Top 11 Current NHL Players to Build a Team Around

Kevin GoffContributor IAugust 1, 2012

Top 11 Current NHL Players to Build a Team Around

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    Building a franchise is an incredibly difficult process that has several different steps that go along with it. 

    The first step is easily the most important part: You have to find a player to build your franchise around.

    So, if you were going to start a franchise today, which of today's NHL players would you want to start with?

Jonathan Quick

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    It's not often a franchise is built around a goalie, which might be the only reason that Jonathan Quick falls this low on the list.

    Quick is arguably the best goalie in the NHL today, with Henrik Lundqvist being the only other goalie that could have claim to that title, and is still very young.

    He's got years of fantastic play left and an acrobatic way of keeping his team in every game that he is playing.

    A franchise can't ask for anything more than that.

Erik Karlsson

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    One of the biggest things a team needs from its franchise player is the ability to electrify and energize its roster at any given moment.

    Erik Karlsson certainly has this capability.

    His defense is underrated, but he is certainly supposed to concentrate on his offense more, and that is why he is far down on this list.

    He makes a huge impact on his team, but the best franchise players are all-around players.

Henrik Lundqvist

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    Henrik Lundqvist has the title of the best goalie in the game right now, arguably just over Jonathan Quick, and is another guy that any team would want to start its franchise.

    As far as consistency and ease of movement, there isn't anybody better than Lundqvist. He has no wasted movement and is always in great position.

    His consistency is just fantastic and would give any team confidence in front of him.

Ilya Kovalchuk

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    Ilya Kovalchuk is one of the most elite talents in the NHL right now. His blazing speed and laser shot make him a threat to score any time that he is on the ice.

    His commitment in the defensive zone is sometimes a bit suspect, but he is still a strong leader on his team.

    Any team would be happy to take the 70-plus points he is likely to give as a place to start building around.

Henrik Sedin

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    Henrik Sedin takes a lot of flack for being a bit of a diver, and rightfully so, but Sedin also gets a lot of praise for his creativity and skill.

    Sedin creates things out of absolutely nothing on a daily basis, and his league MVP award is a testament to his ability.

    Something that he usually doesn't receive enough credit for is his leadership. He is the guy that his team looks to for leadership, which earned him the captain's C.

Rick Nash

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    Rick Nash wasn't able to help lead the Columbus Blue Jackets to greatness, but he was the right player for the team to try to build around.

    He's got absolutely everything to make a franchise player and has the capability to dominate games.

    If he were to ever be surrounded by the right supporting cast, and he will be in New York, that team would immediately be a contender.

    Nash would be one of the first choices for any franchise's beginning.

Shea Weber

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    Shea Weber is a scary combination of size, skill, power, grace and intensity. He's absolutely everywhere on the ice, doing everything for his team.

    Need somebody to shut down the opponent's top scorer? Weber is your guy.

    Need somebody to provide a big hit and change the game's momentum? Weber is your guy.

    Need somebody to score a big goal and turn the tides? Just try and get in front of his frightening slap shot.

    Weber is definitely the first defenseman that I would pick if I were building a franchise.

Alexander Ovechkin

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    You want an electrifying player? Alexander Ovechkin is capable of electrifying anybody and everybody.

    Washington built its franchise around him and was very successful in putting other high-energy players in a position to help complement Ovechkin and lead the team to great success.

    It's hard to think too many players would be in front of Ovechkin, but the following three players are the cream of the crop.

Claude Giroux

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    Claude Giroux has exploded as one of the best central pieces of an NHL franchise, becoming the centerpiece of the Philadelphia Flyers.

    All of the skill is there, and one of the things that makes him a top franchise player is his intensity.

    Giroux is one of the most intense players out there, to a fault at times, but that intensity rubs off on a team. An organization that is starting out rarely has a player with the intensity to match his skill.

Evgeni Malkin

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    Evgeni Malkin is lightning in a bottle. His skill and killer instinct are what everybody wishes they had.

    Malkin is a lethal combination of playmaker and sniper, able to perform both roles with incredible efficiency.

    There's probably only one person that would be more desired than Malkin.

Sidney Crosby

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    This choice is likely to make much of the hockey world moan, but the fact remains that Sidney Crosby still is the world's best player.

    At this moment, there really isn't reason to believe that he has lost much after his battles with concussion symptoms.

    That same intensity that exists in Claude Giroux is alive and well in Crosby, as is his skill level.

    At this point, Crosby is still the man that any team would want to build its franchise around if given the first pick in a draft.