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'll start releasing that list in chunks of 10, starting today. Without further ado, here are players 41-50 in the NHL and where they ranked on last year's Top 50 (LY). Stay tuned for the rest of the list.
41. ALEXANDER STEEN | ST. LOUIS | LW | LY: N/R
According to the number crunchers, only Jonathan Toews faces tougher competition than Steen does. And he scored 33 goals.
42. ZDENO CHARA | BOSTON | D | LY: 15
He has slowed considerably and is vulnerable defensively, but remains a force for the powerhouse Bruins.
43. JOE THORNTON | SAN JOSE | C | LY: N/R
His ice time is way down, but Thornton still manages to finish near the top of the league in assists.
44. PHIL KESSEL | TORONTO | RW | LY: 41
He has it all – speed, skill, a blazing shot – but Kessel remains unable to elevate those around him, though he’s an underrated playmaker.
45. VICTOR HEDMAN | TAMPA BAY | D | LY: N/R
After emerging from that awkward development stage with a struggling team, Hedman is poised for very good things.
46. LOGAN COUTURE | SAN JOSE | C | LY: 28
When healthy, Couture is good for 30 goals a season, but that trajectory could be pointed upward.
47. BRENT SEABROOK | CHICAGO | D | LY: N/R
He proved he’s much more than Duncan Keith’s wingman a long time ago and is an underrated gem.
48. JAROMIR JAGR | NEW JERSEY | RW | LY: N/R
The only player who would have been on this list 20 years ago, he remains a top possession player in the league.
49. NATHAN MacKINNON | COLORADO | C | LY: N/R
Being stuck behind Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly didn’t stop him from being an offensive force in his rookie season.
50. PATRICK SHARP | CHICAGO | LW | LY: N/R
The playoffs and Olympics weren’t kind to him, but Sharp still has the tools to be a major offensive contributor.
These rankings originally appeared in the 2014-15 THN Yearbook.