NHL Power Rankings: 25 best players under age 25

In this week’s NHL Power Rankings we take a look at the top-25 players in the league that have not yet celebrated their 25th birthday.

This is our top-25 under 25 ranking.

The emphasis is on “under” 25 here. So any player that is age 25 or older is not included. So players like Nathan MacKinnon, Leon Draisaitl, and Aleksander Barkov, as great as they are, do not make the cut, even though they just recently turned 25 years old.

As for the players that do make the cut off, here is who we have on the list.

To this week’s NHL Power Rankings!

1. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers. Simply the most dominant player in the NHL regardless of age. He has averaged 110 points per 82 games during his career. That number jumps to 120 points over the past four seasons. That sort of production is something out of a different era.

2. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs. He has averaged 45 goals per 82 games since entering the NHL and was going to hit the 50-goal mark this past season had it not been for the shortened season. He seems poised to take over the title of top goal scorer in the league whenever Alex Ovechkin slows down.

3. Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning. He was already on the map as one of the league’s best young players, but his playoff performance this year only cemented that status. An elite scorer, an excellent defensive player, and a possession driver. He does it all.

4. David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins. Already one of the league’s best players and he is just now hitting his peak years. He is now a real threat for 50 goals in a full 82-game season.

5. Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks. He is one of the reasons the Canucks’ rebuild has accelerated so much the past couple of years. If you wanted to argue that he should be a spot or two higher I would listen to it.

6. Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars. Norris Trophies (multiple) are in his future. Big time offensive ability with shutdown defense. The total package on defense and a franchise-changing player.

7. Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres. His team has stunk, but that is not his fault. He is one of the league’s best players and it is going to be fascinating what he can do with Taylor Hall on his wing this season.

8. Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche. It is easy for him to get overlooked playing in MacKinnon’s shadow, but he is an outstanding player on his own and one of the league’s most productive forwards.

[Related: 2020 NHL Free Agent Signing Tracker]

9. Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes. If I am working in the Hurricanes front office I am sending Marc Bergevin a holiday card every year for that offer sheet, allowing the Hurricanes to get their franchise player signed to a bargain rate for five years.

10. Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders. He is the one game-breaker the Islanders have, and they have already more playoff success with him as their franchise player than they did over the 30 years — combined! — before that.

11. Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins. If he could ever play a full 82-games he would probably be a 50-point player from the blue line with great defense to go with it. A legit No. 1 defender and the leader of the Bruins’ defense for the foreseeable future.

12. Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs. Maybe the Maple Leafs overpaid him, but Marner is already one of the league’s best passers and playmakers and an elite offensive player.

13. Andrei Svechnikov, Carolina Hurricanes. Give it time. It is only a matter of when, and not if, he finds himself higher on a list like this. He plays an advanced all-around game for his age and has 40-goal ability.

14. Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche. The only thing keeping him from being in the top-10 is the fact he has only played one year in the NHL. He will be competing for the Norris Trophy every season.

15. Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks. Take all of those words written in the Cale Makar entry just above and place them right here as well. The Heiskanen, Makar, Hughes Norris races are going to be amazing to watch over the next decade.

16. Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames. The Western Conference version of Brad Marchand and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.

17. Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets. He is right there with Patrik Laine, his Jets teammate, from a goal-scoring perspective and is a better all-around player.

18. Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets. Speaking of Laine… he does one thing exceptionally well. He scores goals. A lot of them.

19. Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers. It took them decades but the Flyers finally found their goalie. He is a darn good goalie as well.

20. Pierre-Luc Dubois, Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets faced criticism when they originally picked him with the No. 3 overall pick, but they were right. He is already a top-line center and his best days are still ahead of him.

[Related: Winners And Losers From The NHL Offseason So Far]

21. William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs. The criticism that he gets in Toronto is a little much and a little over the top. Is he expensive? Yeah, he is. He is also really good. Better than he gets credit for being at times.

22. Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets. He and Seth Jones form one of the league’s best defense pairings. Jones is the better all-around player (and just a little too old for this list!) but Werenski puts up the big numbers offensively.

23. Rasmus Dahlin, Buffalo Sabres. If he becomes the player everyone thinks he can be that would be massive for a Sabres team that desperately needs a superstar on its blue line. I think he can be that player.

24. Alex DeBrincat, Chicago Blackhawks. I do not know if he will ever score 40 goals again, but I think he is closer to that player than the player we saw this past season.

25. Mikhail Sergachev, Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning’s talent level is absurd. They have award winners all over the lineup and always seem to have a pipeline of young talent filling out the rest of the roster. Sergachev is still only 22 years old and is already a top-pairing defender.

