The NHL's Top 10
I did this last year, and I thought I'd do it again. It's near the end of the season/playoffs, so maybe we might adjust it a little bit later on, but probobly not a huge amount.
Last year (July/August 2003 approx.), The Hockey News came out with it's NHL Yearbook, full of analysis, prognosis, and predictions. In it, THN writes up it's yearly top 50 players in hockey. For the sake of keeping things a little simpler right now (maybe tackle the top 50 well into the off-season), I thought I'd limit it to Top 10 for now.
Here was The Hockey News' top 10 players going into the 2003 season:
1. Peter Forsberg, C, Col
2. Nicklas Lidstrom, D, Det
3. Joe Thornton, C, Bos
4. Markus Naslund, LW, Van
5. Martin Brodeur, G, NJ
6. Mario Lemieux, C, Pit
7. Mike Modano, C, Dal
8. Dominik Hasek, G, Det
9. Joe Sakic, C, Col
10. Sergei Fedorov, C, Ana
To THN's credit, it's very difficult to predict things from a year to year basis, but those 10 guys aren't terrible picks (though there's a few I wouldn't have had on mine). In retrospect, of course, it looks a lot worse.
Now, your endevour is to pick your top 10. Please note a few things before picking your top 10:
1. Salary is not a factor
2. Age is not a factor - in terms that if a player is better now, then he would be given preference. For instance, those willing to put Rick Nash over a guy like Nicklas Lidstrom ought to have their heads examined!
3. We're looking for top 10 going into next season - not top 10 after this season. Who will be the best players next season? That's the question to ask.
Good luck on your picks. If you like, put a bit of reasoning behind your rankings. No doubt this is the kind of thread that gets bumped in mid-season to show how stupid you might have been at the time, so pick wisely or face the reprecussions!
1. Ilya Kovalchuk- Raw talent-wise, one of the best in the league and willing to play physical when required. Can't see any reason why he won't continue to improve.
2. Joe Thornton- After a sub par playoffs performance, the heat is on to rebound with a significantly better regular season.
3. Marian Hossa- Skilled and strong, entering the prime years of his career.
4. Nicklas Lidstrom- Had a smaller share of the offensive duties this year on the Detroit blueline but I expect that to change agains next year.
5. Markus Naslund- Until put off course by an injury, was on pace for 104 points. Wasn't the same after it.
6. Zdeno Chara- Quickly establishing himself as one of the best, if not THE best deffensive dmen in the league.
7. Alex Tanguay- Has proven this year he doesn't need Forsberg to carry him with a breakthrough season. With Kariya, Selanne, and Forsberg possibly leaving the Avalanche next season, he'll face additional responsibilities.
8. Roberto Luongo- With a maturing team, he may just take them to the playoffs
9. Bryan McCabe- Has strengthened his all around game and was one of the best deffensemen in the league this season. Playing with Leetch full time next year will benefit his numbers.
10. Scott Niedermayer- With the future of Stevens in the air, Niedermayer is now the number one deffenseman in New Jersey, and will be an essential part of the continued success of their system.
Very very tough but here's what i'm thinking(I think Forsbreg will play in Nhl)
^I disagree, so I'll leave Forsberg off my list.
1. Nicklas Lidstrom
An off year, but Lidstrom is to good to have another poor offensive outing like this again. The best player in the league on the best team in the league.
2. Markus Naslund
No player combines playmaking, durability, and goal scoring in this league at the level Naslund does. With Todd Bertuzzi coming back, Naslund may be the favorite for the Art Ross trophy.
3. Martin Brodeur
How many guys in the world can have a 'so-so' year and be up for the Vezina trophy? Brodeur is going to come into 2004-05 like a house on fire.. whenever the season starts at least, especially with the defense coming back healthy again.
4. Joe Sakic
It does not look like Forsberg will be back (which by the way is the reason he is not on my list), so this means Sakic will be given the reigns to the Avs. One of the most consistant guys in the league - Sakic will once again threaten for the Art Ross.
5. Chris Pronger
A great campaign for Chris and he's now in the prime of his career. There's no reason to suggest he can't be up for another Norris next season.
6. Marian Hossa
Hossa was Ottawa's best player in the 2003-04 playoffs, and by all rights he had a dissapointing season by his standards, going way down from the 45 goals he had in '02-'03. He'll be well in the top 10 in points next year.
7. Zigmund Palffy
Perhaps the most underrated player in the league, Palffy has been on the cusp of having a head-turning season twice now, but has faced either linemates being injured, a decimated team around him, or injury himself. Sooner or later he's going to have the season that Kings fans are hoping for. I'm picking 2004-05 for Palffy.
8. Jarome Iginla
Commanding playoffs, Rocket Richard winner (along with Nash & Kovalchuk), and he's turning into a veteran player.. and a captain. He'll do it again too.
9. Mike Modano
Before this past season, Modano was touted as the most consistant player in the league. Uhh.. whoops. Still, the Stars went through a change and the C weighed heavy on Modano's shoulders. It can go one of two ways now - back up to the penthouse, or remain in the outhouse. But Modano is too good not to bounce back.
10. Jean-Sebastion Giguere
A terrible season no doubt... but Giguere is so good, I don't think he can be kept down for two seasons straight. A new season for Giguere & the Ducks could mean a big-time turnaround for the Ducks. He's capable of being the best goaltender in the league for a long period of time.
