Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo - Getty Images
In case you've been living under a rock since the Rangers shut out the Islanders Monday night, the New York Rangers are in first place in the Eastern Conference, shocking I know. Throughout the early season there have been many reasons for the Rangers success this year, Henrik Lundqvist being Henrik Lundqvist, a stalwart defense that has held strong even as bodies continue to fall around them, and the resurgence of Marian Gaborik being an elite goal scorer in the NHL.
We all know that Gaby had a bad year last year (22G 26A 48Pts in 62 games), whether it was due to playing injured, off ice problems that messed with his confidence or whatever it doesn't matter. Marian had an off year and the fanbase decided it was a good time to give up on him and move on somehow.
Well, I'm here to tell you that right now Marian Gaborik is the league's MVP 34 games into the season. He already leads the league in goals (tied with Steven Stamkos of the Lightning with 22) and his play this year has been nothing short of game changing, whether he scores in a game or not.
Now do I think Marian Gaborik will be named the MVP at the end of 82 games this year? No, but I do think he will be in the top 4 or 5 in voting, and right now he's the league's MVP.
Take the jump to see why I think Marian Gaborik has been better than players like Phil Kessel, Steven Stamkos, and other early league leaders thus far.
In July we all thought that Brad Richards would be the catalyst to bring Marian Gaborik back to where he should be and while early in the preseason and first few games of the season it seemed like the two elite players were building some chemistry they never really clicked and were split up and Gaby was eventually paired with Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan.
Even during the doldrums of the early season we could see that Marian was skating at another level, and you could tell that things were going to be better for Gaby this year.
Now why is Gaby the MVP? Well, because, to me, Marian Gaborik has been the Most Valuable Player to his team this season and in all due respect and praise to Henrik Lundqvist I think that if Gaby would go down with an injury then the Rangers would be in a worse case then if Henrik went down since the team's defense could compensate for the loss of the goaltender. This team, as currently constructed, can not replace Marian Gaborik's production and skill as easily nor can they mask his absence in the line up with a call up from Connecticut.
That, I think is the true definition of MVP, the player is so valuable to his team that if he were to be hurt for an extended period of time then the team would truly suffer and in the first 34 games of this season I can't find any other player in the NHL that has had that big of an impact on his team than our own Marian Gaborik
So guys, do you agree, disagree, feel that I shouldn't write another written word because my thoughts are horribly stupid and narrow sighted? Discuss below