August is a typically quiet month in the hockey news cycle. Virtually all of the free agent signings and trades have been completed, rosters are generally set or at least waiting for training camp battles to sort out who fills out their squad, and the hockey media types have retired to their cottages, to give their Blackberry a much needed break.
With little to talk about, it's time to dust off a summer favourite. The PPP Top 25 Under 25 is back for its fifth(!) edition.
For those of you who've followed the series in the past, you know the drill and we thank you for continuing to follow along. If you're new to the site or have no idea what we're doing here, this is an exercise to identify the best Maple Leaf players in the organization under the age of 25, as determined by a panel of PPP writers and contributors.
The list is hardly definitive; it is meant to generate discussion and debate about how we project future players inside the Maple Leaf organization, get to know some of our more up-and-coming prospects before they arrive, and fill the void until preseason kicks off. We rely on the "wisdom of the crowds" to generate a list that serves as consensus.
So how do we do that? Well, shortly after the free agency period begins, we cultivate a list of all players either under contract to the Leafs or to whom the Leafs control their NHL rights and who were under the age of 25 years old (we use June 30th as a cutoff; so anyone born on July 1, 1990 or later is considered eligible).
Our voters review the list and rank them from 1-25, 1 being the best player in the Leafs system. Each #1 vote is worth 25 points, #2 is 24 points, and so on down to 1 point for the #25 ranking and 0 points for players that aren't ranked. The player with the most points is named our Top Player under the age of 25.
The next question, then; who are our voters? The rapid expansion of contributors to the site has given us a greater pool of opinions to gather, and so this year's edition features 14 different participants, listed below:
This year a number of the above individuals will assist with the writing process, which should both allow for people to speak to their selection process and provide a different voice on certain players. But we've also got some special guests once again, who have been generous enough to provide their opinions on our Top 25.
Corey Pronman of ESPN, Jeff Veillette of theleafsnation.com (and occassionally PPP), Kyle Cicerella of the National Post and kylethreporter.com, and Gus Katsaros of McKeen's Hockey are all returning to provide some insight.
This year, Jeff Cox of SBNCollegeHockey, our very own Scott Wheeler, and a couple of to be determined guest contributors will also lend their voices, allowing us to provide a more insightful commentary on players that we maybe don't get to watch as often as we can.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL!!!
This year, the intent is to add a weekly podcast to the series, as a companion piece to recap the results of that week, featuring PPP contributors. As in the past, feature articles will run from Monday-Friday, with a podcast likely following on Saturday.
Tune back in next week, when we will once again begin with a few preview articles to help set up the countdown. Or if you just want to get to the fireworks factory, #25 will go up on August 10, with the countdown continuing on into September and leading into Maple Leafs preseason. We hope you enjoy the series.