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#NHLTopPlayers: Nos. 20-11

NHL Network reveals best of current crop

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

Top 50 Players Recap: 50-11

NHL Network lists the Top 50 Players Right Now, 50-11

NHL Network continues its countdown of the top 50 players in the League. Here are players 50-11 on its list

  • 02:33 •

NHL Network is getting ready for this season by ranking the top 50 players in the League. Researchers, producers and on-air personalities compiled the list, and players 20-11 were revealed Sunday in the fourth of a five-part countdown. Here is the list:

 

[RELATED: #NHLTopPlayers Right Now#NHLTopPlayers: Nos. 50-41#NHLTopPlayers: Nos. 40-31#NHLTopPlayers: Nos. 30-21]

 

20. Brayden Point, C, Tampa Bay Lightning

The 23-year-old is coming off a breakout season when he had 92 points (41 goals, 51 points). Point, who led the NHL with 20 power-play goals, one more than teammate Steven Stamkos, had 35 power-play points (tied for sixth), seven game-winning goals (tied for 11th) and a plus-27 rating (tied for 10th). Point had 11 three-point games last season and was one of 18 NHL players who had at least five points in a game (one goal, four assists vs. New Jersey Devils, Oct. 30).

"There's nothing this guy can't do," NHL Network analyst Brian Lawton said. "To me, he's kind of the next generation of Patrice Bergeron. A guy that has a 200-foot-game but has the skills to go with it."

Video: Point checks in at No. 20 on the Top 50 Players list

 

19. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Calgary Flames

Gaudreau had an NHL career-high 99 points (36 goals, 63 assists) last season to help the Flames finish first in the Western Conference. He had three goals and three assists in a 9-4 win against the New Jersey Devils on March 12 to become the first NHL player with a six-point game since Jamie Benn (one goal, five assists) for the Dallas Stars against the Flames on Nov. 14, 2013. The 26-year-old had 10 three-point games and five four-point games last season. He has scored 25 game-winning goals in the past five seasons.

"Johnny Gaudreau is just a filthy player... he makes things happen, he creates time and space," NHL Network analyst Mike Rupp said. "He will make you look silly, it doesn't matter if you're an all-star, a superstar. He has serious skill. Very well deserving to be where he is on this list."

Video: Gaudreau takes No. 19 on Top 50 Players Right Now

 

18. Mark Scheifele, C, Winnipeg Jets

Scheifele led the Jets with 38 goals last season and had an NHL career-high 84 points. His 23 power-play points, 12 power-play goals, six game-winning goals and three overtime goals also were the most of his eight-season NHL career. The 26-year-old has scored at least 29 goals in three of the past four seasons.

"When the Winnipeg Jets are on TV, I watch No. 55," Rupp said. "He is so good at using his reach, he has a great shot, he can drive some offense with his playmaking ability. I just love his game."

Video: Scheifele claims the No. 18 spot on the list

 

17. Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay Lightning

Stamkos scored 45 goals last season, his most since scoring 60 in 2011-12, and had an NHL career-high 98 points, tied for ninth in the League. The 29-year-old had 40 power-play points, second in the NHL behind teammate Nikita Kucherov's 48. Stamkos has 370 goals since entering the NHL in 2009-10, second behind Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin's 439.

"There's not a lot of guys that hit the 50-50 club (50 goals, 50 assists). This is another guy that would be a candidate for me," Lawton said. "He's a guy that can do it all. He has a much more rounded game than you think. He came out of junior really just known as a pure sniper. ... Yes, he's continued to do that in the National Hockey League, but it's his ability to see the ice. ... He's like a fine wine, he's getting better with age."

Video: Stamkos lands at No. 17 on the Top 50 Players list

 

16. Leon Draisaitl, LW/C, Edmonton Oilers

Draisaitl was fourth in the NHL with a career-high 105 points (50 goals, 55 assists) last season. He was tied for sixth in the NHL with 16 power-play goals, also a career high, and scored three shorthanded goals for the second straight season. The 23-year-old, who also played center and won 50.52 percent of his face-offs (677 of 1,340), has scored at least 70 points in each of the past three seasons.

