NHL's Top 50: Sidney Crosby (No. 3)
FanHouse's Adam Gretz takes a look at his top 50 players in the NHL. No. 3 is Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby.
We've now reached the top three, which means we've reached the point where things should start to really take off.
Some of you haven't been too happy with my rankings to this point -- or the players that haven't been included -- and I imagine the top three, regardless of the order, will be no different. And that's fine. I've enjoyed the feedback, positive and negative, and the discussions it generated, and because of that, in some areas, some of my opinions have been swayed (we'll get to that on Thursday).
As I've said from the very beginning, rankings like these are always going to be up for debate and, for the most part, very subjective. It is, after all, just one man's opinion.
When I started this project over a month ago, I went through every roster in the NHL and picked who I thought were each team's 10 best players, and from there, started picking with this question in mind: if I were building a team to win the Stanley Cup in 2009-10, who would I pick first? I started making my picks, and Sidney Crosby went No. 3.
Since he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2005, Crosby has been the "face of the NHL," and the player its PR machine has marketed above all others. He's an amazing player, and still has his best hockey in front of him (just like the two guys I have ahead of him). However, I've been arguing for the past two years that he might not even be the best player on his own team, let alone the best player in the league. Following the 2006-07 season, I think you could have made a rather convincing argument for him, but in the years since, I think Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin have not only caught him, but also passed him. Ovechkin is clearly the better goal-scorer, as is Malkin, who I also think is the better defensive player and has become his equal when it comes to distributing the puck.
He's the type of talent that doesn't come along very often, and hockey fans have been blessed that he's going to be playing in an era where two equally freakish talents entered the league at the exact same time.
As for his list of accomplishments through the first four years of his career ...
-- Youngest player to record 100 points in a single season (18)
-- Youngest player to win the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer (19)
-- Youngest captain to win the Stanley Cup (21)
-- Won the Hart Trophy and Lester B. Pearson award during the 2006-07 season
And for your obligatory YouTube video...