Top 100 NHL Forwards


ESPN has published it’s list of the top 100 forwards in the NHL.

Now, there are those who will deride the ability of ESPN, the American sports network to gauge, the quality of NHL players considering they give short shrift to the league on air.

So, before we get started, let’s get the “shooting the messenger” nonsense out of the way right off the bat.

ESPN polled an impressive panel of knowledgeable  hockey observers for their list:

Martin Biron, TSN/RDS/NHL Network

Scott Burnside,

Mike Brophy,

Craig Custance, ESPN The Magazine

Sarah Goldstein,

Paul Grant,

Tim Kavanagh, ESPN Insider

Chris Kuc, Chicago Tribune

Pierre LeBrun,

Dave Lozo, Bleacher Report

Vince Masi, ESPN

Victoria Matiash, ESPN Fantasy

Sean McIndoe, Grantland

Barry Melrose, ESPN

Risto Pakarinen, Co-author “This is Russia: Life in the KHL”

Scott Powers, ESPN Chicago

Corey Pronman, ESPN Insider

Michael Russo, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Timo Seppa, Hockey Prospectus/ESPN Insider

Frank Seravalli, Philadelphia Daily News

Katie Strang,

Rob Vollman, ESPN Insider

Ryan Wagman, Hockey Prospectus/ESPN Insider

Aaron Ward, TSN

Mike Zeisberger, Toronto Sun

Those folks know a thing or two about hockey, if ever there was a concern. Fair?

So, in looking at the list, I don’t see a lot of surprises but I thought it interesting that the best players are not always 1st overall draft picks when many draft junkies always tout taking the “Beat Player Available” when drafting. (which of course is nothing more than opinion and, often, bending to conventional wisdom.

What I find interesting is which of these players were selected #1 overall and how they stack up.

1) Crosby (1st)

2) Stamkos (2nd)

3) Tavares (4th)

3) Kane (6th)

3) Ovechkin (9th)

4) Nathan MacKinnon (17th)

5) Joe Thornton (21st)

6) Taylor Hall (24th)

7) Rick Nash (35th)

8) Ryan Nugent Hopkins (61st)

There are only 8 #1 overall picks on the list and 92 who were picked later. So much for BPA.

Of the remaining 92, there are many picked later in the 1st round and even more who were selected after the 1st.

Also striking is that the Oilers’ much ballyhooed 1st overall picks are ranked 24th and 61st while the 3rd member of the Oilers 3 1st overall picks, Nail Yakupov, likely would not make a list of the top 500 forwards in the NHL based on his performance.

Of note as well is that Colorado has 4 players on the list in MacKinnon (17th), Duchene (25th), O’Reilly (38th) and Landeskog (42nd) while the St. Louis Blues have 5 despite drafting much lower than most teams.






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