NHL Player Rankings: Final Report Cards for the Top 50 Players in the League

Matthew FairburnCorrespondent IMay 2, 2011

NHL Player Rankings: Final Report Cards for the Top 50 Players in the League

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 01:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals and Sidney Crosby #81 of the Pittsburgh Penguins are seen during the 2011 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic at Heinz Field on January 1, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Washington wo
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Youth has officially taken over.

    The 2010-2011 NHL season was proof of a changing of the guard. Ripe young talent has taken control of the upper echelon of the player ranks, while some aging veterans attempt to hang on for dear life.

    In an age where offense is king, forwards have also taken center stage, while the elite defensemen are an increasingly rare and valuable asset.

    For some of these players, 2010-2011 put them on the map. For others, this season brought them back to reality and slid them down the rankings in the eyes of the beholder.

    In a nearly impossible task, I have ranked the top 50 players in the NHL, and it's report card time for each and every one of them.

50. Alexander Semin, Washington Capitals

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 13:  Alexander Semin #28 of the Washington Capitals scores the game winning goal at 18:24 of overtime against the New York Rangers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Veriz
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 65 GP, 28 Goals, 26 Assists, 54 Points, plus-22

    Grade: B+ 

    There's no doubt that Alexander Semin benefits from playing with Alexander Ovechkin. However, Semin is no slouch on the wing for Ovy. 

    Semin missed some time this season but still managed to collect a very solid 54 points. Meanwhile, he had a plus/minus rating of plus-22 and a shooting percentage of 14.3 percent. Not to mention, four of Semin's 28 goals were game winners.

    If the Russian winger could have stayed healthy for the entire season, he may have earned an A, and be higher up this list. Unfortunately, that was not the case, and Semin is surrounded by too much talent to be any higher in the rankings.

49. Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - MARCH 29: Mikko Koivu #9 of the Minnesota Wild moves the puck up ice against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on March 29, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 71 GP, 17 Goals, 45 Assists, 62 Points

    Grade: B

    It was another impressive year for Wild captain Mikko Koivu. The Finnish center completed his third straight 60-plus point season. Koivu continues to be the catalyst offensively for a mediocre Minnesota club.

    If Koivu had a legitimate goal scorer by his side, the Wild would have a dangerous offense. Koivu is a very solid setup man with the ability to wheel around the offensive zone and create offense. Minnesota's franchise player has earned his keep in the NHL and is worthy of his spot on this list.

    Koivu could have earned an A by getting the Wild to the playoffs.

48. Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche

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    GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 01:  Matt Duchene #9 of the Colorado Avalanche skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on April 1, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Avalanche defeated the Coyotes 4-3 in an overtime shoo
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 80 GP, 27 Goals, 40 Assists, 67 Points

    Grade: A-

    It was a forgettable year for the Colorado Avalanche, who finished among the league's worst teams and will be drafting second in the upcoming NHL draft.

    However, the play of Matt Duchene is a definite bright spot. The 20-year-old center has over 50 points in each of his first two seasons in the league, including 67 this past season.

    What earns Duchene an A- is the leadership he displayed this season for the Avs. With Adam Foote retiring, Duchene could very well become the captain for Colorado within the next couple of seasons.

47. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators

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    NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 24:  Saku Koivu #11 and Cam Fowler #4 of the Anaheim Ducks celebrate a goal against Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgeston
    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 64 GP, 33 Wins, 23 Losses,  9 OTL, 2.12 GAA, .930 Save Percentage

    Grade: A

    Pekka Rinne came into his own this season for the Nashville Predators. The Preds' backstop has been nominated for the Vezina Trophy—and for good reason. He was in between the pipes for 64 games this season and is a big reason for Nashville's playoff run.

    Rinne certainly has the benefit of playing behind an elite defense and an even better system. However, there is no denying the work Rinne did holding the entire operation together. With a solid showing in the playoffs, Rinne could shoot up this list.

46. Ryan Suter, Nashville Predators

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    ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 15:  Ryan Suter #20 of the Nashville Predators looks on prior to the start of Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Anaheim Ducks during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 15, 2011 in Anah
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 70 GP, 4 Goals, 35 Assists, 39 Points, plus-20

    Grade: A-

    Ryan Suter further exemplified his dependability on the back end this season. Playing alongside Shea Weber in Barry Trotz's disciplined defensive system, Suter managed the best plus/minus rating of his young career. Pekka Rinne owes a tremendous deal of his success to the play of Suter.

