There are so many well-acclaimed and talented athletes out there in the NHL. But of course there are certain ones that have really stood out so far in 2017. Can you take a guess at who has made the list? What does the best athlete possess? Drive, discipline, confidence, focus, commitment, tolerance for pain, and determination. All of these qualities are crucial if you want to make it big in the NHL. Hockey is all about sacrificing your body so that you can get the win. It is about driving the puck to the net. In addition, it is about never giving up and fighting until the end. Hockey is that game that everyone looks forward to watching as it brings excitement and anticipation. As the playoffs are just about to begin this list comes at a convenient time. So here are the top 5 best NHL Athletes this year.
5. Auston Matthews
At number five it is none other than the rookie Mr. Auston Matthews. How could he not make the list? Getting 40 goals in his first season in the NHL, I think that calls for a successful season, especially with a team (Toronto Maple Leafs) that has finally made the playoffs in a full season. His first season in the NHL and he’s already going into the playoffs, what a year it has been for Matthews. Matthews is not only a prized possession for the Toronto Maple Leafs but he is also a great influence for aspiring hockey players who plan to make it in the NHL. Did I forget to mention that Matthews is the fourth rookie in NHL history to net 40 goals in a season before his 20th birthday? That’s pretty impressive.
4. Brad Marchand
Coming in at number four is Brad Marchand. In many peoples eyes he is a controversial player as he is definitely feisty. His recent suspension for spearing Tampa Bay defenseman Jake Dotchin definitely didn’t leave a positive impression of Marchand’s image to viewers. But despite this he has definitely put up the numbers this year and has lead his team (The Boston Bruins) to the playoffs. Posting 39 goals and 46 assists in 85 games definitely shows that he is determined to win. He is definitely not afraid to get in there and that’s what hockey is all about. You can’t be afraid of getting hit, because being afraid will not win you games and will only let other players skate circles around you. He also has a very cocky attitude, but posting the numbers that he has this year, he has reason to be confident and you need all the confidence you can get in the NHL.
3. Connor McDavid
I think number three is quite obvious. Coming in at number three is Conor McDavid. He may not have as many goals as the two mentioned above, but he definitely has the points to show for it. 100 points in 82 games played. If that’s not amazing I don’t know what is. McDavid has led the Edmonton Oilers to the playoffs and the Oilers are another team like the Leafs that have been rebuilding. Connor McDavid is destined for the Oilers greatness and success. His skating, shot and hockey IQ are all at a high level, and he has the capacity to make other players around him more skilled, which is a very important quality in a player. Although he is usually condoned for his offensive skills, McDavid can be used in different situations, which represents how he is not a one-dimensional player.
2. Sidney Crosby
Number two is Sid The Kid, but realistically he is no longer a kid, but is still a stellar hockey player. He is definitely not slowing down or showing any sign of weakness or poor production. Posting 44 goals and 89 points in 75 games is top notch. I don’t have to be the one to tell you that there have been so many games this year where Crosby shined with some amazing goals. If you picked Crosby for your fantasy sports pool you did yourself good. If you are on the same line as Crosby, you are one lucky duckling as you are guaranteed to get points. Crosby is the type of player that plays with a lot of emotion and intensity and that’s what hockey is all about.
1. Alex Ovechkin
Alas coming in at number one is the one and only Alex Ovechkin. Did you really think it would be anyone else. The man with a killer shot, and a huge heart for the game. Ovechkin lives, breathes and sleeps hockey. Posting 69 points in 82 games, he has helped carry his team to the playoffs once again and has assisted them in attaining the presidents trophy. The Capitals are very deserving and big contenders to win the Stanley Cup this year and I think Ovechkin wants to win the Stanley cup more than anything. When you think of great hockey players Ovechkin 9 out of the 10 times will come to mind. His focus and determination is scoring and winning and I don’t know what’s more important than that. He is the big man with the big shot and everyone knows it and believes it. “Guys like Ovi shoot it so hard that it’s almost like you’re a batter in baseball. You see the blur of the puck coming at you in frames.” – Jonathan Quick, July 2015.