It is likely that we are encountering a golden age of talent that is common among Canadian NHL clubs.
After a decade of the game's top goal scorers doing their job in Pittsburgh, Washington, Chicago and elsewhere below the 49th parallel, the seven Canadian franchises are home to Connor McDavid's sport's most dominant offensive force and a growing list of other youngsters Players, elite names.
But how exactly does this list after No. 97 shake out at No. 1?
Has Leon Draisaitl done enough to earn recognition beyond his Oilers-Linemate? Where do the dynamic Maple Leafs strikers Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner mix and how does the value of a star defender like Quinn Hughes or Thomas Chabot shake the rankings?
Brian Burke of Sportsnet understands so well how these pieces fit together – the experienced front office staff acted as general manager for the Maple Leafs, Canucks, Ducks and Whalers and (lately) the Flames & # 39; president for hockey operations ,
The long-time manager broken down the young talent among the Canadian teams together with David Amber on Saturday and topped his ranking among the top 12 under 25s with Canadian NHL jerseys.
No explanation is required here. In three major seasons after an injury-related rookie campaign, McDavid & # 39; s won a Hart Trophy (and has already been a finalist twice), two Art Ross trophies as leaders and two Ted Lindsay Awards, which made him MVP player.
And surprisingly, after three direct 100-point attempts, McDavid plays the best hockey in his career. His current pace of 1.63 points per game leaves him 133 points on the track.
The crown is his.
2. Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers
When Draisaitl signed his $ 68 million eight-year contract in 2017, many criticized that he was just a # 97 product that most often appears as his linemate. A season with 50 goals and 105 points in 2018-19 made this argument difficult. Take a look at the history of every linemate that has talented center residents, and you won't find many such values for the average player.
Draisaitl made a name for himself as a superstar, and his versatility earned him second place on this list for Burke.
"Leon Draisaitl, he's a center, but he can play wings, he kills penalties, he's big, he's on pace for 135 points, he can take offense," says Burke. "He is a guy who gives a team a lot of skills."
"I think Leon Draisaitl was a great discovery for this league and a great player, and if he played anywhere other than in the West people would talk about him as an MVP."
Through three seasons in the league, Matthews has already established himself as one of the most feared snipers in the game.
His debut served as an apt indication of this potential. His four-goal kick-off ended as a 40-goal rookie season. He has managed to hover around 35 goals in each of the last two seasons, despite having played less than 70 games each. In Burke's eyes, much more can be expected from No. 34.
"[He’s] a center, it's size – it didn't even scratch the surface of what it will be," said Burke. "He has the best shot on this list."
Quinn Hughes, undoubtedly the biggest surprise for most readers of this ranking, jumps to number 4 and jumps over a few stars that might come to mind when you think of Canadian team talent.
But the fact that the talented Hughes does his job from the blue line is key, according to Burke.
"[It’s] made a position decision – this guy becomes a star defender," said Burke. "He's just getting better and since he's a defender, I put him in here."
He rolls with his impressive clip in his first game in the NHL and has so far collected 26 points in 33 games. More importantly, Hughes has already emerged as the type of dynamic new school defender the Canucks never had and the numbers of which should only improve.
With one of the most unique skills in the game, Pettersson has already thrown his hat into the ring as one of the league's most exciting offensive names.
A 66-point performance in his first round earned him a Calder Trophy and many eyeballs when young Pettersson consolidated as one of the league's true must-watch talents.
The fact that his soaring offensive game also brings with him the responsibility to play in the middle of the ice and is somewhat sneaky earns him a top five statement for Burke.
"He is a center, elite ability, and he is great," said Burke. "People think he's small, but he's eighty and he's going to fill in. So he's big, he's a center, he's an elite scorer."
6. Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs
As with the couples in Edmonton and Vancouver, Toronto sends two young stars to the ranking, with Mitch Marner finishing in 6th place. Although he doesn't have the all-world shot that teammate Matthews has, Marner takes over the playmaker Rand. And the 22-year-old has proven his entire weight last season with a best performance of 94 points.
