Hockey is without a doubt one of the greatest team sports of all time, but some individual players in the National Hockey League truly transcend above all others. Connor McDavid has been a sensation since entering the league in 2015 – the level of talent had been unlike anything the league had seen since Gretzky. This begs the question, though, after McDavid, who are the next most valuable players in the NHL?
#1 Connor McDavid
Connor McDavid is the most valuable player in the National Hockey League. McDavid leads all forwards in 1563 minutes of ice time – and for good reason. McDavid makes great use of his league leading 37.5% share of possible ice time as he is also leading the league in goals (57), assists (74), and points (131).
McDavid has certainly been in the process of making a case that he is the greatest player to ever grace the ice. Even with other superstars that also need to be fed offensively, such as Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman, McDavid finds ways to make everyone happy. It’s truly mind boggling how good he is and how much better he makes other players around him.
#2 Nathan McKinnon
Nathan McKinnon is certainly next in line after McDavid on the list of the most valuable players in the NHL. McKinnon was able to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup victory last season and was individually a big reason why the team was able to do that.
McKinnon has recorded a 36.7% share of possible ice time. McKinnon has also recorded 85 points in 56 games, 29 goals and 56 assists.
McKinnon, much like McDavid, is one of the few players in the NHL that fans can pick out of any play – their speed, precision, and hockey IQ is quite literally visible. McKinnon’s only flaw has been staying healthy. It is somewhat shocking considering McKinnon is noted to be one of the most body conscious players in the league and even keeps a vegan diet.
#3 Nikita Kucherov
Nikita Kucherov has steadily – and even quietly – been one of the most valuable players the past few NHL seasons. In 69 games played this season, Kucherov has accumulated 27 goals and 70 assists for 97 total points. Kucherov is also known to be one of the most dangerous players on the power play – he owns one of the filthiest shots in the game. Kucherov is more than just an elite player, but also an elite leader.
Kucherov often gets overshadowed by his team’s success and other star players on the team that also command media attention, like captain Steven Stamkos and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
It’s important that fans appreciate how good the Lightning have been for such an extended period of time. Who’s to say this isn’t their year again?