Earlier this week, TSN released their annual “Top 50” list and as with most of these lists, it was met with a lot of bitching and complaining from fans on Twitter.
Were there parts of the list that I disagree with? Absolutely. But, instead of just tweeting something like “Claude Giroux is too high” I’m going to make my own list and spoiler, Claude Giroux is much lower on my list.
A few things you’ll notice with my rankings: I favour centres and prefer an elite offensive player over an elite defensive player.
Here is my version of “The Top 50 Players in the NHL”:
1 – CONNOR McDAVID (TSN RANK: 1) No explanation necessary, everyone should know Connor is the best player in the world
2 – SIDNEY CROSBY (TSN RANK: 2) The second most dominant player in the NHL and there’s nothing wrong with that.
3 – EVGENI MALKIN (TSN RANK: 4) Maybe it’s because he’s on the same team as Crosby, but Geno doesn’t get enough credit for how skilled he is. He can dominate games.
4 – NIKITA KUCHEROV (TSN RANK: 5) Like I said, I love a good pure goal scorer and Kucherov is absolutely lethal in the offensive zone.
5 – NATHAN MacKINNON (TSN RANK: 3) I wrestled between him and Kucherov. He was a Hart Trophy candidate and I think we’ll see him continue to take strides forward this year.
6 – VICTOR HEDMAN (TSN RANK: 6) He’s the best defenseman in the league. He can be trusted in any situation. He can move the puck well and has a physical edge. He’s the best defender in the league.
7 – AUSTON MATTHEWS (TSN RANK: 8) Real hot take here, but I think Matthews is honestly one of the best players in the league. He makes scoring goals look easy and he makes his teammates better as well.
8 – ERIK KARLSSON (TSN RANK: 7) He’s the most dynamic offensive defenseman of this generation and it isn’t even close. People say he’s garbage in his own end (which I don’t buy), but that doesn’t matter when the puck is always in the other teams end.
9 – MARK SCHEIFELE (TSN RANK: 11) I think TSN had him too low. I know he gets the benefit of playing with some pretty fantastic linemates, but I don’t think you should discount his ability because of it. He’s such a solid centreman.
10 – TAYLOR HALL (TSN RANK: 9) Like I said, I really value goal scoring and few in the league do it better than Taylor Hall. A winger who can drive a line and makes his teammates better. He pretty much single-handily dragged New Jersey to the playoffs.
11 – JOHN TAVARES (TSN RANK: 16) He was the NHL’s hidden gem in Long Island. Everyone knew he was all-star calibre, but I think he’s truly a superstar.
12 – DREW DOUGHTY (TSN RANK: 10) Not as good offensively as Karlsson and not as good in his own end as Hedman, but he’s easily the third best defenseman in the league. He can really do it all from the back end.
13 – ALEX OVECHKIN (TSN RANK: 12) The best goal scorer of his generation. Perennial 40-50 goal scorer. Enough said.
14 – PATRICE BERGERON (TSN RANK: 17) I know I said I value offense, but I can only ignore Bergeron for so long. Best shutdown centre in the league.
15 – PATRICK KANE (TSN RANK: 15) Very few players are as dangerous in the offensive zone as Kane. He uses his patience and body positioning to create space better than almost anyone in the NHL.
16 – ALEKSANDER BARKOV (TSN RANK: 22) The next great two-way centre. He’s a guy you can build a team around. Put him on the powerplay, penalty kill, it doesn’t matter.
17 – ANZE KOPITAR (TSN RANK: 13) I think he’s getting to the declining stages of his career, but he’s still one of the best centres in the NHL regardless.
18 – STEVEN STAMKOS (TSN RANK: 21) It’s almost getting to the point where the likes of Kucherov and Hedman are starting to over shadow Stamkos, but they shouldn’t. Goal scoring machine.
19 – BLAKE WHEELER (TSN RANK: 20) He gets the benefit of playing with great linemates, but we also saw him dominate as a centre when Scheifele went down. Versatile forward.
20 – BRAD MARCHAND (TSN RANK: 14) I understand why people think Marchand should be higher and putting him at 20 is still a compliment. Goal scoring winger who will piss you off while he does it.
21 – TYLER SEGUIN (TSN RANK: 25) Old school hockey people like to say he has attitude problems and all that stuff. I don’t care about any of that because he’s a legitimate #1 centre. Those are valuable, if you haven’t heard.
22 – JAMIE BENN (TSN RANK: 24) One of the last few superstar power forwards in the league. I’ll take a team of Jamie Benn’s everyday.
23 – EVGENY KUZNETSOV (TSN RANK: 19) There should be no doubt as to who Washington’s best centre is. Offensively dynamic, creates space for his wingers in the offensive zone.
