In THN’s 2014-15 Yearbook, we asked our panel of executives, broadcasters and observers to rank the best hockey players in the world right now, heading into this season. If you were starting a franchise from scratch today, which players would you take?
We ended up with a ranking of the top 50 NHLers and we’re releasing that list in chunks of 10. Today, we present players ranked 11-20 in the NHL and where they ranked on last year’s Top 50 (LY). On Tuesday, we'll share our top 10 NHL players.
11. SHEA WEBER | NASHVILLE | D | LY: 27
One of two things missing from Weber’s resume is a Norris Trophy. The wait for that won’t be much longer, though a Cup could take a while. Nobody in the Western Conference has a harder shot.
12. EVGENI MALKIN | PITTSBURGH | C | LY: 7
Over the past five seasons, Malkin has missed exactly 100 games, which accounts for almost a quarter of each of those seasons. Injuries hit him again in 2013-14, but when he plays, he remains an elite talent.
13. P.K. SUBBAN | MONTREAL | D | LY: 23
His ability to make a difference in games has been well documented. Nobody soaks up the limelight better than Subban, and few players excel in it as spectacularly as he does.
14. JAMIE BENN | DALLAS | LW | LY: 40
There was no more pleasant surprise at the Olympics than Benn, who’s the highest-ranked winger on our list this season. Benn plays the heavy game required in the Western Conference and is an elite power forward.
15. PATRICK KANE | CHICAGO | RW | LY: 8
There’s no player in the league more dynamic with the puck on his stick than Kane. There might not be a player who combines his level of skill and speed, either.
16. ALEX OVECHKIN | WASHINGTON | RW | LY: 2
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Ovechkin has had dips in his career, but not this dramatic. That’s funny, since he led the league in goals with 51. His defensive deficiencies push him down the list.
17. RYAN SUTER | MINNESOTA | D | LY: 17
The only player in the league to play 29-plus minutes per game in the regular season and the playoffs. Suter is also good for 40 to 50 points.
18. TYLER SEGUIN | DALLAS | C | LY: N/R
A trade to Dallas allowed the offensive side of Seguin to bust out. Consider this: he scored 84 points in 2013-14, which is 29 more than he would have had in the 82-game equivalent of the lockout season.
19. HENRIK LUNDQVIST | NY RANGERS | G | LY: 24
He couldn’t win the Stanley Cup he so craves, but that was hardly Lundqvist’s fault. He’s the heartbeat of a Rangers team that relies heavily on him.
20. COREY PERRY | ANAHEIM | RW | LY: 30
Only Stamkos and Ovechkin have more than the 172 goals Perry has over the past five seasons. He and Getzlaf tied for the league lead in 5-on-5 points last season.
These rankings originally appeared in the 2014-15 THN Yearbook.