When he is healthy Sidney Crosby is clearly the top player in the NHL. After that there is a number of players fighting to be included in the top 10. Today we play draft, resign, cut with Marian Hossa, Pavel Datsyuk, and Alexander Ovechkin.
We would draft Marian Hossa, resign Pavel Datsyuk, and cut Alexander Ovechkin.
Marian Hossa has the distinction of being the only current player in the NHL to play in three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals with three different teams. He was always known as the guy who couldn’t get it done in the playoffs but finally he broke through and won with the Chicago Blackhawks in 09′. Hossa, when healthy, can light up the scoreboard. This is evident by the 92 and 100 point seasons that he had with Atlanta. So far this year he is fifth in the NHL in points (40) and first among right wingers in plus minus (+22). Regardless of what you think of Hossa he has to get some credit for being on three different teams that all went to the Stanley Cup finals. Most players will kill just to get to one (we are looking at you Ovie). He has been dinged up from time to time and that worries us a bit but it’s his ability to win which we are sold on. That’s why we’ll draft him and take a few good years of points and playoff success.
If you are not a hard core hockey fan Pavel Datsyuk is probably the best player that you don’t know of. He has some of the most amazing shootout goals you’ll ever see and his stick handling is legendary. Combine that with a Selke Trophy in 07′ for being the best defensive forward, his ability to make others better (he’s currently sixth in the NHL in assists), and you’ve got yourself one of the best all around players in hockey. It also doesn’t hurt that he has two Stanley Cup’s to his name as well as three Lady Byng’s. His combination of scoring, defense, and winning is head and shoulders better than Hossa and Ovechkin. That’s why we’ll glady resign Datsyuk and bask in the jaw dropping goals and yearly shot at the Stanley Cup Finals.
In case you are wondering, no I’m not an uninformed hockey fan. I have the Center Ice Package (that alone should give me some credibility since there are so few people out there that have it). Sure Alexander Ovechkin has some of the best highlights that you’ll ever see. Sure he has a Calder (best first year player), Art Ross (leads the league in scoring), Hart (MVP), and Rocket Richard (most goals) trophies. But what he doesn’t have is a single Stanley Cup finals appearance none the less appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals. Numerous times the Washington Capitals have been the number one seed in the East and each time they have failed to do much in the playoffs. The one time supposed best player in the game has to get some heat for this. Yes hockey is a team game but the best players find a way to win. Simply put, Ovechkin isn’t a winner when it matters (see also the Olympics). If scoring goals was the name of the game then he’d be near or at the top of our list. Combining all of this with the recent decline in production (he is currently tied for 68th in points with 25) and we are going to have to cut him.
Special thanks to Red Wings fan Lisa Hernandez for suggesting today’s players. Any chick with a Red Wings tattoo is more than OK in my book!