Karlsson returns to TSN Top 50 as Nos. 30-21 are revealed
TSN Hockey has compiled its list of the Top 50 NHL players ahead of the full reveal special on Friday (11:30 a.m. ET/8:30 a.m. PT on TSN4, 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT on TSN5), and today, we announce the players ranked 30th to 21st.
Erik Karlsson had a renaissance season last year with the San Jose Sharks, recording 25 goals and 76 assists for 101 points to set career highs in all three categories. His 101 points was the most by a defenceman since New York Rangers’ legend Brian Leetch scored 102 points during the 1991-92 campaign.
More importantly for the 33-year-old, Karlsson managed to play 82 games for the first time in seven seasons after sustaining multiple significant injuries during that time frame. He will have to prove that he can maintain that health during the upcoming 2023-24 season in Pittsburgh.
After winning his third Norris Trophy last season with a Sharks team that was the fourth worst in the NHL, Karlsson now finds himself with Sidney Crosby and the Penguins with a chance at making the playoffs and maybe reaching the Stanley Cup Final.
Karlsson was not ranked last season on our list, missing out for the third straight year following an eight-year stay, but this year he bursts back in at No. 21.
Coming in at No. 30 is New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin (No. 16 last season). Panarin remains one of the most dangerous forwards in the NHL, leading the Rangers with 29 goals and 92 points in 82 games last season. The 31-year-old was a second-team all-star and led the Rangers to a third-place finish in the Metropolitan Division with 107 points.
Nashville Predators defenceman Roman Josi (No. 13 last season) comes in at No. 29. After finishing second in Norris Trophy voting with 23 goals and 96 points in 2021-22, Josi followed it up with a respectable 18 goals and 59 points in 67 games last season. The 33-year-old missed 15 games in 2022-23 due to nagging injuries as his Predators missed the playoffs for only the second time since 2014.
No. 28 is Vegas Golden Knights centre Jack Eichel (No. 35 last season). The 26-year-old forward played his first full season in Vegas last season after being traded from the Buffalo Sabres in the middle of the 2021-22 season and recovering from neck surgery. He took full advantage of being healthy by scoring 27 goals and 66 points in 67 games to help his club to a Pacific Division win. He added six goals and 26 points in 22 playoff games to lead the Golden Knights to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
At No. 27 is Dallas Stars defenceman Miro Heiskanen (not ranked last season). The third overall selection in the 2017 draft has continued his slow rise as one of the league’s best young defencemen by setting a career-high 11 goals and 73 points in 79 games last season. Heiskanen finished tied with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes for the most power-play points by a defenceman in the league.
Coming in at No. 26 is New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (not ranked last season). The 28-year-old star netminder broke out last season by recording a 31-22-7 record with six shutouts. Sorokin was among the NHL leaders with a 2.34 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage, leading him to finish second in Vezina Trophy voting. The 6-foot-2 goaltender was rewarded with an eight-year, $66 million extension this off-season.
Buffalo Sabres defenceman Rasmus Dahlin (not ranked last season) comes in at No. 25. Dahlin set career highs last season by recording 15 goals and 73 points in 78 games. The first overall selection in the 2018 draft was third in the NHL in ice time with 25:48 and finished tied for fifth among defencemen in points. Dahlin is on the final year of his three-year, $18 million deal and is eligible for a contract extension.
No. 24 is Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stutzle (not ranked last season). Stutzle continued his steady rise as one of the league’s top young centres by registering a career-high 39 goals and 90 points in 78 games last season. The 21-year-old is entering the first season of his eight-year, $66.8 million deal and hopes to lead the Senators to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
At No. 23 is Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman (No. 6 last season). The 6-foot-7 defenceman had a down year by his standards, recording nine goals and 49 points last season. Hedman lost his spot on the Lightning top power-play unit to defenceman Mikhail Sergachev and his point production has suffered. The former No. 2 overall pick in 2009 will benefit from a full off-season after his team played well into June from 2020-22.
Coming in at No. 22 is Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov (No. 9 last season). The 6-foot-3 centre had a respectable 2022-23 campaign, recording 23 goals and 78 points in 68 games. He added five goals and 16 points in 21 playoff games to help lead his club to the Stanley Cup Final. Barkov is considered one of the best 200-foot players in the NHL but he has not been able to stay healthy, only playing 82 games once in his 10-season career.
On Thursday, we reveal players No. 11-20.