Number 5 was easily the most difficult to choose. Choosing Patrice Bergeron meant I had to exclude players such as Henrik Lundqvist, Evgeni Malkin, and Anze Kopitar to name a few. It would feel like a crime to put someone else’s name here. Bergeron is one of those special players that has the capability of the dominating a game on both ends of the ice. The four-time Selke winner has been in the top 5 voting for one award throughout the entire decade. The best two-way center of the past 10 years earned his spot on my list.
Erik Karlsson is one of the most talented pure defensemen we have ever seen play hockey. A defensemen decade leading 588 points 596 takeaways attests to that. It is a shame that he has played for a lackluster Ottawa side for most of his career. While he led them to a winning record in all but one year, they never threatened for a Stanley Cup final outside of their unlikely run that fell short in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017. Injuries have also been a major factor to his success in the latter part of this decade. In 2018 he was traded to what appeared to be a Stanley Cup final contender San Jose Sharks. After overcoming a three game deficit to the Golden Knights they were easily handled by the eventual Stanley Cup winners St. Louis Blues in the playoffs. This season has derailed quickly for the Sharks who just extended the defender in an eight year deal worth 92 million. If the Sharks continue to be as bad as they are, I don’t think a trade is out of the question.
It’s hard to imagine but Ovechkin is actually on pace to beat Wayne Gretzky’s scoring record of 894 goals. The offensive juggernaut earned six goal scoring titles, NHLPA Player of the Year, and a Hart Trophy. Most importantly, he was able to shed away the label of choking in the playoffs. The Washington legend was able to bring home the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. The ability to sustain success and be healthy during this decade are a true testament to his abilities. His decade leading 460 goals places him in the upper echelons of hockey history.
I am ready to face the repercussions of my decision. I am fully aware that McDavid has only played 323 games in this decade. I also know that he is averaging 1.33 points per game. In the four complete seasons he has played, he has earned two scoring titles and a Hart Trophy. Simply put, he is a step above the rest of the league at 22 years old. The fact that the roster has only been able to turn out one winning season in his career is borderline unconstitutional. The world deserves to see what he can do when it matters the most. Could you imagine what he would do on a team like Washington, Boston, or St. Louis. I would imagine a team like Colorado would be instantly elevated to Stanley Cup favorites.
As good as Connor McDavid is, this decade belongs to Sidney Crosby. He led the Penguins to back to back titles, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since the Red Wings from 1996 to 1998. He leads the decade with 836 points to go along with a Hart Trophy and two NHLPA Player of the Year awards. I think his decade can also be seen as a change of face. His critics called him a baby. He was known as complaining about every call and blaming all of his shortcomings on everyone else. He took a lot of responsibility this decade and it showed. He took his game to the next level and showed up when his team needed him most. He is now respected as one of the greatest NHL players of all time. It is a shame that a slew of injuries including concussions has slowed him down. I really do wish him the best health going into the end of his career.