    In addition, Suter has become a superb leader for Nashville. He is one of the most underrated defensemen in the NHL.

45. Dan Boyle, San Jose Sharks

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    GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 26:  Dan Boyle #22 of the San Jose Sharks warms up before the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on March 26, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Sharks defeated the Coyotes 4-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty I
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 76 GP, 9 Goals, 41 Assists, 50 Points

    Grade: B+

    Another solid season for San Jose's top defenseman, Dan Boyle. The Sharks' blue-liner collected another 50 points and has proven to be a crucial aspect of San Jose's core.

    Boyle logs tons of minutes for a defensively challenged team. He's the glue holding that defensive unit together and a big bart of San Jose's playoff run.

44. Brent Burns, Minnesota Wild

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    ST PAUL, MN - MARCH 22:  Brent Burns #8 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Xcel Energy Center on March 22, 2011 in St Paul, Minnesota.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 80 GP, 17 Goals, 29 Assists, 46 Points

    Grade: B

    Brent Burns is one of the most steady and dependable defensemen in the NHL. He played another 80 games for a mediocre Wild team and put up solid production.

    Burns will fare much better next season on with a new organization. He will be one of the more sought after commodities this offseason.

43. Patrick Marleau, San Jose Sharks

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    ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 06:  Patrick Marleau #12 of the San Jose Sharks skates against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on April 6, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 82 GP, 37 Goals, 36 Assists, 73 Points

    Grade: B+

    2010-2011 was another season of solid play and inflated statistics for Patrick Marleau. The Sharks' winger has had over 70 points in five out of his last six seasons. However, he undoubtedly benefits from the presence of Joe Thornton.

    That being said, Marleau has come into his own as a superstar in the NHL since being drafted second overall in 1997. The lack of postseason success is all that is keeping him from being higher on this list.

42. Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks

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    NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 20:  Teemu Selanne #8 of the Anaheim Ducks skates against Shane O'Brien #55 of the Nashville Predators in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on April 20, 20
    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 73 GP, 31 Goals, 49 Assists, 80 Points

    Grade: A

    At the ripe age of 40, Teemu Selanne was able to accumulate his seventh 80-point season for the Anaheim Ducks. One of the league's all-time greatest players was a driving force for Anaheim's run to the postseason. 

    This may be Selanne's last season cracking the top 50. One has to wonder how much this aging veteran has left in the tank. However, I would not have expected 80 points from him at age 40, so anything is possible.

41. Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes

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    WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29:  Goalie Cam Ward #30 of the Carolina Hurricanes against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on March 29, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 74 GP, 37 Wins, .923 Save Percentage, 2.56 GAA

    Grade: B-

    2010-2011 was not an outstanding season statistically for the former Stanley Cup-winning goaltender, but Cam Ward was once again steady between the pipes for the Canes.

    What stands out is the fact that Ward started 74 games, more than any goaltender in the NHL. His fundamentals are as sound as any goaltender out there, and he nearly carried Carolina into the playoffs. 

    Cam Ward will be a mainstay on this list for years to come.

40. Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals

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    WASHINGTON , DC - APRIL 23:  Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals looks on during a face off against of the New York Rangers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center on
    Len Redkoles/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 77 GP, 18 Goals, 47 Assists, 65 Points

    Grade: C+

    Nicklas Backstrom had a bit of a disappointing season by his standards. After putting up 101 points a season ago, Backstrom was only able to muster 65 points this season.

    Of course, the Capitals focused more on a defensive oriented game this past season, but Backstrom still failed to fill it up offensively like he's accustomed to.

    That being said, the Swedish winger has an incredible future in the NHL. He is one of the most dynamic young forwards in the league, and should return to 80 plus point form sooner rather than later.

39. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 26:  Braydon Coburn #5, Claude Giroux #28 and Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrate a first period goal against the Buffalo Sabres in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley C
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 82 GP, 25 Goals, 51 Assists, 76 Points

    Grade: A-

    The 2010 NHL Playoffs were a coming out party for Claude Giroux. The Canadian born center managed to parlay his success in the postseason into a breakout regular season. 

    Giroux is quickly becoming a leader on offense for the Flyers. He piled up 76 points and played every single game for Philadelphia.

    His mix of physical play and playmaking ability gives him the potential to shoot up this list in the coming seasons.

