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Ovechkin won another Rocket Richard Trophy last season.
C LW RW
Evgeni Malkin Alex Ovechkin Marian Hossa
Pavel Datsyuk Ilya Kovalchuk Marian Gaborik
Henrik Sedin Daniel Sedin Daniel Alfredsson
Anze Kopitar Henrik Zetterberg Jakub Voracek
There is plenty of European-born talent to fill in four forward lines for this mythical team.
Pavel Datsyuk's strong all-around skills easily earned him a spot at center. LA's Anze Kopitar has good size and hockey sense while also possessing strong offensive skills. Henrik Sedin is one of the better playmaking centers in the game and he shines on the power play. Evgeni Malkin is a former league scoring leader and MVP although he had an off year last season. Still, Malkin remains one of the top talents in the game.
Other contenders at center include two of the most underrated players in the game, Mikko Koivu and Frans Nielsen. Koivu adds leadership and is a very good setup man, but isn't in the same class offensively as the four players selected for the club. Nielsen would add excellent penalty killing skills and strong defensive play, but it would be impossible to remove any of the four centers on this list to insert Nielsen. Nicklas Backstrom is one of the game's premier setup men and narrowly missed making the final cut. Henrik Sedin's slightly better play in his own zone was the difference.
Alex Ovechkin bounced back from a poor start to the season and ended up winning the Rocket Richard Trophy. He is the most dangerous goal scorer in the game today. Ilya Kovalchuk bolted New Jersey for the KHL, but he would still be on the European team based on his goal scoring ability. He even learned to play better defense while in New Jersey even if he's still not outstanding in his own zone. Daniel Sedin gives the Europeans three strong snipers at left wing while Henrik Zetterberg plays a more well-rounded game and adds valuable experience and leadership to the lineup.
Thomas Vanek and Jiri Tlusty came close to earning spots on this team, but Zetterberg's leadership and the overall goal-scoring ability of the other three left wings kept them on the outside looking in.
At right wing, the duo of Marian Hossa and Marian Gaborik gives the European squad two quick-skating players who can score goals when they're healthy. Daniel Alfredsson adds leadership after wearing the "C" in Ottawa for more than a decade and he can still put the puck in the net. Jakub Voracek finally took his game to another level in Philadelphia last season and earned the final RW spot on the list.
Players who came close include veterans like Teemu Selanne and Jaromir Jagr, who would have easily made it a few years earlier, Alexander Radulov who missed out because of his poor defense and off-ice issues and the speedy Michael Grabner who needs to be more consistent at finishing to make the cut.