Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Alexander Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos and Jonathan Toews are a handful of those NHL players who have graduated from “rising stars” and should still, amazingly enough, have better years ahead of them.
When they are in action and at their best, those players rightly garner the bulk of the spotlight. But they need not cast too vast a shadow on those who are at other points in their careers.
Sandwiching that class on one side is a cluster of rookies and sophomores who likewise have a decisive majority of their best years still to come. On the other side is a more mature group of established elites who are still far from the autumn of their career, though unlikely to reach any greater heights at this point.
Then there is an even less populous group of players who have been through all three of the stages described above. In that time, they have compiled Hall of Fame-caliber transcripts and, as they near retirement, are still letting their passion flicker in spite of their advanced athletic age.
Based on their performances in recent years and in the first three quarters of the compressed 2013 season, here are the NHL’s 10 best rising, 10 best peaking and five best aging players.
Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics and player information for this report were found via nhl.com and are through games of Monday, April 8.