IN CONJUNCTION WITH TIM OGER
It’s Friday, folks! Who doesn’t love Friday? Friday means the last day of the work week before the weekend. Friday means being able to stay up late and not having to worry about setting an alarm the next morning. But best of all, Friday means the next ten of our Top 50 NHL Players in the league today has been released!
We thought long and hard about which players we would feature in our Top 50, and we feel pretty confident in our selections. While choosing our Top 50, we decided to base placement on which players performed the best within the past three seasons. Career numbers were also taken into consideration, as well as every stat from points to plus/minus.
As always, be sure to tune into Inside the Ice next Thursday at 8pm EST for the finale of our Top 50 countdown as we release the final Top 20! You can also watch on demand on Facebook if you miss it. Articles will also be released every Tuesday and Friday between now and December 1 in 10-player increments, so make sure to watch for those to follow along with our countdown!
Now, let’s get to the next fragment of our Top 50 countdown. Here are our selections for the GCSN Top 50 Current NHL Players: #40-31!
40. Erik Karlsson, D (SJS)
The first European player to enter our countdown, 30-year-old Erik Karlsson has been one of the most consistent blueliners over the last few seasons.
Karlsson was drafted 15th overall by the 2008 Ottawa Senators, and spent nine seasons in Canada’s capital before being traded to the San Jose Sharks right before the 2018-19 season. It’s safe to say that Karlsson did not have has best year last season, as he was -15 and mustered only 6 goals to go along with 34 assists for 40 points.
Over the course of his last three seasons, he tallied 18 goals and 129 assists for 147 points in 180 games. He was also a -34 and had 51 power play points. Over his career Karlsson has decent numbers, posting 135 goals and 468 assists for 603 points in 736 career games. He is also a career -45 with 26 game winning goals.
Playing in the yellow and blue for his home country of Sweden, Karlsson won gold at the 2007 U18 World Hockey Tournament, silver at the 2009 World Juniors, bronze at the 2010 World Hockey Championship, and another silver at the 2014 Olympics in which he was also named the Best Defenceman in the Olympics.
Oh, and did we mention that Erik Karlsson is also a six-time NHL All-Star, a two-time Norris winner and a two-time Norris finalist? Yeah, that’s pretty important.
39. Patrik Laine, RW (WPG)
A towering 6’5” winger who went second overall to the Winnipeg Jets in 2016, Patrik Laine has developed a reputation as an elusive goal-scorer.
Hailing from Finland, Laine nearly averaged a point per game for the Jets last season, as he scored 28 goals with 35 assists for 63 points and was +8 in 68 games. Over the last three years in which he played in 232 games, Laine recorded a -8 to go along with 102 goals and 81 assists for 183 points.
In 305 career games with the Jets, Laine has potted 138 goals and assisted on 109 more, for 247 points. 17 goals were recorded as the game winner, but what really stands out is that 52 of his career 138 goals came on the power play. That’s a ridiculous 38% of his goals that came with the man advantage!
An NHL All-Star and Calder Trophy finalist in 2017, Patrik Laine has also found success playing internationally for Finland. He won consecutive silvers at the 2015 U18 Hockey Championships and the 2016 World Hockey Championships, and followed those up with a gold medal at the 2016 World Juniors. Not a bad resume for a 22-year-old winger who will only get better.
38. Aleksander Barkov, C (FLA)
To this day, Aleksander Barkov continues to be one of the most underrated players in hockey. Perhaps this is because he plays in a smaller market?
The 25-year-old Finn lit the lamp 20 times last season and added 42 assists on top of that, for 62 points in 66 games with a +2 rating. If that performance wasn’t impressive enough, Barkov has been averaging more than a point per game over the last three seasons, registering 82 goals and 154 assists for 236 points and a +8 in 227 games.
Barkov has spent his entire career with the Florida Panthers, who drafted him 2nd overall in 2013, and is now the captain of the team. Over the entirety of his 479 career games with the Panthers, Barkov has recorded 155 goals and 252 assists for 407 points to go along with a +/- of 32. He has also registered 111 points on the power play and 27 game winning goals.
Barkov’s best season came in the 2018-19 season, when he scored 35 times and assisted on 61 others for 96 points in a full 82 game season. The Panthers’ captain was also a 2018 All-Star and the recipient of the 2019 Lady Byng Trophy, awarded to the most sportsmanlike player of the season.
