Overlooking a Star

Posted by curve in Columns,Editorials,Pittsburgh Penguins,Washington Capitals on March 13, 2009 — No Comments

The NHL hypes Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin to no end.  That is fine with me, but when will everyone start acknowledging that they may be the 2nd and 3rd best players in the NHL?  I’m not saying they are, but I’m saying that is certainly up for debate.

Forget all the hype and talk you consistently hear and look at the straight numbers.

Let’s take a look at the last season’s numbers for an example:

Alexander Ovechkin: 65 goals, 47 assists for 112 points.  Total points-per-game: 1.36

Sidney Crosby: 24 goals, 48 assists for 72 points.  Total points-per-game: 1.35

Evgeni Malkin: 47 goals, 59 assists for 106 points.  Total points-per-game: 1.29

Now here are the stats from this season:

Alexander Ovechkin: 48 goals, 39 assists for 87 points.  Total points-per-game: 1.31.

Sidney Crosby:. 26 goals, 60 assists for 86 points.  Total points-per-game: 1.34.

Evgeni Malkin:  30 goals, 67 assists for 97 points.  Total points-per-game: 1.40.

To me, Evgeni Malkin is the clear MVP of the NHL this season.  He has played on a team that played a substantial portion of its season without its two best offensive defensemen (Ryan Whitney and Sergei Gonchar), a team that made a coaching change, and has missed Sidney Crosby for a few games.  Never mind the fact that he plays with less talent around him than the dominating Ovechkin.  With all that’s been going on with the Penguins this season, Malkin has been the steadying presence that the team can rely on to play every single game and lead the way. 

Now, I know I am not telling Penguins fans anything new here; they are aware just how valuable Malkin is to the team and the NHL.  However, I feel other NHL fans need to realize that while Ovechkin and Crosby may get the most hype, and may be the most exciting, the best player in the NHL is arguably Evgeni Malkin.

Instead of being the third player mentioned in any Ovechkin/Crosby/Malkin argument, a very strong argument can be made that he should be the first.