Colby’s Corner meets Connor for divisional MVP’s. It will be a four part series, where Connor Keith and I (Colby) will pick, by division, the MVP of the forwards, defensemen and goalies. This week, the two of us will discuss the Metropolitan division.
Personally, I’m leaning towards Crosby. I know, go figure, the Pens fan leans that way. But here’s the thing: Crosby led the Metro in points with his 85, which is 14 more than the Alex Ovechkin. Sure, Ovi has the goals lead by over a dozen, and Crosby doesn’t have the division assists lead (that one actually belongs to Evgeny Kuznetsov). But, the fact that Crosby is a versatile player is what sets him apart. He has the second most goals in the division, and the same is true of assists – hence the points lead. That unpredictability of not knowing whether he’s going to take the shot or dump it off makes him an invaluable weapon.
Colby: Alex Ovechkin
I have to agree with Connor on this one, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby were the best two forwards in this division. Although I’m giving advantage to Ovechkin because Crosby had a horrible start to the season and only really turned it on the final few months of the season. I understand that’s a great time to be hot, but I can’t give a season MVP to a player who didn’t do much in the first half of the year.
Not to mention what Ovechkin did this year: he had a 50 goal season and 70 point year also. Yes, he was on the best team in the league, but a lot of the reasons players like Justin Williams and TJ Oshie are successful is because other teams are trying to focus on Ovechkin. This man had a strong season and ended on a hat-trick in his final few games.
I’m not picking him just because he was a star for my fantasy team this season (But seriously though, he was. Like, fifth highest scorer all season, good for the team that won our league’s President’s Trophy.). Of the three candidates I had for this title, he far and away had the best season. His main competition was Olli Maatta, as Maatta had a +27 on the year to McDonagh’s +26. The thing is though, not only does the Blueshirt lead the Penguin in blocks – in my opinion the primary way of gauging a true defenseman’s efforts – but he also helped himself out by scoring 34 points, including nine goals. Even better than that, not only did he take more shots, but he also connected on 1.7% more of those attempts. What a stud.
The other man that had his hat in the ring was Karl Alzner. I sort of hinted at it before, but I like blocks. A lot. Alzner fits that bill, as he has over 60 more than McDonagh, and even scored more points and assists than Maatta, but you simply can’t look past his +14 rating. I know, what a terrible stat. What some teams wouldn’t give to have that consistency. But, it pales to McDonagh and Maatta’s efforts, eliminating him from contention.
I am really surprised Connor didn’t pick this Penguin, so I will. Kris Letang may not be my favorite person but he had a solid year. Letang had 51 assists and 67 points on the year. We also can point out he is 3rd in points by a defenseman. Among those top 3 defensemen, he had the best plus minus of +9. If we gave Erik Karlsson an MVP in Atlantic, we have to consider Letang for Metro. There, I reached my quota for nice comments about the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Connor: Goaltender – Braden Holtby
This one should be a lot easier than I made it, but I think I’m going to have to go with Holtby. I started out with a tough list of five goaltenders to choose from (Marc-Andre Fleury, Thomas Greiss, Holtby, Michal Neuvirth and Cory Schneider), all goaltenders I consider to be very good. Yes, I’m fully aware I did not include Henrik Lundqvist, but I think it’s safe to say that this was not the best season of his incredible career, as the Rangers had 217 goals against, barely below the league average.
Anyways, back to Holtby. There’s obviously the 48 wins to his credit, although with an offense like Washington’s, I don’t think that’s where you fully gauge him. What really sets him apart from Schneider in this instance is his nine losses. Yes, nine, after taking the decision in 64 games. Schneider? 25 losses, only two fewer than his wins (which, just like Holtby, can be partially attributed to New Jersey’s poor offense).
To close things out, I’m most impressed by Holtby’s success given his age. Whether or not you buy into the theory that goaltenders typically peak around the same age, I think it’s safe to assume that experience will improve your game. Schneider is showing that at the ripe age of 29. Holtby is only 26. If he continues improving until that point, God save the Metropolitan Division. Martin Brodeur to Lundqvist to Holtby is definitely not what those teams were hoping for.
Colby: Braden Holtby
I don’t think this is even a question at this point, when you tie the record for most wins in single season and your name is now with Martin Brodeur, you deserve a trophy. He is a big reason the Caps are as good as they are. I think this was a break out year for him and I think after this season you have to consider him an elite goalie in the NHL. He was the best goalie in the whole league and at this point I hope it just translates to the playoffs.