thanks to his Art Ross Trophy. This duo is one of the most deadly in the world.
Detroit – Henrik Zetterberg: Still a possession beast, still putting up numbers.
Edmonton – Taylor Hall: Leading the squad in scoring and having one of his best seasons yet.
Florida – Aaron Ekblad: Jaromir Jagr gets the headlines, but Ekblad is quietly becoming indisposable on the blueline. And he won the Calder last year.
Los Angeles – Drew Doughty: On a great possession team, he’s a driver. Getting his points, too.
Minnesota – Ryan Suter: The minute-muncher to lead all minute-munchers.
Montreal – Carey Price: Injuries have hurt this season, but also proven how devastatingly effective he is in the crease.
Nashville – Roman Josi: Last year was the rising, this year is the continuation of a remarkable ascent.
New Jersey – Mike Cammalleri: The veteran hasn’t scored like this for years and the Devils are reaping the rewards.
New York Islanders – John Tavares: Came within a whisker of winning his first Art Ross last year.
New York Rangers – Henrik Lundqvist: Hit some turbulence in mid-December but was also great off the hop.
Ottawa – Erik Karlsson: Another Norris Trophy? Yep. Make it two in a row by season's end.
Philadelphia – Claude Giroux: All the captain can do is score and hope the others follow.
Pittsburgh – Marc-Andre Fleury: In a volatile year, ‘Flower’ has been great when healthy.
St. Louis – Vladimir Tarasenko: This is his team and Tarasenko will lead with his scoring prowess.
San Jose – Joe Pavelski: The do-everything center leads the team offensively and drives possession.
Tampa Bay – Victor Hedman: Down year for the Cup runners-up, but Hedman is still playing like the elite defenseman he has grown into.
Toronto – James van Riemsdyk: On a team building for the future, JVR is doing his scoring now.
Vancouver – Daniel Sedin: Still one of the top offensive threats in the league.
Washington – Braden Holtby: It’s getting silly how good Holtby has been. Do I smell a Vezina Trophy?
Winnipeg – Blake Wheeler: The big man is having a career season on a Jets squad that is really battling.