Chris VandeVelde may well end up playing more NHL games than anyone below him on this list.
We've looked at the Top 25 Under 25 up, down, and sideways, talked about which players we all like a lot, which ones we mostly like, which ones we have doubts about, which longshots we think might surprise, and which guys we think are flat-out overrated. But in all of this work we've been comparing each player against all of the others in the organization, something that Yeti picked up on in one of his recent comments:
Not to complicate things, but might it be interesting to divide the top-25 into the categories of goalie, d-men and forwards? This would avoid that evident ‘apples, oranges and mangos’ effect of comparing things that are not strictly comparable by the same metric
After the jump, we'll find out whether or not dividing things up in this manner is, in fact, interesting.
There's not a lot of consensus here, aside from Tuohimaa bringing up the rear. Each of the other three goaltenders takes at least one turn in first, second, and third. This is, of course, a dead giveaway that Frans Tuohimaa will end up being the best of the bunch.
By looking at just the defensemen, the groupings are much clearer than they were in the combined Top 25. Petry is clear of the pack, followed by the top prospects in Marincin and Klefbom who've actually flipped spots but remain very close, followed by Peckham, the guy who's made it to the NHL but doesn't have the same high-end potential as the other three. Then it's a big drop to Musil, and another big drop to the pack. Teubert and Simpson both leap-frogged Davidson and Blain, which shows just how close those four are. Plante and Chorney round out that group before another big drop-off to the longshots.
This is a pretty interesting group in isolation because the giant chasm between Martindale and VandeVelde is a lot less evident. In our combined rankings, Cogliano actually fell behind Martindale, but that was followed by a run of seven defensemen and two goalies. In this chart you can see the drop-off in other ways. For example, VandeVelde is the first player that no one has ranked inside the top ten, and everyone in front of him has at least two supporters. The top twelve is also pretty close to consensus with four of us all agreeing on the twelve men in the group, and just one exception on the other two lists. Within that top group there would seem to be four distinct groupings. The first is Taylor Hall standing tall in a class by himself, which is as it should be. The next is the group of Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle, Gagner, and Paajarvi, all exceptional talents who could play effectively on a first line if everything breaks right, and if not, are very likely to be the kind of players that will help a team win in lesser roles. Those fellows are followed by the older Omark who's less likely to become a top line player, but who's already had enough professional success that it's not a stretch to see him as one of those guys that will help a team win in a lesser role (middle six forward and PP specialist). And finally that last group of six who've got reasonably good potential, but who may never end up being reasonably good players.