NHL Top 100 Players Part 1: 100-76
NHL Top 100 Players Part 2: 75-51
NHL Top 100 Players Part 3: 50-26
The last part of the series shows the best 25 players in the league. This part is heavy on the Atlantic Division, as it features 5 members of the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3 from the Bruins and Maple Leafs, and 2 from the Panthers for a grand total of 13 out of 25. It also features 2 Capitals, Sharks, and Flames.
25. John Carlson
Carlson had an outstanding year for the Capitals. The defenseman scored over 70 points, providing stability on both sides of the ice. After signing a pricey long term deal, Carlson backed up the price tag with an outstanding year. The blueliner looks to anchor the defense of a potentially weaker Capitals team after the departures of Andre Burakovsky and Brett Connolly.
24. John Tavares
Tavares had an excellent year in his first as a Leaf. Still, Tavares is one of the most overrated players in the NHL. Scoring 47 goals is a solid season, but Tavares only contributed 41 assists, and still is widely known as a "tap in artist" who scores mostly easy goals. This is only supported by his numbers, which clearly show his offensive deficiencies and one dimensional play.
23. Brayden Point
Point had an incredible year for Tampa Bay, vaulting them into the stratosphere of what an NHL team can accomplish. Scoring over 90 points and 40 goals, Point’s efficiency and contributions led the Lightning to score over 125 points for the first time in the NHL since 1996.
22. Mark Giordano
The Norris Trophy winner and all star defenseman had a stellar year for Calgary. A defensive anchor and an offensive force, Giordano provided a solid presence on the Flames blueline while still providing 70 points of offense. He is also an incredibly underrated commodity that any team would be lucky to have.
21. Steven Stamkos
Stamkos had an outstanding year for the Tampa Bay Lightning. A longtime Lightning captain, Stamkos continues to produce in mass capacity. He is a star in the NHL, a consistent 80+ point scorer and continuous all star. The Lightning may be slightly weaker due to the departure of Anton Stralman, the restricted free agency of Brayden Point, and the trade ofJT Miller, but Stamkos is a mark of consistency on the Lightning.
20. Auston Matthews
Matthews is the most overrated player in the NHL. Mostly thought to be solidly in the top 10, Matthews did not have the stats or the playoff performance to back up that opinion. Despite missing some games, Matthews scored 73 points in 68 games, which translates to about (only) 88 points in a full schedule. In playoff games against the Bruins the last two years, Matthews has been a complete non-factor at times. While incredibly talented, Matthews is the Bryce Harper of the NHL.
19. Aleksander Barkov
Barkov is an absolute stud, but is a very quiet superstar. The Lady Byng trophy recipient scored more than 90 points last year in one of the best seasons in Florida Panthers history. Playing for the Panthers, though, a team with very few fans, is a publicity hole, leading him to not be discussed in the NHL elite as frequently as he should be.
18. Patrice Bergeron
Bergeron is the best two-way player in the league. Clutch, calm, and very very good, Bergeron had 79 points, even after missing 17 games. These statistics, plus his defensive prowess, place Bergeron in the elite level of NHL players. Considered underrated around the league, Bergeron is finally starting to get recognized as a top NHL center.
17. Sergei Bobrovsky
Bobrovsky, recently signed by the Panthers away from the Columbus Blue Jackets for 7 years and 70 million, had a superb year, cemented by strong performances against the Tampa Bay Lightning before eventually losing to the Bruins. The goaltender will look to take Florida to the next level, from an 80 point, underachieving team to a playoff contender.
16. Leon Draisaitl
Draisaitl had a stellar year, only trailing Alexander Ovechkin by one goal in the goal scoring department. Similarly to Connor McDavid, Draisaitl is stuck in Edmonton, a dysfunctional franchise with no talent surrounding him and McDavid. The German winger is still an elite player in the league, even in Edmonton.
15. Brent Burns
The defenseman led the San Jose Sharks in points with 83. Despite being a tad overrated on the defensive side of the ice, Burns had such a stellar offensive year to prove his placement on this list. The Sharks were forced to lose Joe Pavelski due to cap casualties, but Burns looks to continue to lead a Sharks defensive corps that features Erik Karlsson.
