TSN released its list of the Top 50 players in the NHL for 2017-18 on Tuesday, and it had all the hallmarks of TSN’s list of Top 50 players in the NHL for 2017-18:
* Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, after one season, is No. 10, ahead of Nicklas Backstrom and John Tavares. Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner, after one season, is No. 50, ahead of … everyone not on the list, especially Willie Nylander, who is better. This is all just in case you needed a primer on where TSN is located and who owns them. Although kudos for showing enough restraint to keep Marleau off.
* Only five of the top 50 players are goalies. Which is usually how these things go.
* Leon Draisaitl is No. 23, ahead of Ryan Getzlaf and Patrice Bergeron, who have demonstrated a prowess at their position rather than riding Connor McDavid’s wing to a huge contract. (I love Leon Draisaitl, but c’mon, give it a year.)
And so on. But as a new list comes out, that means names from the old list must be jettisoned for bad seasons or aging out or because it’s no longer cool to consider them among the Top 50 players, like Matt Duchene, apparently.
Here are the Top 12 Players To No Longer Rank Among The Top 50 Players.
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers. (Last year: No. 31)
His lowest point production season since 2010 has prompted the Flyers to consider him for the wing, which is why he’s gone from being ranked ahead of Evgeni Kuznetsov to off the list, putting his “best player in the world” title in serious peril.
Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks (Last year: No. 33)
Thornton was actually off the poll in 2015 but returned in 2016 because he was so charming at the World Cup of Hockey. (OK, and a point per game player.) But time’s up, grandpa.
Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils (Last year: No. 37)
TSN reports that Hall is No. 51 in their balloting, but simply couldn’t overcome the Hall of Fame trajectory of Mitch Marner.
Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers (Last year: No. 38)
Ekblad battled injuries, an embarrassing season from his team and some bad puck luck (dat shooting percentage) to somehow become inferior to Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Alex Pietrangelo and Ryan Suter, behind whom he now ranks off the board.
Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks (Last year: No. 39)
This is fine, actually, given the poll’s tradition of precipitous drops for aging goal scorers. (see also: Ovechkin, Alex).
Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks (Last year: No. 40)
Off the list for the first time in five seasons. Why? Not Mitch Marner, obvi.
Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils (Last year: No. 41)
Completely justifiable, as any Devils fan who saw him wave to pucks flying by him last season can attest.
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings (Last year: No. 42)
Six more years!
Matt Duchene, Colorado Avalanche (Last year: No. 43)
The way this guy has been discussed over the summer’s Free Matty campaign, one would assume he’d be top 10. In reality … this is fine.
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers (Last year: No. 45)
Hey, he’s 35 and coming off a .910 save percentage season, so this is understandable. Top 50 most beautiful people, on the other hand…
Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche (Last year: No. 46)
MacKinnon didn’t actually make the ranking in 2015-16, but made it in 2016-17, because we were all like “see, he’s totally not a 38-point player” after getting 52 points in 72 games in the previous season. And now we’re like “uh, apparently, he’s a 53-point player” and he’s back off the list.
Ryan O’Reilly, Buffalo Sabres (Last year: No. 49)
This might be a good place to mention that Jack Eichel didn’t make the list last year after a 56-point rookie season. He’s No. 21 now.
The full new TSN list is here. Spoiler: Connor McDavid is where Sidney Crosby should be.