The Rum Howler Top 10 NHL Forwards
Like everyone one else who watches hockey, I have my opinions on who the great players of the game really are. The guys who make a difference in the outcome of important games. Just for fun I thought I would post my listing of the ten best NHL Forwards as we enter the 2013-14 Hockey Season. For added fun I counted them down from Number 10 to number 1. And no, Sidney Crosby is not the best forward in the NHL; he did not even make the top 5.
Hate my list if you want, or submit your own list with your reasons for your choices.
Number 10) Henrik Sedin – Vancouver Canucks
Henrik is perhaps one of the best pure passers in the game. But he is also surprisingly rugged, winning battles in the corners and playing strong on the puck. His brother Daniel was supposed to be the better of the two twins, but it certainly has not worked out that way.
Number 9) Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
Everybody says Sidney is the best player in the world. If you could guarantee me his health; add 2 inches of height, and 20 pounds of muscle, I would agree. But when an undersized center plays with the heart and determination of Sidney Crosby, going to all of the tough areas on the ice; unfortunately, his lack of size becomes a factor. I love watching Crosby play, I just hope he makes it through the season.
Number 8) Stephen Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning
Stephen Stamkos is the best pure goal scorer in the game today. And that alone places him on the list of Top 10 Forwards. Unfortunately, scoring seems to be all Stephen does. His plus/minus statistics are below average meaning that all that goal scoring is offset by his defensive shortcomings. The scoreboard proves my point as Tampa struggles to stay in the win column.
Number 7) Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
It is easy to dismiss Kane as a one trick goal scorer with no defensive element to his game. But that would be just plain wrong. His plus/minus although not stellar is on the positive side of zero which means that five on five he holds his own, and there is a little grit to his game that makes Patrick go to the tough areas and score the important goals. Last year’s Playoff MVP checks in above the more highly regarded Stamkos and Crosby.
Number 6) Pavel Datsuk Detroit Red Wings
Sidney Crosby should watch the way Datsuk plays the game. Although Pavel is remarkably strong on the puck with a tenacious attitude towards checking, he has an elusive quality about him which makes opponents miss their checks and keeps him safe from harm’s way. Datsuk is one of the top defensive forwards in the game, yet he is also a constant threat to score when he is on the ice.
Number 5) Anze Kopitar Los Angeles Kings
Kopitar is perhaps the most under-rated super star in the NHL. Anze has talent oozing out of every pore in his body. He also has the size to go up against the big defensemen winning many more battles than he loses. If Kopitar has a big year, then the LA Kings will have a big year. Anze leads by example and the rest of his team follows his lead.
Number 4) Alexandre Ovechkin Washington Capitols
I admit I wrote Ovechkin off when he started slow last year. However, he finished so strong that he was named to the NHL All Star team at two positions. (No, he wasn’t THAT good, NHL writers are just THAT stupid!) All by himself Ovechkin dragged his team into playoff contention! If Alex can play at the level he showed in the second half of last season, for much of this season he will push for the number 1 spot.
Number 3) Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins
Evgeni Malkin would be number one on this list except for his infuriating tendency to defer to Sidney Crosby whenever Sid is healthy. The true Malkin show begins when Crosby is hurt. That’s when Evgeni steps his game up and dominates. People forget that it was Malkin who won the Conn Smyth trophey, not Crosby. Sid was not even on the ice in the final game.
Number 2) Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks
Toews has won at every level he has ever played at. A strong two-way center who makes everyone around him better. Last year in the Stanley Cup Playoffs he struggled to score; but he still found a way to contribute everywhere else on the ice. I could easily have put Jonathan Toews at the top of this list as he is practically a clone of the player selected number one.
Number 1) Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins
This guy does it all. He is the best two-way center ice man in the game. He wins face-offs, he wins puck battles along the boards, and he can shut down the opposing team’s best center. He is, in short, a winner in every sense of the word. As I said, number one and number two could easily have been flipped, but the grit factor in Patrice’s game tipped the balance. He is just a little tougher and just a little grittier making him the best forward in the NHL.