1. Iggy - He grinds, he fights, he holds rocket richards... he's the best.
2. Mario - If he stays healthy, he wins the art ross.
3. Brodeur - Bad year and he gets a Vezina nominee. Already been said, he's a great player.
4. Forsberg - He'll likely be injured, so he's 4th. When he can play, he sure can play. Almost to Mario's level.
5. Robert Lang - I don't know how he does it, but he looked like he was going to grab the Art Ross before he got injured. One hell of a player.
6. Joe Thornton - Has tremendous skills, just needs to use them
7. Marty St. Louis - Proved he's a great player this year, and he has no reason to slow down. All around, he's the complete package.
8. Patrick Elias - Found the perfect line, and was a contender for the Richard on the defense first NJ Devils. Plays great defensively, even on the pk. Most underrated guy in the NHL.
9. Scott Niedermayer - (yeah, I'm Devils bias) - Has proven he is the best defenseman in hockey, and will win the Norris. Next year, the Devils defense will be more solid allowing Niedermayer more freedom to do what he does best.
10. Chris Pronger - The complete package. Physical, offensive, defensive, and a leader.
Once again Sundin doesn't get any respect. One of the best clutch players in the game.
By the way, this is incredibly hard.
1. Dany Heatley(Art Ross next season)
2. Jarome Iginla
3. Roberto Luongo
4. Ilya Kovalvchuk
5. Markus Naslund
6. Nicklas Lidstrom
7. Joe Sakic
8. Scott Niedermayer
9. Robert Lang
10. Mats Sundin
Todd Bertuzzi(He can dominate when he wants to , if he did it more often he would be number 1 tied with Forsberg)
Joe Sakic *most heart of all of them , along with Scott Neidermyer*
1. Ilya Kovalchuk
2. Peter Forsberg
3. Markus Naslund
4. Niklas Lidstrom
5. Jarome Iginla
6. Joe Sakic
7. Dany Heatley
9. Chris Pronger
10. Martin St. Louis
This was tougher than I thought. I didn't include goalies because I hate comparing them to skaters.
Dark Horse: B. Jackman
Dark Horse: Weekes
7. St. Louis
Dark Horse: Zetterberg
Roloson gets really no press for a goalie, he'll be the dark horse...And Gaborik should come back with avengence...With him and Wallin really lightning it up at the end of the year, should be fun to watch.
No love for Turco around here I see :dunno:
Best Goalies next yeaR:
2. Roloson (best goalie this year who played a moderate amount of games)
1. Rick Nash
3. Brad Tapper
4. Bobby Holik
5. Steve Rucchin
6. Tie Domi
7. Paul Laus
This is the top 10... what?
Belfour(if he doesn't retire)
people who keep complaining about other peoples lists, make your own list then.
this would be mine:
1. Martin St. Louis
2. Jarome Iginla
3. Joe Sakic
4. Nicklas Lidstrom
5. Markus Naslund
6. Ilya Kovalchuck
7. Roberto Luongo
8. Joe Thornton
9. Todd Bertuzzi
10.Martin Brodeur(he's on a downfall IMO)
Ok time for the unbiased version:
1. Jarome Iginla
2. Peter Forsberg (assuming he plays)
3. Marian Hossa
4. Martin St.Louis
5. Joe Thornton
6. Ilya Kovalchuk
7. Marcus Naslund
8. Zdeno Chara
9. Scott Niedermayer
10. Robert Lang
11. Patrick Marleau (assuming Forsberg doesn't play)
Looking at my list I realised I forgot Forsberg :shakehead This is so hard, I have no idea who to take out. I'm pretty confident in my top 5, but it's all guesswork after that.
That is so hard to do, if I were to do it again tomorow it would probably be different. The top five were fairly easy for me but after that it gets tough.
1. Peter Forsberg- If he plays no one is more dominant and no one is better. After an injury riddled season we can all hope he is healthy for most of 2004-2005 so we can see someone get above 100 points.
2. Dany Heatley- He is the only other player capable of breaking 100 points next season IMO. He has size, a goal scorers touch, and is an amazing playmaker. With Kovalchuk lighting the lamp and getting 40+ goals Heatley should be a lock for 60+ assists.
3. Ilya Kovalchuk- Should get at least 40+ goals next season but im betting with Heatley he will be the only player in the league who breaks the 50 goal mark.
4. Chris Pronger- He played good this season and should be even better next. His wrist should be even better and he will be looking to lead the Blues into the post-season again.
5. Zdeno Chara- You never think a player so bulky and big would be such a great hockey player. Amazing play offensively and defensively should get him the runner up for the Norris.
6. Marian Hossa- Should come back and score 40+ goals with the new coach in Ottawa. Most likely he will use the offensively talented players a little better than Martin did and Hossa will get to play with the very young and talented Jason Spezza.
7. Evgeni Nabakov- I have a feeling that his post-season success is going to bring this guy into his own and he will win the Vezina.
8. Vinny Lecavalier- I think he will rise above Martin St. Louis and be the leader of the Lightning for next season. He has amazing talent and I believe we are just starting to see it. I predict he will finish top 5 in scoring for next year.
9. Niklas Lidstrom- He will regain some form but not be as completely dominant with all the competition he has now behind his own blue line. Hatcher, Schneider, and Fischer will fight for his minutes.
10. Markus Naslund- I believe this depends on Bertuzzi's status regarding the 2004-2005 season. Without him he will score 35+ goals and will probably get around 90 points again but he might be able to break 100 if Bertuzzi plays.
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