N.Y., N.J. well-represented on Hockey News' list of top 50 players
by Jesse Connolly/Web Editor
The Hockey News has unleashed its annual yearbook, previewing the 2012-13 campaign. Included in the issue is the magazine’s ranking of the top 50 players in the NHL today.
Nine members of teams in New York and New Jersey made the list.
• Henrik Lundqvist ranked second among goaltenders behind L.A.’s Jonathan Quick (fifth) and placed 10th overall. Of the Vezina Trophy winner, Ken Campbell said, “The absence of a lights-out Stanley Cup run is the only thing keeping Lundqvist from moving into the top five on this list.”
• Blueshirts newcomer Rick Nash came in at No. 20. Nash comes to New York from Columbus, where he notched 30-plus goals in each of the last five seasons.
• Rangers captain Ryan Callahan (Rochester, N.Y.) came in 34th and was praised for embodying the “hard-working, self-sacrificing” style the Rangers have come to be known by.
• Blueshirts blueliner Ryan McDonagh placed two spots behind Callahan at 36th. In his second NHL season in 2011-12, the 6-foot-1 rearguard had 7-25-32 totals and was plus-25 in 82 games.
• High-scoring forward Ilya Kovalchuk was the top-ranked Devil, placing 16th after his 83-point campaign. “Nobody in the league scored more big goals – including shootout winners – than Kovalchuk,” Campbell wrote.
• Rounding out the list was future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur at 50th. The league’s all-time leader in wins turned back the clock this spring with a spectacular postseason run, backstopping New Jersey to the Stanley Cup finals.
• Jason Pominville was the top-ranked Sabre, coming in at 31st. Campbell wrote that Buffalo’s captain is “one of the league’s most improved players,” and commended Pominville for his durability (82 games played in five of the last six seasons).
• Thomas Vanek ranked 40th on the list. Coming off a year that saw him score 26 goals, his lowest total since his rookie season in 2005-06 (26 goals), Campbell wrote that “Vanek hasn’t been a point-a-game guy” in five seasons now.
• Star forward John Tavares placed 19th on the list as the sole representative of the Isles. Following an 81-point season, Campbell wrote that Tavares’ “ability around the net suggest he has more to give offensively.”
Here are a few other noteworthy players that made the list:
• Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y.), the captain of the Stanley Cup champion Kings, placed 28th on the list.
• Chicago’s Patrick Kane ranked 47th. The Buffalo, N.Y., native had a career-low 66 points in 2011-12.
• Former Devils captain Zach Parise came in at No. 7 on the list.
• Philly’s Claude Giroux placed fourth, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was third, Tampa’s Steven Stamkos was second and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin topped the list.