Ranking the NHL's Top 25 Players on Statistics Alone
The NHL season to date has been very impressive and exciting, with moments like the Chicago Blackhawks streak taking a great deal of attention. But who are the NHL's top 25 players based on statistics alone?
It is hard to rank forwards, defenseman and goaltenders equally, so the rankings will be broken down by type. The league's top 10 forwards, top 10 defensemen and top five goaltenders will be ranked.
The rankings don't take into account what players have done in the past or what they are capable of, so it will be an assessment of how players are doing right now.
5. Antti Niemi
Thus far Antti Niemi has had an amazing season for the San Jose Sharks. Niemi has played like an elite goaltender. There's a reason why he is in the top five for all major goaltending categories.
If he keeps this up there is a good chance the Sharks can have some playoff success.
4. Henrik Lundqvist
Henrik Lundqvist had a tough start to the regular season. But he has bounced back in a big way for the New York Rangers. Lundqvist is fifth in the league with 11 wins, he has a 2.24 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage thus far.
This places him ninth in the league for G.A.A. and seventh for save percentage for goaltenders that have appeared in at least 10 games.
As of late he has really bounced back with a 4-1-0 record in his last five starts.
He has been one of the league's best of late, and he will need to keep it up in order for the Rangers to be successful.
3. Tuukka Rask
Tuukka Rask has come up big for the Boston Bruins this season as their starting goaltender, and Tim Thomas has become a distant memory to most fans.
Rask is a very solid goaltender and he ranks among the league leaders in major goaltending categories.
2. Corey Crawford
Corey Crawford has rebounded in a huge way for the Chicago Blackhawks after having a terrible postseason.
Crawford would have more wins if he hadn't been sidelined with an injury, but he is back and he will look to help the Blackhawks start another amazing win streak.
1. Carey Price
Carey Price has been the league's top goaltender thus far, as well as the league's winningest goaltender.
Price has been a huge cog for the Montreal Canadiens this season, and with his goaltending the Habs will look to make a run at the Eastern Conference title.
The season is half over, but the Canadiens and Price already are in playoff form.
10. Slava Voynov
Although Brian Campbell of the Florida Panthers has more points, as a defenseman being sound defensively is a primary job and Voynov has been a better defender. His plus/minus stat gives him an edge.
The Los Angeles Kings have not had a ton of success thus far in 2013, but Slava Voynov has been a bright spot for the defending Cup champs.
Voynov is one of the NHL's top scoring defenders, he has a solid plus/minus rating and he is playing important minutes for the Kings.
This is only the beginning for the young defender. His best hockey is still ahead of him.
9. Kimmo Timonen
Kimmo Timonen is an elder statesmen on defense for the Philadelphia Flyers, and he is still one of the NHL's premier offensive defenders.
Timonen is a skilled puck mover, he is great on the power play and he has been defensively sound for a team that gives up a lot of goals.
8. Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a very talented offensive defenseman and one of the Phoenix Coyotes' top stars.
OEL is a speedy defender who can transition well from offense to defense, and he is rarely caught out of position. Whenever he is on the ice he is a threat to make a big play, and that is something that gives the 'Yotes a huge edge.
7. Paul Martin
Paul Martin was a player that was being pegged as a potential buyout candidate based on his down play from last year, but he has really turned it around in a huge way.
Martin has been an asset for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and he has played some very important minutes so far in 2013.
6. Alex Pietrangelo
Alex Pietrangelo is one of the St.Louis Blues' top defenders. He has made a lot of strides since entering the NHL.
Pietrangelo is slowly developing into one of the league's top offensive defenders in addition to providing sound coverage in his own zone.
5. Andrei Markov
Andrei Markov is another player who has had a bounce-back season, and the Montreal Canadiens are glad that he is playing healthy.
Markov has battled injuries over the past few years, but this year he is playing solid two-way hockey and he is producing offensively.
4. Niklas Kronwall
When Nicklas Lidstrom retired, and Brad Stuart left the Detroit Red Wings this summer, there was a cause for concern on the Wings' blue line. But Niklas Kronwall has stepped up his game in 2013.
