Where should Sidney Crosby rank on the all-time greatest players list?


How about that Sidney Crosby? He’s hanging around the top five in the league scoring race, on pace for his best point production in 10 years, tracking to be just the fourth player 35 or older to score 100 points, and it’s prompted a lot of Twitter discourse about where he sits among the sport’s G.O.A.T. tier.

So that’s the question for this week’s Roundtable. Where do you rank Sidney Crosby on the all-time player list? Give an exact number.

MATT LARKIN: For me, he slots in fifth. Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux and Gordie Howe form my all-time hockey Mount Rushmore. But if a second group of sculptures was commissioned? Sid makes the cut along with Nick Lidstrom, Dominik Hasek and Alex Ovechkin for me. Crosby checks every G.O.A.T. box: amazingly good for a long time, the best player in the world for a long time, scoring titles, MVPs and, most of all, one of the greatest clutch players ever, one of two to win consecutive Conn Smythe Trophies. Crosby is the first-line center on my “You need to win one game” team. 

NICK ALBERGA: I’m right there with you, Matt. For me, he’s fifth, but I’d say he’s closer to fourth than he is to sixth — if that makes sense. All things considered, however, I do think Crosby has a chance to muscle his way onto Mount Rushmore sooner rather than later. He’s far from done, and on top of that, it doesn’t look like a statistical drop-off is coming anytime soon either. I just wonder about that Pens roster, but again, Crosby’s so great that he’s fully capable of putting a mediocre team on his back. The sky’s the limit.

MIKE MCKENNA: You guys might think I’m crazy. But I have Crosby seventh. For me, there’s no disputing Wayne Gretzky as the G.O.A.T. Gordie Howe is second on the list. Mario Lemieux is third. And after those three, things get a little weird. When it comes to ranking all-time greats, I think one of the most important factors is longevity. It’s why I have Bobby Orr way down in eighth despite him being utterly dominant and revolutionizing how defenders play. In my book, Orr simply didn’t suit up for enough games. And I tend to think – shocker! – that goaltenders don’t get the respect they deserve. I have Martin Brodeur at fourth and Patrick Roy sixth. Ray Bourque is sandwiched between them in fifth place. It’s so hard to compare eras, but I believe by the time Crosby calls it a career he could rank as high as third on my list. But there’s no catching The Great One or Mr. Hockey.

STEVEN ELLIS: For me, I’m going with Crosby at fourth. Gretzky No. 1 is easy. No. 2 is Howe and 3 is Mario Lemieux. There’s a huge argument for Alex Ovechkin here, too. But I think, ignoring the points, Crosby has been a central figure on so many winning teams, a captain throughout. And then, he’s still one of the highest-scoring players when adjusted for era despite missing so much time due to injury. If he stayed healthy, I think he’s No. 3 all-time. He plays in the deepest, most competitive era in the NHL, and yet he’s won multiple Cups, and not as a passenger.

FRANK SERAVALLI: After careful consideration, I have Sidney Crosby ranked third all-time, behind only Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr. I think at this point, Crosby has passed his mentor and former owner in Mario Lemieux and also Mr. Hockey. Those are bold statements, but I believe it speaks to the consistent excellence of Crosby’s career. He’s been a jaw-dropping player for almost his entire existence, start to finish, and overcome a lot along the way. Yes, you could make similar arguments with Super Mario and No. 4, but how much better would Crosby appear if he didn’t miss the equivalent of nearly two full seasons between the ages of 20 and 25? The eras are so different and it’s so difficult to compare, but I believe it’s harder to play now than ever before, against the deepest and most complete league ever. That means something. But here’s where it gets interesting: Where will Crosby end up when it’s all said and done? Because I think Connor McDavid is on the path to be better than them all, including Gretzky.


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