Four writers at NHL.com recently ranked the top 14 players at different positions, and — as you would expect from the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners — the Boston Bruins had a few players on these lists.
B’s captain Zdeno Chara was ranked No. 3 among all defensemen behind Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber at No. 2 and Los Angeles Kings superstar Drew Doughty in the top spot.
It’s hard to argue with these D-men rankings. Doughty doesn’t have the regular-season stats of some others on the list, but he’s the premier two-way player at his position and performs at an incredibly high level in the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Kings wouldn’t have won Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014 without Doughty’s brilliance.
One interesting part of the defensemen rankings was reigning Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith finishing fourth. The Chicago Blackhawks veteran is a phenomenal two-way player, but his Norris win last season was borderline laughable. He’s not even the best defenseman on his own team and doesn’t face the toughest competition. Doughty, Chara and Weber all play against the opponents’ top forwards.
The center rankings offered a few surprises. Patrice Bergeron ranked No. 6 overall, which is a little too low for the two-time Selke Trophy winner. Jonathan Toews should be No. 1 based on his solid offensive production, Selke-caliber defense, special teams success and fantastic playoff performances, but he was ranked No. 2 by three of the four writers. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was No. 1 on all four rankings. That’s not surprising, but if you started a team tomorrow, would anyone really take Crosby over Toews? The Blackhawks captain has won at every level and outperformed Crosby at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics with Team Canada.
The left wing rankings went as you’d expect. Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn is No. 1, which absolutely is the correct choice. He would be a megastar in a Canadian market and has formed an amazing duo with Tyler Seguin on Dallas’ top line. Bruins veteran Milan Lucic barely made the list at No. 14, while teammate Brad Marchand received two votes.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin topped the right wing rankings, which is a questionable selection. The three-time Hart Trophy winner is one of the most talented offensive players in the league, but his playoff failures and suspect defense shouldn’t place him ahead of Anaheim Ducks veteran Corey Perry or Blackhawks phenom Patrick Kane. A case could be made for Kane as one of the top five players in the entire league.
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