I have decided to rank the NHL’s best players under the age of 25. From Connor McDavid to Alex Galchenyuk, the NHL’s young stars are loaded with talent. Where do your favorite player’s rank? Keep reading to find out!
Galchenyuk is very valuable to the Montreal Canadiens organization. Although Galchenyuk hasn’t had the breakout season that people have been waiting for, he has the potential to have that breakout season in the near future. Galchenyuk has proven he can be a reliable top-six forward and just needs to take his game to the next level and have that breakout season sooner rather than later.
24. Jonathan Drouin, Montreal Canadiens
Drouin was recently traded from the Lightning to the Canadiens in exchange for Mikhail Sergachev. Drouin had some attitude problems while in Tampa, lets hope those attitude problems don’t persist in Montreal. Drouin was the third overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and has been said to be a “puck wizard” who has very good puck handling skills. Drouin has be given the No. 24 spot because I think he could do much better if he didn’t have the attitude that he does.
23. Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
Barkov was the second overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Barkov established himself as one of the Panthers’ top scorers early on and has made a tremendous impact on the penalty kill and powerplay. Barkov can do it all, he can give his teammates fantastic scoring opportunities while also giving himself those opportunities as well. At just 21 years old, Barkov is making a name for himself in the NHL.
22. Colton Parayko, St. Louis Blues
Parayko is one of the Blues’ best young defenseman. During the 2015-16 season, Parayko lead all rookies with a +28 rating and was also second among rookie defenseman in scoring with 9 goals and 24 assists for 33 points. During the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2016, Parayko lead all rookies with 31 blocked shots. Parayko can do it all for the Blues, and he will turn out to be a great defenseman as he ages.
21. Jake Guentzel, Pittsburgh Penguins
For a third round pick, Jake Guentzel has been absolutely phenomenal for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He played a major role in their 2017 quest for the Cup and is exceptionally skilled. Guentzel has earned the No. 21 spot over the previous named players because of his high hockey IQ, skill, speed and grit. Guentzel is very effective off the rush and has great vision to make plays. During the 2016-17 season, Guentzel scored 16 goals and recorded 17 assists in 40 games played. During the 2016-17 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Guentzel scored 13 goals and recorded 8 assists for 21 points in 25 games played. For me, Guentzel has earned this spot because he is not only offensively talented, but he has a lot of grit and is determined to make an influence defensively as well.
20. William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs
William Nylander is one of many young studs that play for the Toronto Maple Leafs. During the 2016-17 season, he scored 22 goals and recorded 39 assists for 61 points in 81 games played. At just 21 years old, Nylander is certainly making a name for himself. William is the son of longtime forward Michael Nylander who played for many teams in the NHL. William was selected 8th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Nylander is strong on the puck and can dangle and deke opponents very easily.
19. Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs
Marner was picked 4th overall by the Leafs in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. This past season he scored 19 goals and recorded 42 assists for 61 points in 77 games played. Marner is pretty small but counteracts his lack of size in his speed, passing ability, creativity, and drive to score goals. He therefore earns the No. 19 spot on my list.
18. Seth Jones, Columbus Blue Jackets
Seth Jones was drafted 4th overall by the Nashville Predators in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. During the 2016-17 season, Jones recorded 42 points in 72 games played for the Blue Jackets. Jones has great passing and playmaking skills that make him a great addition to the offensive rush. He is low-maintenance and is only going to get better as he ages. He earns the No. 18 spot because of his potential to grow.
17. Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus selected Zach Werenski 8th overall in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Werenski is a high-end defenseman who knows how to move the puck efficiently. Werenski has very good vision and is an elite, smooth skater. Werenski certainly has the wheels to get himself out of trouble and will jump up in the play offensively. He earns the No. 17 spot for being one of the NHL’s best young defenseman.
16. Nikolaj Ehlers, Winnipeg Jets
Nikolaj Ehlers is phenomenal. He was the 9th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. During the 2016-17 season, Ehlers scored 25 goals and recorded 39 assists for 64 points in 82 games played. Speed, elite sniping skills, and being able to dance through defenders has earned Ehlers the No. 16 spot.
15. Brandon Saad, Chicago Blackhawks
It's hard to believe that Brandon Saad is only 24 years old. In 368 games played, Saad has scored 107 goals and recorded 125 assists for 232 points. In his career, he is also a +68 and is a very dependable forward. Saad is a very strong skater who has great instincts and great speed. He was a Calder Trophy finalist in 2013 and has kept playing at a strong pace. Saad earns the No. 15 spot because among all of these young guys, he has some of the most NHL experience.
14. Hampus Lindholm, Anaheim Ducks
What can I say about Hampus Lindholm? For one thing he was the 6th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Lindholm has earned the No. 14 spot due to his fluid skating, long reach and terrific vision which allows him to quickly and efficiently move the puck up the ice. Lindholm was a +13 during the 2016-17 NHL season and in his career so far is a +74 which is terrific for a guy who is only 23 years old.
13. Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins
Matt Murray is a phenomenal goaltender who followed in the footsteps of Marc-Andre Fleury. During the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs he had a GAA of 1.70 and an SV% of .937. Murray is a tall and very athletic goaltender who has the potential to be the best goaltender in the NHL some day. He has a quick glove and stick which allows him to make key saves. Murray receives No. 13 on this list because he is one of the best young goaltenders in the league.
12. Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators
At just 23 years old, Filip Forsberg is one of Nashville’s leading goal scorers. During the 2016-17 season he scored 31 goals and recorded 21 assists for 58 points in 82 games played. During the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Forsberg recorded 16 points in 22 games in the Predators quest for the Cup. Forsberg was drafted 11th overall by the Washington Capitals in 2012. He is a fairly well rounded player who doesn’t have many deficiencies in his game. Forsberg is a great puck mover and goal scorer who is very creative and that is why he earns the No. 12 spot on my list.
11. Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets
Scheifele is 24 years old which is hard to believe. He is poised and very smart with the puck, he plays like he is older than 24 years old. Scheifele recorded 82 points in 79 games played during the 2016-17 season. Scheifele brings size and skill to the Winnipeg Jets and he is a force to be reckoned with. He earns the No. 11 spot on my list because he is one of the most talented young centers in the NHL.
10. David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins
David Pastrnak was an absolute steal at 25th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Pastrnak has great hands, great shooting skills, vision and is a top tier athlete. “Pasta” is extremely creative and is able to deke and dangle around opponents with ease. He is only going to get better as he ages and will eventually turn into one of the NHL's top players. David Pastrnak earns the No. 10 spot on my list because of his amazing scoring ability and amazing hands. And to my fellow Bruins fans, Sign Pasta!
9. Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers
Leon Draisaitl was just signed to a huge contract by Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli. Draisaitl was drafted third overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. His size, speed and vision make him a very effective goal scorer with the ability to make plays efficiently. Draisaitl is Edmonton’s No. 2 center behind none other than Connor McDavid and will emerge to be one of the NHL’s best centers. He lands the No. 9 spot on my list because of his size and great scoring/playmaking ability.
8. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
MacKinnon was the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and has lived up to being the first overall pick ever since he entered the league. With the Avs struggling, MacKinnon has been one of the team’s top goal scorers and will only get better has the Avs continue to rebuild. MacKinnon is a great goal scorer, smooth skater and great playmaker which make him one of the league’s best players. He has great hands and can score in important situations and that is why he earns the No. 8 spot on my list.
7. Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres
Jack Eichel is a terrific goal scorer who can handle the puck well. He is one of the top goal scorers for the Sabres and he is a real leader on and off the ice. Eichel is a top tier talent and will continue to get better as he spends time in the NHL. He earns the No. 7 spot on my list for his hands, scoring ability and leadership.
6. Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames
Gaudreau has turned into one of the best players for the Calgary Flames. He was a fourth round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and will continue to develop nicely. Despite his size, Gaudreau is able to control the puck well and score goals effectively.
5. Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets
Laine will turn into one of the NHL’s greatest players. At just 19 years old he scored 36 goals and recorded 28 assists for 64 points in 73 games played. NHL.com says this about Laine, “The owner of a rocket shot, good speed and tremendous skill to go along with the reach provided by his 6-foot-4, 206-pound frame, Laine is a threat every time he steps on the ice.” Laine earns the No. 5 spot on my list because let’s be real, he is a serious threat to all of his opponents.
4. Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers
Ekblad is one of the best young defenseman in the NHL. He won the Calder Trophy in 2015 as the NHL’s top rookie. Ekblad makes the players around him better with his fantastic hockey IQ and great vision. He earns the No. 4 pick on my list as he definitely deserves it.
3. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews is the epitome of an elite hockey player. He is definitely the Leafs top player and will only get better. Matthews was tremendous last season and won the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie.
2. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
Kucherov earned the No. 2 spot over Matthews because he has spent more time in the NHL. Kucherov recorded 85 points in 74 games played last season which was his best season yet. Nikita Kucherov has been a consistent goal scorer ever since he entered the league and will continue to do so throughout his career.
1. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
Do I really have to say why McDavid is number one on the list? We all know he is the best player in the NHL right now and will eventually be better than Sidney Crosby. McDavid has amazing hands, speed, goal scoring and playmaking capability. He is the full package and the Oilers got really lucky with this guy. I’m a huge McDavid fan because he is very fun to watch.
Other players that should be mentioned: Dylan Larkin, Rasmus Ristolainen, Alexander Wennberg, Sean Monahan, Jacob Trouba, Oscar Klefbom, Viktor Arvidsson and Jonathan Huberdeau.