Ah to be a Pittsburgh Penguins fan. To have so much talent on your roster that you can look at two of your own players—Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin—and reasonably make a case that one of them is the NHL’s best player. So who would you vote for in that debate?
It is hard to vote against Crosby, he of the 1.3 points per game average over seven seasons (even if three of those have been abbreviated, and two of those severely), four 100-plus point seasons and one season of 50 goals or more. He’s never had a shooting percentage below 10% and the man is an absolute beast on the power play. He had 61 points alone on the power play in 2006-07, which was over half of his total for that season.
But Malkin isn’t far behind. Three of his six seasons in the league have resulted in him scoring 100 points or more, and just last year he posted his first 50-goal season himself. His 1.2 points per game average is fantastic and he is proving to be a gritty player when the need arises.
A key point in this debate is that Malkin is currently healthy and not coming off of two injury-plagued seasons like Crosby. Crosby is starting to look like the second coming of Eric Lindros, and until he learns to start dodging concussions, his ability to be the force he was a couple years ago is always going to be in question. Crosby is a force of nature on the ice and is the slightly better player under ideal circumstances, but until he can prove he can stay healthy, I’m giving the edge to Malkin.