Just missing: Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks; Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia Flyers; Travis Konecny, Philadelphia Flyers; Anthony Cirelli, Tampa Bay Lightning; Adam Fox, New York Rangers; John Marino, Pittsburgh Penguins; Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers; Mackenzie Blackwood, New Jersey Devils; Nikolaj Ehlers, Winnipeg Jets; Dylan Larkin, Detroit Red Wings

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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    Devils rally from two goals down to beat Rangers 5-3

    Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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    NEW YORK – Jack Hughes and Michael McLeod scored in the second period, Vitek Vanecek stopped 35 shots and the surging New Jersey Devils rallied from an early two-goal deficit to beat the New York Rangers 5-3 on Monday night.

    Yegor Sharangovich had two goals and Tomas Tatar also scored to help the first-place Devils win their third straight since having their 13-game winning streak snapped last week. New Jersey has won 10 straight road games and has only one loss since starting the season 3-3-0.

    The Rangers raced to a 2-0 lead just three minutes into the contest but the Devils scored twice to tie it later in the first period to tie it and then scored twice in the second period to take the lead.

    “We stayed with our game. There was a calmness on the bench,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said of his team’s early deficit. “All I said on the bench was ‘let’s get the next goal and we’ll be back in the game.”‘

    Vanecek improved to 11-2-0 as scattered chants of “Let’s Go Devils” were heard at Madison Square Garden.

    The Devils have made the playoffs only once – in 2018 – since beating the Rangers in six games in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals.

    “It was great to hear the fans here on our side,” Devils forward Miles Wood said. “We can’t thank them enough.”

    Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Vincent Trocheck scored and Chris Kreider had two assists for the Rangers, who fell to 4-5-3 at home. Igor Shesterkin had 33 saves.

    New York also lost its second straight at home in a disheartening fashion. The Rangers squandered a 3-0 third-period lead against Edmonton on Saturday to lose 4-3. Last season, they won 27 of 41 games at the Garden.

    “When one thing goes wrong it starts to snowball on us,” Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren said. “We keep saying we have to play a full 60. You can’t keep talking about it, you have to go out and do it.”

    Rangers coach Gerard Gallant credited the young and hungry Devils with playing a superior game.

    “They put lots of offense at you, they play fast and they showed that,” Gallant said. “Tonight they were the better team.”

    Tatar narrowed the deficit to 2-1 at 7:31 of the first with a nifty high backhand shot past Shesterkin for his sixth of the season. Jesper Bratt had an assist on the play, giving him a point in 18 for the Devils’ 23 games this season.

    Sharangovich tied it with an unassisted goal with 6:35 left in the first.

    Hughes put the Devils ahead at 5:44 of the second after he gained a stride on Lindgren before sliding the puck past Shesterkin for his 12th of the season and fourth in the last two games.

    McLeod made it 4-2 at 9:40 with his third goal after Wood hit the crossbar behind Shesterkin.

    “I have to play better,” said , who was also in goal for Saturday’s meltdown against Edmonton and has lost three of his last five games.

    It was the fourth time in their last six games the Devils scored at least four times and New Jersey improved to 9-0-0 when the 21-year-old Hughes – the top overall pick by the Devils in the 2019 draft – has a goal.

    Trocheck scored his eighth goal on the power play for the Rangers with 6:42 left in the third to pull within one, but Sharangovich added an empty-netter with 16 seconds remaining to seal the win.

    The Devils improved a franchise-best 13-1-0 in November and an NHL-best 16-0-0 when leading after two periods.

    “It’s fun playing here,” Hischier said. “It feels great to beat the Rangers,?

    Panarin scored 1:20 into the game to end a personal 12-game goal-scoring drought with his sixth of the season and first since Oct. 30 at Arizona.

    Zibanejad made it 2-0 at 3:01 with his team-best 11th of the season.

    UP NEXT

    Devils: Host Nashville on Thursday night.

    Rangers: At Ottawa on Wednesday night.

    Stamkos lifts Lightning past Sabres 6-5 in OT

    Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
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    BUFFALO, N.Y. – Steven Stamkos scored his second goal of the game 2:44 into overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 6-5 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.

    Brayden Point also had two goals, Brandon Hagel had a goal and an assist, and Corey Perry also scored for the Lightning, who rallied from two goals down in the third period to force overtime. Nikita Kucherov and Mikhail Sergachev each had three assists, and Stamkos added one for a three-point night.

    Brian Elliott had 32 saves to get the win.

    “We got the breaks at the end to pull us back, some big-time players got us back into it,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said.

    Tage Thompson had a goal and an assist, and Tyson Jost, Jeff Skinner, Jack Quinn and Dylan Cozens also scored for Buffalo. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 19 saves.

    “You allow good players a little bit of extra time and a little bit of extra space, they’re going to make plays on you,” Sabres coach Don Granato said. “We had hesitation in our game and it was only the last 10 minutes.”

