It’s that time of year again
Hockey season is here once again and I absolutely cannot wait to see the stars of the league shine. In fact, I’m so enthralled with hockey returning that I’ve compiled a list of the top five hockey players in the NHL, in specific order:
#5. Alexander Ovechkin
Starting at number five on my list is the new-age Russian rocket, Alexander Ovechkin. What the great eight lacked in defensive ability, he previously made up for with incredible goal scoring prowess, and the unique ability to bury via contorting his body while falling in ways that only an ice dancer should be able to do. At 6’3” and 239 pounds, Ovi has become known as a wrecking ball on the ice. His speed is elite and so too is his footwork. He is one of the few elite scoring players in the NHL that actually plays better the more they’re involved in the physical side of hockey. He is a six-time all-star, three-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner (most valuable player as voted by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association), three-time Lester B. Pearson/Ted Lindsay winner (most outstanding player as voted by the NHLPA, four time Maurice Richard Trophy winner (most goals), and 2014 World Championship gold medalist. This is more than enough to slate him within the top five.
Coming in at number four on my list may shock some, but those who understand the essence of two-way defense will thoroughly agree with this pick…
#4. Duncan Keith
His name is Duncan Keith and he is a three-time Stanley Cup winner, two-time Olympic gold winner, two-time Norris Trophy (best defenseman) and 2015 Conn Smythe award (Playoff MVP) winner. His immense hockey IQ is unquestionable as is shown by his career plus/minus that currently sits at +137. He rarely coughs the puck up, particularly in his own zone, and often makes the perfect first pass to start the Blackhawks’ offensive rush. His uncanny sense of where everyone on the ice is at all times makes him look like a genius while forcing the puck carriers to make a move or shutting down the various passing lanes. Keith is both an offensive and defensive dynamo and he will continue to dominate at his position in the coming years.
Number three on this list is the best goaltender in the NHL.
#3. Carey Price
Carey Price helped lead Team Canada to a gold medal victory at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, and was voted the tournament’s best goaltender by the IIHF. From there, Carey went on to have an astounding 2015 NHL season, seizing the Vezina trophy (best goalie in the NHL), the William M. Jennings trophy (least goals allowed throughout the season), the Ted Lindsay award and the Hart Trophy.. The last goalie to win the Hart Trophy was Jose Theodore in the 2001-2002 season. Carey Price has excelled at all facets of goaltending and continues to be rewarded for it. The only thing he has not won is a Stanley Cup at this point (sorry Habs fans). His style of goaltending is quite sound, but he is capable of doing what most goalies in the NHL are not, which is drop his proper style if need be to make the highlight save. His brash shifting in style often leads to some of the most spectacular and game-saving moments that hockey fans have seen in recent years.
#2. Jonathan Toews
Sidney Crosby literally asked this man if it would be okay if he was captain for Team Canada. Jonathan Toews is the best leader in the NHL and he is the second best hockey player on my list. What Toews lacks in offensive ability in comparison to some of the other elite NHL players, he more than makes up for in defensive ability. His skills in his own end are compared to the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Patrice Bergeron and Ryan Kesler; all perennial Selke Award (best defensive forward) nominees. He’s captained the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup wins, and has assistant captained Team Canada to two Olympic gold medals. All this guy does is win.
#1 Sidney Crosby
Coming in at number one is obviously Sidney Crosby. Granted, he may not have the same leadership qualities as Toews, he certainly makes up for that by being the most dangerous offensive forward in the NHL. His staggering numbers offensively have been at a Hall of Fame pace since he entered the league. Crosby has captured a Stanley Cup and two Olympic gold medals, along with two Hart’s, two Art Ross’, three Lester B. Pearson’s, five all-star selections, and a Maurice Richard Award. Little more needs to be said about the best hockey player on the planet.