24 – PATRIK LAINE (TSN RANK: 23) Next year, I think he’ll be top 15 on this list. He could go down as the best goal scorer of this generation.
25 – ARTEMI PANARIN (TSN RANK: 26) The Columbus Blue Jackets have made the playoffs twice and Artemi Panarin’s ability to drive the offense is a big reason why. If I was a GM and he was a UFA, I would give him $10 million.
26 – VLADIMIR TARASENKO (TSN RANK: 37) A lethal goal scorer. There’s a lot of fantastic goal scorers in the NHL, and that knocked him down my list.
27 – BRENT BURNS (TSN RANK: 28) It was tough deciding where to slot all my defensemen in when making this list. Burns is a great d-man though, a #1 on pretty much any team
28 – CLAUDE GIROUX (TSN RANK: 18) Scores a lot, and I can’t ignore 102 points last season, but he’s inconsistent and that bugs me.
29 – SETH JONES (TSN RANK: 30) Hot take: Not only is Jones one of the best five d-men currently in the NHL, he will win MULTIPLE Norris’ in the next decade.
30 – FILIP FORSBERG (TSN RANK: 39) This is the year Forsberg hits the 80 point mark. That will lead to him being in my top 20 next year.
31 – DAVID PASTRNAK (TSN RANK: 29) Another lethal goal scorer that I had to try slot somewhere in this list. Pastrnak is just straight up filthy.
32 – PK SUBBAN (TSN RANK: 27) One of the most electric and entertaining players in the sport. I can’t get enough PK Subban. Runs a powerplay like few others, deadly in transition.
33 – JACK EICHEL (TSN RANK: 33) He’s probably still a little low on my list. Now that he has a bonafide goal scorer next to him, Eichel could start creeping towards the 100 point mark.
34 – JOHNNY GAUDREAU (TSN RANK: 31) Some games, you see him absolutely take over, but he doesn’t do it enough for me to put him any higher on this list.
35 – NIKLAS BACKSTROM (TSN RANK: 36) Consistently consistent. Plays a near flawless game in my opinion.
36 – PHIL KESSEL (TSN RANK: 40) The dude scored 92 points last year and he was barely talked about! He scores goals and does it consistently.
37 – ANDREI VASILEVSKIY (TSN RANK: 35) A future Vezina winner, no doubt. He’ll be a big reason why Tampa stays atop the Atlantic for years to come.
38 – SERGEI BOBROVSKY (TSN RANK: 38) One of the league’s most reliable regular season starters starters, just can’t find it in the playoffs.
39 – RYAN GETZLAF (TSN RANK: 43) No doubt he’s on the decline, but still a reliable #1 centre. A guy that frustrates opponents endlessly.
40 – ALEX PIETRANGELO (TSN RANK: 42) Should have got more Norris love this past season. An absolute work horse.
41 – ROMAN JOSI (TSN RANK: 32) He went from very underrated to almost overrated now. He plays on a great blueling, but he isn’t the best defender on Nashville.
42 – BRADEN HOLTBY (TSN RANK: 53) How did TSN not have him on their list? I know he had a bit of a rough regular season, but this guy was rock solid in their Cup run.
43 – LEON DRAISAITL (TSN RANK: 54) Sometimes the greatness of Connor McDavid makes people discount Leon. I think he’s a #1 centre on a lot of NHL teams.
44 – MARK STONE (TSN RANK: 49) It’s a damn shame he needs to spend one more year in Ottawa. One of the leagues few great power forwards.
45 – SEAN COUTURIER (TSN RANK: 46) After this year, I could see Couturier firmly becoming the Flyers best forward. Love his two-way game.
46 – CAREY PRICE (TSN RANK: 52) If he’s healthy, I believe he’s the best goalie in the NHL. The Habs are awful, but Price will keep them in a lot of games.
47 – JAKUB VORACEK (TSN RANK: 41) The third Flyer on my list. He’s a little inconsistent, but a dynamic offensive talent nonetheless.
48 – MATHEW BARZAL (TSN RANK: 34) He had a historic rookie season, but I think TSN had him way too high. If he does it again this year, without Tavares in front of him, then I’ll say he’s closer to the top 30.
49 – MIKKO RANTANEN (TSN RANK: 47) He’s the perfect wingman for Nathan MacKinnon. So much raw skill, should be a perennial all-star.
50 – OLIVER EKMAN-LARSSON (TSN RANK: NA) How did TSN not even rank OEL? It’s absurd. A true workhorse #1 defenseman. I think you could make a sound argument for him being on of the top five defensemen in the league.