The SB Nation NHL Top 25 Players Under Age 25
No. 25: Alex Galchenyuk, Canadiens center
No. 24: Jonathan Drouin, Canadiens winger
No. 23: Sean Monahan, Flames center
No. 22: Brandon Saad, Blackhawks winger
No. 21: Hampus Lindholm, Ducks defenseman
No. 20: Colton Parayko, Blues defenseman
No. 19: Nikolaj Ehlers, Jets winger
No. 18: Seth Jones, Blue Jackets defenseman
No. 17: Mitch Marner, Maple Leafs winger
No. 16: William Nylander, Maple Leafs winger
No. 15: Aleksander Barkov, Panthers center
No. 14: Nathan MacKinnon, Avalanche center
No. 13: Aaron Ekblad, Panthers defenseman
No. 12: Filip Forsberg, Predators winger
No. 11: Zach Werenski, Blue Jackets defenseman
No. 10: Matt Murray, Penguins goaltender
No. 9: Johnny Gaudreau, Flames winger
No. 8: Jack Eichel, Sabres center
No. 7: Leon Draisaitl, Oilers center
No. 6: Mark Scheifele, Jets center
No. 5: David Pastrnak, Bruins winger
No. 4: Patrik Laine, Jets winger
No. 3: Nikita Kucherov, Lightning winger
No. 2: Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs center
No. 1: Connor McDavid, Oilers center
Honorable Mentions: Dougie Hamilton, Flames defenseman; Viktor Arvidsson, Predators winger; Oscar Klefbom, Oilers defenseman; Jacob Trouba, Jets defenseman; Jaccob Slavin, Hurricanes defenseman; Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers winger; John Klingberg, Stars defenseman; John Gibson, Ducks goaltender; Jake Guentzel, Penguins winger; Rickard Rakell, Ducks winger
The NHL, for all of its growing pains in becoming a multi-billion dollar business, still has a very bright future. There’s no greater reason for that than a generation of young players entering the league who will usher in a new era of speed and skill on the ice.
Connor McDavid is the marquee name there, having already won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP at age 20 after entering the league with as much hype as any player since Sidney Crosby. Now he’s already challenging Crosby for the title of NHL’s best player, and he’s got the contract to reflect that.
McDavid is a blazing-fast microcosm of where the NHL is going, but he’s not the only young player who’s turning the league on its head. It’s becoming clear that hockey is a young man’s game, Jaromir Jagrs of the world withstanding. Auston Matthews, Jack Eichel, and others will join McDavid in taking over the league sooner than later.
With that in mind, here at SB Nation we decided it was a good idea to try to sort out the best of this next generation. Our team blogs rank their respective organizations’ best young players each year, so we’re going to do the same for the entire NHL.
Over the next month, we’ll be ranking the top 25 players under age 25 in the entire league. There will be one post per day for each player, and we’ll be keeping track of the complete rankings here. As you’ll realize by the quality of players left off the list, the future of the NHL is loaded with amazing talent.
Who was eligible for the rankings?
Players needed to be age 24 or younger by Aug. 1, 2017 in order to be eligible for the rankings. If a player turned 25 before that date, he’s out (Sorry, Ryan Johansen). The rankings are also limited to players who are under contract with an NHL team, or have their rights held by an NHL team.
How the voting worked
The rankings were determined by ballots submitted from 21 different SB Nation NHL team blog writers, plus national writers Satchel Price and Mary Clarke. Each one submitted their own list of the top 25 players under 25, then the rankings were broken down into points — 25 points for No. 1, 24 points for No. 2, 23 points for No. 3, and so on. We took those point totals and added them up to get the combined list you’ll be reading over the next several weeks.
Should I get mad that my favorite player is missing?
You could, but it’s worth remembering that this list includes perspectives from a lot of different people. In total, 64 different players received at least one point, including some names you probably wouldn’t expect. So a lot of great players are missing from the list, and that’s more a reflection of the incredible amount of young talent in the NHL than anything.