Principe's Blog: And the MVP is ...
Gene Principe shares his thoughts & looks for your ideas on who should be named the 2010-11 Oilers MVP
Here are the top candidates.
Taylor Hall - He might be the easiest one to go with when you solely look at numbers. Hall is tied for the team lead in points with 42. His 22 goals are still first on the team despite the fact he will miss a total of 17 games by the time the season is wrapped up. He's also first in powerplay goals with eight and the team leader in shots with 186. The other thing Taylor has done is put people in the seats or at least get them up out of their seats. That's a quality not many players across the league have.
Ales Hemsky - Despite the fact his second straight season came to a premature end because of shoulder problem, when Hemsky played he was a factor. Like Hall, he is also tied for the team lead in points but he did it in 17 fewer games than Taylor and 21 fewer than the other player tied for the scoring lead, Sam Gagner. If -- and I know it's a big 'if' -- Hemsky had stayed healthy, he was on pace for 73 points which would have been his second highest total with the Oilers (he had 77 points 2005-06). He also, at plus-three, is the only forward not in negative territory.
Jordan Eberle - The kid who made a name for himself on the junior circuit has done pretty well in doing the same thing at the NHL level. Eberle sits at 41 points heading into the last week of the season and with two points would finish as the Oilers leading scorer this season despite missing 13 games. His 18 goals put him second in that category. With all the injuries to the top six forwards, Eberle has been a focus of the opposition but has fared reasonably well under the circumstances. In the last seven games he has five points.
Ryan Whitney - Normally someone who has played only 35 games would have zero chance of being a team MVP but that might not be the case for the Edmonton defenceman. His nearly half-season of play was stellar. Even though he'll miss 47 games by season's end, he's still third on the team in assists with 25. He led the Oilers in ice time by averaging 25:20 per game. The fact he is an eye-popping plus 13 goes a long way to show off what he did during his time on the ice for Edmonton. They were never the same once he was hurt.
Devan Dubnyk - Honorable mention should also go to the Edmonton netminder. He could finish the year at .500 or better in net (he's currently 11-12-8) which is astounding considering the Oilers are a team currently 30 games below even. His GAA is below 3.00 (currently 2.81) and his save percentage is above .900 (currently .913). Just to give you some perspective, his save percentage is better than goalies named Kiprusoff (.905), Halak (.908) Howard (.909).
Would you pick one of the above as the Oilers MVP or would you pick someone else? Let me know -- I'd be curious to find out.