Ranking teams and players is a practice that is as old as the water coolers and bar rooms that are indigenous to said discussions or arguments. The common measuring tool to rank players is the number of championship rings that each player possesses. Is it fair to determine the level of a player’s greatness based on the performance of his team as a whole?
Henri Richard has 11 Stanley Cup rings, the most won by any individual player. Does this make him the greatest player ever? Mario Lemieux and Bobby Orr were only fortunate enough to lift the Stanley Cup twice, but both men are mentioned among the best ever.
Great players make everyone around them better, or so the saying goes. Defense also wins championships, and a bird in the hand is apparently worth two in the bush—whatever that means. The point is that individual talent is measured by eyeballs and numbers.
Depending on which numbers you use, the argument can be made in any direction.
More than goals and assists measure the best players, though those two categories certainly figure prominently in the status of ranking players. The grind of an 82-game season will always separate the most talented from an extended hot streak.
The improbable run of the Los Angeles Kings put the spotlight on some previously unheralded talent. The non-traditional hockey market of Southern California is laden with top shelf talent from the net to the blue line to the wings.
There are obviously some familiar faces in this lineup, and where they fall will certainly draw the ire of more than a few hockey aficionados. There are players looking to rebound from a disappointing 2011-12, and some who are looking to build on a breakout year.
So pull up your bar stool or fill your paper cup—make your case for the top 50 NHL players of 2012-13, and I'll give you mine.