Take Hagg, for example: he'll likely play in the NHL this season, but his upside is decidedly lower than Philippe Myers (who is more of a longshot to make the big club this year). Myers will finish higher in the rankings, as he has not appeared in the countdown yet, but there is something to be said for the fact that Hagg is already NHL-ready.
In my initial Top 25 Under 25 list, I generally favored NHL-readiness over long-term potential. I think the best representation of this fact was my placement of Mike Vecchione and Taylor Leier above first-round picks German Rubtsov and Morgan Frost. The latter pair will almost certainly leave the former pair in the dust if they reach their potential, but Vecchione and Leier will likely contribute (at least sparingly) this season.
So, because I have all the time in the world to kill, I'm going to try to reconcile my less-than-concrete logic and place everyone together in a two-dimensional chart.
I'm going to rank each side of the chart on a scale of 1-5. Here is how I intend those to work (but I haven't started ranking yet, so this is all subject to change).
- 5 - Cornerstone player for the Flyers
- 4 - Will make the team and play the entire season in the NHL
- 3 - Not a lock to make the team, but probably will spend the year with the Flyers
- 2 - Probably will only see time as an injury fill-in
- 1 - I'll be shocked if he plays a game in the NHL
- 5 - Perennial All-Star
- 4 - Key contributor at the NHL level for a decade
- 3 - Solid contributor for a long time
- 2 - Journeyman
- 1 - Might have a few good seasons
- 0 - Zac Rinaldo
And, with that in mind, let's rank some guys.
There is a lot of grouping, because I am just one person and my general thought process was something along the lines of "there are going to be a lot of guys who are either in juniors or on the Phantoms this season."
It's a little easier to compare when I add in diagonal gridlines:
Here's how that translates into my revised Top 25 Under 25:
- Ivan Provorov
- Sean Couturier
- Shayne Gostisbehere
- Nolan Patrick
- Travis Konecny
- Oskar Lindblom
- Travis Sanheim
- Sam Morin
- Robert Hagg
- Philippe Myers
- Scott Laughton
- Carter Hart
- Felix Sandstrom
- Taylor Leier
- Mike Vecchione
- Wade Allison
- Isaac Ratcliffe
- German Rubtsov
- Nicolas Aube-Kubel
- Anthony Stolarz
- Pascal Laberge
- Mikhail Vorobyov
- Morgan Frost
- Matt Strome
- Alex Lyon
And my honorable mentions would be Mark Friedman, Radel Fazleev, and Connor Bunnaman.