Do you think Alex Ovechkin is the best player in the world? Think Nicklas Backstrom is underrated? Then boy are you going to hate TSN's Top 50 Players list.
Not surprisingly, Sidney Crosby ranks atop the list for the sixth-consecutive season. How far behind is the Great 8? He ranks at No. 5 behind Jonathan Toews, Carey Price and John Tavares. Teammate Nicklas Backstrom is No. 22 overall and the 10th center.
One pleasant surprise comes in at No. 49 where Braden Holtby cracks the list for the first time in his NHL career. Holtby had a phenomenal season last year that has caused NHL experts to take note. Holtby's place on the list makes him a top five goalie in the NHL, ahead of other notable goalies such as Tuukka Rask, Cory Schneider and Marc-Andre Fleury who did not make the list.
Six teams did not have a player make the Top 50 and two of those teams, Carolina and New Jersey, are Metropolitan Division foes. Connor McDavid comes in at No. 37 despite not playing in a single NHL game yet in his career.
Lists like these are made for the sole purpose of generating debate/outrage so let's look at the three Caps to make the list.
First, the three Caps with the best argument to make the list made it. You could perhaps argue for John Carlson and it would be interesting to see just how close he was to cracking the top 50, but his exclusion does not seem egregious. Holtby seems about right. Backstrom being 10th among all centers and I may put him above a player like Anze Kopitar, but the nature of center position makes it difficult for a player like Backstrom to move up. The most skilled players in the world typically become centers.
The list gets the top six players right (the top five listed above plus Steven Stamkos at No. 6), but I would quibble with the order. Ovechkin and Tavares met in the playoffs last season and I didn't see anything to suggest that Tavares deserves to be ahead of Ovechkin. Winning a playoff series should not be the determining factor, but I would have Ovechkin had the better season and postseason and I would rank him ahead of Tavares. Given the season Price had last year, I would keep him at No. 3 and Ovechkin at No. 4.
Many will look at Toews at No. 2 with some skepticism and statistically, it's fair to question if he deserves to be that high. If you think about what Toews provides in the postseason, however, he is more than deserving of the No. 2 spot.
Ask yourself this, if you had to win one game, what one player would you want on your team? For me, I would take Toews over anyone else in the NHL.
My top five then would be the same as TSN's, but with Ovechkin ahead of Tavares.
Who's in your top five?