Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Crosby is the most exciting and dynamic player in the NHL right now. Following the 2011-12 season, in which he suffered a severe concussion limiting him to only 22 games, Crosby came back at 100 percent health after over a year off from hockey. Crosby came back and never skipped a beat, making whomever Dan Bylsma put with him look like a top-NHL forward with his high quality passes. Crosby played in only 36 games, missing the last 12 games with a the broken jaw. In the 36 games, Crosby netted 56 points (15 goals, 41 assists), finishing tied for third in scoring with Alex Ovechkin. Crosby is a playmaker that thrived in all situations. He was lethal 5 on 5, great on the power play, where he tallied 17 points (3 goals and 14 assists), and even spent some time on the penalty kill. When you watch Crosby play, you can tell based on his points per game, and his skill level in today’s NHL, that he is the league’s best all around player. His season was beyond impressive for his limited games due to injury. It is safe to say that if Crosby stayed healthy, he would’ve blown the NHL away in scoring. The question for this debate is, was he the most valuable to his team? With players like Kunitz and Dupris being better when he is in the lineup, you could argue yes. However, on a star-laden team such as Pittsburgh, it is hard to say they could not win without him. The team did end up going 8-4 in Crosby’s absence.