The Top 25 in hockey

 

1. Alexander Ovechkin -- Left winger: NHL's most exciting player, but can his body withstand his physical game?

 
 
 
 
 

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1. Alexander Ovechkin

Left winger - Washington Capitals

NHL's most exciting player, but can his body withstand his physical game?

2. Evgeni Malkin

Centre - Pittsburgh Penguins

100-point seasons are becoming the norm for last year's Art Ross winner

3. Sidney Crosby

Centre - Pittsburgh Penguins

Olympic workload could become a concern if his groin problems linger

4. Pavel Datsyuk

Centre - Detroit Red Wings

Detroit's Mr. Consistency-his point totals in the last four seasonss: 97, 97, 87, 87

5. Roberto Luongo

Goaltender - Vancouver Canucks

Has to put disastrous playoff finish out of his head; the contract could help

6. Henrik Zetterberg

Left winger - Detroit Red Wings

Two-way dynamo needs to pick up scoring slack in Marian Hossa's absence

7. Ryan Getzlaf

Centre - Anaheim Ducks

Dominating centre's point totals have increased substantially in each season

8. Zdeno Chara

Defenceman - Boston Bruins

Norris winner is owner of the league's hardest shot and its longest wingspan

9. Jarome Iginla

Right winger - Calgary Flames

Full year with playmaker Jokinen could yield third career 50-goal season

10. Nicklas Lidstrom

Defenceman - Detroit Red Wings

Perennial Norris candidate doesn't make mistakes in his own end ... or anywhere else

11. Zach Parise

Left winger - New Jersey Devils

Will have to prove his breakout 94-point campaign in 2008-09 was no fluke

12. Ilya Kovalchuk

Left winger - Atlanta Thrashers

If the Thrashers don't get to the playoffs, this is probably his swan song in Atlanta

13. Martin Brodeur

Goaltender - New Jersey Devils

Slumped late last season following emotional chase for all-time wins record

14. Jeff Carter

Centre - Philadelphia Flyers

Strong early performance could earn speedy sniper an Olympic reward

15. Vincent Lecavalier

Centre - Tampa Bay Lightning

Big centre could be trade fodder again if Oren Koules takes team from Len Barrie

16. Eric Staal

Centre - Carolina Hurricanes

Can carry Hurricanes with his goal-scoring, but he can also disappear for stretches

17. Rick Nash

Left winger - Columbus Blue Jackets

Should build on a career-best 79-point season with better offensive support in Coumbus

18. Mike Richards

Centre - Philadelphia Flyers

The league's biggest threat to score shorthanded -he did it seven times in '08-09

19. Joe Thornton

Centre - San Jose Sharks

Assist man could be looking at a career year with Dany Heatley on his left wing

20. Chris Pronger

Defenceman - Philadelphia Flyers

Will be counted on to rejuvenate the Flyers' defence, and possibly Team Canada's

21. Mike Green

Defenceman - Washington Capitals

Record-setting blueliner's biggest weakness is, unquestionably, defence

22. Marc Savard

Centre - Boston Bruins

Oft-overlooked playmaker trying out new wingers with Kessel now in Toronto

23. Scott Niedermayer

Defenceman - Anaheim Ducks

One last kick at the can for Canada's most decorated offensive defenceman

24. Jonathan Toews

Centre - Chicago Blackhawks

With Kane and Hossa on his wings, do-everything centre is poised for breakout

25. Daniel and Henrik Sedin

Left winger, centre - Vancouver Canucks

Too tough to tell apart to separate, both in person and on the scoresheet

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THE NEXT 10

26. Cam Ward, g, Carolina

27. Patrick Kane, rw, Chicago

28. Miikka Kiprusoff, g, Cal.

29. Niklas Backstrom, g, Min.

30. Dany Heatley, lw, San Jose

31. Corey Perry, rw, Anaheim

32. Jay Bouwmeester, d, Cal.

33. Marian Hossa, rw, Chicago

34. Andrei Markov, d, Mon.

35. Henrik Lundqvist, g, NYR

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The voters Bruce Arthur, Jim Bray, Sean Fitz-Gerald, Noah Love, James Madge, Joe O'Connor, Guy Spurrier and Michael Traikos

 
 
 
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