Showdown: Who is the Best Hockey Player Today?

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Pavel Datsyuk

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The argument of who is the best player in the NHL usually includes Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin. However, I contend that Pavel Datsyuk, who is generally overlooked in this conversation, is the best player in the NHL.

 

Why not? This is a man who averages a point a game in his career, he is a Selke Award contender every year (defensive forward) and has a +/- ratio of over 200 in his career. He is a great center and has a high percentage on face-off wins. And if all this wasn’t enough, check out youtube and watch his dirty dangles. He is the most complete player in the NHL and should be the most sought after player in the NHL.

 

Datsyuk provides a scoring threat every time he steps on the ice, he is a great playmaker, and is great in the defensive zone. Any coach would love to have him on his team. It’s time to start bringing Datsyuk’s name into the conversation of the best in the NHL.

Lets not forget he was the first pick in the NHL allstar game last year, ahead of Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin… for a reason.

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Evgeni Malkin

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The question “who is the best hockey player today” is an interesting question. Most people want to bandwagon on the Sidney Crosby boat simply because the kid has an innate ability to score. However, a player with his scoring potential that spends more time watching from the stands than playing the game is as useless as a third nipple. The forever injury prone Sidney Crosby is therefore nowhere near my top 5 for best players in the NHL today.

With Crosby out, that has me looking at the rest of the league, players like Brodeur, Ovechkin, Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Stamkos, Lundqvist, etc… Despite these great players’ abilities, my pick for the best NHL player today is Evgeni Malkin. Here is a 26-year-old stud that, in his worst year in the NHL, had 37 points in 43 games. That was his worst year. Throughout the course of his 6 completed seasons, including that bad year, Malkin averages 1.2 points per game. Included are 3 – 100+ point season in those 6 years of playing, which is much better than the 0 – 100+ point seasons in 10 completed seasons by Pavel Datsyuk.

Malkin has a Stanley Cup victory, twice won the Art Ross Trophy (Regular Season Scoring Leader), won the Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year), won the Hart Memorial Trophy (League MVP), won the Ted Lindsey Trophy (Most Outstanding Player), and won the Conn Smythe Trophy (Playoff MVP). This is an amazing list of records, especially when comparing Malkin’s 6 years of experience to a more veteran hockey player like Pavel Datsyuk (10 years) who only has four Lady Byng Trophies (given to the player with the most sportsmanship and gentlemanlike conduct), three Selke Trophy (best defensive forward), and two Stanley Cup victories.

Some might argue that Crosby artificially inflates Malkin’s numbers. To that I point out that in the 11’-12’ season, where Crosby was dealing with concussion issues and only played in 22 games, Malkin had 109 points on 75 games. Malkin’s abilities keep Pittsburg as a powerhouse team with or without Crosby. For that reason, he is the number 1 player in the NHL today.

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4 years ago
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