    In the extra period, Stamkos got the winner on a blast from the right circle for his 12th of the season.

    “There’s going to be games where we don’t deserve the two points and tonight was probably one of those, but we’ve been on the other side of that too,” Stamkos said.

    With the score tied at 3-3 to open the third period, the Sabres appeared to take control in the third with two goals for a 5-3 lead with a little more than 5 1/2 minutes remaining.

    Cozens put Buffalo ahead at 9:37, ripping a shot from the right circle under the crossbar and beating Elliott on the glove side. Skinner made it 5-3 with 5:41 remaining, finishing from a tight angle after an odd-man rush was initially stopped.

    However, the Lightning answered back with two goals 3 1/2 minutes apart.

    Stamkos scored just 16 seconds after Skinner’s goal to get the Lightning within one. Hagel tied it with a power-play goal with 2:02 remaining. With Elliott pulled to create a 6-on-4 advantage, Kucherov’s shot from the right circle was deflected by Hagel past Luukkonen.

    Point opened the scoring 7:54 into the game with a power-play goal from close range for his ninth.

    Perry made it 2-0 with 3:12 left in the first off a cross-ice pass from Stamkos.

    Thompson put Buffalo on the board with 2:06 left in the first, beating Elliott with some nifty stick-handling after forcing a turnover in front of the Tampa net.

    Quinn evened it 59 seconds later, finishing a nice feed from JJ Peterka on a quick offensive rush.

    Jost gave Buffalo a 3-2 lead midway through the second period, scoring his first goal with the Sabres after he was acquired off waivers from Minnesota on Nov. 19.

    Point tied it 3-3 on the power play with 3:34 left in the second after getting a pass from Kucherov.

    INJURY RETURNS

    Each team had one player return from a recent injury. Sabres center Rasmus Asplund returned after missing two games with an upper-body injury. Tampa Bay forward Cole Koepke returned after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

    UP NEXT

    Lightning: At Boston on Tuesday night.

    Sabres: At Detroit on Wednesday night.

    Hughes has first NHL hat trick, Devils beat Capitals 5-1

    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
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    NEWARK, N.J. – Jack Hughes had his first career NHL hat trick, Vitek Vanecek made 38 saves against his former team and the New Jersey Devils beat the Washington Capitals 5-1 on Saturday for coach Lindy Ruff’s 800th victory.

    “It’s exciting,” Hughes said. “Couple of two-goal games in my career, so nice to cap it off with the third one tonight.”

    Ruff became the fifth NHL coach to reach the 800-victory mark. The former Buffalo player won 571 games with the Sabres from 1997-2011. He had 165 wins in five seasons with Dallas and has 64 in two-plus seasons with New Jersey.

    “It means I’ve been around a long time,” Ruff cracked. “Great to win the game. Again, you got to do a lot of right things, have good teams, and the way our team is playing I have to give them a lot of credit for getting me there.”

    The Atlantic Division-leading Devils have won two in a row after seeing their franchise-record 13-game winning streak snapped by Toronto.

    Devils captain Nico Hischier and Fabian Zetterlund also scored.

    John Carlson scored for Washington and Charlie Lindgren made 24 saves.

    “Not scoring goals, not capitalizing on our chances,” Carlson said. “We’ve had our chances, especially today, but we only walked away with one goal. We could have had five or six. It’s just not going in right now.”

    Vanecek, meanwhile, was hoping for the shutout against a familiar foe.

    “That would have been nice, but that’s hockey,” Vanecek said, “For sure you’re trying, but not every time; the win is more important.”

    Hischier opened up the scoring with his 10th goal of the season midway through the first period on a power play after Alexander Ovechkin was called for slashing.

    Hughes wrapped the puck around goalie Lindgren’s right leg and the goal post to put the Devils up 2-0 5:59 into the second period. Hughes appeared to have lost his angle on the goal when he ripped a shot off Lindgren’s face mask and into the net midway through the period for his 10th goal of the season to give New Jersey a 3-0 lead.

    The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick added his third midway through the third period as hats rained down on the ice with New Jersey up 4-0.

    “You want to continue to play the right way, but if an opportunity comes you want to definitely put it in the back of the net with authority,” Hughes said. “So tonight, I was able to cap it off and it was nice.”

    Fabian Zetterlund capped the scoring for New Jersey late in the third period.

    NOTES: The Devils improved to 16-0-0 this season when Hischier has a point. New Jersey’s Nathan Bastain (upper body) did not return after the first period. . Ovechkin is still nine goals away from 800 and 11 from passing Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL goals list.

    UP NEXT

    Capitals: At Vancouver.

    Devils: At the New York Rangers.

    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.