The Top 25 Under 25 has been our summer series since 2010. Until 2016, it was a staff-only vote, but we added the community to make up one panellist that year, and the year after we awarded individual ballots for members of the community.
A total of 147 players were ranked from 2010 to 2019, the first 10 years of the project. With the 11th series about to begin, we take a look back at some notable facts from the previous editions.
Many of those players were never ranked in the top 25, while a select few were always regarded as top-level talents. Three players with multiple appearances were never ranked outside the top three. Carey Price was ranked #1 both in 2010 and 2011, P.K. Subban was ranked #2 in 2010 and 2011, and #1 in 2012 and 2013, and Alex Galchenyuk was ranked #3 in 2012, #2 in 2013, and #1 from 2014 to 2017. Jonathan Drouin was #2 in 2017, #1 in 2018, and #3 in 2019 before graduating from the project. They were joined by Max Domi who was #2 in 2018 and #1 in 2019.
There have only been four players who were ranked for all of their T25U25 eligibility (from age 18 to 24): Brendan Gallagher, Charles Hudon, Artturi Lehkonen, and Michael McCarron. Jake Evans will join this group this season, his seventh and final year of eligibility. Of the five players, only Gallagher and Lehkonen were in the top 25 every year.
David Desharnais and Alexei Emelin are the two players who have exceeded expectations of the voting panel. Both players were eligible once for the Top 25 Under 25, in 2010 (though would have been eligible earlier). Desharnais was 19th in that vote and Emelin was 22nd, but both had significant NHL careers.
Because of the nature of the vote, and due to the lack of depth in the Montreal Canadiens system, there were no other players significantly under-ranked throughout the history of the rankings. There were players who eventually rose, but no players consistently stayed undervalued into their mid-20s. For example, Gallagher was ranked 24th in his debut year (2010) but rose all the way to second. Similarly, Jake Evans went from 35th to a high of 12th (and then falling slightly to 15th in 2019) in his first six years. Cayden Primeau rose from 36th to 12th in his first three years. Charles Hudon went from 28th to a fairly steady stay at fifth.
The biggest single-year rise was a tie between Martin Réway and Primeau, both going up 19 spots. Reway went from 33rd in 2013 to 14th in 2014 while Primeau rose from 36th in 2017 to 17th in 2018. Alexander Romanov came close in 2019, rising from 26th to ninth in 2019.
Primeau is the player with the biggest rise in the history of the series. His 24-spot rise from 36th to 12th surpassed Evans, who was tied with Hudon and Morgan Ellis with a 23-place rise. With Evans and Primeau still active, they can set the mark for highest cumulative rise through the rankings. Primeau would extend his mark should he move up from 12th, and Evans could beat Primeau’s record if he finishes higher in 2020’s ranking.
Some players went in the opposite direction. Dalton Thrower debuted at 16th in 2012 but dropped to 38th by the time he left the organization in 2016. It remains the biggest drop from highest point to lowest in the history of the Top 25 Under 25. Joonas Nättinen went from 17th in 2010 to 38th in 2015.
The biggest single-year drop is 16 places, set in 2012 — the third year of the series — by Alexander Avtsin (11 to 27) and Andreas Engqvist (15 to 31). The mark came closest to being beat in 2018 when Michael McCarron (9 to 23) and Jeremiah Addison (19 to 33) dropped 14 spots each.
Other players have had a yo-yo effect. Morgan Ellis went from 34th in 2010 to 11th in 2012 before dropping all the way down to 27th in 2015. Réway went from 33rd to as high as 12th in 2016, but eventually dropped to 21st in 2017.
Some players were ranked higher than you would expect, but most of that is due to the lack of true depth in the system. Nikita Scherbak, Jarred Tinordi, Sebastian Collberg, Danny Kristo, and Louis Leblanc all had multiple top-10 appearances. Nathan Beaulieu had multiple top-five rankings. Most of those players eventually got to the NHL, but would likely not be ranked as high with today’s depth.
Top of the leaderboard
We have only seen five players reach the #1 ranking over 10 seasons: Carey Price and P.K. Subban (twice each), Alex Galchenyuk (four times), Jonathan Drouin, and Max Domi (once each).
Drouin’s drop from #1 to #3 in 2019 was the first time a player ranked first was ranked lower in a later year in the history of the Top 25 Under 25. Price and Subban graduated in the top spot, and Alex Galchenyuk was traded before the voting in 2018. Domi was traded this summer, but would have graduated even if he was a member of the team.
Two of those players were high first-round picks by the Canadiens. This series has seen one new player added from the draft’s opening round in each year of its existence, and it has been a mixed bag of debuts in the rankings. Mikhail Sergachev (2016) and Alex Galchenyuk (2012) are tied for the top debut with a #3 ranking in their first appearance while Noah Juulsen’s #17 rank in 2015 is the lowest. Nathan Beaulieu (#5), Nikita Scherbak (#6), Jesperi Kotkaniemi (#6), and Cole Caufield (#7) had top-10 debuts. Ryan Poehling and Michael McCarron debuted at #14, and Jarred Tinordi was 11th. Kaiden Guhle will be the next first-round pick to enter the rankings.
Top 25 Under 25 History (2010-2019)
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