This year’s Top 25 Under 25 has come to a close with the totally shocking conclusion that Auston Matthews is the best of the best. To refresh your memory, here’s the full list:

2019 PPP Top 25 Under 25 Final Rankings

Player2019 Rank
Auston Matthews1
Mitch Marner2
William Nylander3
Kasperi Kapanen4
Alexander Kerfoot5
Rasmus Sandin6
Andreas Johnsson7
Travis Dermott8
Timothy Liljegren9
Trevor Moore10
Nicholas Robertson11
Jeremy Bracco12
Nic Petan13
Ilya Mikheyev14
Joseph Woll16
Ian Scott17
Pierre Engvall18
Adam Brooks19
Mikko Kokkonen20
Egor Korshkov21
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev22
Mason Marchment23
Frederik Gauthier24
Joseph Duszak25

There’s always controversy over how the rankers vote on the players on the list. After all, you have your opinion on things, and you’re sure it’s right, or it wouldn’t be your opinion. And so does everyone else. One thing we noticed in this year’s list is that there was a lot more chaos than usual in the lower half of the rankings. Jeremy Bracco was the first one to get all 17 rankers to put him on the list. That usually happens much lower down.

I’m going to dig in a little more on how we voted, and how much we differed. But first, this is  the summary of the votes you already know about, the ones for the 25 players on the list:

How We Ranked the Top 25

Auston Matthews11111111111111111
Mitch Marner22222232222222222
William Nylander33333423333333333
Kasperi Kapanen46555575564644444
Alexander Kerfoot57974754457889656
Rasmus Sandin74449348899478588
Andreas Johnsson68686696676765865
Travis Dermott858671087745556777
Timothy Liljegren9979886991010997999
Trevor Moore1110111212912121288111010101010
Nicholas Robertson1213101118111110102012101211131111
Jeremy Bracco1011151022171911111511121112121613
Nic Petan19121215131516161113171823141212
Ilya Mikheyev14141313141214131516171321241516
Joseph Woll16172424201520202322151415172018
Ian Scott23182223212121212420161514192119
Pierre Engvall172210141315131916192017111315
Adam Brooks152515211014141424211313161414
Mikko Kokkonen1616181916161819211416212217
Egor Korshkov20232522162318191717201920
Semyon Der-Arguchintsev221716252420222116202324
Mason Marchment24111313152223191521
Frederik Gauthier252522122425212525
Joseph Duszak212325252424242423

And now for the big list that might be easier to view on the web:

