The Hockey News has come out with its 2013-14 Yearbook in which it rates “The best 50 players in the NHL now.”
Two Canadiens made the list: defenceman P.K. Subban at No. 23 and goalie Carey Price at No. 48.
In its season predictions, THN has the Canadiens finishing fourth in the Atlantic Division behind Boston, Detroit and Ottawa and lists the Habs’ odds of winning the Stanley Cup at 23-1. The “X-Factor” for the Canadiens: “Most of the teams in the Canadiens’ division have upgraded in the off-season, but Montreal will remain in the playoff hunt if Price proves he’s an elite goaltender.”
THN has Pittsburgh and St. Louis meeting in the Stanley Cup final, with the Blues coming out on top.
The top 10 in the top-50 player rankings are, in order: Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, Erik Karlsson, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane, Patrice Bergeron and Drew Doughty.
Other players ranked ahead of Subban are, in order: Pavel Datsyuk, Martin St. Louis, Jonathan Quick, Duncan Keith, Zdeno Chara, Claude Giroux, Ryan Sutter, Jeff Carter, Jason Spezza, Taylor Hall, Eric Staal and Anze Kopitar.
“The 2013 Norris Trophy winner won on the strength of his offensive and physical tools,” THN writes about Subban. “Now he has to show he can play the truly hard minutes like the penalty kill and log big ice time.”
Six goalies are ranked ahead of Price: Quick (No. 13), Henrik Lundqvist (24), Tuukka Rask (31), Sergei Bobrovsky (35), Craig Anderson (36) and Corey Crawford (38).
“Once considered the frontrunner for the No. 1 job with Canada’s Olympic team, Price needs to have a rebound season,” THN writes.
The magazine also has an article on Alex Galchenyuk under the headline “Centre of attention” speculating whether the teenager will be moved to his natural centre position this season from the wing.
“It’s a difficult position for a young player,” GM Marc Bergevin says of Galchenyuk playing centre. “We didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on him. We used him at centre (in the 2013 season) on a few occasions and he did a good job, but we feel that, for the time being, he’s better off on the wing.”
Subban announced on his Twitter account Sunday that “I am now officially on Instagram!” Price, who turned 26 on Aug. 16, will get married to his fiancée, Angela Webber, on Aug. 24.
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)