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Looking at Jake Guentzel’s place among the NHL’s top young players

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Where would you slot Guentzel among the league’s best young players?

Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Four Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

First of all, let’s put a natural disclaimer that if you attribute any time whatsoever in analyzing summer four-on-four shinny, it’s misplaced. No sense in looking at how anyone performs and trying to forward-project it to this next season or beyond. But it’s still been fun to see Jake Guentzel doing Jake Guentzel things in Da Beauty League for the sake of just seeing some hockey action in the middle of summer. I believe he either won the scoring title or league MVP last season along the way to a championship, and it sure looks like he’s in fine form again which is fun to watch the young man tear it up; nothing more, nothing less.

The SB Nation Hockey group of managers from the individual team blogs are voting on the top 25 players under 25 league-wide, which will be featured starting next week with the reveal and countdown. Spoiler alert, here’s my ballot:

1. Connor McDavid

2. Auston Matthews

3. Nathan MacKinnon

4. Patrik Laine

5. David Pastrnak

6. Johnny Gaudreau

7. Filip Forsberg

8. Aleksander Barkov

9. Mathew Barzal

10. Seth Jones

11. Jack Eichel

12. Jake Guentzel

13. Zach Werenski

14. Leon Draisaitl

15. Mikko Rantanen

16. Brock Boeser

17. Clayton Keller

18. William Karlsson

19. Nikolaj Ehlers

20. Brayden Point

21. Teuvo Teravainen

22. Matt Murray

23. Ivan Provorov

24. Mitch Marner

25. Kyle Connor

Admittedly, I have Guentzel really high. It’s mostly to get attention, since all the other managers’ ballots I’ve seen had him omitted. One could contend Guentzel deserves such a placement though; his 42 career playoff points are tied-first for any eligible current Under-25 player. And he’s tied with Filip Forsberg, who has one less goal and 18 additional games played, so Guentzel definitely should be getting some consideration. Not sure if everyone else forgot about him in the shuffle or what.

Last summer, Guentzel was an honorable mention. Matt Murray, fresh off two Stanley Cups in two years, was ranked No. 10. This year, he’s obviously in store for a huge fall, if he even makes the list at all.

As you can also see, I’m very high on Barkov and Keller, two players on out-of-the-way teams and markets, but still very fun ones to watch. I admire their skill, so I placed them high.

Lists are always jumping off as points for debates, so let me know how your Top 25 looks, as well as who you think I have too high, too low, and who is just right. I spent about five minutes on this, and I’m not prepared to die on any hill, so let’s just get that out in the open right now. Roast me if you must, but it’s just a silly list for fun. (And, if we’re in the trust tree, I already feel a little remorse for placing Matthews over MacKinnon, I probably put Gadreau a bit too low, and I couldn’t find a spot somewhere in the list for Andrei Vasilevskiy, but what’s done is done.)

It’s always fun to see where other people rank players from around the league, and the passion people might have for a certain guy. There’s certainly no shortage of quality players that didn’t make my grouping above that can very easily and justifiably make yours. I’m excited to hear the thoughts this will surely generate.