As the NHL marches towards a return to normalcy, we now have a date and place where the season will continue: August 1st in the hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto.
And nothing gets people more excited about the return of hockey like a good old fashioned debate!
Thanks to the NHL’s abundance of young talent, we at the Hockey Player’s Club brainstormed, argued, and agreed on our Top 10 Players under the age of 25.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know!
10. Cale Makar (21) – Colorado Avalanche
It was a tough call between Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes for this spot. Hughes has been having a tremendous rookie season for the Canucks and may very well take the Calder Trophy with Makar missing time with injury. But, we’re giving the edge to Makar although there is little double both players have extremely bright futures given their speed, skill, and hockey IQ.
9. Mitch Marner (23) – Toronto Maple Leafs
The fourth overall pick in 2015 has played second fiddle to Auston Matthews for most of his time in Toronto. His reputation was soured by his contract dispute, but whenever Marner is on the ice he is productive. He exploded for 94 points in 2019 and through 300 career games has nearly a point per game pace.
8. Aleksander Barkov (24) – Florida Panthers
The second overall pick in the 2013 draft, Barkov has finally developed into the top line center he was projected to be. Named the team captain at age 22, Barkov has shown poise at both ends of the ice, breaking out in 2019 with an impressive 96 points. He should be one of the best two-way centers in the game for years to come.
7. Elias Pettersson (21) – Vancouver Canucks
The youth movement is full steam ahead in Vancouver and leading the new generation on the West Coast is Swedish center Elias Petterson. Last year’s Calder Trophy winner received the ultimate compliment when Wayne Gretzky said he sees himself in the young Swede. Silky, smooth and surprisingly good in his own end for his size, Pettersson should be threatening for scoring titles before long.
6. Jack Eichel (23) – Buffalo Sabres
The man who will be forever compared to Connor McDavid has had an excellent NHL career thus far in his own right. The captain of the Buffalo Sabres has been consistently near a point per game in his career, and was in the middle of a breakout season with 78 points through the first 68 games of the season.
5. Auston Matthews (22) – Toronto Maple Leafs
The first overall pick in 2016, Matthews has been consistently good throughout his career but hasn’t been the dominant force people thought he may be and has actually been out produced by teammate Mitch Marner through about the same number of games. Still, Matthews has game-breaking abilities and has led the Maple Leafs turnaround in the last few years.
4. David Pastrnak (24) – Boston Bruins
What a season ‘Pasta’ was having before Covid-19 shut the NHL down. The young Czech had amassed a whopping 95 points in only 70 games, including 48 goals. After a slow start to his career, Pastrnak has come on as one of the game’s deadliest snipers, with strong play in the defensive end as well. Pastrnak should be one of the favorites to take home the Hart Trophy this season.
3. Leon Draisaitl (24) – Edmonton Oilers
What a breakout for the young German in Edmonton and this is after scoring 105 points in 2019. Draisaitl is the runaway favorite for the Hart Trophy this season, with 110 points in only 71 games. The hulking power forward could very well be number one on this list, were it not for a couple of generational talents.
2. Nathan Mackinnon (24) – Colorado Avalanche
The other guy from Nova Scotia, Mackinnon is as offensively dominant as they come. Built like a power forward but with the speed, finesse, and craftiness of a sniper, Mackinnon has all the tools to be potentially one of the best offensive players of his generation. He is in the midst of his third straight season with at least 90 points and has the Avalanche as a serious Cup contender.
1. Connor McDavid (23) – Edmonton Oilers
Was there ever any doubt? The true Next One in the NHL, McDavid is a once in a generation talent that we are lucky to be able to watch live. Well on his way to his fourth straight 100+ point season, McDavid has already won a Hart Trophy as the league MVP and two Art Ross Trophies as the league’s leading scorer. Oh and he’s only 23. The true litmus test will be if he can ever bring a Stanley Cup back to Edmonton.