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McDavid poised to keep No. 1 spot for 7th straight year in TSN’s Top 50 Players Ranking

Connor McDavid Michael Bunting Edmonton Oilers Toronto Maple Leafs Connor McDavid Michael Bunting - The Canadian Press
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After taking yet another statistical step forward last season, it seems hard to imagine that Connor McDavid won't retain his place as the unanimous No. 1 when TSN's Top 50 players ranking for the 2023-24 season is revealed. 

The TSN Top 50 players will be released in 10-player segments starting on Monday.

McDavid picked up all 20 first-place votes last season despite having finished second in Hart Trophy voting to Auston Matthews just a few months earlier. It marked his sixth straight year topping the list, having overtaken Sidney Crosby in 2017 after he had a seven-year run at No. 1. 

Matthews earned a majority of the second-place votes to finish ahead of Cale Makar, who was the top defenceman at No. 3. Matthews, though, is likely to see a slide down the list after finishing with 40 goals and 85 points in 76 games last season. 

McDavid won his first Rocket Richard Trophy last season with 64 goals – the most scored by any player in a season since Alex Ovechkin hit 65 in 2008. The Edmonton Oilers captain also ran away with his fifth Art Ross Trophy, posting 153 points. The 150-point mark had not been eclipsed since 1996, with McDavid joining an exclusive club of just six players to reach the plateau. He joined Mario Lemieux (1988, 1989, 1993, 1996), Wayne Gretzky (1981-1987, 1989, 1991), Steve Yzerman (1988-89), Phil Esposito (1970-71), and Bernie Nicholls (1988-89) in that group.

McDavid's teammate Leon Draisaitl finished second in the scoring race, with 52 goals and 128 points. The German centre was ranked fourth on the 2022 list. 

David Pastrnak should see a massive rise on the 2023 list after finishing second to McDavid in goals, with 61 last season, and tied for third in points, with 113. The Boston Bruins winger was ranked 25th on the 2022 list after posting 40 goals and 77 points in 72 games the previous year.

After a historic regular season for the Bruins, reigning Vezina Trophy winner Linus Ullmark should also join the list for the first time in his career. Ullmark posted a 40-6-1 record last season with a .938 save percentage and a 1.89 goals-against average. 

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was the highest-ranked goaltender on the 2022 list, checking in at No. 7, sandwiched between teammates Victor Hedman (No. 6) and Nikita Kucherov (No. 8). 

Hedman was the second-ranked defenceman on the 2022 list, behind only Makar. However, after a stunning resurgence from Erik Karlsson last year, it seems plausible the Norris Trophy winner could return to the list as the top-ranked defenceman after missing out entirely the past three years following an eight-year stay in the top 50. 

Karlsson, 33, had a career-high 25 goals and 101 points in 82 games with the San Jose Sharks last season. Josh Morrissey of the Winnipeg Jets and newly named Vancouver Canucks captain Quinn Hughes both finished second in scoring amongst defenceman, finishing 25 points behind Karlsson with 76 each. Morrissey is looking to make the top 50 for the first time, while Hughes checked in at No. 46 last year.

Makar was ninth in scoring among blueliners with 17 goals and 66 points while being limited to 60 games. Hedman was 23rd with nine goals 49 points in 76 games. 

In addition to Karlsson, 10 forwards topped 100 points last season, with half the group set to see significant rises in their rankings.

Behind McDavid and Draisaitl, Kucherov finished tied with Pastrnak for third in points. Avalanche centre Nathan MacKinnon finished two points behind them with 111 after ranking fifth on the TSN Top 50 list last season.

Dallas Stars winger Jason Robertson broke out with 46 goals and 109 points last season and seems sure to improve his debut ranking of No. 44 in 2022. Matthew Tkachuk was a Hart Trophy finalist last season after leading the Florida Panthers with 109 points and could crack the top 10 this year after coming in at No. 19 last October.

With 55 goals and 105 points last season, Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen seems poised to rise as well after finishing two spots back of Tkachuk last year, at No. 21. 

The other two forwards to crack the 100-point mark last season missed out the on the top 50 list entirely. Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins posted 37 goals and 104 points, putting him in position to join the list for the first time in his career. Elias Pettersson had 39 goals and 102 points, making it almost a sure thing to rejoin the list after missing out last year. The 24-year-old Canucks forward was ranked No. 30 on the 2021 list.

To recap the full Top 50 players list from last year was as follows:

Top 50 Players - 2022-23

Player Pos 2021-22 RK 2022-23 RK
1. Connor McDavid, Edm C 1 1
2. Auston Matthews, Tor C 3 2
3. Cale Makar, Col RD 12 3
4. Leon Draisaitl, Edm C 5 4
5. Nathan MacKinnon, Col C 2 5
6. Victor Hedman, TB LD 7 6
7. Andrei Vasilevskiy, TB G 6 7
8. Nikita Kucherov, TB RW 4 8
9. Aleksander Barkov, Fla C 10 9
10. Kirill Kaprizov, Min LW 26 10
11. Sidney Crosby, Pit C 9 11
12. Mitchell Marner, Tor RW 16 12
13. Roman Josi, Nsh LD 31 13
14. Jonathan Huberdeau, Cgy LW 18 14
15. Igor Shesterkin, NYR G   15
16. Artemi Panarin, NYR LW 8 16
17. Johnny Gaudreau, CBJ LW   17
18. Adam Fox, NYR RD 23 18
19. Matthew Tkachuk, Fla LW/RW   19
20. Alex Ovechkin, Wsh LW 17 20
21. Mikko Rantanen, Col RW 19 21
22. Patrick Kane, Chi RW 14 22
23. Steven Stamkos, TB C   23
24. Brad Marchand, Bos LW 11 24
25. David Pastrnak, Bos RW 15 25
26. Brayden Point, TB C 13 26
27. Sebastian Aho, Car C 22 27
28. J.T. Miller, Van C   28
29. Kyle Connor, Wpg LW 34 29
30. Charlie McAvoy, Bos RD 39 30
31. Filip Forsberg, Nsh LW   31
32. Mika Zibanejad, NYR C 27 32
33. Patrice Bergeron, Bos C 25 33
34. Jacob Markstrom, Cgy G   34
35. Jack Eichel, VGK C 35 35
36. Elias Lindholm, Cgy C   36
37. Nazem Kadri, Cgy C   37
38. Aaron Ekblad, Fla RD   38
39. Gabriel Landeskog, Col LW 44 39
40. Juuse Saros, Nsh G   40
41. Jake Guentzel, Pit LW 45 41
42. Jaccob Slavin, Car LD   42
43. John Carlson, Wsh RD 41 43
44. Jason Robertson, Dal LW   44
45. Moritz Seider, Det RD   45
46. Quinn Hughes, Van LD 38 46
47. Alex DeBrincat, Ott LW   47
48. Chris Kreider, NYR LW   48
49. Jack Hughes, NJ C   49
50. Kris Letang, Pit RD   50