I stumbled into the middle of a Twitter conversation last week regarding the most complete players in the NHL. It evolved into whether or not Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks was the front runner.
These are the tweets that made me want to find out more:
Fair enough. Toews is complete. But there’s a few players in the league who do all those things. Toews does them very well, but I wanted to see who else these people considered complete. I was floored by what I found:
It was a genuine Toews is better than Crosby showdown! The above tweet was the answer to someone pointing out how a Sidney Crosby shot block led to the Stanley Cup clinching empty netter. This “Shahrad” wasn’t convinced. I had to get to the bottom of this.
The overall discussion naturally turned into Pens fans vs. Hawks fans which was the usual good time. But my side chat with Shahrad turned into a thoughtful back and forth that forced me to consider something. If I’m going to say Jonathan Toews isn’t the most complete player, I’m going to have to name players who I consider more complete.
This was my stance on Toews going in, and it remains my stance today:
For me personally, Crosby is the most complete player in the NHL. He’s the best leader, the most highly skilled player, the hardest worker, and he does too many things at a level the others just plain can’t reach. After considering it that evening, I would probably put Toews in fourth place behind Pavel Datsyuk and Patrice Bergeron. His insane leadership qualities and dependability in all situations to me rank him second, but his technical skills bring his overall “completeness” out of the running for top spot. What keeps him from dropping even farther than 4th is that he’s not as far back in technical skills as the highly skilled players across the league are in leadership and defensive qualities.
Without this conversation I wouldn’t have realized I think so highly of Toews and I really enjoyed the challenge forwarded by Shahrad and others. Having to really take a step back and consider the other side is important. I also now know that I stand by my tweet more than ever. For me, Toews is a great leader and a really good player. Not a great player.
Keep in mind the spirit of the question. Take away terms like Most Valuable Player or Best Player, and really think about the overall game. Who do you think is the most Complete Player in the NHL?
Leave your answer in the comments.