August 24, 2017 6:00 am

COMMENTARY: Connor McDavid ranked top NHL player, says he shouldn’t be No. 1

Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) and Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) compete for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016.

Gene J. Puskar, AP Photo
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Mission accomplished for The Hockey News and its list of the Top 50 NHL players for 2017/18.

The mere fact that hockey fans are talking about the controversial list is a victory for the magazine.

They could have played it safe with their annual list, which this year puts Edmonton Oilers phenom Connor McDavid at the top of the heap.

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The Oilers captain is ranked ahead of Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby — who held the No. 1 ranking for nine years — with Ottawa Senators stud defenceman Erik Karlsson, Chicago Blackhawks points leader Patrick Kane and Montreal Canadiens all-world puck stopper Carey Price rounding out the top five.

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While McDavid is the future of the game and the reigning Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner, I still wouldn’t rank him as the top player in the league.  Crosby is fresh off leading the Pens to back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, which hadn’t been done since the Detroit Red Wings pulled off the double in 1997 and ’98.  And, oh, by the way, Crosby was also the Conn Smythe winner in those two title runs.

While McDavid is probably the fastest player with the puck, and one of the niftiest too, his game is not as well-rounded as Crosby’s.  And the 19-year-old admits that Crosby is still the king of the castle, saying “At the end of the day, everyone knows who the best player in the League is, and it’s not me.”

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The Hockey News has also raised some eyebrows by putting Toronto Maple Leafs sensation Auston Matthews eighth on the list. In my opinion, way too high.

Washington Capitals super scorer Alex Ovechkin has plummeted to 36th and Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos has dropped to 46th.  They won’t say it publicly, but those two players will be out to prove their rankings are incredibly low.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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