Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks After winning his first Hart Memorial Trophy—awarded to the NHL’s MVP—for a season that saw him lead the league in scoring, Kane could be considered the best player in the world. At age 27, he’s already led his team to three Stanley Cup titles.
Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Crosby has long been widely considered the NHL’s top player, and he hasn’t done much to lose that claim. “Sid the Kid” won the Conn Smythe Trophy—given to the NHL’s most valuable player in the playoffs—last year, when he hoisted his second Stanley Cup trophy.
Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals A Stanley Cup is the only thing missing from one of the top careers in NHL history. The 31-year-old Ovechkin has netted at least 50 goals in seven seasons, including the past three, to trail only Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy who did so nine times.
P.K. Subban Nashville Predators Nothing creates more excitement and conversation than a blockbuster trade, and one took place this offseason, when the Montreal Canadiens unexpectedly shipped the beloved Subban—one of the league’s best defensemen—to Nashville.
Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings No NHL goalie is more impenetrable than Quick when he’s at his best. The 30-year-old led the Kings to championships in 2012 and ’14 and will be a regular challenge as a Pacific division opponent for the local expansion team.
Connor McDavid Edmonton Oilers Las Vegas will also have to regularly deal with the man Gretzky has called, “the best player to come into the league in the last 30 years.” The 19-year-old McDavid is a super prospect who tallied 48 points in 45 games during his rookie season.
Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs Picked first overall in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, this 19-year-old Arizona native is the new great hope in hockey-crazed Toronto. McDavid and Matthews could end up as the next generation’s version of Crosby and Ovechkin, two transcendent talents set to star for years to come.
Jason Zucker Minnesota Wild An offensive force and the first Las Vegas native to reach the NHL, though many could follow if youth hockey gets the surge expected from having a local professional team in town.
JaromÍr Jágr Florida Panthers The 44-year-old veteran, the third-leading scorer in NHL history, signed a one-year deal to return this season, but he had 66 points to help the Panthers reach the playoffs, so there’s no reason to believe Jágr couldn’t play a 24th season in 2017.
Cody McLeod Colorado Avalanche Everyone loves a hockey fight, and no one throws more punches than the Avalanche’s enforcer. McLeod has gotten into 31 fights over the past two seasons.