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.