38. Bobby Ryan, Anaheim Ducks

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    ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 15:  Bobby Ryan #9 of the Anaheim Ducks skates against the Nashville Predators in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 15, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Pho
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 82 GP, 34 Goals, 37 Assists, 71 Points

    Grade: B+

    Bobby Ryan put up his third straight 50-plus point season and his second straight season playing over 80 games in a season.

    Ryan certainly benefits from playing alongside Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, but his talent is undeniable. He is a steady dependable winger with a dynamic offensive skill set. In addition, he is a powerful forward willing to grind it out in the corners. Ryan is a perfect fit with the Anaheim Ducks.

37. Mike Green, Washington Capitals

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    WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 12:  Mike Green #52 of the Washington Capitals handles the puck against Wayne Simmonds #17 of the Los Angeles Kings at the Verizon Center on February 12, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 49 GP, 8 Goals, 16 Assists, 24 Points

    Grade: C

    Battling through injuries, Mike Green had a relatively mediocre campaign statistically. After two straight 70-point seasons, Green put up just 24 for the Capitals this season.

    Granted, I did notice an improvement from Green in his own end. Once just a glorified left winger, Green has appeared to take his defensive responsibilities a bit more seriously. However, he still has a ways to go in that aspect of his game.

36. Ryan Kesler, Vancouver Canucks

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 26: Ryan Kesler #17 of the Vancouver Canucks tips the puck towards goalie Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks while being watched by Chris Campoli #14 of the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period in Game Seven of th
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 82 GP, 41 Goals, 32 Assists, 73 Points

    Grade: A-

    Ryan Kesler is one of the most valuable players on the Presidents Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks. He played over 80 games in five of the last six seasons for the Canucks. A terrific two-way forward, Kesler was also a plus-22 this season for Vancouver.

    With just four points thus far in the playoffs, and no goals, Kesler needs to step up his postseason play to be included in the top 30 of this list.

35. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks

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    CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 19: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks to pass against the Vancouver Canucks in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on April 19, 2011 in Chicago,
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 73 GP, 27 Goals, 46 Assists, 73 Points

    Grade: B+

    Patrick Kane has four straight seasons of 70-plus points for the Chicago Blackhawks. He plays an underrated two-way game at winger and is a terrific playmaker in the offensive zone.

    Unfortunately, Kane was not able to stay healthy for the entire season. The American-born winger missed nine games which caused him to put up 15 fewer points than a season ago.

    Kane needs to make that final jump in his game and become the type of player that can put up 80 points on a consistent basis.

34. Dany Heatley, San Jose Sharks

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 25: Dany Heatley #15 of the San Jose Sharks celebrates after a goal against the Los Angeles Kings in game six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Staples Center on April 25, 2011 in L
    Harry How/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 80 GP, 26 Goals, 38 Assists, 64 Points

    Grade: C+

    For a perennial All-Star like Dany Heatley, a 60-point season does not exactly constitute a quality season. 2010-2011 marked only the second time since his rookie season that Heatley played over 70 games and did not manage to accumulate over 80 points.

    For a player like Heatley, production is everything. Perhaps he can salvage his season by stepping up his game in the playoffs. Somehow, I doubt that thought. 

33. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 03:  Anze Kopitar #11 of the Los Angeles Kings skates the puck into the Phoenix Coyotes zone in the second period during the NHL game at Staples Center on March 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Kings defeated the Coyotes 1-0
    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 75 GP, 25 Goals, 48 Assists, 73 Points

    Grade: A-

    Anze Kopitar has truly come into his own as an elite player in the NHL. Kopitar was the most valuable player for the L.A. Kings, as evident by the fact that the Kings weren't able to escape the first round of the playoffs after Kopitar went down with injury.

    He has become the face of this Kings team and is the perfect piece for the Kings to build around. Los Angeles has plenty of talented prospects in their system that will soon surround Kopitar and make this team one of the best in the Western Conference. 

    Kopitar has not tapped into his full potential just yet.

32. Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 27:  Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins protects the net against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on April 2
    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 65 GP, 36 Wins, 20 Losses, 2.32 GAA, .918 Save Percentage

    Grade: A+

    Some may scoff at grading Marc-Andre Fleury's season as an A+, but Pittsburgh's goaltender was their most valuable player during this past season. 

    After Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin went down with injury, Fleury was forced to carry the Penguins and did so effectively, earning the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

    For a number of seasons, critics were quick to point out Fleury's flaws and say that he was not worthy of the No. 1 overall selection that Pittsburgh spent on him in 2003.