Aleksander Barkov won a bronze medal in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games with his native Team Finland. He also joined Patrik Laine on the 2016 Finnish team that won silver at the World Hockey Championships.
37. Johnny Gaudreau, LW (CGY)
Whoever says small hockey players will never find success has obviously not watched Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames.
Coming in at 5’9” and 165 pounds, the 27-year-old New Jersey native was drafted 104th overall by the Flames in 2011 and has proved all the doubters wrong.
Gaudreau has had himself a fantastic career so far. Last season, he tallied 18 goals and 40 assists for 58 points in 70 games while going -10 over that span. Pretty average numbers, we know, but wait until you hear the rest.
Gaudreau has been nothing short of unstoppable over his past three seasons. In fact, he had his best season to date in 2018-19, with 36 goals and 99 points through 82 games. Over three seasons, Gaudreau has 78 goals and 163 assists for 241 points and a +10 over 232 games. Over his career, all with the Flames, he’s put up 151 goals and 294 assists for 445 points in 464 games, and he also boasts a career +19, 27 game winners and 127 power play points.
He has also had success with Team USA internationally, winning gold at the 2013 World Juniors in Russia, and bronze at the 2018 World Championship. To add to Gaudreau’s accomplishments, he won the Lady Byng Trophy in 2017 and is a five-time All-Star.
Now do you see why they call him Johnny Hockey?
36. Taylor Hall, LW (BUF)
Since being drafted first overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2010, 29-year-old Taylor Hall is now on his fourth team. The amount of playoff games he’s played in those 10 years? Just 14.
The league hasn’t been kind for Taylor Hall, that’s for sure. He signed with the Buffalo Sabres as a free agent this offseason looking for a fresh start. Last season, split between the New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes, Hall had 52 points (16-36-52) in 65 games and was -14 through the year (-11 NJD, -3 ARI)
Hall has had a steady 1.06 points per game average over the last three seasons, scoring 68 goals and 116 assists for 184 points in 174 games. In his career (6 years EDM, 3.5 years NJD, 0.5 years ARI) he has 218 goals, 345 assists, 563 points, -42, 37 game winning goals and 163 power play points, all within 627 games.
Some may make the argument that Hall is a “cancer” to teams, but let’s look at the teams he’s been on in his career. Every season he was in Edmonton the Oilers were god awful. With the Devils, he was never on a contending team, and the Coyotes’ fast start gradually slowed down once he landed in Arizona. Now in Buffalo, a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in 10 years, Hall has yet to go to an actual contender. Despite this, he has definitely held his own as an elite player in the league.
He is a five-time All-Star and won the Hart Trophy as the league MVP in 2018. Playing internationally with Canada, Taylor Hall has had nothing but success. He has six gold medals, split between U17 World Championships (1), World Juniors (3) and the World Hockey Championships (2).
35. Ryan O’Reilly, C (STL)
With Taylor Hall now a member of the Sabres, a former Sabre comes in at #35.
Ryan O’Reilly, a 33rd overall pick of the 2009 Colorado Avalanche and now a member of the St. Louis Blues, is an important part of the Missouri team’s offence. A member of the Blues’ Stanley Cup winning team in 2019 in which he had one of the best seasons of his career, O’Reilly followed it up with a 12 goal, 61 point campaign last season that also saw him post a +11. Along with a Stanley Cup ring, O’Reilly is a three-time All-Star, 2019 Conn Smythe and Selke Trophy recipient, and a 2014 Lady Byng winner.
Over the last three seasons split between Buffalo and St. Louis, he scored 64 goals and 135 assists for 199 points in 234 games. Looking at his career, he has an impressive 560 points in 804 games, with a -20 and 28 game winning goals.
Internationally with Team Canada, he has five gold medals. He won gold in the 2008 U17 World Championships and 2008 IH18 Worlds, as well as three gold medals in the World Hockey Championships in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
34. Brent Burns, D (SJS)
Drafted 20th overall by the Minnesota Wild in 2003, 35-year-old Brent Burns has pretty much won everything but a Stanley Cup.
A member of the San Jose Sharks for the past nine seasons, Burns did not have the best of seasons last year on a rebuilding Sharks squad. The blueliner netted 12 goals and 33 assists for 45 points and was -22 over 70 regular season games. Over the past three years, he has compiled 40 goals and 155 assists for 195 points in 234 games while also going -25.
