Top 25 under 25: Ranking the NHL’s best young players

NHL

The National Hockey League’s young talent pool is basically as deep as the Mariana Trench at this point. There are franchise players, superstars, championship building blocks and game-changers in those depths, and more arrive every year in the draft.

Consider that last year’s list of the top 25 players under 25 years old graduated two players that were nominated for league MVP last season; Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche and Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers, the latter of whom won the award. Taking those open slots on this year’s list? Two Calder Trophy-nominated defenseman who look like they might battle for league honors for the next 15 years.

We ranked each position and then compared the lists against each other. We’ve taken into account traditional stats and analytics, from sites like Natural Stat Trick and Evolving Hockey. Current body of work is the biggest factor in the decision process, but we also project how the next few seasons will play out for them. We debated the list internally and sought input from some trusted league experts. Like any ranking, it’s subjective and debate is welcomed.

Note that all players must be 24 years old or younger as of Jan. 13, 2021. Players with Calder Trophy eligibility are not eligible to be included on the list, as there isn’t enough of a body of work — so wait your turn, Alexis Lafreniere.

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