Kronwall is still an intimidating and physical defender, but he has been a top offensive producer for the Wings and he is one of the league's top scoring defenseman.
3. P.K. Subban
P.K. Subban has had an impressive season to date for the Montreal Canadiens despite missing a few games after having a contract holdout.
He has been the Habs' best offensive defender. His future is very bright with the franchise.
2. Kevin Shattenkirk
Just when you thought the St. Louis Blues were lucky to have Alex Pietrangelo, you realize they are extremely lucky to have Kevin Shattenkirk.
Shattenkirk is the Blues' top scoring defender and he has provided top-end minutes for the Blues. With two top-end defenders in the lineup, the Blues are always a threat to be dangerous in the playoffs.
1. Kris Letang
Kristopher Letang, as Pierre McGuire would put it, has been huge for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He is really playing Norris Trophy-caliber hockey as the top scoring defender in the NHL.
Letang is also a plus-player and he is averaging top-end minutes. With Letang on the blue line the Penguins are always a threat to score.
10. Jakub Voracek
The Columbus Blue Jackets' front office is probably disappointed that Scott Howson dealt Jakub Voracek because of the success the young winger has had with Philadelphia so far this season.
Voracek has been the Flyers' best player during the season to date, and it appears that he learned a lot from Jaromir Jagr last season.
If Claude Giroux and Danny Briere can get their games going, the Flyers could be a tough team to play against during the second half.
9. Thomas Vanek
Thomas Vanek has had an amazing season for the Buffalo Sabres. It's a shame that the rest of the team has not played well, because his top-notch offensive efforts have gone to waste.
Vanek has been a dual threat as a scorer and playmaker. If the Sabres can get their act together, the team can turn it around and make a run for the playoffs.
8. John Tavares
John Tavares is a budding elite superstar in the making. This year, he is getting some real attention as a leading scorer.
Tavares has been taking control of the game while on the ice, and he is scoring well above a point per game.
He is going to be a future face of the league, and it is impressive to see him breaking out in a huge way.
7. Eric Staal
Eric Staal has been a dominant force for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2013, and it is really an impressive sight.
Staal has shown in the past that he is an elite player as a former 100-point scorer and Stanley Cup champion, but this year Staal is really in the zone.
With Staal's amazing play, there is a good chance the Hurricanes are headed back to the playoffs.
6. Patrick Kane
Patrick Kane has been a dynamic offensive threat for the Chicago Blackhawks this season. He is a huge reason why the team had an impressive points streak to start the season.
Kane had been on a downtick the past few seasons, but this season he has been on the top of his game as one of the league's top scorers.
5. Ryan Getzlaf
Ryan Getzlaf is a very happy man these days as one of the league's top scorers, and as one of the league's richest men after his contract extension kicks in next season.
Getzlaf has been a dynamic playmaker for the Anaheim Ducks. He is a huge reason why the team is leading their division.
4. Martin St. Louis
At age 37, Martin St. Louis remains one of the NHL's most dominant playmakers. St. Louis is elusive and dynamic with the puck, and he is always willing to set up his buddy Steven Stamkos when possible.
Outside of his offense, St. Louis is still a sound two-way player. He must have the same elixir of youth that keeps Teemu Selanne going.
3. Chris Kunitz
Statistically Chris Kunitz has been one of the league's top scoring wingers in 2013. Kunitz is playing with Sidney Crosby, but he has been more assertive and willing to shoot.
In the past it has been easy to put the puck back onto Crosby's stick. But this year Kunitz is firing away in addition to being a playmaker.
2. Steven Stamkos
Steven Stamkos is the league's top goal scorer. He is off to an amazing pace thus far despite the truncated season.
Stamkos is on pace to score close to 40 goals and 70 points, which would be an impressive feat for most players in a 82-game season, let alone a 48-game tilt.
1. Sidney Crosby
Sidney Crosby has been on fire for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2013. He is looking like the player he was before the concussion he suffered in the Winter Classic.
Crosby is one of the NHL's most dynamic players who can beat you with his shot and hands when making a pass, and he really has a knack for making players around him better.