Kukla's Korner

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Underappreciated Stars

from Greg Wyshynski of ESPN,

Here are eight NHL players who are consistently lauded as being underappreciated when, in fact, it's well-established that they're incredible.

Mark Giordano, Calgary Flames
Speaking of defensive prowess, the reason Giordano is going to win the Norris this season is because the voters would have already given him one had it not been for injuries derailing two seasons. He has 65 points in 68 games, has the "old guy having career year" narrative, and has broken through the Alberta firewall that sometimes prevents Flames and Oilers players from truly getting their due from the rest of the league. (McDavid and Jarome Iginla notwithstanding.)

Ryan O Reilly, St. Louis Blues
You could argue that this is a recent addition, too. O'Reilly existed in that Lady Byng/Selke world for years, never exactly an offensive dynamo but always considered a complete player. I think the fact that he played for awful teams -- O'Reilly has only 13 playoff games to his credit -- and had his reputation dinged by outside-the-rink things (like the offer sheet, the Tim Horton's drive-thru thing and the exit interview in Buffalo) overshadowed him.

He made the top five on that NHLPA list last season, and I'm not sure if he would have this season, what with a near point-per-game season in a top-line role with a playoff team. Congrats on your promotion to "properly rated," Ryan!

six more players...

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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