Last season, the trophy was shared, as Sidney Crosby and Steve Stamkos finished with 51 goals apiece. Who will take home the brass in 2011?
Stamkos has gotten off to a red-hot start in Tampa Bay, bringing the fire back into the Florida program. The class of veterans surrounding Stamkos can only help the young center continue his tear, as he leads the league in goals with 21 in 25 games played. Stamkos is a good bet to win the trophy on his own this season.
Then again, Crosby will forever be a perennial contender for this award. Crosby has established himself atop the NHL scoring leaderboards, and will likely not give up that reign anytime soon. The Pittsburgh captain is breathing down Stamkos’ neck with 18 goals on the year, and he leads the league in overall points with 41.
The “Rocket” could find its way back into the skilled hands of Alexander Ovechkin, who took home the award in back-to-back seasons in 2008 and 2009. Ovechkin has just 10 goals on the season thus far, but one can never count the Caps captain out of this race.
Currently situated ahead of Ovechkin in the goal-scoring standings is his linemate Alexander Semin. The right winger sits neck and neck with Crosby in the No. 2 slot with 18 goals on the year and continues to feed off his captain’s energy in Washington. Semin has the scoring stamina to continue lighting the lamp, proved by his 40-goal effort last season.
Also off to a hot start this season is Blackhawks center Patrick Sharp. With 16 goals on the year, Sharp ranks fourth in the league in scoring and is projected to score 49 this season. It might be a stretch for the seven-year veteran, whose career-high mark was 36 goals in 2007-08, but if he continues to build off his early success, he might have what it takes.
Who will lead the NHL in goals scored this season? Share your thoughts below.
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