The NHL Network came out with their “Top 20 Centers” in the game right now. The focus in Pittsburgh is the top two. Edmonton’s Connor McDavid was given the top spot while Sidney Crosby was ranked second. Evgeni Malkin was ranked third, which most everyone in Pittsburgh wouldn’t have a problem with, but many are infuriated that the man who’s won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships on top of back-to-back Conn Smythe trophies is taking a back seat to a young superstar in Edmonton.
Man, this seems all too familiar.
Austin Ulm and myself are going to give you reasons why McDavid or Crosby should be ranked as the top center in the game. And really, both guys are amazing generational players. Any franchise would be lucky to have either one, but debates are fun, so here we go:
Why Crosby is Number One
It’s hard to argue that anyone has a more complete game in hockey right now than Sidney Crosby. He has all of the offensive skill in the world that you can compare to anyone else. He’s an elite scorer, his passing is precise, and his ability to protect the puck is unparalleled. The facets of his game that have improved over the years are his face-offs and play in the defensive zone.
There isn’t a part of his game that isn’t elite. His play elevates in big game situations. He’s a winner.
Yet, there’s one thing that Crosby haters hold onto as ammunition to aim at Crosby being the best.
“He’s a whiner!” “Crybaby Crosby!”
Seriously, stop it. Enough. The narrative is old. Captains talk to officials during games. Players, especially hockey players, are emotional. And winners, like Crosby, compete at a high level every single game. So, the next time you see a goal taken away and he shows displeasure, save your breath. Head coach Mike Sullivan has aided even more in helping Crosby mature. Crosby rarely retaliates anymore, taking away the ability to rattle him.
The only legitimate reason Crosby wouldn’t be considered at the top anymore is his age. He just turned 30 earlier this month, but he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. He’s coming off back-to-back Stanley Cups, winning the Conn Smythe is both Cup runs. He’s also the defending Maurice “Rocket” Richard trophy winner, scoring more goals than anyone else last season. Until his age shows, one shouldn’t rank anyone ahead of the best player in the world.
Why McDavid Is Number One
The NHL recently released their list of the top 10 centers right now.
As no surprise McDavid and Crosby were ranked 1 and 2 respectively. But the surprise may come when people saw that Crosby was not 1 and McDavid was.
As a fan of both teams, and a hockey enthusiast I can see both sides of the argument for both Crosby and McDavid deserving to be ranked 1.
For Crosby, how could you deny 3 total Stanley Cups and back to backs in 2016 and 2017 as well as back to back playoff MVP’s.
Everyone knows what Crosby brings to the table, both offensively and defensively, but McDavid brings a completely different aspect to his game that makes his elite.
McDavid, in his sophomore year, lead the league with 100 points (30 goals and 70 assists). McDavid’s biggest weapon in his game is hands down his speed. His ability to get his feet moving and blow past the opposing team is almost video game like.
Not only is his speed killer, the ability to finish plays at such a high speed makes him so dangerous.
When McDavid came into the league just 2 years ago he instantly made an impact for the Oilers organization, very similar to the way Crosby turned around the Penguins.
McDavid was named the captain of the Oilers prior to the 2016-17 season making him the youngest captain in NHL history. Being named a captain is the highest honor your organization can give you, and receiving the captaincy at such a young age shows how valuable he is to the Oilers.
Is McDavid truly the best NHL center right now? Boy it is pretty damn close.
For me personally, I love the “new” era of the NHL with the young, fast, talented forwards and McDavid fits the bill perfectly.
What he was able to do in just 2 seasons is truly amazing, taking a team from the bottom to nearly the top is jaw dropping. There are some aspects to McDavid’s game that can be improved clearly, but he’s 20! In his second NHL season!
He was the only person to score 100 points last season in a league where it is hard to score. McDavid is only going to get better with age, and I cannot wait to see the legacy McDavid paints himself.