Every Monday until the end of the season, Hockey 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, a statistic that combines player contributions in all aspects of the game, including defense and the shootout.
The 2012-13 season featured the tightest grouping of top players (from a rankings perspective) in recent memory. It was Sidney Crosby and everyone else until Game 36 of the season, when Crosby's jaw injury opened up the MVP race. The race for MVP among skaters was so tight that the league's top scorer, Martin St. Louis, does not even appear in the top 10 GVT list (he finished 13th), while Jonathan Toews, who tops our list, ranked 13th in points.
Toews, Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Patrick Kane, all of whom finished within 0.6 GVT of each other, each has a solid claim to being the non-goaltending MVP this season.
On the goaltending side, Craig Anderson was the best goaltender by a fair amount for the first five weeks of the season. However, he got injured and missed six weeks, and was ultimately good but not spectacular upon his return. Familiar faces such as Henrik Lundqvist, Tuukka Rask and Antti Niemi were among the contenders for best goaltender, but ultimately it was journeyman Sergei Bobrovsky, with only 83 games of NHL experience heading into this season, who emerged as the league's best goaltender in 2013.
Player Power Rankings: Skaters
are through the regular season.
Toews is one of the quietest MVP candidates in recent history,
ranking just outside of the top 10 scorers and failing to lead his team in
points. However, the combination of his offensive skill, defensive
responsibility and penalty-killing play propelled him to lead all skaters in
GVT by a nose.
There's little doubt that Crosby would have led the league in
points and GVT had he stayed healthy all season; his 1.56 points-per-game
average this campaign was better than any other player (not named Crosby) has
managed in the past 14 seasons.
Many wrote off the Capitals after their 2-8-1 start, but
Ovechkin and coach Adam Oates led Washington to a 25-10-2 record the rest of
the way. Not only did Ovechkin lead the league in goals this season (for the
third time in his career), but despite his struggles last season, he leads
all skaters in GVT in the past four seasons with 84.4.
Kane was the face of the Blackhawks' 23-game unbeaten streak and
kept the pace up all season, finishing among the top five in goals, points
and GVT for the first time in his career.
There's no secret to Kunitz' late-season slowdown, but he still
managed eight points and 2.6 GVT in the last 13 games. Plus, he tallied 52
points over the 48-game season, including 22 goals.
New York Rangers
A true breakout season for Stepan, who was the leading point
scorer on a Rangers team that featured Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Marian
Gaborik. Plus, Stepan played at every manpower strength for the Rangers and
led all NHL forwards in defensive GVT.
Despite missing four games, Getzlaf had his best overall NHL
season, rounding out his game by becoming a threat at even-strength, on the
power play, short-handed and in the shootout. His overall mastery helped the
Ducks climb to second (from 13th) in the West.
Tampa Bay Lightning
He has no scoring title to his name yet, but if there were a
cumulative Art Ross trophy given for the 2009-2013 seasons, Stamkos would
have won it with 340 points. He also has dominated the league with 185 goals
in that span, 33 better than second-place Ovechkin.
New York Islanders
Mission accomplished for Tavares, the franchise savior who has
brought the Islanders back to the playoffs for just the second time in eight
years. He finished third in the league in goals and, unlike the two men ahead
of him (Ovechkin and Stamkos), did not have access to a world-class playmaker
to help him achieve those numbers.
Staal and his line with Alexander Semin and Jiri Tlusty were the
lone bright spots in the Hurricanes' otherwise forgettable season. Staal
finished in the top 10 in scoring for the first time since the 2005-06
Player Power Rankings: Goalies
are through the regular season.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Every season needs a breakout goaltender, and Bobrovsky was it
this campaign. Though his heroics weren't enough to push the Jackets into the
playoffs, he had the best statistics of any goaltender who played 36-plus
games. It's almost certain the Jackets would have made the playoffs had some
of Steve Mason's 11 starts gone to Bobrovsky.
New York Rangers
Just another season at the office for Lundqvist, who has been
one of the top five goaltenders in the NHL in all but one of his eight
seasons. He leads the league with 224 GVT since the 2004-05 lockout.
Rask convincingly answered the "Tim Thomas question"
by backstopping the Bruins to the third-best defensive performance in the
league. Also, he finished third in save percentage and first in shutouts.
San Jose Sharks
Niemi saved the Sharks' season in February, when the team scored
only 15 goals in an 11-game stretch, yet escaped with three wins and four
overtime losses. He made the most starts and played the most minutes of any
Anderson came out of the gates on fire, proving unbeatable for a
month before going down with an injury. He posted a respectable .917 save
percentage following his return, which was just enough to help the Senators
sneak into the playoffs.