Florida Panthers superstar Aleksander Barkov is underrated by the masses, and he very well has the chance to prove everyone wrong by winning the Hart Memorial Trophy this season.
Out of everybody in the NHL, I truly believe that Aleksander Barkov is one of the most slept on players in the league. Most people don’t consider him a superstar even, but I see next year’s MVP of the league when I look at him.
The Finnish native has every chance in the world to prove me right. Coming off a year where he scored 78 points (27G, 51A) in 79 games, as well as getting snubbed by the league for Selke considerations, Barkov looks to be hungrier than ever.
Barkov has shown improvement every season since entering the league in 2013-14, and this year is the year I see him making the jump into elite status, not just in my eyes, but in everyone else’s, too.
Aleksander has scored at least 20 goals, as well as at least 50 points in his last three seasons, with the two prior to 2017-18 being cut short to 61 and 66 games, respectively. When healthy enough to play in all 82 games for the second time in a row, we could very well see his baseline grow even higher.
The former 2nd overall pick has been overlooked for most of his career, especially after getting drafted one pick after last year’s Hart Trophy runner-up Nathan MacKinnon. But this is the year I see him finally taking part in the spotlight and showing fans and the media what kind of player he really is.
Florida Panther fans have a reason to be excited this season as Barkov has been one of the most entertaining players in the league for years now, showcasing his silky dekes in breakaways/shootouts, as well as his two-way play on both sides of the ice.
Now, Panther fans are going to be watching that on a whole new level this season, which I can assure you that there will be some ‘MVP’ chants raining from the stands of the BB&T Center as Barkov will continue to feed this Florida Panthers fan base with greater excitement.
With their star player playing at this high of a level, I see the Panthers doing big things this year. They have the potential to surprise many pundits, much like last year’s MVP Taylor Hall and the New Jersey Devils did last season.
Not only do I see the Panthers making the postseason, but under the leadership of their Finnish phenom, I see them potentially upsetting a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs or Boston Bruins (or even the Tampa Bay Lightning!) and winning a playoff series.
With Aleksander Barkov playing with a chip on his shoulder, anything is possible for the Florida Panthers. Whether it’s Barkov taking home the Hart Memorial Trophy or lifting the Stanley Cup, truly anything is possible for the Finnish sensation!