Hockey fans across Canada were overwhelmed with migraines when TSN released their top 50 NHL players' list this past week.
Unlike last year where the TSN panel put together the rankings, this year the list is based on a handful of general managers' personal player ranking.
Here is a look at five concerns with the list.
Patrice Bergeron shouldn't be in the top 20 - Boston Bruins centre Patrice Bergeron is strong on the draw. He also comes up big in the playoffs and is strong defensively. He, however, has topped out at 64 points. So to suggest he is the 16th best player in the league ahead of the likes of Carolina Hurricanes Centre Eric Staal, Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel and Los Angeles Kings defender Drew Doughty is absurd. By that same logic, that winning draws and having big playoffs is enough to catapult a player into the NHL's top 50, Leafs centre David Bolland should have cracked the list.
Phil Kessel is ranked way too low - Kessel has clearly established himself as one of the best goal scorers in The Show. Without a first-line centre, Kessel scored 37 goals and 82 points in 82 games in 2011-12 and 20 goals and 52 points in 48 games the following year. This alone should put Kessel into the top 40. But the NHL ranked him at 43 behind less-talented players such as Boston Bruins winger Milan Lucic, Pittsburgh Penguins winger James Neal, Colorado Avalanche Centre Matt Duchene and Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza.
There is the argument that Kessel is somewhat soft, which could hurt his ranking; however, he showed in last year's playoffs against Boston that when the going gets tough, he gets going. Therefore, his ranking goes well beyond arguable. It makes you question if the general managers did any research before putting together their rankings.
Milan Lucic. Are you kidding me - To suggest Lucic is the 42nd best player in the league is ridiculous. Sure, he has a large imposing frame and can fight with the best of them, but he lacks too much raw skill to even consider him a top 50 player. He has topped out at 62 points in a season thus far in his NHL career. Not to mention, while playing for the WHL's Vancouver Giants, he maxed out at only 68 points.
Every team wants a Lucic-type player on their bench; however, to suggest he is better than Kessel, Buffalo Sabres star Thomas Vanek and Minnesota Wild Centre Miko Koivu is more than a stretch; it is ignorance. It is ignoring his point-production ceiling and lack of elite talent.
Dustin Brown is good, but not that good; what about David Backes - There's a lot to like about Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown, who was ranked 48th. He fights, scores, blocks shots and does pretty much everything else he's asked of; nonetheless, his best point total is 60 points. Moreover, taking into account the 6-foot, 204-pounder is 28-years-old, it seems he will never score much more than 60 points again in his career.
There is a strong case that St. Louis Blues forward David Backes, who didn't crack the list, deserves a higher rating than Brown. They have posted similar numbers, but Backes has a more enticing 6-foot-3, 225-pound stature and has more goal-scoring upside as he has scored over 30 goals twice in his career.
Jonathan Toews shouldn't be ahead of Steven Stamkos - Chicago Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews brings a lot to the table; he can not only dominate the offensive zone, but the defensive zone as well because of his elite work ethic, conditioning and unselfish play. However, high-end forwards' defensive ability is somewhat overrated because of the surplus of third-line players that thrive in their own zone. If blocking shots and cutting down angles made a player great, then the Leafs' Jay McClement would be an all-star. Based on that, general managers should value a higher ceiling in talent more than the ability to make an impact on the penalty kill. Therefore, because Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos clearly has a higher ceiling than Toews, he should have been ranked ahead of him at third overall. He, after all, has scored 49 more points than Toews in the last season and a half.