It wasn't a surprise to see a Carolina Hurricanes player rank No. 12 on Sportsnet.ca's Mike Brophy's list of Top 50 NHL players. The surprise was that it wasn't Eric Staal. Brophy ranked Cam Ward No. 12, only behind Vancouver's Roberto Luongo (No. 4 overall) among goaltenders. The list was was headed by Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin at 1-2-3. On Ward: The Carolina netminder was the NHL's best goalie in the second half of last season and will now be charged with trying to put a halt to his team's history of good year/bad year/good year/bad year ... Staal also checked in near the top, ranking 15th on the list. Brophy said: The oldest of the four Staal brothers popped a career-best 40 goals last season and looks primed to take his place among the best scoring forwards in the game. OK, so he forgot about Staal's 45-goal 2005-06 campaign, but you can't deny that Brophy — a long-time contributor to The Hockey News — knows the game.