Beyond Crosby and Ovechkin: The Next 10 Most Exciting NHL Players
Almost every single hockey fan agrees Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin are probably the top two most exciting players to watch in the NHL.
They do it all. They score highlight goal after highlight goal. They play with extreme passion night in and night out. They are special players, and you know it as soon as you see them hit the ice.
But that doesn't mean that is all the NHL has to offer. Even if it seems like they are all you ever hear or have heard about in the NHL (it seems that way sometimes), it's not even close to what the league has to offer.
So, let's go beyond these two.
Here are 10 great candidates that are well worth your money on any given night in the NHL.
Tim Connolly (Buffalo Sabres)
What makes him exciting: The way he dangles the puck through defenders, his risk taking, and how dominant he looks on the ice.
If you can catch Tim Connolly when he is not on the injured reserve, take in the opportunity and go watch him play, because he is very well worth it.
Tim is big and skilled, and this allows him to control the game. He is almost never in the shadow of an offensive play when on the ice, therefore giving the viewers many opportunities to see him work his magic.
Phil Kessel (Boston Bruins)
What makes him exciting: His explosive speed, quick dekes, and unpredictability when choosing to take shots.
Kessel is one of those players that gets you out of your seat when he is coming down the wing or center of the ice with the puck, because he is so fast and explosive. He is similar in a way to Denis Savard of the past with how he dekes out defenders at high speeds.
Alexander Semin (Washington Capitals)
What makes him exciting: He is eye candy with how smooth and slippery he is when controlling the puck, and he also has great goal-scoring instincts.
Semin portrays the classic style of Russian—slick, fast and easy. His skill set is so high and defined that he often makes scoring opportunities happen in the most impossible looking situations.
Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks)
What makes him exciting: He's a rare breed of size, supreme skill, and all types of dangles.
Ryan is one of the more interesting hockey players to watch in the NHL. He is the complete package (size, skill, etc.), but he displays arguably the best puck handling and dangling skills in the NHL.
Not only is Ryan fun to watch when he is making defenders look stupid when he digs the puck out of the corner so easily then makes a crisp pass across ice, but he also likes to toss his big frame around on the other end of the ice as well.
Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)
What makes him exciting: He has incredibly fast feet and stick moves. He is so small, yet so dominant in all offensive areas of the game.
Patrick Kane possesses all of the new style types of hockey tricks. He is so smart with how he plays that this allowed him to jump right into the NHL at age 18, 170 pounds, and soaking wet, and put up nearly a point per game two years ago.
Kane can score as well as he dishes the puck, and this young 20-year-old has barely nipped the edge of the iceberg on his potential.
Ales Hemsky (Edmonton Oilers)
What makes him exciting: He can stickhandle his way out of of a phone booth. He is also really fast and sneaky with the puck.
Ales Hemsky is often my favorite player to watch in the NHL. Every time he touches the puck, you have to keep your eye on him, or else you might miss what incredible move he will pull off next. He often never duplicates the same moves, either, which is really impressive.
Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings)
What makes him exciting: He is the best stickhandler and one of the smoothest skaters in the NHL, as he often makes defenders and even goalies look lost.
You only have to watch Pavel Datsyuk once to know he is a gifted hockey player. Once you see him pull off one of his patented stick-handling moves on the power play, or one of his dekes in the shootout, you will fall in love with him. I don't know any hockey fans that don't love Datsyuk.
Marian Gaborik (New York Rangers)
What makes him exciting: His acceleration and speed is second to none. He also has some of the best goal-scoring ability in the NHL.
I can watch Marian skate up and down a rink all day long, as he is one of the fastest skaters I have ever seen. He could be regarded as a top three player in the NHL if he could stay healthy.
Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins)
What makes him exciting: He has the passing ability of Sidney Crosby and goal-scoring ability of Alexander Ovechkin. You do the math.
Evgeni Malkin is, in my opinion, the most dominant hockey player in the NHL. I love the way he bullies around defenders when shielding the puck.
Like Wayne Gretzky, he sees plays before they happen, and he has some of the best offensive instincts you will ever see. He's a real treat to watch.
Ilya Kovalchuk (Atlanta Thrashers)
What makes him exciting: His skating, his incredibly hard and accurate shot, and how easily he dominates the game.
If Kovalchuk played with the same all-out passion that Alexander Ovechkin plays with, we all may be calling him the best player in the NHL. He is beyond talented, and in my opinion, the most exciting player to watch in the NHL next to Ovechkin.
Five Honorable Mentions
Martin St. Louis