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2017 Top 25 Under 25: recap of lists from the past

PPP began the T25U25 in 2012 in mid-season. Check out everyone we ranked since then.

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs
Josh Leivo, the only name on every list.
Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

When we look back at old Top 25 Under 25 lists, we might say, “What were we thinking?” I do. Looking at last year, I see names that I still think are too high, names that I ranked too low, names that likely shouldn’t have even been there.

In the last two years, you could draw a line at number 10 and say anyone below that line is not a player. But of course, there is the gigantic glaring exception to that rule in Zach “15th to a four-year deal in one year” Hyman. We get it wrong sometimes. And he’s exactly the kind of player that needs either faithful watching or something better than box car stats to judge from.

T25U25 Summary

Rank 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2012*
Rank 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2012*
1 Auston Matthews Morgan Rielly Morgan Rielly James Van Riemsdyk Phil Kessel Phil Kessel
2 William Nylander William Nylander Jake Gardiner Jake Gardiner James Van Riemsdyk Jake Gardiner
3 Mitch Marner Jake Gardiner Nazem Kadri Nazem Kadri Jake Gardiner James Reimer
4 Morgan Rielly Nazem Kadri William Nylander Morgan Rielly Nazem Kadri Luke Schenn
5 Connor Brown Mitch Marner Peter Holland Jonathan Bernier Matt Frattin Joe Colborne
6 Nikita Zaitsev Kasperi Kapanen Stuart Percy Joe Colborne James Reimer Nazem Kadri
7 Connor Carrick Peter Holland Matt Finn Stuart Percy Cody Franson Cody Franson
8 Martin Marincin Connor Brown Josh Leivo Matt Finn Morgan Rielly Matt Frattin
9 Kasperi Kapanen Richard Panik Andreas Johnson Josh Leivo Jesse Blacker Jesse Blacker
10 Nikita Soshnikov Martin Marincin Carter Verhaeghe Jesse Blacker Stuart Percy Keith Aulie
11 Kerby Rychel Andreas Johnson Carter Ashton Jerry D'Amigo Joe Colborne Stuart Percy
12 Andreas Johnson Brendan Leipsic Petter Granberg Frederik Gauthier Korbinian Holzer Marcel Mueller
13 Dmytro Timashov Stuart Percy Gregg McKegg Petter Granberg Matt Finn Greg McKegg
14 Frank Corrado Jeremy Bracco Connor Brown Tony Cameranesi Gregg McKegg Brad Ross
15 Zach Hyman Josh Leivo Viktor Loov Greg McKegg Carter Ashton Korbinian Holzer
16 Jeremy Bracco Viktor Loov Frederik Gauthier Tyler Biggs Mark Owuya Jerry D'Amigo
17 Brendan Leipsic Taylor Beck Tom Nilsson Dominic Toninato Jerry D'Amigo Tyler Biggs
18 Josh Leivo Nikita Soshnikov Garret Sparks Garret Sparks Josh Leivo Mark Owuya
19 Travis Dermott Frederik Gauthier Fabrice Herzog Carter Ashton Nicolas Deschamps Sondre Olden
20 Tobias Lindberg Carter Verhaeghe Sam Carrick Brad Ross Brad Ross Josh Nicholls
21 Rinat Valiev Dmytro Timashov Teemu Hartikainen Connor Brown Tyler Biggs Josh Leivo
22 Andrew Nielsen Travis Dermott Tony Cameranesi Carter Verhaeghe Petter Granberg Jussi Rynnas
23 Carl Grundstrom Scott Harrington Antoine Bibeau Tom Nilsson Spencer Abbott Kenny Ryan
24 Martins Dzierkals Matt Finn Brandon Kozun Viktor Loov Greg Scott Juraj Mikus
25 Yegor Korshkov Chris Gibson Dominic Toninato Kenny Ryan Andrew Crescenzi Luca Caputi

2016 looks fairly reasonable other than Hyman. The mass of players just outside the top ten don’t seem to have a lot of difference in value. They stay about as good as each other deep into the list. I’m not sure that’s still true, since last year’s list was made just before that rush of rookies into the NHL.

2015 looks like a very good list, with only a few overvaluations on marginal players and underrating of new players like Soshnikov.

2014 is the most depressing T25 list I’ve ever seen that didn’t have Vancouver Canucks across the top. Stuart Percy and Matt Finn? It’s not so much that the rankers were overrating them it’s that Connor Brown should have been fifth and then there should have been five blank spots from six to 10.

2013 is as bad as 2014.

When you crawl back into the past to the summer of 2012 (the second column from the right) you finally see a team that was okay and an organization with some depth, and then it all just vanished, blown away by years of bad drafting and bad trades finally piling up until there was no one to take the place of graduating players like Phil Kessel.

Keeping that dividing line between the players and the maybes at 10 is going to get tougher from now on, and I’m not so sure that’s where it is this summer, but if the Leafs can maintain that sort of value at the top end in future, they’ll be in good shape.

The other question to ask is, looking at the bottom of the list, is it getting better? Are the bottom four or five players improving from no-hopers to at least really good AHLers? It seems like it, and if that can be improved, if there’s really good AHLers not even on the list each year in the future, then you have a powerhouse organization with depth for all occasions.