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April 30, 2013
Player Power Rankings
Toews, Bob, For MVP

by Tom Awad and ESPN Insider

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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
These rankings are through the regular season.
Rank Player Team Pos. Off. GVT Def. GVT Shootout GVT Total GVT
1
Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks F 12.8 7.6 1 21.3
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.
2
Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins F 14 5.7 1.2 20.9
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.
3
Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals F 15.1 3.8 1.8 20.7
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.
4
Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks F 14.5 4.3 1.9 20.7
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.
5
Chris Kunitz Pittsburgh Penguins F 13.4 6.2 0 19.7
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.
6
Derek Stepan New York Rangers F 9.7 8.1 0.3 18.1
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.
7
Ryan Getzlaf Anaheim Ducks F 10.7 5.7 1.5 17.9
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.
8
Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning F 14.2 4.2 -0.7 17.7
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.
9
John Tavares New York Islanders F 12.2 4.6 0.8 17.6
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.
10
Eric Staal Carolina Hurricanes F 12.2 5.3 0 17.5
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 season.
Player Power Rankings: Goalies
These rankings are through the regular season.
Rank Player Team Pos. Goalie GVT Def. GVT Shootout GVT Total GVT
1 Sergei Bobrovsky Columbus Blue Jackets G 28.5 -0.2 2.2 30.4
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.
2 Henrik Lundqvist New York Rangers G 25.3 0.6 2.8 28.7
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.
3 Tuukka Rask Boston Bruins G 25 0.2 2.2 27.4
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.
4 Antti Niemi San Jose Sharks G 22.9 0.2 2.6 25.7
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 goaltender.
5 Craig Anderson Ottawa Senators G 24.9 0 -1.8 23.1
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.

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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