However, Burns makes this list for other accomplishments he’s had in his career, namely the NHL Awards and on the international stage. Over 1,113 career NHL games, Burns has 210 goals, 484 assists, 694 points, 74 power play goals, 39 game winners, and a -7. Definitely not bad numbers for a 16-year veteran of the league. Brent Burns is also a six-time NHL All-Star, 2017 Norris Trophy winner and two-time Norris Trophy finalist.
With Team Canada at the 2004 World Juniors, he won a silver medal. He also won silver at the 2008 Hockey World Cup and gold at the 2015 tournament, and was named Best Defenceman at both tournaments. Burns also won a gold medal at the 2016 World Hockey Championships.
33. Tyler Seguin, C (DAL)
With seeing some of the success that Tyler Seguin has had in his career, we can definitely see why some Boston Bruins fans may still be bitter about trading him away.
In a controversial 2013 trade that sent Seguin to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a package of players including Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith, both of which are no longer with the Bruins, Seguin has shone in his time with Dallas. Last season, he had 17 goals and 33 assists for 50 points and a -2 in 69 games.
However, over the last three seasons with the Stars, Seguin has registered 90 goals and 208 points with a plus/minus of +27. In his NHL career, he has 279 goals and 356 assists for 635 points in 741 games. He also has a career +82, which is outstanding for a centreman and shows how great he is on even strength.
Seguin also has a Stanley Cup ring with the Bruins in 2011, and has been a Stanley Cup Finalist in 2013 and 2020. He is a six-time NHL All-Star.
Donning the red and white threads with Team Canada, Seguin has a gold medal in the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia, a gold medal in the 2012 Spengler Cup, and another gold medal in 2015 Worlds.
32. Alex Pietrangelo, D (VGK)
A two-time NHL All-Star and 2019 Stanley Cup Champion, defenceman Alex Pietrangelo is moving on from the team that drafted him 4th overall in 2008.
The 30-year-old had spent his entire career with the St. Louis Blues, where he served as team captain for the past four seasons, before signing with the Vegas Golden Knights as a free agent this offseason. Pietrangelo is coming off a successful season that saw him score 16 times and assist on 36 others, to record 52 points and a +11 in 70 games.
Over the course of three seasons, the 6’3” blueliner has 147 points and a +21 in 219 games. Looking at his career numbers, he has 109 goals and 450 points in 758 games, all with the Blues. He also has a very impressive +77 all-time, with 21 power play goals and 14 game winning goals. He also scored the winning goal in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final that won the Blues franchise their first Stanley Cup.
Pietrangelo is a member of hockey’s elusive Triple Gold Club, which means throughout his career he has a Stanley Cup ring, an Olympic gold medal and a World Championship gold.
To expand on that and looking at his numbers playing internationally with Team Canada, he won a gold medal in the 2009 World Juniors and a silver medal in the World Juniors the following year. Pietrangelo also has an Olympic gold medal in 2014 and a World Hockey Championship gold in 2016.
Vegas is getting one hell of a defenceman.
31. Mitch Marner, RW (TOR)
Mitch Marner held out throughout the entire 2019 offseason and demanded big money, which the Toronto Maple Leafs management eventually gave him. Looking at his stats, it’s clear why that is.
Drafted 4th overall by his hometown Leafs in 2015, the winger scored 16 goals and 51 assists for 67 points, and was +6 through 59 games. His 1.14 points per game last season was 9th in the NHL in that category.
Over the last three seasons, Marner has tallied 44 goals and a solid 210 points along with a +27 over 223 games. He is nearly averaging a point per game throughout his entire career, 0.97 to be exact, as he’s put up 291 points through an even 300 career games. Of the 291 career points, 93 of them came on the power play, while 14 of his career goals were considered the game winner.
Mitch Marner was an NHL All-Star in 2020, his first All-Star appearance. Looking at his accomplishments playing internationally with Team Canada, he won a silver medal in 2017 at the World Hockey Championship.
So, after demanding that big pay raise last offseason, did the Leafs overpay Marner? Given their current cap situation, probably. Is Marner worth every penny? Absolutely.
That wraps up the next portion of our Top 50 NHLers! Tune into Inside the Ice next Thursday for the finale as we announce the final 20, and stay tuned to GCSN for the next article, #30-21, coming on Tuesday! Have a great weekend, hockey fans!
Featured photo courtesy of Shane Kunz / GCSN
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