Connor Keith and I have had this discussion for a while, and it has been something I have had a strong opinion on.
Who’s better: Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin? I decided to share my opinion with our viewers and explain why.
So ever since the 2005 NHL Draft, it has been Sidney Crosby vs. Alexander Ovechkin as they both changed their organizations dramatically and became franchise players. They both lived up to these standards by winning awards and medals. However, there has always been the forgotten man that was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins 2nd overall in 2004 NHL Draft. This man was Evgeni Malkin.
Malkin was always in the shadow of Crosby, even as he lead their team to back-to-back Stanley Cup appearances. Crosby took most of the credit for this success, and yes, Crosby was a big part of the success in the 2009 Stanley Cup. Crosby may have scored some goals and was important during the playoffs that season, but Malkin still had more points with 36 during the season. Malkin even went on to win the Conn Smythe Trophy. Yet, Malkin is still the second part of the dynamic duo know as Sid and Geno.
Over the past few years, while Crosby was hurt or struggling, it has been Malkin stepping up. This has happened again this year, as Crosby only has 2 goals and 5 assists through 14 games, whereas Malkin is leading the team with 4 goals and 7 assists for 11 points.
Malkin is the better player and has been for a while now. A lot of people questioned Malkin last year and the money he was making (around $9 million per year). In my eyes, he deserves this much. Whenever the Penguins struggle offensively, it is usually him who steps up. When Crosby isn’t playing like himself, it is Malkin who steps up and fills that void. When Crosby was facing his concussion issues or other injuries, it was Malkin who stepped up.
Now, I am not saying that Crosby isn’t good. Obviously, his awards speak for themselves, but he isn’t the same player who entered the league, nor the same player who scored the Gold Medal-winning goal. Crosby used to make the players around him better. Well, what happened this year with Phil Kessel? That’s right, Crosby and Kessel couldn’t link up. And again, it’s Malkin who has to step up to take Kessel on his wing and get Kessel scoring again.
Yes, Malkin makes more than Crosby, but that’s by Crosby’s choice. Crosby wants everything to have his number on it, so he gets paid $8.7 million. Malkin has also won the award that Crosby hasn’t, which is the Calder Trophy in 2007. Malkin has been the player carrying this team this season, like he has done in the past few seasons. Malkin is more dynamic and still producing. He deserves to be considered the best forward in Pittsburgh this season and going forward, at least until Sid bounces back or proves otherwise.