At 33 years old and just days away from beginning his 16th NHL season, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby still ranks among the NHL’s best players according to NHL Network.
This doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who pays even the slightest attention to the NHL as Crosby has been one of the best (if not the best) in the game since he entered the league back in 2005. The NHL Network just reaffirmed everyone’s belief on Sunday evening, placing Crosby fifth in their annual ranking of the NHL’s Top 50 players.
Earlier this offseason, NHL Network ranked Crosby fourth among all active centers and those rankings are reflected in the overall Top 50 rankings with Crosby falling just behind fellow centers Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, and Leon Draisaitl.
Crosby comes in at fifth with New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin claiming the No. 4 spot the top winger according to NHL Network. Long time on-ice rival Alex Ovechkin comes in at No. 8, giving Crosby some slight bragging rights heading into the new season.
Crosby and Ovechkin are the two longest tenured players ranked in the Top 10, and along with Tampa Lightning defender Victor Hedman, the only to be over the age of 30 years old.
When Crosby was revealed in the No. 5 spot on this year’s list, the NHL Network crew gave their thoughts on his placing. Analyst Ken Daneyko disagreed with Crosby’s ranking, arguing that he should have been placed higher than some of his contemporaries.
“Well, he was injured last year, and we always look at your statistics, numbers, but we don’t always judge it by that. I have Crosby higher. One of the greats of all-time. …Just watching on a nightly basis and over the years, that wide base that he keeps the puck just enough away from his defenders. It makes him so tough to cover, all the twists, the turns, all the skill, and everything he has accomplished in his illustrious career.
That’s something that really stands out to me. You know how these guys are so good at shooting the puck? Nobody does it better than Sidney Crosby.
Based on where Crosby is ranked and how is placed around him, it’s hard to argue NHL Network got it wrong on Crosby, but still placing in the Top 5 at 33 years of age and approaching his 16th season in the league is remarkable in itself.
While Crosby was the only Penguins player to crack the Top 10, he was not the only one to be listed among NHL Network’s Top 50 in the NHL right now. Crosby was joined by teammates Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang who were ranked 18th and 43rd respectively.