With the start of the 2012-13 NHL season finally here, TSN has unveiled the National Hockey League's Top 50 players as selected by a panel of experts. And for the third year in a row, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is on top of the list.
Crosby missed the first 20 games of the 2011-12 season due to the lingering effects of a concussion. He returned on Nov. 21, 2011 and scored two goals and two assists in a 5-0 win over the New York Islanders. But after playing seven more games, Crosby's symptoms returned and did not return to game action until he was back at 100 per cent. He finally came back on Mar. 15 and despite only playing 22 games last season, Crosby tallied eight goals and 37 points - including his 600th career point.
Making the biggest jump in the ranking was Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux, who moved from No. 25 in 2011-12 to the No. 3 spot. Last season, the 24-year-old centre and dominated the league in scoring for most of the season. He finished third overall in the running for the Art Ross Trophy and was also nominated for the Hart Trophy. Giroux ended the season the Flyers' top regular season point-scorer and their top playoff point scorer.
Another player turning heads going into this season is Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson. Not ranked in the Top 50 last year, the 22-year-old Norris Trophy winner is at No. 11. Karlsson led all defencemen in scoring last season, beating out Dustin Byfuglien and Brian Campbell by more than 20 points.
Four other players found themselves amongst the Top 50 this season after standout performances in 2011-12. Stanley Cup champion and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick sits at No. 16, New York Islanders forward John Tavares is 20th, Senators centre Jason Spezza is at No. 23 and Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers is 25th.
The order for the NHL's Top 50 players was determined by a cumulative point system based on individual rankings and selected by a panel of experts.