14. David Pastrnak
Pastrnak had a year that helped to cement him in the upper echelon of NHL talent, scoring 38 goals and over 80 points despite missing 16 games with a thumb injury. The playoffs proved to be a bit of a struggle for Pastrnak, but he still proved himself as a top NHL talent with an all star season.
13. Johnny Gaudreau
Johnny Hockey had an outstanding year, leading the Calgary Flames to be the top team in points in the Western Conference. Despite failing in the playoffs, Gaudreau is still a high octane, elite player that is just outside the top 10 in the league.
12. Erik Karlsson
The Sharks defenseman is an absolute force on the blueline. Matched with fellow Norris candidate Brent Burns, Karlsson had a “meh” year for his standards, scoring 45 points but only adding 3 goals, but he was held back through various injuries and ailments.
11. Mitch Marner
Marner is the only player I respect on the Toronto Maple Leafs. A superstar who keeps his head down and stays quiet, Marner is a problem for any team who runs into the Toronto Maple Leafs. I believe Marner is indeed better than his more publicized teammate, Auston Matthews. Posting over 60 assists last year, Marner clearly prioritized getting his teammates looks over his own chances on net.
10. Ben Bishop
The Dallas goaltender is incredibly underrated, and his strong season and postseason has vaulted him to this spot in the list. He was able to carry the Dallas Stars to a game 7 loss against the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues, and anyone who watched that series would agree that Bishop was the only reason that series was even close as he had almost no help from his skaters.
9. Brad Marchand
I will probably get a lot of flack from non-Bruins fans putting Marchand this high. However, he is definitely a top 10 player in the NHL, especially after posting a 100 point season, the Bruins first since the days of Joe Thornton. Marchand, despite his history, is a great player in this league and should be recognized as such.
8. Andrei Vasilevskiy
The Lightning’s goaltender won his first Vezina trophy last year, despite questions after his poor playoff performance . Even though the Russian netminder is a little overrated and is helped by his stellar defensive unit, he is still the best goaltender in the NHL, and his Vezina trophy victory backs that up.
7. Nathan MacKinnon
The Colorado center was nothing short of spectacular following his breakout year after the departure of longtime Avalanche center Matt Duchene. His production had a huge impact on the Avalanche’s success as a whole, as they made the playoffs for two consecutive years on the backs of MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen, and look to take their place as one of the stronger teams in the NHL with the addition of Cale Makar, the best player in college hockey last year.
6. Patrick Kane
The Chicago Blackhawks barely missed the playoffs last year after everyone expected them to be way out of the picture. They did that with resurgent seasons from franchise anchors Kane and Jonathan Toews (who scored 81 points), but they would not have come as close as they did without Kane. The American winger put Chicago on the map this past year with a 110 point season, including a point streak of 20 games, which set an NHL record.
5. Victor Hedman
A very solid two-way defenseman, I think his defense gives him the edge over Erik Karlsson of the San Jose Sharks when it comes to defensemen. Even though he lost out on the Norris Trophy to Flames defenseman Mark Giordano, Hedman is still the best defenseman in the NHL.
4. Sidney Crosby
The Penguins center is another one of those aging vets that can still produce. Another 100 point scorer, Crosby and the Penguins lost Phil Kessel in the offseason, but will still continue to produce as long as he is healthy. Crosby is cemented in the top 5 of the NHL and is a surefire hall of famer.
3. Alex Ovechkin
Ovechkin has continuously proven doubters wrong as the Capitals winger won another Richard trophy, which was his EIGHTH, scoring 51 goals. After winning the Stanley Cup, Ovechkin has clearly cemented his legacy and a spot in Toronto.
2. Nikita Kucherov
Kucherov is an absolute stud for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Coming off a 120 point plus season, along with a Hart Trophy, Kucherov makes a strong argument to take the top spot. The only reason Connor McDavid garnered the top spot was because of Kucherov’s endless supply of help
1. Connor McDavid
McDavid makes this list for obvious reasons. Many people have put Kucherov here due to his 125 point season last year, but Kucherov was on a substantially better team. McDavid is just so incredibly good that he scored over 110 points with really only Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and a collection of busts and a shell of Milan Lucic (who is now a Calgary Flame), and a couple of okay offensive defensemen. Kucherov has Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, okay, we get the point. McDavid should be the consensus best NHL player.
Photo Credits: Winslow Townson, USA Today