Our Individual Top 25 Lists

1Auston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston MatthewsAuston Matthews
2Mitch MarnerMitch MarnerMitch MarnerMitch MarnerMitch MarnerMitch MarnerWilliam NylanderMitch MarnerMitch MarnerMitch MarnerMitch MarnerMitch MarnerMitch MarnerMitch MarnerMitch MarnerMitch MarnerMitch Marner
3William NylanderWilliam NylanderWilliam NylanderWilliam NylanderWilliam NylanderRasmus SandinMitch MarnerWilliam NylanderWilliam NylanderWilliam NylanderWilliam NylanderWilliam NylanderWilliam NylanderWilliam NylanderWilliam NylanderWilliam NylanderWilliam Nylander
4Kasperi KapanenRasmus SandinRasmus SandinRasmus SandinAlexander KerfootWilliam NylanderRasmus SandinAlexander KerfootAlexander KerfootTravis DermottKasperi KapanenRasmus SandinKasperi KapanenKasperi KapanenKasperi KapanenKasperi KapanenKasperi Kapanen
5Alexander KerfootTravis DermottKasperi KapanenKasperi KapanenKasperi KapanenKasperi KapanenAlexander KerfootKasperi KapanenKasperi KapanenAlexander KerfootTravis DermottTravis DermottTravis DermottAndreas JohnssonRasmus SandinAlexander KerfootAndreas Johnsson
6Andreas JohnssonKasperi KapanenAndreas JohnssonTravis DermottAndreas JohnssonAndreas JohnssonTimothy LiljegrenAndreas JohnssonAndreas JohnssonKasperi KapanenAndreas JohnssonKasperi KapanenAndreas JohnssonTravis DermottAlexander KerfootAndreas JohnssonAlexander Kerfoot
7Rasmus SandinAlexander KerfootTimothy LiljegrenAlexander KerfootTravis DermottAlexander KerfootKasperi KapanenTravis DermottTravis DermottAndreas JohnssonAlexander KerfootAndreas JohnssonRasmus SandinTimothy LiljegrenTravis DermottTravis DermottTravis Dermott
8Travis DermottAndreas JohnssonTravis DermottAndreas JohnssonTimothy LiljegrenTimothy LiljegrenTravis DermottRasmus SandinRasmus SandinTrevor MooreTrevor MooreAlexander KerfootAlexander KerfootRasmus SandinAndreas JohnssonRasmus SandinRasmus Sandin
9Timothy LiljegrenTimothy LiljegrenAlexander KerfootTimothy LiljegrenRasmus SandinTrevor MooreAndreas JohnssonTimothy LiljegrenTimothy LiljegrenRasmus SandinRasmus SandinTimothy LiljegrenTimothy LiljegrenAlexander KerfootTimothy LiljegrenTimothy LiljegrenTimothy Liljegren
10Jeremy BraccoTrevor MooreNicholas RobertsonJeremy BraccoPierre EngvallTravis DermottAdam BrooksNicholas RobertsonNicholas RobertsonTimothy LiljegrenTimothy LiljegrenNicholas RobertsonTrevor MooreTrevor MooreTrevor MooreTrevor MooreTrevor Moore
11Trevor MooreJeremy BraccoTrevor MooreNicholas RobertsonMason MarchmentNicholas RobertsonNicholas RobertsonJeremy BraccoJeremy BraccoNic PetanJeremy BraccoTrevor MooreJeremy BraccoNicholas RobertsonPierre EngvallNicholas RobertsonNicholas Robertson
12Nicholas RobertsonNic PetanNic PetanTrevor MooreTrevor MooreIlya MikheyevTrevor MooreTrevor MooreTrevor MooreFrederik GauthierNicholas RobertsonJeremy BraccoNicholas RobertsonJeremy BraccoJeremy BraccoNic PetanNic Petan
13Mikhail AbramovNicholas RobertsonIlya MikheyevIlya MikheyevNic PetanMason MarchmentPierre EngvallIlya MikheyevPierre EngvallMason MarchmentNic PetanIlya MikheyevAdam BrooksAdam BrooksNicholas RobertsonPierre EngvallJeremy Bracco
14Ilya MikheyevIlya MikheyevMikhail AbramovMikhail AbramovIlya MikheyevPierre EngvallIlya MikheyevAdam BrooksAdam BrooksAdam BrooksDmytro TimashovMikko KokkonenJoseph WollIan ScottNic PetanAdam BrooksAdam Brooks
15Adam BrooksMikhail AbramovJeremy BraccoNic PetanAdam BrooksNic PetanJoseph WollPierre EngvallIlya MikheyevJeremy BraccoMason MarchmentJoseph WollIan ScottJoseph WollMason MarchmentIlya MikheyevPierre Engvall
16Joseph WollMikko KokkonenMikko KokkonenSemyon Der-ArguchintsevEgor KorshkovMikko KokkonenMikko KokkonenNic PetanNic PetanIlya MikheyevPierre EngvallIan ScottMikko KokkonenSemyon Der-ArguchintsevAdam BrooksJeremy BraccoIlya Mikheyev
17Pierre EngvallJoseph WollSemyon Der-ArguchintsevMac HollowellMac HollowellJeremy BraccoMac HollowellMac HollowellEgor KorshkovMac HollowellIlya MikheyevNic PetanEgor KorshkovPierre EngvallJoseph WollMikko KokkonenMac Hollowell
18Mac HollowellIan ScottSemyon KizimovMikko KokkonenNicholas RobertsonMikhail AbramovEgor KorshkovMikko KokkonenMac HollowellAndreas BorgmanTeemu KivihalmeMac HollowellNic PetanDmytro TimashovMac HollowellMac HollowellJoseph Woll
19Nic PetanMac HollowellRiley StottsRiley StottsMikko KokkonenNicholas Abruzzese Jeremy BraccoEgor KorshkovMikko KokkonenPierre EngvallMac HollowellPierre EngvallMac HollowellMason MarchmentIan ScottEgor KorshkovIan Scott
20Egor KorshkovNicholas Abruzzese Nicholas Abruzzese Pontus HolmbergJoseph WollMac HollowellSemyon Der-ArguchintsevJoseph WollJoseph WollNicholas RobertsonIan ScottMichael KosterPierre EngvallEgor KorshkovSemyon Der-ArguchintsevJoseph WollEgor Korshkov
21Dmytro TimashovJoseph DuszakPontus HolmbergNicholas Abruzzese Ian ScottAdam BrooksIan ScottIan ScottIan ScottSemyon Der-ArguchintsevMikko KokkonenAdam BrooksIlya MikheyevMikko KokkonenFrederik GauthierIan ScottMason Marchment
22Semyon Der-ArguchintsevPierre EngvallIan ScottEgor KorshkovJeremy BraccoFrederik GauthierRiley StottsSemyon Der-ArguchintsevMikhail AbramovDmytro TimashovJoseph WollMason MarchmentNicholas Abruzzese Nicholas Abruzzese Mikko KokkonenDmytro TimashovDmytro Timashov
23Ian ScottEgor KorshkovMac HollowellIan ScottJoseph DuszakEgor KorshkovMikhail AbramovDmytro TimashovNicholas Abruzzese Joseph WollAndreas BorgmanMikhail AbramovMason MarchmentNic PetanDmytro TimashovSemyon Der-ArguchintsevJoseph Duszak
24Pontus HolmbergMason MarchmentJoseph WollJoseph WollRiley StottsSemyon Der-ArguchintsevPontus HolmbergPontus HolmbergJoseph DuszakIan ScottAdam BrooksJoseph DuszakFrederik GauthierIlya MikheyevJoseph DuszakJoseph DuszakSemyon Der-Arguchintsev
25Frederik GauthierAdam BrooksEgor KorshkovFrederik GauthierSemyon Der-ArguchintsevJoseph DuszakMichael KosterJoseph DuszakPontus HolmbergJesper LindgrenJesper LindgrenNicholas Abruzzese Michael KosterFrederik GauthierRiley StottsFrederik GauthierFrederik Gauthier

