Let me please introduce myself, I am neither a man of wealth nor taste. For any of you who aren’t familiar with me from Twitter @mydogsnots , by no means do I claim to be an expert nor do I take myself or anything about hockey very seriously. To me it is a game that I enjoy watching and the NHL provides the best the sport has to offer. I’m here to grind out my opinions on what I see happening with the Leafs during the season, hopefully the playoffs and perhaps the offseason. I’m a realist about the team. If I see something that I think needs to be criticized I will, but will also give praise when it’s due. Since Shanahan took over, they haven’t made any big mistakes worth criticizing as far a I’m concerned. Before that, I could write a book about their mistakes.
I’m not really into analytics but I don’t discount them either. If you are, that’s cool, it’s just not for me. My favourite kinds of players are grit grinder types like Roman Polak, Zach Hyman or Matt Martin but I recognize that if yer team is loaded with them you’ll be picking top 5 forever. By now I’m sure you can tell that I write like I talk. I’m just a guy giving his opinions about what sees from his couch. But enough about me, I wanted my first piece to be about who I consider the top 50 players in the league and for the first time in a long time, there are actually some Leaf players that made it.
Last Friday, I was listening to a radio program called Overdrive on TSN 1050 (@overdrive1050) and they were talking about who they considered their top 50 players. All four people talking were a little all over the map. When doing something like this I found it difficult to keep my Leafs bias out of it. As I look at the list, I wasn’t very successful.
Another problem I had coming up with the list was trying to compare apples to oranges such as Price vs Kucherov. Also the importance one single player has on their team also played a part in my decision making.
Total points, ppg, the value the player had on his team and how far they helped carry that team when it really matters during the playoffs were important factors when creating the list. Some players’ rankings were impacted by injuries, which isn’t their fault, but it is what it is. It’s hard to evaluate what you couldn’t see.
There are many great players like Josi, Skinner or Giroux that didn’t make the cut. I’m sure I’ve omitted some players that in your opinion should have been top 10. I won’t go through the list and explain why I put certain players where they are except for my top three.
MSM always says Crosby/McDavid as automatic 1 and 2. I see it a little differently. I have Crosby at 1 because of how far he lead his team in the playoffs the last two seasons. I have Karlsson at 2 (yes this pains me as a Leafs fan) because of his TOI. Personally, I feel he was even more important to his team than McDavid in last year’s playoffs. Obviously at 3 I have McDavid, who will probably be at number 1 by this season’s end. It won’t surprise me if the Oilers make the Stanley Cup Final.
Here’s the list.
I hope you enjoyed the read. I wish you all the best for your team this upcoming season unless they’re playing the Leafs that night.