Given the position he holds, he falls a little on the list – McDavid, Draisaitl, Matthews and Pettersson spend part or all of their time in the middle of the big leagues – but the versatility of Marner's skills always makes him still an immensely valuable weapon for Burke.
"[He’s] a winger, but he can kill punishments," said Burke. "He creates space and time better than any other player on this list, but that's where I put him."
Laine shaped the league with 44 goals in the second year and believed he could be the heir to Alex Ovechkin, who is the game's best sniper.
This is not yet fully realized, although with 120 goals in 268 games it is clear that the talented Finn is on the way to joining the game's elite.
For Burke, however, that's what Laine added to his skills this season and earned him 7th place.
"He is an elite goal scorer, [but] this season he shows a complete game," said Burke. "And he's big – I'm looking for individual characteristics that translate into team success." He is tall. "
Matthew Tkachuk, who was ranked four places under the winger just above him in this ranking, turned out to be much more important for the success of the Flames than was predicted at least as early as this. The young American winger has become an emotional compass for a Flames squad that at times seemed to need him badly and is now the most likely heir to Mark Giordano's captain.
He also broke out with a career-filled 34-goal season with 77 points in 2018-19. However, certain aspects of his position and skills made him slide down in Burke's rankings.
"Another [he’s] winger," said Burke. "He has the highest competition level on this list. I love him – he brings Grit. But his ice skating is only average."
In addition to his leadership role, Tkachuk's on-ice role in the team also had an impact on his place in the top 12.
"He usually doesn't kill punishments – I'm looking for certain skills when I put my team together," said Burke, "and that means centers, defenders, penalties and size."
The second defender who earned a place in the leaderboard and the highest senator, Thomas Chabot, finished 9th after achieving one of the fastest starts among Ottawa's blue line sizes.
For Burke, it is the immense importance of elite blue liners that brings Chabot a top 10 place.
"This is a lot about the position from up here," said Burke. “Wingers are the easiest to design, defend and center. [Chabot] has elite defensive skills, he is a potential candidate for the Norris Trophy as the team improves. Great vision. "
The 22-year-old broke 55 points in 70 games last season and earned an eight-year contract for $ 64 million for his efforts.
The 23-year-old Connor was one of the most important offensive players of the Jets in his young career.
He was also impressed in the years 2019 to 20120: 14 goals and 31 points in 33 games per game are among the three best players of the offensive talented team of the Jets.
The weight of the talent of the players sitting above him in this ranking pushed Connor onto one of the lower rungs of the list.
"Pure skill, scores points, but I think he has to fit on this list again," said Burke.
Brock Boeser is a talented right-handed sniper who wants to reach the level of the best goal scorer. He is a key piece of Vancouver's future striker.
Although he has not played more than 70 games in one season, Boeser has already scored 71 goals with 174 NHL hits. He has scored 50 points over the past two years and has grown with Elias Pettersson, the dynamic central defender.
But like Calgarys Tkachuk, his ability to move through today's extraordinarily fast NHL pulls him a bit into the rankings.
"He is tall, is an elite goal scorer, but just an average skater," said Burke, "so I would have him when I was 11."
The list is rounded off by the second senator and the second Tkachuk.
Brady, the cornerstone of the senators' offensive future, has thrived in the big leagues and has even defeated established brother Matthew in certain aspects of the game so far.
With 22 goals and 43 points as a rookie, Tkachuk immediately showed the talented attack and the bullish style that made him the fourth overall selection in 2018. He made a strong start again this year, with two thirds of the season still to be played halfway to this goal.
And according to Burke, he was able to work his way up one step in the course of his career.
"He will move this list up based on his will alone," said Burke. But Tkachuk takes stock of the other names in the mix and variety of elite skills that they have already shown. "He is tall and hands, but he would be the lowest on this list for me," said Burke.