Each year ESPN.com composes a list of “Top 25 Players Under 25″ by Neil Greenberg. Whlie he has been heckled before for leaving certain names off of the list, this season seems to be fairly decent. Here is a look at the list:
1. C Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks, 24
2. C Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, 22
3. C Logan Couture, San Jose Sharks, 23
4. C Jordan Staal, Carolina Hurricanes, 24
5. C John Tavares, New York Islanders, 22
6. RW Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks, 24
7. LW Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers, 21
8. D Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings,
9. D Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators, 22
10. LW Brad Marchand, Boston Bruins, 24
11. D Alex Pietrangelo, St. Louis Blues, 23
12. C Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruins, 21
13. LW Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars, 23
14. LW David Perron, St. Louis Blues, 24
15. RW Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes, 20
16. D Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning, 22
17. LW Milan Lucic, Boston Bruins, 24
18. C Sam Gagner, Edmonton Oilers, 23
19. C Evander Kane, Winnipeg Jets, 21
20. D Kevin Shattenkirk, St. Louis Blues, 24
21. C Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers, 22
22. C Patrik Berglund, St. Louis Blues, 24
23. G Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche, 24
24. D Tyler Myers, Buffalo Sabres, 22
25. LW Wayne Simmonds, Philadelphia Flyers, 24 (via Yahoo!Sports)
As you can see three Boston Bruins members made the list, Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin and Milan Lucic. The question here, is Marchand really better than Seguin and Lucic? Well, from a statistical standpoint, all three are almost in a dead lock tie. Seguin and Marchand battled each other all season long in 2011-2012 for the top scoring position on the team with Seguin edging Brad out in the final games of the season. Both had spectacular seasons, each earning themselves their first hat tricks and being the top two players on the Boston Bruins roster. So, statistically speaking Seguin should have been just a hair better than Marchand. Here’s ESPN’s reasoning as to why Brad is better:
Marchand is a two-way player who logged 17:37 per game for Boston, including 2:09 with the man advantage and 1:23 with the penalty-killing unit, and notched his second straight 20-plus goal season. His most frequent linemates, Selke winner Patrice Bergeron and Tyler Seguin, have been on the ice for more shots at net with Marchand than without him.
Okay, this makes a little more sense. Granted Seguin is only going into his third season and is bound to improve, he still has some aspects of the game to work on. However, it is inevitable despite Brad’s past that Seguin will eventually top Marchand and become one of Boston’s best offensive players.
While Brad had a stellar playoff run in 2011 and Seguin made a name for himself last season showing he means business, does this really rank them above Lucic? A power-house forward who has been consistent in play since becoming a Boston Bruins in 2007. Last season he managed to be one of the only players to register 100+ penalty minutes and have a 20+ goal season. While he is constantly thrown under the microscope for his style of play, more recently being referred to a prime meat, he maintains a level head and produces for his team.
Without a doubt these three deserve to be on the “Top 25 Under 25″ list, as for where they stand, everyone is going to have a different opinion. What’s yours?