Sam McCaig

  • Positional rankings: Projecting the NHL's top 25 right wingers in 2016-17

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 14 hrs ago

    (Note: These rankings are based on players' projected performances in 2016-17. Players are listed at their official NHL position when the rankings were created.)

    Here’s the Yahoo Sports ranking of the top 25 right wingers in the NHL for the 2016-17 season. Let us know what you think in the comments section. Please play nice...

    1. Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks: The reigning MVP and league scoring champion blends ultra-elite skill and high-end speed with a desire to win and an innate ability to come through in the clutch.

    2. Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues: The sky’s the limit for dazzling goal-scorer.

    3. Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning: He’s racked up 21 goals and 41 points in 43 playoff games over the past two postseasons.

    4. Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks: Preeminent scorer and a pain to play against.

    5. Phil Kessel, Pittsburgh Penguins: He flies down the wing and rips a wrist shot past the goalie. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    6. Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets: A true power forward who’s big, fast and physical.

    7. Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers: He’s a lot better than the 11-goal season he put up last year.

    10. James Neal, Nashville Predators: Big shooter, big hitter.

  • Positional rankings: Projecting the NHL's top 25 centers in 2016-17

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    (Note: These rankings are based on players' projected performances in 2016-17. Players are listed at their official NHL position when the rankings were created.)

    Here’s the Yahoo Sports ranking of the top 25 centers in the NHL for the 2016-17 season. Surely you will agree that we have each and every player slotted correctly…

    Wait, what’s that? You don’t agree? You think these rankings are wildly out of whack and that we’ve completely lost our mind?

    Sorry, but you’re wrong. You must be. I mean, we spent all day on this…

    Without further ado, here’s the (totally right) ranking of the NHL’s top 25 centers in 2016-17:

    1. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins: Remember how slowly he started last season? The ending was much better.

    2. Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins: If you squint, he looks like Mario out there. On second thought, you don’t need to squint.

    3. John Tavares, New York Islanders: The 25-year-old has already shown he belongs with Bryan Trottier and Pat LaFontaine in the hat trick of all-time Isles centers.

    4. Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings: The king of Kings and the best two-way player in the game.

    20. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche: See Duchene, Matt.

  • Backdraft 2013, 2014 & 2015: An early ranking of the forwards, defensemen & goalies from the 2013, 2014 & 2015 NHL drafts

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 25 days ago

    It’s too soon to say too much about the 2013, 2014 and 2015 NHL drafts, as the vast majority of players selected have barely scratched the surface of their professional careers. But that doesn’t mean we can’t peek in on their progress so far. For each year, we've ranked the forwards and defensemen by career NHL points and goalies by career NHL wins.

    2013 NHL DRAFT: FORWARDS

    Here are the top 10 highest-scoring forwards selected in the 2013 NHL draft, with draft position and NHL games played:

    NOTE: Jonathan Drouin, the third overall pick in the 2013 NHL draft, ranks 11th among forwards with 42 points in 91 NHL games.

    2013 NHL DRAFT: DEFENSEMEN

    Here are the top 10 highest-scoring defensemen selected in the 2013 NHL draft, with draft position and NHL games played: 

     NOTE: Three other defensemen from the 2013 draft have appeared in at least one NHL game. They are: Josh Morrissey, 13th overall pick (one NHL game, zero points); Steven Santini, 42nd overall pick (one NHL game, zero points); Gustav Olofsson, 46th overall pick (two NHL games, zero points).

    2013 NHL DRAFT: GOALIES

    2014 NHL DRAFT: FORWARDS

    2014 NHL DRAFT: DEFENSEMEN

    2014 NHL DRAFT: GOALIES

    2015 NHL DRAFT: FORWARDS

  • Backdraft 2012: Ranking the forwards, defensemen & goalies from the 2012 NHL draft

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 26 days ago

    Take a look back at the 2012 NHL draft: We've ranked the top 10 forwards and top 10 defensemen by career NHL points and goalies by career NHL wins.

    FORWARDS: Here are the top 10 highest-scoring forwards selected in the 2012 NHL draft, with draft position and NHL games played:

    NOTES:

    --Patience: The majority of players drafted in 2012 are 22 years old and still developing. So, it's way too early to call Nail Yakupov a bust despite a rough start to his NHL career in Edmonton. At the same time, it's fair to say the No. 1 overall pick has been eclipsed by Alex Galchenyuk (third overall pick) and Filip Forsberg (11th overall pick), and several other 2012-drafted forwards have done more on a per-game basis. A 30-goal season skating on Connor McDavid's line would go a long way to re-establishing Yakupov as (perhaps) the best player from his draft.

    --Nine of the top 10 highest-scoring forwards from 2012 were drafted in the first round, with second-rounder Chris Tierney (55th overall pick by the San Jose Sharks) the exception.

    DEFENSEMEN: Here are the top 10 highest-scoring defensemen selected in the 2012 NHL draft, with draft position and NHL games played: 

     NOTES:

  • Backdraft 2011: Ranking the forwards, defensemen & goalies from the 2011 NHL draft

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 26 days ago

    Take a look back at the 2011 NHL draft: We've ranked the top 10 forwards and top 10 defensemen by career NHL points and goalies by career NHL wins.