    However, after winning the Stanley Cup and proving that he can carry the team on his own, Fleury has established himself as one of the top goaltenders in the NHL and a crucial part of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

31. Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes

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    BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 15: Eric Staal #12 of the Carolina Hurricanes streches during warm ups prior to play against the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena on March 15, 2011 in Buffalo, New York. Carolina won 1-0.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 81 GP, 33 Goals, 43 Assists, 76 Points

    Grade: B

    Eric Staal steadily manages to compile 70-point seasons year in and year out. The Carolina captain piles up points despite not being surrounded by the elite talent as some of the league leaders.

    However, Staal and the Canes fell short of the playoffs this season, despite being in contention for the final spot throughout most of the season.

    Staal will have to prove he can return to the 100-point form he flashed back in 2005-2006 in order to climb these rankings.


30. Mike Richards, Philadelphia Flyers

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 22:  Mike Richards #18 of the Philadelphia Flyers controls the puck against the Buffalo Sabres in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 22, 2011 i
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 81 GP, 23 Goals, 43 Assists, 66 Points

    Grade: A-

    Mike Richards receives an A-, but this grade is subject to change based on Philadelphia's performance in the 2011 NHL Playoffs. Richards has done a tremendous job leading the Flyers this season. Despite his less-than-elite statistics, Richards's value cannot be measured by the stats alone.

    Not to mention the fact that the Flyers have so much fire power on offense, that the production is somewhat divvied up amongst the top six forwards.

    If Richards can carry the Flyers to another Stanley Cup berth, he will solidify an A in the grade book and take a leap up this list. 

29. Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings

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    SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 23:  Drew Doughty #8 of the Los Angeles Kings in action during their game against the San Jose Sharks in game five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on April 23, 2011 in Sa
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 76 GP, 11 Goals, 29 Assists, 40 Points

    Grade: B-

    After his breakout season a year ago, Drew Doughty came back down to earth in 2010-2011, declining in all major statistical categories.

    That being said, Doughty is still rock solid on the back end for the Kings. He had a shaky start to the season but managed to pick up his play late in the season—especially in the playoffs against the Sharks.

    Doughty clearly picked up his play once Kopitar went down, which is a terrific sign for the Kings moving forward.

28. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens

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    MONTREAL, CANADA - APRIL 26:  Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens tends his net in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Boston Bruins during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on April 26, 2011 in Montreal,
    Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 72 GP, 38 Wins, 28 Losses, 2.35 GAA, .923 Save Percentage

    Grade: B+

    After being written off a year ago due to the white hot play of Jaroslav Halak, Carey Price bounced back in a big way. Halak was traded during the offseason, clearing the way for Price to play in 72 games this season.

    However, Price once again failed to carry the Canadiens through the postseason. While he was brilliant in the first portion of the series, he was increasingly average as the games wore on.

    Price still hasn't reached his prime. He has fluid lateral movement and picture-perfect fundamentals. Occasionally, Price lacks a killer instinct. However, as he matures, the Canadien netminder should develop into one of the best in the NHL.  

27. Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks

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    SAN JOSE, CA - APRIL 23:  Joe Thornton #19 of the San Jose Sharks in action against the Los Angeles Kings in game five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at HP Pavilion on April 23, 2011 in San Jose, Californi
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 80 GP, 21 Goals, 49 Assists, 70 Points

    Grade: C-

    By Joe Thornton's standards, 2010-2011 was quite the off year. After five straight 86-plus point seasons, Thornton amassed just 70 points this year. Meanwhile, Jumbo Joe was just a plus-four for the season.  

    Sure, Thornton's Sharks managed to get to the postseason, but his playoff history does not instill much confidence. If Thornton brings home the Stanley Cup this season, he will move up the list significantly, and his grade will improve. However, to this point, Thornton is not having the year we have come to expect from him.

26. Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 15: Marian Gaborik #10 of the New York Rangers takes the shot against the Washington Capitals in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center on April 15, 2011 in Washin
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 62 GP, 22 Goals, 26 Assists, 48 Points

    Grade: C

    Marian Gaborik missed some time this season for the New York Rangers, causing his point totals to dip below 50. Gaborik has always been insanely talented but has struggled to stay healthy. This season was not much of a diversion from the norm.

    Gaborik is certainly one of the league's most talented players and showed signs of being dominant this year, but until he puts it all together, he'll be stuck in the mid-20s on this list.

25. Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks

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    NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 20:  Corey Perry #10 of the Anaheim Ducks fights Ryan Suter #20 of the Nashville Predators for a rebound in front of Predators goalie Pekka Rinne #35 in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cu
    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 82 GP, 50 Goals, 48 Assists, 98 Points

    Grade: A+

    2010-2011 was a breakout season for the Ducks' Corey Perry. Anaheim's winger led the NHL with 50 goals and was third in the league with 98 total points.

    Perry is just 26 years old and entering the prime of his career. Make sure to target this stud in the early portion of your fantasy hockey drafts next season.

24. Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets

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    GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 24:  Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on March 24, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Blue Jackets 3-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Gett
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 75 GP, 32 Goals, 34 Assists, 66 Points

    Grade B

    It was another solid year for Columbus's franchise player. Rick Nash piled up points and ate up ice time for the Jackets, while doing his best to earn Columbus a playoff berth.

    Nash might be the best power forward in the NHL, which limits his productivity, but certainly not his value. Playing anywhere else in the NHL, Nash would be a perennial MVP candidate.

    Unfortunately, the first overall draft choice in 2002 finds himself stuck in the wasteland of Columbus with very little talent around him. He's got plenty of hockey left, though. 


23. Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames

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    CALGARY, CANADA - APRIL 6:Jarome Iginla #12 of the Calgary Flames is congratulated by teammates Alex Tanguay #40 and Mark Giordano #5 on his hat trick goal against the Edmonton Oilers in third period NHL action on April 6, 2011 at the Scotiabank Saddledom
    Mike Ridewood/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 82 GP, 43 Goals, 43 Assists, 86 Points

    Grade: A

    After a slow start to the season, Jarome Iginla proved to the hockey world that he is still one of the league's best wingers. After managing just eight points in the first 15 games of the season, Iginla piled up 78 points during the last 67 games of the year.

    The Flames have made it known that Iginla will not be available this offseason, and Iggy is still in pursuit of the Stanley Cup with Calgary. We'll see how long he can keep up this incredible pace.

22. Ilya Kovalchuk, New Jersey Devils

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    NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 10: Ilya Kovalchuk #17 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Boston Bruins at the Prudential Center on April 10, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 81 GP, 31 Goals, 29 Assists, 60 Points

    Grade: D+

    Only Ilya Kovalchuk can have a 60-point season graded as a D+. However, given his outrageous contract, his minus-26 is not exactly what the Devils had in mind.

    Jeff Skinner, David Backes and Milan Lucic all scored the same amount of goals as Kovalchuk, give or take a few. No disrespect to any of those players, but the Russian superstar has to bring more to the table if New Jersey is going to turn things around this season.

21. Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 26:  Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres reacts during their game against the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on April 26,
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 66 GP, 34 Wins, 26 Losses, 2.59 GAA, .916 Save Percentage

    Grade: B-

    Ryan Miller had an up and down season, riddled with injuries and inconsistent play. He started the season off horribly but turned things around to post respectable numbers.

    America's goaltender fared well in the postseason, nearly carrying Buffalo to an upset over second-seeded Philadelphia.

    Unfortunately, Miller and the Sabres fell just shy, but it was still a solid season for Ryan Miller.

20. Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks

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    ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 15:  Ryan Getzlaf #15 of the Anaheim Ducks skates against the Nashville Predators in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 15, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 67 GP, 19 Goals, 57 Assists, 76 Points

    Grade: B+

    Despite playing in just 67 games due to injury, Ryan Getzlaf managed to collect 76 points for Anaheim.

    Getzlaf is a rare power forward at the center position, and he is one of the best in the NHL. The trio of Getzlaf, Ryan and Perry is the meanest line in the NHL. Meanwhile, they are all still young and just hitting the prime of their careers.

    The Anaheim Ducks and Ryan Getzlaf should enjoy plenty of postseason success by the time it's all said and done.

19. Zack Parise, New Jersey Devils

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    NEWARK, NJ - APRIL 02:  Zach Parise #9 of the New Jersey Devils skates during an NHL hockey game against the Montreal Canadians at the Prudential Center on April 2, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 13 GP, 3 Goals, 3 Assists, 6 Points

    Grade: Incomplete

    Zach Parise's presence in New Jersey's lineup was undoubtedly missed by everyone involved. Kovalchuk and Zajac were unable to reach their full potential without Parise accumulating his usual 80-plus points.

    Now, it appears Parise could be heading out of New Jersey, as the Devils have not made much progress in contract negotiations despite it being their top priority of the offseason.

