The goal of hockey is, well, making goals. And teamwork is a great thing – that is why you get points for getting the puck to the player who makes the goal. But, there’s nothing quite like being the one who actually puts the puck into the net. Our Fab 5 this week are five of the top scorers of this season, each with 12 to 17 goals to his credit. (We’d also like to mention Eric Staal, Andrew Ladd, and James van Riemsdyk, who recently made their 12th goals, as well as Jeff Carter and Chris Kunitz, who broke into the top five scorers as we went to press.)
1) Steven Stamkos – This 23-year-old centerman leads the way with 17 goals made thus far in this strike-shortened season. Tampa Bay has truly caught lightning in a bottle with this Canadian-born player, at the top of the NHL standings for goals made. Stamkos was the first overall pick in the 2008 NHL entry draft, and was selected by the Lightning. He scored 51 goals in 2009-10 and 60 last season. In this case, #91 is #1.
2) James Neal – The player, covering the left wing for Pittsburgh, is second on the list for goals made so far this season, currently tied with Tavares at 14. The Penguins are a better team for having this 25-year-old player on board, who stands 6′ 2” and weighs in at 208 pounds. Neal first started playing in the NHL for Dallas, being traded to the Penguins during his third season.
3) John Tavares – The New York Islanders are home to this player, a Canadian native. Tavares has put the puck into the net 13 times so far this year, in addition to being his team’s alternate captain. In 2007, several people made a concerted effort to bend the rules of hockey to allow Tavares into the upcoming draft. There were also attempts to get him into the American Hockey League that year at the age of 17. Like Steven Stamkos, Taveres also plays the role of centerman and wears #91. However Tavares makes just $900,000 a year, making him a real bargain for the Islanders.
4) Thomas Vanek – The Buffalo Sabres have their left wing covered by Vanek, who has 12 goals so far in the 2012-2013 season. The 29-year-old Vanek is the only one of these five men who is not Canadian. Making $6.5 million a year, he is the alternate captain for the Sabres.
5) Patrick Marleau – Rounding out the five, Marleau has 12 goals so far, tied with Vanek. He plays left wing for the San Jose Sharks. The third of these players to be the alternate captain for their respective teams, Marleau was also once team captain. This 33 -year-old player is making $6.9 million this year.
It is important to note that none of these men is a team onto himself – each is a team player. This is evidenced by the fact that these five all have between 21-32 points each, so they are active in assists as well as goals.