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Toews, Kane among ESPN's "Top 5 under 25"

by Brad Boron / Chicago Blackhawks

In a league where developing and keeping young talent is a priority, the Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are among the best of the best, according to's rankings of the best NHL players under 25. Toews earned the top spot on the list, besting the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby, while Kane placed fourth overall, just behind Washington's Nicklas Backstrom. Boston's Tuukka Rask rounds out the top 5.

The list, which takes into account "a track record of success based on current statistics (both conventional and advanced), future potential and the context under which they play," said of Toews:

"Drafted third overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2006 Entry Draft, he made the jump to the NHL in the fall of 2007 at age 18 and since then, has made Chicago's best players even better.

"Starting in the faceoff dot, where he has won 56.6 percent of his draws, Toews is the engine that drives Chicago's puck possession. Fellow stars Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp and Brent Seabrook all have seen better puck possession (over 7 percent more even strength shots in their favor on average) when sharing the ice with Toews.

"Throw in his Olympic gold for Team Canada in 2010 and bringing a Stanley Cup to the Windy City (earning the Conn Smythe for being most valuable to his team during the playoffs in the process) and you have the game's top player under 25 years old."

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