    Parise would command a hefty deal in free agency but would be more than worth it considering he is just 27 years old. 

18. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    MONTREAL, CANADA - JANUARY 12:  Carey Price #31 and Hal Gill #75 of the Montreal Canadiens watch the puck hit the post on a shot by Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on January 12, 2011 in Montreal, Quebec
    Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 43 GP, 15 Goals, 22 Assists, 37 Points

    Grade: Incomplete

    Evgeni Malkin's season was off to a pedestrian start before a knee injury forced him to miss the entire second half of the season.

    The Penguins will eye the rehab of Malkin and Crosby closely this offseason, especially after Pittsburgh got unseated by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    If it wasn't already apparent, it has become painfully clear that the Penguins rely heavily on the services of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and without them, they aren't much of a team.

17. Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins

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    MONTREAL, CANADA - APRIL 26:  Zdeno Chara #33 of the Boston Bruins skates in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Boston Bruins during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bell Centre on April 26, 2011 in Montreal, Canada.  (Ph
    Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 81 GP, 14 Goals, 30 Assists, 44 Points, plus-33

    Grade: A

    Zdeno Chara put forth another dominant campaign this past year. His most impressive statistic is his plus-33 rating. "Big Z" also punished opponents with over 150 hits.

    Seventeen may seem a bit low for Chara, but he has yet to prove he can get it done during the playoffs and be a true leader for the Boston Bruins.

    As captain, a lot is expected of Chara, and until he delivers that leadership, he cannot be considered the league's best defenseman. 

16. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 26: Keith Ballard #4 of the Vancouver Canucks and Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks battle for the loose puck during the first period in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cu
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 80 GP, 32 Goals, 44 Assists, 76 Points

    Grade: B+

    With all of the offensive talent the Blackhawks lost in the offseason, the pressure was on Jonathan Toews to pick up the slack on the offensive end for Chicago.

    Unfortunately, Toews managed just eight more points than last season and scored just one single goal in the postseason series against the Canucks.

    Jonathan Toews is still a young kid and hasn't even scratched the surface of what he will accomplish in the NHL. Give him a few more quality seasons, and Toews will crack the top 10 of this list.

15. Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks

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    CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 19: Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks shoots the puck against the Vancouver Canucks in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on April 19, 2011 in Chicago
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 7 Goals, 38 Assists, 45 Points, minus-1

    Grade: B+

    2011 was not quite the same for Duncan Keith and the Chicago Blackhawks. However, despite coming down to earth, Keith and the Blackhawks still played quite well and showed promise for the future.

    Keith once again had over 40 points during the regular season and followed it up by leading the Blackhawks in playoff goals.

    Chicago may have lost leadership and depth to free agency, but new leaders are emerging on the roster. Duncan Keith is one of those leaders.

14. Chris Pronger, Philadelphia Flyers

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 30: Chris Pronger #20 of the Philadelphia Flyers argues a call with referee Dan O'Rourke #9 in Game One against the Boston Bruins  of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Ce
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 50 GP, 4 Goals, 21 Assists, 25 Points

    Grade: To Be Determined

    Normally a reliable and durable defenseman, Chris Pronger spent nearly half of the season out of the lineup for the Flyers.

    Despite missing 30-plus games, Pronger displayed his value to the team. The power play struggled mightily without his service, and even though Philly has a deep defensive core, it was not the same without his services.

    The reason Pronger's grade is to be determined is that he always saves his best for the postseason. He is starting to return to form, and we'll see just how much he has left in the tank.

13. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 28: Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a pad save against the Nashville Predators during the third period in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 28,
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 60 GP, 38 Wins, 15 Losses, 2.11 GAA, .928 Save Percentage

    Grade: A+

    For a goaltender who catches so much flak, Roberto Luongo sure does receive a lot of Vezina nominations doesn't he?

    Luongo is one of, if not the best goaltender in the entire world, yet he gets criticized far more than any other. Sure, he has not had the most prolific postseason career, but Luongo is starting to develop that part of his game. In the mean time, Luongo continues to dominate the postseason.

    A Stanley Cup ring would get the monkey off of Luongo's back in addition to making him the world's best goalie.

12. Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    TAMPA, FL - APRIL 20: Martin St. Louis #26 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the St. Pete Times Forum on April 20,
    Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 82 GP, 31 Goals, 68 Assists, 99 Points

    Grade: A+

    Martin St. Louis has been defying the odds and silencing his critics since he entered the NHL back in the late 1990s. At just 5'9'', St. Louis was considered to small by most scouts which caused him to go undrafted.

