Every year we let the PPP community have their own say on our Top 25 Under 25 rankings. Using the Ranker app (see an example from last year here) you can vote players up or down compared to our selection.
The top five players from one week’s vote will be carried over to the next. For example, when you rank players from 25-16 this Sunday, those who settle at the top will be carried forward to the following week and you can rank them at positions 20-11. This lets you move players higher or lower than we did, if you like.
As noted, our first Ranker poll will be next Sunday, but we thought there should be an option to vote on before that. We’ll expand the ranking, allowing you to add one of the five players below who didn’t make our top 25 into the mix. Instead of 25-16, it will be 26-16, including whoever gets the most votes in this poll.
Here are the candidates:
Adam Brooks was selected in the fourth round of this year's draft. He is one of the overagers, those eligible for previous NHL drafts, but not actually selected. Brooks' offence in the WHL started off very slowly in his first two years. In this past season, his fourth, he absolutely destroyed the league, earning 120 points in 72 games on his Regina Pats team. It isn’t unusual for older players to steamroll in junior, where age is a pronounced factor in point totals, but it is still a very impressive accomplishment. The question is what does that mean for a future NHL career? Does he have the skills to score on NHL goalies, or the ability to learn how? There’s a lot of open questions that likely won’t be answered until this season plays out. Our voters put him at 26th pending the answers to those questions.
The 23 year old goalie failed to make our list this season, the fifth after his draft. In fact, no goalies made it, though Sparks was the highest ranked of all of them. He finally made his Maple Leafs debut this season, starting with a shut-out, but following that up with some lackluster play in front of a bad Leafs team. In 12 games played he earned a 0.893 SV% and a GAA of 3.02. Returning to the Marlies for their playoff run, he appeared in five of their 15 playoff games, as Sheldon Keefe most often gave the starter job to Antoine Bibeau.
Loov had the biggest drop in ranking of any player returning from last years list, from 16 to 28. Loov was drafted in 2012 and will turn 24 years old in November. His NHL debut was cut short after 4 games when he went out with an injury. Loov’s play has been seen as unremarkable by most of our voters, but four did rank him in the top 25.
Gauthier’s rank fell from 16 in 2014, to 19 last year, to 29 on this season’s list. He’s obviously best known to fans as the Leafs first round pick in the 2013 draft. The selection was allegedly about his existing good defensive skills combined with offensive upside. The offence has yet to materialize. He made his NHL debut, playing seven games and picking up one assist. In his first season with the Marlies he scored only 6 goals in 56 regular season games, and none in nine playoff games. He’s still only 21, but there’s a lot of hot-shot prospects from the following drafts on the way up in this organization, and Gauthier is looking like he’s standing still.
Kaskisuo enters our list for the first time at Rank 30. His road to the Leafs organization is an unusual one. After the Finnish goalie was not drafted, he chose to jump over to North America anyway, playing in the NAHL. He then moved to the University of Minnesota - Duluth, where two Maple Leafs prospects also happened to play. He must have caught the eye of a scout or two as he accepted a two-year ELC this March. We haven’t seen what he can do yet in person but he has a good track record with his college team.
Now we leave it up to you
Do you love Loov? Have we underrated Gauthier? Will Brooks will have a breakout season? Do you believe in Garret Sparks?
Now is you chance to vote and have your favourite included in the community vote opening this Sunday!