The Hockey News recently came out with their top 50 list. Curiously, Henrik Lundqvist didn’t make the top 20. Here is a screen shot.
A screen shot of THN’s top 20 which omitted Henrik Lundqvist.
Two goalies made the cut. Carey Price is ranked number one after his dominant ’14-15 season in which he swept the Hart and Vezina. He beat out Jonathan Toews, who moved up to number two ahead of Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. A second Blackhawk is fifth with Conn Smythe winner Duncan Keith rounding it out. Islanders star center John Tavares is sixth. Here’s the rest:
These lists are always subjective. It’s hard to believe they stuck Pekka Rinne at 15 over Lundqvist. Granted, Rinne had a bounce back year after coming back from injury. Nothing against the Nashville goaltender. He’s superb. I just don’t buy putting him ahead of Lundqvist whose credentials include a Vezina along with carrying the Rangers to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. Since entering the league, he’s won 30-or-more in nine of 10 seasons.
Interestingly, Lundqvist has never reached 40 wins in a single season. Rinne has done it twice including the past season recording 41 victories with the Predators. There’s no doubt he’s a terrific goalie and one of the best puck stoppers. Very athletic, he’s fun to watch. Rinne boasts two of the best defensemen in front of him in Shea Weber and Roman Josi. Offensively, the Preds scored 20 fewer goals than the Rangers. They didn’t have a 30 goalscorer with rookie Filip Forsberg pacing them with 26. He should reach 30 and become a star. James Neal disappointed with 23 markers in a inconsistent season after coming over from the Pens. Craig Smith and Colin Wilson both cracked 20.
Rick Nash led the Blueshirts with 42 goals. Double the total of Chris Kreider and now retired Martin St. Louis. The Rangers boast one elite defenseman in captain Ryan McDonagh who has been skating after recovering from a broken foot. It’ll be interesting to see where McDonagh ranks in THN’s list when it’s finally released. With the retirement of St. Louis and the trade of Carl Hagelin (17 goals), they’ll look to Kreider, Kevin Hayes and J.T. Miller to fill the void.
Speaking of Lundqvist, he wasn’t the only omission from the top 20. Pens star center Evgeni Malkin didn’t make the cut either. I don’t have any issue with it due to Malkin’s inconsistency. Partially due to injuries, he missed 13 games but totaled 70 points (28-42-70). A tremendous talent, the lanky 29-year old Russian is a former Hart winner who has topped 100 points three times. He also won the Conn Smythe in 2009. Injuries have cost him a lot of time. No one knows how healthy he was during the Pens’ first round loss to the Rangers. Malkin didn’t record a point in five games. That probably was the underlying factor in him dropping in THN’s list. Honestly, if he comes back with a big season Malkin will silence critics.
Lundqvist ranked just outside the top 20. I don’t think he cares. One thing about King Henrik. He’s unflappable. It’ll be business as usual when camp hits in mid-September. With less than a month to go, let the countdown begin!