he new season of the National Hockey League (NHL) starts only in October, and in the summer in the League, in addition to the rookie draft and the free agent market, they sum up the results of the last season. There are a lot of different ratings, and Action Network journalist Chase McCallum has compiled his list of the 100 best current players in the NHL. Only field players were included in the rating, goalkeepers were not included. The captain of the Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid topped this rating , the second place was taken by the MVP of the 2021/2022 season, the Colorado Avalanche guard Cale Makar, and the Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews closed the top three.
The best of the Russian players was in sixth place – the Tampa Bay Lightning striker Nikita Kucherov , together with the team, reached the Stanley Cup final, but could not win the trophy for the third time: the Colorado Avalanche turned out to be stronger in the final series.
Minnesota Wild striker Kirill Kaprizov (15th place) was also in the top 15, and then the Russians dropped out of the top 30. Louis Blues forward Pavel Buchnevich was 39th, Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin was 70th, and Valery Nichushkin , who became one of the Colorado leaders, was in 79th place.
Ovechkin had a bumper season. Before the start of the regular season, many overseas experts wrote off the Russian hockey player, believing that age and frequent injuries would no longer allow Alexander the Great to play at his previous level. However, the striker had a brilliant regular season – 77 matches and 90 (50 + 40) points. This allowed him to take a big step in his pursuit of Wayne Gretzky ‘s all-time record . In the playoffs, Ovechkin and Washington were again unlucky – the team lost in the first round to the Florida Panthers, having taken off for the fourth time in a row at the very beginning of the Stanley Cup. The Russian in the first round played six matches in which he scored 6 (1 + 5) points. And in this regard, his 70th place in the ranking of the best current hockey players in the League really looks strange.
The striker himself reacted quite calmly to this rating.
“So I deserve it. So this is the rating. You have to ask them, ”Match TV quotes Ovechkin.
The former coach of the Russian national team Vladimir Plyushchev , in a commentary to Gazeta.Ru, criticized the compiled rating, noting that such lists do not determine the level of hockey players, and also said that Ovechkin should be much higher in it.
“You know, I have never done ratings. I never thought that it determines the level and class of the player. Well, the fact that even according to such a wretched grid that this journalist came up with there, I am sure that Ovechkin should definitely not be in the top 70, but much higher. But these are probably eructations of the general policy that is going on in relation to Russia and Russian athletes in general, ”Plyushchev said.
Former general manager of the Russian national team and Dynamo Andrey Safronov spoke critically about the journalist who compiled such a rating, and also assessed the likelihood that Ovechkin would spend the next season at the same level as the last.
“I think such a specialist answered himself by putting Alexander Ovechkin in 70th place. I don’t want to discuss this specialist, but Sasha has already proved everything to everyone and continues to prove it. And God forbid that he manages to achieve the result that the whole country dreams of and that Sasha Ovechkin dreams of.
God forbid that everything works out. Sasha and last year’s season, and the season before that, were successful. The main thing is to have fewer injuries, and he knows how to score, ”said Safronov in a comment to Gazeta.Ru.
For Ovechkin, last season was the most productive in the last 13 years. He scored more points in the strongest league in the world only in his first five campaigns. It wasn’t just McCallum who ranked Alexander the Great low in his rankings, however. The official portal of the National Hockey League has already published lists of the best in each role, and there Ovechkin did not get into the top 10, becoming 11th. And in the ranking of the Puc Empire portal, Ovi took only 34th place in the ranking of all players in the strongest league in the world. This, by the way, caused a great discussion in North America, many did not agree with such a distribution.
However, the situation is reminiscent of last year, when Ovechkin was written off by some. For example, the former two-meter tough guy John Scott , who played against the Russian in games for Chicago and other teams, said that the attacker’s pursuit of Gretzky no longer makes any sense, since Ovechkin will not be able to score more than 30 goals in a season. As a result, Alexander the Great was ahead of this forecast by 20 goals.
114 goals separate Ovechkin from Gretzky in the list of the best scorers in the history of the NHL, and after last season, the figure no longer seems so insurmountable. But to the second place, which is now occupied by Gordie Howe, the attacker has only 21 goals left, and if he starts the new season of the regular season in the same way as the last, he will soon be able to overcome this mark.