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Rank: 10 Best Players in the Playoffs

We are mid-way through round two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and are privileged to be seeing some great series. Now that we are down to eight teams remaining, we want to use our latest edition of Rank to countdown the top ten players still fighting for a Stanley Cup.

10. Ryan Getzlaf
The leader of the Anaheim Ducks. Getzlaf plays the role of the top center for the very tough Ducks. He is a great all around player that matches up well with any opposing center. He is currently sixth in playoff scoring with 9 points. Not surprisingly he leads all remaining forwards in minutes per game. Getzlaf is the definition of a workhorse.

9. Vladimir Tarasenko
Tarasenko is certainly one of the most exciting players to watch on this list. He is the one super-skill player on the Blues very defensive minded roster. Tarasenko may only have 5 points, but he does have an overtime goal in these playoffs. His lack of scoring is certainly not due to a lack of shooting. He is second in shots in the playoffs with 32.

8. Ryan Kesler
The best defensive center in the playoffs and maybe in the league. He may not be considered the Ducks number one center, but he is responsible for shutting down the opponents top center. Kesler is a nearly annual Selke finalist (top defensive forward). Watching the chess match between him and Connor McDavid has been great hockey.

7. PK Subban
One of the league's best defensemen. Subban is the odd defender that is as good offensively as he is defensively. He has the speed and strength to match-up against any of the NHL's top forwards. His offensive ability makes Nashville a constant threat to score. It is no coincidence that Nashville is having their most successful playoff run in franchise history the same year Subban joined the team.

6. Henrik Lundqvist
The only goaltender to make this list because no remaining team relies so heavily on their goalie. If Lundqvist is on his game, the Rangers could be in the Stanley Cup finals. If he is not, they could have been bounced in the first round. He has faced the second most shots of any goalie in these playoffs, but has the third highest save percentage among remaining goaltenders.

5. Evgeni Malkin
He leads all players in playoff points with 15. For his entire career Evgeni Malkin has been the league's #1 second option. However, Geno does some magical things come playoff time and often outshines the Penguins top star. He already has one Conn Smythe trophy and is fighting for his second this year. With Crosby sidelined, it is Geno's team now.

4. Alex Ovechkin
The best goal scorer in the league since Gretzky and Lemieux. He is an absolute force that is in highlight reels on a nightly basis. Ovechkin throws some of the most vicious hits in the game and happens to have the most dangerous one-timer. If there was ever a Capitals team built to get over the hump and help Ovechkin win his first Stanley Cup, this is the team. He currently has only 7 points and is a -1 plus/minus. He has to be better if the Capitals are going to advance.

3. Erik Karlsson
We have all known Karlsson is a special player for a few years, but these playoffs have truly been his coming out party. He was the deciding factor in the series win against the Bruins, they simply could not slow him down. So far he has been the best player in the series against the Rangers as well. He is leading all players in minutes per game during these playoffs and is near the top among defensemen in every other statistical category. The knock on Karlsson is that he lacks in the defensive end, he is just a forward lined up as a defender. That has not been the case in these playoffs. He has controlled the entire ice surface for the Senators.

2. Connor McDavid
After leading the NHL in scoring this season and being named a finalist for the MVP, there is no doubt McDavid is already one of the league's elite players. Even more so than his dynamic play, it is his leadership that has stunned me in the playoffs. Every night he is matched up against the opposing teams top defensive center, yet he still creates scoring opportunities for his linemates. I thought this would be a short playoffs for Edmonton, but McDavid has them up two games to one over the heavily favored Ducks in the second round. Hard to believe he is this special already.

1. Sidney Crosby 
The best player in the world, fresh off winning the Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe last season. Crosby, up to this point, has been the best player in these playoffs. He has provided great leadership to his team through the way he responds to opponents and by being the hardest working player on the ice at all times. Before being injured, Crosby was tied for second in playoff points and winning nearly 55% of his faceoffs. It is sad that a dirty play has him sidelined with a concussion for game four and possibly more. 

This post first appeared on Beyond The Boards, please read the originial post: here

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Rank: 10 Best Players in the Playoffs


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