The Hockey News Releases “Top 50 Players List”, Several Capitals Included

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins
Photo: Washington Capitals

Every year, The Hockey News magazine releases a list of the Top 50 players in the NHL. 2017’s list was just released, and some of the rankings may surprise or irritate Capitals fans. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, goaltender Braden Holtby, and centers Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov are the Capitals included on the list. 

Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers is ranked at No. 1, with Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby ranked second. Rounding out the Top 10 are Erik Karlsson (Ottawa), Patrick Kane (Chicago), Carey Price (Montreal), Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus), Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh), Auston Matthews (Toronto), Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay), and Brent Burns (San Jose). The complete list:

The highest-ranked Capital is Holtby, who is ranked 13th overall. This is surprising in some ways, as Holtby was the 2016 winner of the Vezina Trophy (Best Goalie) and finished runner-up to Bobrovsky this past season. Price won the Vezina and Hart Trophy (MVP) in 2015, but has played just 74 games the past two seasons due to injury, whereas Holtby has played 129 games and has won 90 games. While both Price and Bobrovsky are two of the best goaltenders in the NHL, many (not just Capitals fans) would argue that Holtby belongs in the Top 10.

Backstrom is three spots lower than Holtby at No. 16. Despite having been one of the league’s best playmakers in his career, Backstrom has only been voted to the NHL All-Star Game once and has yet to be mentioned among the league’s best defensive forwards, despite strong praise from both his head coach and teammates and being voted as the NHL’s Most Underrated Player by his peers two seasons ago. While Matthews is talented and one of the best upcoming young stars, he has played just one season in the league, hardly enough of a sample size to rank at eighth overall.

Despite his down season last year, Ovechkin was still an effective player last year for the Capitals and showed flashes of his usual self. He is ranked at 36th overall, ahead of Kuznetsov, who is all the way down at No. 44. Ovechkin is ranked below players such as Ryan Getzlaf, Jack Eichel, and Blake Wheeler, while ranked ahead of players such as Max Pacioretty, Steven Stamkos, and Artemi Panarin. Kuznetsov, as mentioned above, is 44th overall and for a player of his talent and skill level, it’s puzzling. He is ranked below players such as Ovechkin, Leon Draisaitl, Matt Murray (a goalie), and Joe Pavelski, but above players such as Roman Josi, Stamkos, Claude Giroux, and Kris Letang.

No matter how one looks at it, this list is sure to generate some discussion. What do you think Caps fans? Which players are too low? Too high? Let us know your thoughts!

By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first and only Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp)
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7 Responses to The Hockey News Releases “Top 50 Players List”, Several Capitals Included

  1. Jon Sorensen says:

    This should be pasted in Ovi’s locker.

    Like

  2. I agree. Shattenkirk was a waste of a trade of a first-round pick and then some. And the fact that there are four Pittsburgh Penguins on there (including their overrated goalie) is also ridiculously laughable.

    Like

  3. Carole Cook says:

    Yet another example of the Capitals bias that exists in the hockey world.

    Like

  4. Brenna Neal says:

    Joke, joke, joke. Let me repeat, joke. Who are the obviously biased clowns that created this joke of a list? Must be Milbury, McGuire and the idiot in the clown’s suit on “Coaches Corner.”

    Like

  5. Not sure if I agree with Shattenkirk above Ovi.

    Like

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ov at 36 what a joke

    Like

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