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Crosby, Ovechkin, Miller rank highest on The Hockey News Top 10 NHL Players list

Aug 13, 2010, 10:00 PM EDT

crosbyovechkinbattlew.jpgPeople love lists … that’s just science, folks. The Hockey News released its annual yearbook this week, and Mark Stepneski of ESPN Dallas was nice enough to share the top 10 of the well-known publication’s top 50 players list.


The top ten players on The Hockey News’ list are:

1. Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh
2. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Washington
3. Ryan Miller, G, Buffalo
4. Pavel Datsyuk, C, Detroit
5. Jonathan Toews, C, Chicago
6. Henrik Sedin, C, Vancouver
7. Duncan Keith, D, Chicago
8. Evgeni Malkin, C, Pittsburgh
9. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Washington
10. Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay

The top two are the biggest no-brainers in hockey, though the order will be up to debate for … oh, the next 10-15 years.

It gets pretty interesting after Ovechkin, though. Ryan Miller is a worthy selection for the top 10; his placement on this list probably boils down to how much you value goalies in the modern NHL. Considering the team around him in Buffalo, I think No. 3 is a solid choice. Pavel Datsyuk is one of the most dangerous and well-rounded players in the NHL, so a No. 4 spot is acceptable too.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for toewsyoungestcaptain.jpgI think Jonathan Toews is still a few strides short of elite at this point in his career, though he had a sensational 2009-10 season. It’s hard for me to look past the fact that his career high in points is 68, even though I love his all-around game, attitude and general moxie. We’ll see how talented he truly is next season since the burden of scoring will be placed more heavily on the Blackhawks’ top scorers. Henrik Sedin is a wonderful player, but I might have placed him lower on the list. Duncan Keith is an excellent choice and No. 7 seems pretty fair for him.

Evgeni Malkin’s placement at No. 8 is a clear snapshot of the “What have you done for me lately?” mindset of modern sports … yet I can’t say it’s totally wrong. I doubt that “being one-dimensional” is really behind his demotion – my guess is it was a pure points-based rating in his case – but he’ll need to have a bounce back year (relatively speaking) to prove that he’s in the same breath as Ovechkin and Crosby.

Nicklas Backstrom is a fine choice for No. 9 and you could probably cajole me into putting him even higher. Who knows how explosive he’d be without Ovechkin, but my guess is that he’d still be an excellent player.

stamkoscrosbyrichard.jpgMaybe this is just my urge to reward versatility talking, but I wonder if Steven Stamkos really is a top-10 player already. Personally, I might have gone with Chris Pronger, Henrik Zetterberg or Henrik Lundqvist in this spot since those three players have made more long-lasting impacts in the league.

Still, this is all meant to spur debate and fun discussion anyway. Who do you think should have been listed in the top 10? Were there any players ranked far too high? Discuss the rankings – and your own picks – in the comments.

  1. NYRFTW - Aug 14, 2010 at 1:45 AM

    No Patrick Kane= Some fat writers not knowing what they’re talking about when it comes to hockey! AGAIN!!! It seems like our sport always gets the goof ball writers/personalities to cover it. It starts with the T.V. coverage and works it’s way down to the internet. The NFL gets Troy Aikman and every other legend and we get Keith Jones and tons of other losers with no credit to cover our sport. Where are all of the great players in recent history who just retired in the past decade at? Players like Gretzky, Lemieux, Messier, Yzerman, Bourque, Coffey, etc the list goes on should be in the studios between periods. Not some jokers who don’t have many more points than the fans do! I know that the first few players I mentioned are taking on roles in the league, but that has just been recently. This is why the sport get zero credibility in the states. On air personalities like the guys I mentioned would point out that a player like Patrick Kane is one of the most gifted players in the league so much that it would trickle down to the internet world. I’m not even a Chicago, or Patrick Kane fan, but I know he is one of the most gifted players and deserves to be in the current top 10 and he should be on anyones list!

  2. Jkline3 - Aug 14, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    There’s no denying that Kane has some pretty special skills, but at this time he’s still only the 3rd best player on the Hawks. Take Toews or Keith off the ice for any extended period of time and the Hawks have major problems. If Kane is out it’s no walk in the park, but it’s certainly less devastating to the team as a whole. Kane can be electric but his all-around game is not yet in the same neighborhood as the other two.
    Not sure how Troy Aikman got singled out for all the credit, but former players are a mixed bag. They can add some great insight but some of them are just painful to listen to. The problem isn’t “fat writers” it’s the placement and volume of coverage. If you want to hear or talk about hockey you generally have to seek it out.

  3. Toews? - Aug 14, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    Toews is just Brad Richards part II, I’d take Kane as well. I don’t particularly care about lists like this, but Malkin too? Really? Guy was a -6 last year and can’t win a faceoff. If you need a Russian, then look at Alex Semin, +36, 12 more goals, 13th in scoring playing on a second line with no center (he doesn’t play with OV and Backis), and was 7th in points per game.

  4. Schecter - Aug 15, 2010 at 9:35 AM

    Top 15:

  5. mike - Aug 19, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    Brodeur not in the top 10? Lead the league in wins (as normal) and shut outs. 3rd highest GAA, and the Jennings Trophy for least goals against throughout the season. All of this with a pretty much no name defense besides Paul Martin last year (he was out like 60 games give or take).
    Also, Semin is garbage. Can’t do anything in the playoffs nor can he play any type of defense. Always goal hanging when I watch him play and never takes the body. Only reason why his stats were so high was for being on a team with such a potent offense.
    Also, Pronger or Doughty should be somewhere on that list instead Malkin or Stamkos. Flyers would have went no where if it wasn’t for Pronger playing 30+ minutes and Doughty speaks for himself with a gold medal and being elected for the Norris trophy in only his second season in the league.
    Malkin needs to prove himself again that he wasn’t a one time deal. For someone who doesn’t go against the opposing teams top defensive pair (because they are mostly matched up with Crosby), he should have done better.
    Stamkos had a great year. Hopefully he can keep it up and wasn’t a one time deal like Jonathon Cheechoo. Cheechoo had a 56 goal season and slowly declined to a lousy 5 goals last year. If he keeps it up, he should be on the top 10 list.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1844)
  2. P. Kane (1369)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1203)
  4. S. Matthias (1160)
  5. M. Giordano (1059)