Variance in Votes

With 17 voters this year, there was a lot of room for differing opinions, and yet, by averaging out the votes, we ended up with a lot of agreement. There were a few people who really held strong opinions different to the group, however.

I took everyone’s votes and compared them to the final rankings. For this exercise, any non-rankings counted as a zero, and all the other votes were reversed in value, so every Auston Matthews vote was valued at 25, every Mitch Marner (except that one) counted as 24, etc. I then calculated the total variance each voter had from the final rankings, the mean of those differences (ignoring the zeros) and the total number of votes where they disagreed with the final ranking.

This chart is ordered by mean variance from lowest to highest. And what you should be able to see is that while the total variance from the final rankings goes from the lowest (Mel) at 42 to the highest (me) at 110, the number of votes that each voter had different to the final ranking is very similar. The number that varies ranges from 18 (Jensine and elseldo) to 26 (me). The distribution is very even, with seven voters varying on 23 or more votes, and I’m the closest thing to an outlier there.

The driver, therefore, of the big difference in total variance was the mean variance in votes. There is a weak positive correlation between number and mean, but mean variance is carrying the load here. Eleven voters had at least one ranking 10 places or more different from the final result, so there were a lot of strong differences. The other six voters, or less than half, were much closer to the final rankings on all of their votes. I don’t have the biggest variance; that’s a tie between elseldo and Brigstew at 13. I’m one of six voters who had at least one ranking 12 places different from the final result.

I win as the voter who varies the most because of the number of rankings I had different, but mostly by how much different many of them were. The mean variance ranges from 2.19 for Fulemin to 4.26 for Emily, so we aren’t actually talking about huge differences in opinion here. Even for me, 10 of my rankings for the official 25 are out by zero or one place.

Most of my really extreme differences are for players who either missed the list altogether or were ranked very low — even by me. With most of the disagreement concentrated in the lower half of the rankings, the top of the list has a lot of agreement. There is a section below Nylander where nearly everyone ranked the same five or six players in similar spots, but the order varied a lot.

If it was plausible to weight the data so that disagreements in the top 10 counted more and disagreements in the bottom half barely register, all our variance numbers would tighten up together. The trouble with that idea is there would be 17 different opinions on how to weight the list and where the big gaps are between values. It also gets a little silly to do complex analysis of the opinions of 17 people.

Just by restricting this exercise to the top 10, we get this total variance:

Suddenly, Kevin, who has an overall list in the middle of the pack for how close to the final results it is, is identical to me in terms of variance. Meanwhile, Brigstew becomes the biggest outlier, and elseldo becomes the most like the final list.

There were only 14 votes in the top ten that were three or four places away from the final ranking, and five of them were for Travis Dermott. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Alexander Kerfoot and Timothy Liljegren also had a few each. In the bottom half of the list, there is total disagreement about everyone, and there’s few patterns to be found.

The more voters we have, the less one person’s strong opinions affect the final outcome, and in this list we have both the wisdom of the crowd, some foolish consistency, and a couple of real free thinkers. The whole point of the Top 25 is to get a diversity of opinion, not to find the mean opinion of all of the Leafs fans there are. It’s important to have enough voters that we get a good average, but there has to be room for the opinionated who really believe in some young prospect or the AHLer about to make the jump, even when no one else does. Every single voter had at least one vote that varied from the final ranking by at least five places.

So now you know who was the most opinionated and disagreeable. As if you had any doubts. But what we won’t know for a long time yet is who is right.