Sat Jul 24 10:08am EDT
(Ed. Note: We're out and about on this Saturday. Some great stuff coming up later on PD, but for breaking stories please check out the Y! hockey news feed.)
Earlier this month, Adrian Dater of Versus.com penned a column that listed the top 10 goalies in the NHL today; a column which managed to tick off every fan base in the League for one reason or another. Especially if you happen to be a Cam Ward(notes) fan.
But seriously: Look at the names on Dater's list. Someone was bound to get snubbed with that assemblage of talent at the pivot in the NHL:
1. Sidney Crosby(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Pavel Datsyuk(notes), Detroit Red Wings
3. Henrik Sedin(notes), Vancouver Canucks
4. Jonathan Toews(notes), Chicago Blackhawks
5. Mike Richards(notes), Philadelphia Flyers
6. Evgeni Malkin(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins
7. Mikko Koivu(notes), Minnesota Wild
8. Joe Thornton(notes), San Jose Sharks
9. Nicklas Backstrom(notes), Washington Capitals
10. Ryan Getzlaf(notes), Anaheim Ducks
Crosby at No. 1? No-brainer. Best all-around center in hockey. Dater acknowledges that Staal, Steven Stamkos(notes) of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Anze Kopitar(notes) of the Los Angeles Kings and Paul Stastny(notes) of the Colorado Avalanche were also deserving of spots on the list.
Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher will tell you that Koivu is one of the top 10 centers in hockey, but he seems high at No. 7, if he even belongs on the list at all. You can also argue Toews and Sedin have both surpassed Datsyuk in the last year. Then there's Geno Malkin, who's a bit of a conundrum. He's arguably the most physically gifted player on this list, but Dater probably isn't alone in his evaluation of the Penguins star:
6. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh - There are times when, sorry, but I feel like I'm watching the hockey version of Drew Bledsoe or Adrian Dantley or some other marvelous talent who always left you a little disappointed somehow.
There's still this lingering feeling that Malkin is too much of a floater who doesn't get dirty enough. And yet, you can't deny the talent or the numbers. The guy won a Cup last year, and put up 36 points in 24 playoff games. By definition, that's a winning player. But he won only 40 percent of his faceoffs last year and was a minus-6. He had probably his first "bad" year of his career, and that's a relative term in this case. But do I still want him on my team, in the pivot? Yes and yes.
What do you think of Dater's list? In the comments, we'd love to read your top 10s; is Sid No. 1 on your leaderboard, too?