Lang-wow!

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:07 AM ET

Never mind Daymond Langkow being the most underappreciated member of the Calgary Flames, he may just be the most underrated player in the NHL this season.

While no one in the Flames' dressing room needs to be told of the role Langkow has played in the Flames resurgence, apparently the rest of the hockey world could use a crash course on his brilliance.

Considered a mere beneficiary of Jarome Iginla's fine work, Langkow has quietly posted numbers worthy of all-star consideration while maintaining a defensive diligence few NHLers can match.

Although no one at NHL headquarters in New York could be blamed for omitting him from the all-star ballot months back, they might be surprised to learn Langkow has more points (19 goals and 28 assists for 47 total) than all but four Western Conference all-stars.

Consider:

- Only six players (including Iginla and Paul Kariya) have more points in the West than Langkow.

- No one in the all-star shindig except Nicklas Lidstrom has a better plus/minus than Langkow's plus-21, which ranks him fifth in the league.

- In the last 25 games, he's plus-27, finishing the night as a minus player just four times.

- He has picked up points in 30 of his 44 starts and is one of only five Flames to suit up for every game.

- He's had a hand in one third of the club's 138 goals.

- More than a quarter of his 19 goals have been game winners, leading the team with five.

- His four powerplay goals are second only to Iginla.

In a season during which Alex Tanguay, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kristian Huselius and Matthew Lombardi have taken turns in the spotlight for surges and slumps, Langkow has quietly been the steadiest contributor all season long.

En route to posting the best season of his 11-year career, the 30-year-old centre is on pace for his first 35-goal campaign after four-straight seasons with 20-plus.

His confidence is evident by the fact he's on pace to throw a career-high 250 shots on goal while also remaining one of the club's most creative setup men.

Perhaps the best illustration of his worth has come since Iginla went down with his knee injury.

As anchor of the top line, Langkow has paced the club to five wins in six outings, picking up four goals and four assists. In that time, he's been plus-nine -- incredible considering the team has outscored opponents by 10.

Even in Monday's loss it was his brilliant goal late in the first period that stopped Nashville's momentum and gave the club a lift that saw the Flames lead 2-1 heading into the second.

None of this is to speak of his talents in the faceoff circle or that he plays 21 minutes a night.

Not bad for a first line 'sidekick' most fans blamed for Iginla's off season in 2005-06.

While no one could make an argument for Langkow beating out Kiprusoff or Iginla as team MVP with a straight face, the truth is no one has been more consistent.

It's about time he was recognized for that.


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