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March 28, 2012
Player Power Rankings
Malkin The MVP

by Tom Awad and ESPN Insider

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Editor's note: These rankings are based on player production in terms of Hockey Prospectus' GVT valuation metric. If you are unfamiliar with GVT and how it works, you can find out more here.

Periodically throughout the season, Prospectus will provide updated Player Power Rankings for the top 10 skaters and top five goalies in the NHL based on HP's proprietary value metric, GVT, which includes offensive, defensive and shootout components.

In this week's rankings, Pittsburgh's James Neal makes his way into the top 10 skater discussion, but Evgeni Malkin has the No. 1 spot, and the MVP race, in full control. Henrik Lundqvist remains the No. 1 goalie, and Kari Lehtonen checks in at No. 3.

These rankings are through March 25. Total GVT might not equal the sum of the subcategories because of factors that aren't shown.

Legend:

OGVT: Offensive GVT

GGVT: Goaltending GVT

DGVT: Defensive GVT

SGVT: Shootout GVT

GVT: Total GVT

Rank Player                                    OGVT/GGVT  DGVT  SGVT   GVT
1.   Evgeni Malkin, F, Pittsburgh Penguins     24.4       1.9    3.4   29.7

Comment: Prior to Saturday's 8-4 loss to Ottawa, the Penguins hadn't lost in regulation in 14 games, in which Malkin had 24 points. The league MVP is, at this point, a foregone conclusion.

2.   Claude Giroux, F, Philadelphia Flyers     18.7       3.2    1.8   23.7

Comment: He's hardly just an offensive specialist, but Giroux's been the league's most potent threat on the power play. His 36 PP points are well ahead of Malkin, who has 29.

3.   Steven Stamkos, F, Tampa Bay Lightning    21.2       2.5   -0.3   23.4

Comment: The key to Stamkos' success is a high shot rate (263 shots, 10th in the league) combined with an amazing success rate (19.8 percent shooting percentage, first in the NHL). Unfortunately his team is only 28th in shots taken.

4.   Erik Karlsson, D, Ottawa Senators         18.5       2.4   -0.3   20.6

Comment: Karlsson leads all defensemen in goals, assists, points and also shots on goal, which may explain how he eventually piles up all his points.

5.   Marian Hossa, F, Chicago Blackhawks       16.1       4.7   -0.8   20.0

Comment: Despite being already 26 years old in 2005, Hossa has been the fifth best forward overall since the lockout. His 123 GVT trails only Alexander Ovechkin (158), Pavel Datsyuk (135), Sidney Crosby (131) and Joe Thornton (130).

	
6.   Ilya Kovalchuk, F, New Jersey Devils      12.6       2.0    5.3   20.0

Comment: With 11 goals on 13 shots, Kovalchuk is putting together the best single-season shootout performance since the shootout was implemented.

7.   James Neal, F, Pittsburgh Penguins        16.0       1.5    0.8   18.2

Comment: By clicking so well with Malkin, Neal has validated the Penguins' dealing for him and earned himself a generous new contract in the process. Few picked him to be No. 6 in the NHL in scoring this season.

 
8.   Marian Gaborik, F, New York Rangers       13.6       2.9    1.3   17.8

Comment: While the Rangers have excelled through defense and goaltending this season, Gaborik has done his part. He has scored 18 percent of his team's goals this season, second only to Stamkos.

9.   Jason Spezza, F, Edmonton Oilers          14.5       1.4    1.6   17.5

Comment: He's rarely considered a superstar, but Spezza is seventh in assists, 12th in points and 12th in GVT among forwards since the lockout, ahead of players like Henrik Sedin and Brad Richards.

10.  Tyler Seguin, F, Boston Bruins            12.9       3.2    1.3   17.4

Comment: Seguin has gotten more and better ice time than last season, but much of his growth has been organic. He has 47 even-strength points compared to 19 at this point last season.

Player Power Rankings: Goalies

These rankings are through March 25. Total GVT may not equal sum of sub categories because of factors not shown.

Legend:

OGVT: Offensive GVT

GGVT: Goaltending GVT

DGVT: Defensive GVT

SGVT: Shootout GVT

GVT: Total GVT

Rank Player                                    OGVT/GGVT  DGVT  SGVT   GVT
1.   Henrik Lundqvist, G, New York Rangers      31.6      0.6    1.2   33.4

Comment: March has not been kind to Lundqvist. In 10 games, he has a mediocre 2.74 GAA and 0.889 save percentage.

 
2.   Jonathan Quick, G, Los Angeles Kings       31.1      0.7    0.2   32.1

Comment: Goaltenders get too much credit and blame when their team succeeds or fails. Despite playing at the same level before and after the Jeff Carter trade, Quick's win-loss record since then is 8-3-1 as the Kings have surged back into the playoff picture.

3.   Kari Lehtonen, G, Dallas Stars             22.0     -0.2    3.4   25.1  

Comment: Much of Dallas' late-season surge has been keyed by Lehtonen. In the past five weeks, he has 13 starts, posting a 1.65 GAA and 0.944 save percentage, producing 12.3 GVT during that span.

4.   Brian Elliott, G, St. Louis Blues          23.7      1.0   -0.2   24.5

Comment: Elliott is on track to break the modern records for both GAA and save percentage, although with his low number of games (34) it'll be interesting to see how they'll be asterisked.

5.   Mike Smith, G, Phoenix Coyotes             22.9     -1.0   -0.1   21.8

Comment: Smith has a 0.924 save percentage and 21.8 GVT. For reference, Ilya Bryzgalov has a 0.912 save percentage, 3.5 GVT and the second worst shootout record in the league.

A version of this story originally appeared at ESPN Insider Insider.

Tom Awad is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Tom by clicking here or click here to see Tom's other articles.

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<< Previous Article
Pucks From The Past (03/25)
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Premium Article Player Power Rankings (03/20)
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Pucks From The Past (03/28)

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