Botta asked the scout one question.
Who is the one player on each team that you believe deserves more press for his contributions to his club this season?
Obviously, we weren't looking to hear about a team's top player. Instead, the hope was to identify more of an "unsung hero" for each team.
The scout's answers are listed by team, as we present our first look at the NHL this season.
- 1. Philadelphia -- Kimmo Timonen: "One of the underrated great defensemen in the league. Plays as much as Pronger. Doesn't say much in the press. As efficient a defenseman as any coach could ask for."
- 2. Detroit -- Todd Bertuzzi: "You have to give him a lot of credit. Just when some people thought he was almost done, this is Bertuzzi's best season in at least five years."
- 3. Pittsburgh -- Mark Letestu: "Dan Bylsma's giving him a regular shift and Letestu is doing a little bit of everything for him. He's got three game-winning goals."
- 4. Vancouver -- Alexander Edler: "He has become a very good defenseman, it seems to me, pretty quickly over the last year. Edler plays more than Dan Hamhuis, who they broke the bank for."
- 5. Washington -- John Erskine: "I know he's a third-pair defenseman on a good team, but Erskine knows exactly what he is and the Capitals need a lot more of the toughness he brings."
- 6. Dallas -- Adam Burish: "He's known for being a yapper, but I respect what he has brought to Dallas. That was a tight team and I think Burish has loosened them up. He also came with a Stanley Cup ring, which helps."
- 7. Montreal -- Jeff Halpern: "Another guy who should be on the back end of his career, but could be having his best season ever. A lot of teams wished they had Halpern now."
- 8. Boston -- Dennis Seidenberg: "It's always about whether he can make it through a season without breaking a bone, which is also one of the reasons why teams love Seidenberg. He plays smart and he plays hard."
- 9. Atlanta -- Andrew Ladd: "Have to go with another champion from Chicago. Ladd is obviously a higher-level talent than Burish, but besides the goal-scoring he brings a lot of intangibles. Great pickup by Rick Dudley."
- 10. Nashville -- Anders Lindback: "Let's give it to the goalie. He's come pretty much out of nowhere and stopped just about everything. Pekka Rinne gets injured and the Preds don't miss a beat."
- 11. Colorado -- John-Michael Liles: I know, like Timonen, he's fairly well-known, but Liles deserves a lot of credit for Colorado developing into a very good young team faster than a lot of us thought."
- 12. N.Y. Rangers -- Brandon Dubinsky: "Ryan Callahan would have been the pick, but he's out after breaking his hand in Pittsburgh. Dubinsky gives them quality second-line production and he plays with some edge."
- 13. Los Angeles -- Rob Scuderi: "Didn't have a great season after leaving the Penguins to sign that deal with LA. Now I think he's back to playing within himself. Leads the team in plus-minus."
- 15. Tampa Bay -- Steve Downie: "You don't like to admit this publicly because the guy is such a pain, but his value to the Lightning is even more apparent now. They miss him since he went down with the injury."
- 16. Anaheim -- Toni Lydman: "He is leading their defensemen by a mile in plus/minus, so he's clearly doing something right."
- 17. Phoenix -- Keith Yandle: "There have been rumors the Coyotes might shop him. If they do, there will be takers. He's a good all-around defenseman."
- 18. Chicago -- Troy Brouwer: "Not much has gone smoothly for them this season after all the changes, but Brouwer has been consistently effective for them."
- 19. St. Louis -- Eric Brewer: "When Brewer is healthy, no one has ever debated that he could be a top-pair defenseman."
- 20. Columbus -- Marc Methot: "Extremely unheralded. Probably the perfect guy for this list. Not exactly a household name, but a very, very steady defenseman who is getting 20 minutes a night."
- 21. Carolina -- Joe Corvo: "Having a very solid bounce-back season after some inconsistent play and injuries. Paul Maurice is playing him a lot, for good reason."
- 22. Minnesota -- Matt Cullen: "Cullen has been a good player in our league for a while now. I wasn't sure if he was a good signing for Minnesota, but the skating is still there, he's producing and he's strong on faceoffs."
- 23. Calgary -- Tim Jackman: "On a team with a lot of underachievers, Jackman fights, gets to the net and gives you an honest effort every game."
- 24. Buffalo -- Jordan Leopold: "He's playing as good in Buffalo this season as I've ever seen him in his career. Looks like he's earned the trust of Lindy Ruff.
- 25. Edmonton -- Ryan Whitney: "Another leading scorer, I know. But I think Whitney is having one of the most underrated seasons of anyone in the league. He plays all the time, carrying a young and undisciplined team on defense and offense. He deserves so much more press than he's getting."
- 26. Toronto -- Luke Schenn: "He still has his moments when you remember he is still just a kid playing defense in a pressure-filled environment, but I like how he's progressing."
- 27. Ottawa -- Erik Karlsson: "Ottawa is asking a lot of such a young player, and he's not getting a lot of help with (Sergei) Gonchar playing so badly. Still, Karlsson is on his way to becoming an outstanding defenseman."
- 28. Florida -- Michael Frolik: "I know Frolik is their leading scorer, but no one talks about him in Florida or anywhere else. He's putting up points without a lot of offensive talent around him. He's also responsible on D. I like him."
- 29. New Jersey -- Johan Hedberg: "They've dressed at least 30 skaters already this season, and I don't think you can say at this point that anyone has had a good season. Give a medal to Hedberg, who did his best to keep them in most games while Brodeur was injured.
- 30. N.Y. Islanders -- Frans Nielsen: "Tough to tell this season, but Nielsen is one of the best defensive forwards in the game. You'd like to see him produce a little more and he should when (Kyle) Okposo comes back."