Is Gaborik League’s Best?

December 21, 2011, by

Marian Gaborik is on course for 50 goals this season. How impressive is it? Well in the entire history of the Rangers organisation you can count on one hand the amount of players that have reached that milestone as a Blueshirt. If he gets there it will be a hell of a feat.

Pointing out that potential milestone is just one way of acknowledging the tremendous year the Slovakian winger is having. Gaborik’s goal scoring exploits and overall form this season this may also a question as to his status among the game’s best. Is the Rangers winger the best right wing in the game this season?

Gaborik is doing so many things right this season. First of all he’s playing a better defensive game and showing a much better (and more consistent) effort to get the puck back. In the offensive zone he’s putting the puck on net as much as possible while he’s very effective on the power play (on course for 13 powerplay goals, which would be his second best return).

Above all, Gaborik is going to the high traffic areas to score a lot of his goals. How many have you seen come from rebounds and right in front of the net? A lot. He’s effective too as his 17% success rate suggests. In short, there isn’t anything Gaborik is doing wrong right now and he deserves to be acknowledged among the best.

When people think of the best right wings in the game people usually think Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Martin St Louis, Jerome Iginla and Corey Perry. Gaborik stands eye to eye with all of them. Perry sports an ugly -11 and isn’t leading the Ducks to any kind of success this season. St Louis is having a solid but unspectacular season in Tampa, while Iginla isn’t the same force he was in recent seasons. Only Kane and Hossa of the aforementioned few are having excellent years offensively. Which brings us to another point in the argument for Gaborik as the league’s best right winger.

Gaborik is doing everything so successfully this season with two kids as line mates. While Derek Stepan is absolutely on his way to forging a fine career and Artem Anisimov is improving every season, Gaborik doesn’t have the benefit of a Jonathan Toews, Steven Stamkos or Ryan Getzlaf as an elite center as Brad Richards is doing just nicely on the second line. Gaborik doesn’t have a Bobby Ryan or Patrick Sharp on his opposite wing. Yes, Gaborik is part of a line blessed with chemistry and has two very talented youngsters to assist him but he certainly hasn’t the same calibre of line mates (yet) to feed off.

As Gaborik potentially works towards career highs in total shots, power play goals, game winning goals and most importantly total goals the Slovakian star deserves to be – at the very least – in the discussion as the league’s best right winger. He deserves an all star nod and hopefully when he pots number 50 later this season he’ll be deserving of a huge ovation from the Garden faithful.


  1. Matt J says:

    Gaborik has been great this year. He’s definitely one of the elite scorers in the game. But I’d still take a guy like stamkos or iginla if age isn’t a factor because they bring a bit more to the table. But this year he is doing everything. Even his defense has been good.

  2. The Suit says:

    Great post. Gaborik is no doubt one of the best wings in the game. The best part about Gabby is he’s not just a one trick pony, which sooo many offensive stars seem to be these days. He makes plays in the DZ, he back checks, etc.

    These are qualities that a team needs of their stars in order to win championships.

    • Chris says:

      Thanks dude. Yep, you look at a guy like Kovalchuk who is electrifying but borderline ECHL defensively and one dimensional… Players like Gabby and Kovalchuk are both stars but one type wins cups one type doesn’t…

      • The Suit says:

        Yup. That’s why you don’t build around guys like Jeff Carter or Alexander Semin. Whoops.

  3. scrangersfan says:

    Good post Chris, It is about time someone recognize the great season Gabi is having sofar. I say sofar because of the history of injuries hes had over the years. Personally I would not even consider tradink him for any of the players you’re referring to in your post with maybe the exception og Stemkos and only because Stemkos is younger. At this time of the season IMO. Gabi is by far the best right or left wing in the NHL.

    • Chris says:

      I’d say Sedin and even in a poor year, Ovechkin are the best wingers in the game but again, both of those players have always had elite line-mates. Gaborik even still, hasn’t had a full year of elite help.

      I do think Stepan or Anisimov have the potential to be fully fledged top liners though so if they continue to develop it could be a hell of a line long term.

      • scrangersfan says:

        I’ve forgot about Sedin,he is without a doubt one of the best but I have my doubts about Ovie.I love the guy he is very exciding but a bit one demensional. Could be a liability on defense but it is just my opinion. I’am a huge fan of Gabi so maybe I’am a little bias.

        • Chris says:

          I don’t blame you for your bias but I personally don’t think AO is one dimensional. He’s a great stick handler who can score goals several ways and plays a physical game.

          • scrangersfan says:

            I can’t argue with you about Ovie’s physicality, he plays as tough is anyone. He would make a great bookend on the other side of Stepan. What a line that would be. (just dreaming Chris,)

        • The Suit says:

          Ovie’s really making a lot of people look bad this year including myself. Big disappointment.

          • Chris says:

            I owned him last year and this year, it coincided with him being human. I’ll not draft him next year; just watch him rebound!

  4. Pete says:

    Sure Gaby hasnt had an “elite” center, which makes his 42 goal season a few tears ago that much more impressive, he does however have a center with “chemistry”. A center who seems to be on his way to possibly being elite one day.

    • scrangersfan says:

      I agree with you Pete, Stepan sure looks like a real deal to me also.What a future this kid have ahead of him. I’am thrilled that he is a Ranger.

  5. Walt says:

    Gabbi is proving to be a great free agent signing, and I am still convinced that last year was bad due to an injured shoulder!

    One of the best, DARN right he is, and mentioning him with the likes of all that were mentioned, with the exception of Stamkos, I’ll take him any day. Sedin is a great player, because of his brother, their chemistry is second to none, but he too is one dimentional. Ovie is having a bad year, the teams in the NHL have figured him out, and now know how to shut him down. Thank goodness we didn’t get Kovelchuk, he has never been a winner, and playing for the Devils, he still hasn’t shown much there. They named a street after Kovy, one way, horay for me, and screw you, that is his mind set!!!

    Great post, and lets hope that Gabby continues playing with the kids for another five years!

  6. kgb16 says:

    You get the feeling the Gaborik believes he can beat anybody, he plays with swagger. When he gets the puck the Grarden bristles with electricity and even if he doesn’t score, some of his moves are just breathtaking.