This top list was compiled using the NHL’s most recent regular season and postseason games, as well as the current season’s opening, and these guys deserve much more credit. It’s a subjective list because it also considers what I anticipate from them for the rest of the season.
There is no doubt that Tage Thompson had a difficult start to his NHL career. The Buffalo Sabres were a bottom-ten team in the league, and Thompson struggled there despite playing on a top-ten St. Louis Blues team his first season. But Thompson had a fantastic season the previous year, and his current campaign is off to a tremendous start. The 6’6″ winger, 25, is just getting started. He was called a “failure” for years, and even if he’s thriving, that name still follows him, which is enough to argue that he’s underestimated.
Dallas Stars winger Mason Marchment was not selected in the draft. Despite not having the smoothest path to the NHL, he managed to get there and is flourishing at 27 following a spectacular season with Florida Panthers in 2021–2022. Many undrafted players can be viewed as underappreciated if they even manage to land a slot in the NHL’s starting lineup regularly because they won’t garner as much attention. But after facing so much hardship, Marchment has managed to thrive to the extent he has, which is why he made my top five list. He should soon receive greater attention, in my opinion.
The finest defensive defenseman combo in the NHL is made up of Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock, two members of the storied New York Islanders. Although defensive defensemen generally are undervalued, Pelech is so good and has such a great rapport with Pulock that he had to be included. He doesn’t receive enough credit, especially given his significant role in the Islanders’ outstanding defensive performance.