    However, size has not been an issue, as St. Louis has missed just two games in the last eight season, while reaching at least 60 points in each of those years.

    At 35 years of age, St. Louis still has it. Tampa's winger collected the second-most points in the league with 99. He has aided the development and production of superstar Steven Stamkos and been an intricate aspect of the Lighting's success. 

11. Brad Richards, Dallas Stars

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 02:  Brad Richards #91 of the Dallas Stars skates against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on April 2, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 72 GP, 28 Goals, 49 Assists, 77 Points

    Grade: B+

    Brad Richards was off to another terrific start before a concussion sidelined him for 10 games. Richards was not the same after the injury, as he took a couple of weeks to get back up to speed. By the time he hit stride again, the Stars had slipped in the standings.

    Durability has always been an issue with Richards. Dallas's playmaking center hasn't played all 82 games in a season since being traded to the Stars.

    Re-signing Richards has become priority one for Dallas this offseason (after finding an owner of course), and they desperately need to make it happen.

10. Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings

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    DETROIT, MI - MARCH 30:  Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings skates with the puck along side Nikita Nikitin #64 of the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis Arena on March 30, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 80 GP, 24 Goals, 56 Assists, 80 Points

    Grade: A-

    Believe it or not, there was a time when Henrik Zetterberg was in the discussion as the best player in the NHL. Of course, the influx of young talent such as Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin has caused him to slide down the list a bit.

    However, the former seventh-round draft choice is still one of the league's elite forwards. as evident by the fact that he once again finished in the top 10 in scoring with 80 points.

    The Swedish goal scorer has a Stanley Cup ring and a Conn Smythe Trophy to his name as well.

9. Shea Weber, Nashville Predators

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    NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 20:  Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators dumps the puck in past Toni Lydman #32 of the Anaheim Ducks in Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on April 20,
    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 82 GP, 16 Goals, 32 Assists, 48 Points

    Grade: A+

    Shea Weber has been absolutely phenomenal on the back end for a disciplined Nashville Predators team. He continually shut down opposing scorers and is able to make significant contributions in the offensive zone.

    Already, Weber has made his mark on the postseason as well. The shutdown defender has netted three goals and five points total, in addition to logging serious ice time.

    Between the Preds' brilliant system, the top pairing of Suter and Weber, and Rinne's play between the pipes, they are the best defensive team in hockey and a legitimate threat to take home the Stanley Cup in June. 

8. Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 26: Daniel Sedin #22 of the Vancouver Canucks jumps out of the way as goalie Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks makes a pad save during the second period in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 82 GP, 41 Goals, 63 Assists, 104 Points

    Grade: A+

    Everything went well for the Vancouver Canucks this season. They entered the year as Stanley Cup contenders and went on to win the Presidents Trophy while rostering the top scorer in the league.

    Daniel, not Henrik Sedin led the entire NHL in points with 104. In addition to his outstanding point totals, Daniel was able to complete his third straight season with a plus/minus rating of over 20.

    Unfortunately, Daniel's incredible regular season will render itself useless if the Canucks do not make a deep postseason run. He has seven points this postseason, three of which came in one game against the Blackhawks, and he has not registered a single point against the Preds in two games thus far.

    Granted, Nashville is a superb defensive team, but Sedin needs to continue his dominant ways if the Nucks are going to win the Cup.

7. Henrik Lundvist, New York Rangers

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    NEW YORK - DECEMBER 09:  Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers is named the second star of the game after his 1-0 overtime shutout of the New Jersey Devils on December 9, 2007 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 68 GP, 36 Wins, 27 Losses, 2.28 GAA, .923 Save Percentage, 11 Shutouts 

    Grade: A-

    Henrik Lundvist has established himself as the world's best goaltender. Despite playing on a less than average team, Lundvist always manages to keep the Rangers in every single game. In addition, New York is always in the playoff hunt due at large to King Henrik's services.

    2010-2011 was no different for Lundqvist and the Rangers, as the Swedish backstopped New York to the playoffs with a league leading 11 shutouts.

    Until the Rangers surround him with more talent, however, Lundvist will struggle to bring home his first Stanley Cup ring. 

6. Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

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    VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 28: Henrik Sedin #33 of the Vancouver Canucks skates with the puck during Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Nashville Predators during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 28, 2011 at Rogers Arena in
    Rich Lam/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 82 GP, 19 Goals, 75 Assists, 94 Points

    Grade: A

    In what has come to be expected of him, Henrik Sedin led the Canucks to the league's best record this season with his 94 points and terrific two-way play.

