We all witnessed the NHL’s “Top 100” list from earlier in the season. The glaring omission from the list was Penguins star forward Evgeni Malkin. Many analysts and fans said that it was a travesty for Malkin to not be considered a top 100 player of all time.
Despite being much more skilled than Blackhawks forward Johnathon Toews and now as many Cups as him, Toews was selected into the top 100 over Malkin. I’ll stop there and let you digest that.
Let me let you in on a secret. Not only is Evgeni Malkin a top 100 player of all time in the National Hockey League, but I’d venture as far as to say that Malkin is back in the conversation of being a top five player in the world right now.
Many people weren’t too keen on this notion about a year ago. How could you not be anymore?
Malkin just won his third Stanley Cup as a player in the league. He already won one Conn Smythe award and, truthfully, should’ve beat out Sidney Crosby for this season’s. Malkin isn’t bothered by it, however. He just wants to win.
Malkin does win and when he does win, he’s usually a big reason why his team wins.
Put this in perspective: Malkin is 14th in all time points per game. That’s all time. Not this season. Not amongst active players. 14th ALL TIME.
Amongst active players? He’s second. Behind his teammate, the one and only Crosby.
Only one active player has more Cups than Malkin and that’s former teammate Chris Kunitz (4), who was also around for all three Cups the Penguins have won in the Crosby-Malkin era.
Remember the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009 against the Carolina Hurricanes? I remember when Evgeni Malkin dominated that series to the point where Carolina was embarrassed to have even showed up. But remember, some bogus group of writers say that Malkin isn’t a top 100 player.
The list was compiled early on in the season so it’s understandable that they were unaware that Malkin would become a three-time Stanley Cup champion. If they had to redo the list now, he’d be top 100 and I don’t think they could even mistake it this time around.
But, the main point of this article was not to plead his case for top 100 all-time. It was to talk about how Malkin’s name should be again thrown into the conversation of top five player in the league today.
There have been times where Malkin fell out of that conversation. I’ve been hard on him at times. But, that comes with the territory of being an elite player. It doesn’t help playing second fiddle to Crosby your entire career.
My top five changes about every few months based on dominant performances and “elite” players showing they might still have it.
If I had to rate my top five…
- Sidney Crosby
- Connor McDavid
- Erik Karlsson
- Patrick Kane
- Evgeni Malkin
That’s my list. Last season, Malkin was top 10. McDavid wasn’t so high up. Neither was Karlsson. The argument could’ve been made that Kane was potentially going to take Crosby’s spot at the top.
Now? Crosby reasserted himself as a clear number one. McDavid is the future of the league. Karlsson literally dragged his team to the Eastern Conference Finals. Kane’s team was swept out of the playoffs after entering as the West’s number one seed.
He lead the playoffs in scoring. He was runner up to Crosby in Conn Smythe voting. He won his third Stanley Cup.
On July 31, Malkin will turn 31. He’s probably one of the most accomplished players ever by that age. And his prime years have brought him two Cups already. Him and Crosby both will be gunning to threepeat.
While the thought of threepeating seems ridiculous, the Penguins have two of the top five players in the league. I’m not quite sure if any team has two players in the top 10. One of those guys is a Russian who is driven by winning.
When Geno puts his mind to something, he does it. Mr. Number 101 is now soaking in the glory of being a three-time Cup champion. We know what Geno has done and it’s clear to see that he’s a top five player in this league to date.