The NHL's Overlooked Goal Scorers

On Tuesday, ESPN hockey writer Pierre Lebrun penned an entry on his blog about Dallas Stars forward Loui Eriksson and his under-the-radar, meteoric rise to 30-goal scorer in the NHL.

The basic premise of the article was essentially: this guy has more goals than a host of star players, and you probably don't know who he is.

While it's true Eriksson, a 23-year-old, former second-round pick, isn't exactly a household name for the casual sports fan -- sadly, what hockey player is these days? -- I think he's probably more well-known among hockey fans than Lebrun and Stars head coach Dave Tippett give us credit for. That said, it's nice to see Eriksson get some attention for his strong play this season. How about a few other under-the-radar goal scorers quietly lighting the lamp?

-- Bryan Little, Atlanta Thrashers: Little notched his 30th goal of the season in Atlanta's 6-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. A former first-round pick (12th overall) in 2006, the 21-year-old forward is one of the core players in Atlanta as it attempts to escape from the basement of the Southeast Division. If the Thrashers can find a way to re-sign superstar winger Ilya Kovalchuk, they could have a nice foundation to build on with Kovalchuk, Little and defenseman Zach Bogosian, not to mention the top-10 pick they're sure to get this year.

-- David Booth, Florida Panthers: A second-round pick in 2004 out of Michigan State, Booth never scored more than 17 goals in a single season in his NCAA career, with that milestone coming during his freshman campaign. After splitting the 2006-07 season between Rochester of the AHL and Florida, Booth burst onto the scene a season ago scoring 22 goals for the Panthers. He's already exceeded that total this season, having scored 26 goals in just 60 games.

-- Michael Cammalleri, Calgary Flames: Currently seventh in the league with 34 goals, he has an outside shot at collecting the first 40-goal season of his six-year NHL career. Acquired by the Flames in a draft day trade with Los Angeles, he's in the middle of his second 30-goal season in the past three years, and would likely be going for his third straight had he not missed 20 games due to injury in 2007-08.

-- Brad Boyes, St. Louis Blues: A former first-round pick by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boyes has already been traded twice in his young career, including a rare hockey trade that worked out for all sides involved when he was dealt from Boston to St. Louis for defenseman Dennis Wideman. A year ago he finished tied for fifth in the NHL with 43 goals. He currently has 29 for a St. Louis team that has remained competitive despite a series of injuries to several key players.

Having said that, would you consider New Jersey's Zach Parise and Philadelphia's Jeff Carter to be overlooked -- heck, would you consider any of the guys I mentioned above to be overlooked? Parise is currently second in the NHL to Washington's Alex Ovechkin with 41 goals, and has netted 30 goals in three consecutive seasons. He's also fifth in the points race, trailing only Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Ovechkin and Pavel Datsyuk.

Carter, currently third in the league in goals scored, was rumored to be on the trade block a year ago at the deadline, and was reportedly almost dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He's already set a new career-high with 38 goals, shattering his previous mark of 29.

Hockey fans, how overlooked are these guys?

The NHL's Overlooked Goal Scorers originally appeared on NHL FanHouse on Thu, 19 Mar 2009 18:45:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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