    Much like his twin brother Daniel, his season will be defined on Vancouver's ability to make a deep postseason run.

    Henrik has just five points this postseason and will have to crack the code of Weber and Suter in order to continue to lead the Canucks to the promised land.

5. Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings

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    GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 18:  Nicklas Lidstrom #5 of the Detroit Red Wings skates with the puck in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Phoenix Coyotes during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on April 18, 2011 in
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 82 GP, 16 Goals, 46 Assists, 62 Points

    Grade: A

    For those who think Nicklas Lidstrom is finished, think again. Lidstrom is still the best all-around defenseman in the world, even at the age of 41.

    Detroit's captain finished the season with 62 points, his highest total since '07-'08. However, his influence cannot be felt on the stats alone. The Swedish blueliner still provides quality play on both ends of the ice and is a tremendous leader for Detroit.

    He once again finds himself in the playoffs and would love to cap off his career with one final Stanley Cup trophy.

4. Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings

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    GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 18:  Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings skates with the puck in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Phoenix Coyotes during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Jobing.com Arena on April 18, 2011 in G
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 56 GP, 23 Goals, 36 Assists, 59 Points

    Grade: B

    Unfortunately for Pavel Datsyuk and the Detroit Red Wings, the stud winger had his season abbreviated by injuries this past year. The alternate captain was on a better than a point-a-game pace before falling victim to the injury bug.

    However, unlike other stars who went down this season, Datsyuk has a chance to make it all right in the postseason.

    Datsyuk is simply one of the most gifted playmakers in all of hockey. His hands are the best in the league, and he has a sixth sense when it comes to creating magic in the offensive zone.

    The Wings will lean on a healthy Datsyuk during the grind of the 2011 NHL Playoffs.

3. Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning

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    WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 29:  Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning  shoots the puck against the Washington Capitals during Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinal during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at the Verizon Center on April 29, 2011 i
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 82 GP, 45 Goals, 46 Assists, 91 Points

    Grade: A+

    Steven Stamkos has entered the discussion as the league's most dynamic offensive player. The 21-year-old center has already completed two 90-plus point seasons in his young career.

    His astonishingly quick release and outstanding skating ability are rare, to say the very least. Stamkos has the ability to take over a game from start to finish and simply dominate.

    The 2011 NHL Playoffs are Stamkos's first taste of the postseason. He has been quite average thus far, but the youngster is still adjusting to the speed of playoff hockey.

    As he continues to progress, he will further entrench himself as one of the three best players in the NHL.

2. Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

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    WASHINGTON , DC - APRIL 23:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals skates the puck across the blue line against the New York Rangers in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center
    Len Redkoles/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 79 GP, 32 Goals, 53 Assists, 88 Points

    Grade: B-

    Say what you want about Ovechkin focusing more on his defensive game, but the Washington captain did not put up the numbers we are accustomed to seeing from him in 2010-2011.

    Granted his plus/minus (plus-24) was excellent, but his defensive improvement was not substantial enough to warrant that large of a drop off in his offensive production. Eighty-eight points is nothing to be ashamed of, but Ovechkin has set different standards for himself based on his ridiculous production recently.

    Ovechkin cannot be considered the best player in the league if his two-way game isn't near what Crosby's is, and he does not put up the mind boggling offensive numbers.

    Of course, a Stanley Cup certainly would not hurt his case. 

1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 05:  Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates during warmups prior to taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning on January 5, 2011 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    2010-2011 Stats: 41 GP, 32 Goals, 34 Assists, 66 Points

    Grade: Incomplete

    Ah yes, the greatest debate in hockey. Crosby or Ovechkin? For me, there is no debate. Crosby wins in a landslide, for a couple of reasons.

    For starters, as a center, Crosby has the more complete game. He takes on more defensive responsibility and is more effective with his responsibilities than Ovechkin is.

    Secondly, his offensive production is not far behind Ovechkin's. Crosby was on a staggering pace before suffering a concussion at midseason. If he could have completed the season, he would have put to rest any discussion as to who the league's best player is. 

    In addition, Crosby has both a gold medal and a Stanley Cup, while Ovechkin struggles mightily on the big stage. Ovechkin has a chance to change all of that in the 2011 NHL Playoffs.  

    For now though, there is not one area of the game of hockey in which Alexander Ovechkin can claim a significant victory.