On Sunday, Peyton Manning won his second Super Bowl and cemented himself into a higher pantheon of NFL quarterbacks. Parlaying this into the NHL, who are the players that stand to gain the most from winning a Stanley Cup this year?
The criticism around Crosby has been very intense as the Penguins have only one Stanley Cup since he joined the team. Many put the onus on Crosby’s shoulders for the team’s overall play but a lot of what has happened is out of his control. Think of what happened with Crosby after Jordan Staal left as a similar situation to the Cleveland Cavaliers years with Lebron James without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Crosby’s team has had some lean years where he just carried the team on his shoulders. Luckily during this time Crosby has had Evgeni Malkin emerge to be a two-headed monster in the middle. Is there a third amigo that can bring this team to the promised land? Maybe Phil Kessel? Maybe Kris Letang? Many Crosby detractors are calling him a one-hit wonder but a championship can shut those critics up. The term “generational” is thrown around often but Crosby is the definition of that type of player. A Stanley Cup win would put him up into the stratosphere.
His legacy may have already been cemented at this point, but Jagr winning another championship would only add to it. You can’t take anything away from Jagr as his longevity is extremely impressive given the sport that he plays. He very well could keep playing until he is in his 50’s, but I foresee him chasing a few more championships before he is done.
ESPN’s Craig Custance caught up with Jagr and had this to say about the possibility of Manning going out on top:
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) February 8, 2016
In addition to the championships, he could also make a run at trying to cement second place on the all-time scoring list. he is currently sitting at 1,840 and will only need 47 more points to tie second place. Don’t be surprised if he sticks around for his own personal ego as well. A Stanley Cup puts a cherry on top an already impressive career, so why not get another one for Jagr?
Easily the most underrated on this list and possibly the most underrated throughout the league, Thornton has been one of the NHL’s best and no one has realized it for quite a while. It may be because he plays on the west coast and no one is giving him the recognition that he deserves. He is 33rd in all-time points. Thornton is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, but what is the last thing he needs? A Stanley Cup. The Sharks have been good this year but not great and they could turn the tide with a couple of deadline deals. The Western Conference playoffs are filled with land mines, but if they make it through it could be the perfect moment for Thornton to go out on top.