NHL Network will air the premiere episode of "Top 50 NHL Players Right Now," a five-part series, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. ET. New episodes will air each Sunday through Sept. 29.
Before the network unveils 10 players on its list in each of the first four episodes, an NHL.com writer will reveal his or her top players in one of the four divisions the previous Friday. In the fifth week, NHL.com columnist Nicholas J. Cotsonika will reveal his top 10 players in the League. Today, NHL.com staff writer Tom Gulitti ranks his top 10 players in the Metropolitan Division.
[RELATED: #NHLTopPlayers Right Now | Top 20 Centers | Top 20 Wings | Top 20 Defensemen | Top 10 Goalies]
1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
The 32-year-old center finished second behind Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov in the voting for the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player after he had 100 points (35 goals, 65 assists) for the sixth time in his 14 NHL seasons. Crosby's 551 points (208 goals, 343 assists) since the start of the 2013-14 season are most in the NHL, ahead of Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, who is second with 514.
Video: Top 10 plays of 2018-19: Crosby
2. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Ovechkin, who turns 34 on Sept. 17, scored 51 goals last season to lead the NHL for a record eighth time. With his eighth 50-goal season, the left wing moved within one of Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy for the most in NHL history. Ovechkin has led the NHL in goals in six of the past seven seasons and scored 50 goals in four of the past six. Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, who scored 50 goals last season, is the only other player in the League to score 50 in the past six seasons.
Video: Top 10 plays of 2018-19: Ovechkin
3. Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers
A playmaking left wing and a skilled finisher, Panarin will add another dimension to the Rangers offense after signing a seven-year contract with them July 1. The 27-year-old had an NHL career-high 87 points (28 goals, 59 assists) last season to break the single-season Columbus Blue Jackets record he set when he had 82 points (27 goals, 55 assists) in 2017-18. Panarin has 320 points (116 goals, 204 assists) in 322 games during his four NHL seasons, eighth-most in the League during that stretch.
Video: Panarin lands at No. 8 on the Top 20 Wings list
4. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
Malkin had a disappointing 2018-19 season by his standards with 72 points (21 goals, 51 assists) in 68 games and a minus-25 rating, down from his 98 points (42 goals, 56 assists) and plus-16 rating in 78 games in 2017-18. But the 33-year-old center averaged more than a point a game (1.06) for the eighth consecutive season. With 1,002 points (391 goals, 611 assists) in 852 games, his career average of 1.18 points per game ranks third among active players (at least 250 games) behind Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (1.30) and Crosby (1.29).
5. Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Giroux led the Flyers with 85 points (22 goals, 63 assists) in 82 games last season but couldn't match his 2017-18 season, when he established NHL career highs with 34 goals, 68 assists and 102 points. Though the 31-year-old has played mostly left wing the past two seasons, he remains one of the League's best on face-offs, winning 57.9 percent last season (674 of 1,164), which was fourth-best among those who took at least 500 face-offs. Giroux's 471 points (145 goals, 326 assists) since the start of 2013-14 are fourth-most in the NHL behind Crosby, Kane and Ovechkin (476).
Video: Top five plays of 2018-19: Giroux
6. Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils
After being limited to 33 games and 37 points (11 goals, 26 assists) last season because of a left knee injury that required surgery, Hall will look to return to the form that helped him win the Hart Trophy in 2017-18 when he set NHL career highs with 39 goals, 54 assists, 93 points and a plus-14 rating. The 27-year-old left wing has 183 points (70 goals, 113 assists) in 181 games during three seasons with New Jersey.
Video: Taylor Hall comes in at No. 15 on the list
7. Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets
Despite missing the first seven games of last season because of a knee injury, Jones remained one of the best all-around defensemen in the NHL and had 46 points (nine goals, 37 assists) in 75 games. Jones, who turns 25 on Oct. 3, plays in all situations and was fourth in the NHL in averaging 25:49 of ice time. He had nine points (three goals, six assists) in 10 Stanley Cup Playoff games to help the Blue Jackets sweep the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round and win a postseason series for the first time in their history.
Video: Seth Jones checks in at No. 5 on the list
8. Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes
Aho established himself as one of the League's elite players last season and led the Hurricanes to their first playoff berth since 2009 by setting NHL career highs with 30 goals, 53 assists, 83 points, a plus-25-rating, 24 power-play points and seven game-winning goals. The 22-year-old center helped Carolina reach the Eastern Conference Final with 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 15 playoff games.
Video: Sebastian Aho checks in at No. 14 on the list
9. John Carlson, Washington Capitals
The 29-year-old defenseman has elevated his game the past two seasons and was voted to the 2018-19 NHL Second All-Star Team -- his first time on the first or second team. His 70 points and 57 assists last season were NHL career highs and his 138 points (28 goals, 110 assists) during the past two seasons rank second in the League among defensemen behind Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks (150 points).
10. Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals
Backstrom remains one of the best playmakers in the NHL. The 31-year-old center's 642 assists since entering the League in 2007-08 are the most in the NHL, and his 873 points (231 goals, 642 assists) are the fifth-most. Backstrom's two-way play continues to be underrated; he never has finished higher than seventh in the voting for the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward and cracked the top 10 only twice (seventh in 2016-17, 10th in 2009-10).