"There's nothing he can't do," Lawton said. "... He's proven that he can play with [Connor McDavid] at an exceptional level, and he can also create all by himself. ... I love the way he's cleaned up his game in the neutral zone. This isn't the same player that got sent back (to junior) in his first year with the Edmonton Oilers (2014-15). ... There has been massive progression."

Video: Draisaitl earns the No. 16 spot on the list

 

15. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Tampa Bay Lightning

Vasilevskiy was voted the winner of the Vezina Trophy as the best goalie in the NHL after he went 39-10-4 with a 2.40 goals-against average, a .925 save percentage and six shutouts last season. He led the NHL in wins in each of the past two seasons, going 83-27-7 in 118 games (117 starts) in that span. The 25-year-old helped the Lightning to 62 wins last season, tying the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings for the most in NHL history.

"Don't be blinded by the fact that this guy, for me, is hands down the best goalie in the National Hockey League," Rupp said. "He's huge (6-foot-4, 215 pounds), an absolute behemoth in the net. ... Don't get blinded by that team and what they can do and say, 'Well they score so many goals a game.' This guy is legit. He has been from Day One, and I think he's only going to get better."

Video: Vasilevskiy takes No. 15 on the Top 50 Players list

 

14. Patrice Bergeron, C, Boston Bruins

Bergeron tied his NHL career high with 32 goals and set a new high with 79 points in 65 games last season. The 34-year-old then had 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 24 Stanley Cup Playoff games to help the Bruins advance to the Cup Final. Bergeron, entering his 16th NHL season, was eighth in the NHL in face-off winning percentage among those with at least 750 draws last season (56.6 percent). A four-time Selke Trophy winner, he has been a finalist for the award eight times, including last season, when he had seven shorthanded points (tied for third in NHL) and four shorthanded goals (tied for fourth).

"His game is so fundamentally sound," Lawton said. "It's one thing to be able to learn the game offensively -- that comes to a lot of players because that's all they ever work on -- but he is money in the [face-off circle], he has been forever. That's why whatever line he plays on, they drive play consistently. ... He thinks the game equally as strong on the defensive side of the puck, and that's really, for me, what separates this guy."

Video: Bergeron checks in at No. 14 on Top 50 Players list

 

13. Auston Matthews, C, Toronto Maple Leafs

Matthews had an NHL career-high 73 points (37 goals, 36 assists) last season. He scored at least 34 goals each of his first three NHL seasons, and his 111 goals since 2016-17 are fifth in the League. The 22-year-old led the Maple Leads with 12 power-play goals and was tied for fourth in the NHL with nine multigoal games last season.

"He's got to drive offense, he has to finish, and he doesn't need many opportunities to finish, which makes him very special," Rupp said. "This is Auston's team, for me. I still think he's the guy that he brings so much attention to him that other guys can get an opportunity from it."

 

12. Mitchell Marner, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs

Marner led the Maple Leafs with 94 points (26 goals, 68 assists) last season. In three NHL seasons, the 22-year-old has 224 points (67 goals, 157 assists) in 241 games and has helped Toronto qualify for the playoffs in three straight seasons. He has 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 20 NHL playoff games. Marner had 21 power-play points, three shorthanded points and five game-winning goals last season.

"He was 69 points the year before without John Tavares, but let's be honest, we know what Mitch Marner does," Lawton said. "He creates a lot of plays, not necessarily a huge goal-scorer, but he's certainly got the potential to press that 30-goal mark. ... Setting up guys, eyes in the back of his head, he's got all those attributes."

 

11. John Tavares, C, Toronto Maple Leafs

In his first season with the Maple Leafs, Tavares set NHL career highs in goals (47; third in NHL), points (88) and rating (plus-19). He also tied his career high with eight game-winning goals and won 54.45 percent of his face-offs, the highest of his 10-season NHL career. Tavares, who turned 29 on Sept. 20, has scored at least 24 goals every season since entering the NHL with the New York Islanders in 2009-10, including at least 33 in four of the past five seasons.

"It's so difficult when guys sign contracts. You could be a superstar, you could be a role player," Rupp said. "When you sign a big contract, especially going home, it's tough. Every single guy struggles. This guy had a career year, and he was asked to do different things. ... I don't think it's going to slow down."

Video: Matthews, Marner, Tavares claim spots on Top 50 list

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