    FORWARDS: Here are the top 10 highest-scoring forwards selected in the 2011 NHL draft, with draft position and NHL games played:

    NOTES:

    --Scoring potential: The 2011 draft appears to be jam-packed with high-end forwards, from the first three picks (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog and Jonathan Huberdeau) to late gems such as Johnny Gaudreau (104th overall pick), Andrew Shaw (139th overall pick) and Ondrej Palat (the fourth-last player drafted at 208th overall).

    --Lightning strikes thrice: It's looking like a great draft for Tampa Bay, as Steve Yzerman's team snagged forwards Vladislav Namestnikov 27th overall, Nikita Kucherov 58th overall and Palat 208th overall. (Not to mention, the Bolts bagged defenseman Nikita Nesterov with the 148th overall pick.)

    --Best of the rest: Other promising forwards drafted in 2011 include Ryan Strome (fifth overall pick), Rickard Rakell (30th overall pick), Boone Jenner (37th overall pick), Victor Rask (42nd overall), Vincent Trocheck (64th overall) and several others.

     NOTES:

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  • Backdraft 2010: Ranking the forwards, defensemen & goalies from the 2010 NHL draft

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 27 days ago

    Take a look back at the 2010 NHL draft: We've ranked the top 10 forwards and top 10 defensemen by career NHL points and goalies by career NHL wins.

    FORWARDS: Here are the top 10 highest-scoring forwards selected in the 2010 NHL draft, with draft position and NHL games played:

    NOTES:

    --Taylor vs. Tyler: The top two picks in 2010, Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin, might not still be with the NHL teams that originally selected them, but they're more than living up to the hype as the two most productive scorers from their draft year. It's still too early to annoint them as the best forwards from the 2010 NHL draft -- Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan Johansen and others could force their way into the conversation -- but they're setting the pace so far.

    --Singing the Blues, in a good way: It was a fine first round for St. Louis, who took Jaden Schwartz with the 14th overall pick and then nabbed Tarasenko 16th overall. That's two-thirds of their top line for the foreseeable future.

    DEFENSEMEN: Here are the top 10 highest-scoring defensemen selected in the 2010 NHL draft, with draft position and NHL games played: 

     NOTES:

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    More in the 'Backdraft' series:

  • Backdraft 2009: Ranking the forwards, defensemen & goalies from the 2009 NHL draft

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 28 days ago

    Take a look back at the 2009 NHL draft: We've ranked the top 10 forwards and top 10 defensemen by career NHL points and goalies by career NHL wins.

    FORWARDS: Here are the top 10 highest-scoring forwards selected in the 2009 NHL draft, with draft position and NHL games played:

    NOTES:

    --So far, so good: It certainly appears the New York Islanders made the right choice taking John Tavares with the first overall pick. The Isles captain leads all 2009-drafted players in NHL games (510), goals (207), assists (264) and points (471). Not to mention, the franchise's turnaround -- after 25 years wandering in the hockey wilderness -- coincided with Tavares' arrival.

    --Tavares (first overall), Matt Duchene (third overall), Evander Kane (fourth overall), Brayden Schenn (fifth overall) and Nazem Kadri (seventh overall) were the first five forwards selected, and they're among the seven most productive forwards from the 2009 NHL draft. The others: Marcus Johansson (14th forward drafted, 24th overall) and Ryan O'Reilly (20th forward drafted, 33rd overall).

     NOTES:

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    More in the 'Backdraft' series:

  • Backdraft 2008: Ranking the forwards, defensemen & goalies from the 2008 NHL draft

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 29 days ago

    Take a look back at the 2008 NHL draft: We've ranked the top 10 forwards and top 10 defensemen by career NHL points and goalies by career NHL wins.

    FORWARDS: Here are the top 10 highest-scoring forwards selected in the 2008 NHL draft, with draft position and NHL games played:

    NOTES:

    --Steven Stamkos No. 1: Not only does the Tampa Bay Lightning sniper have over 200 more points than the second-highest scoring forward, Stamkos has scored more than twice as many goals as anybody else from the 2008 NHL draft. (Stamkos has 312 NHL goals, Jordan Eberle is second with 145.)

    --After Stamkos went first overall, the second forward selected was Nikita Filatov at sixth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Plenty of skill, but he busted out of the NHL after 53 career games (six goals, 14 points). Fortunately for the Blue Jackets, they snagged Matt Calvert 127th overall in the fifth round (110 points in 282 NHL games) and Cam Atkinson 157th overall in the sixth round (165 points in 300 NHL games).

    --Only 16 forwards were picked in the first round of the 2008 NHL draft.

     NOTES:

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    More in the 'Backdraft' series:

  • Backdraft 2007: Ranking the forwards, defensemen & goalies from the 2007 NHL draft

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    Take a look back at the 2007 NHL draft: We've ranked the top 10 forwards and top 10 defensemen by career NHL points and goalies by career NHL wins.

    FORWARDS: Here are the top 10 highest-scoring forwards selected in the 2007 NHL draft, with draft position and NHL games played:

    NOTES:

    --It's hard to argue with Patrick Kane as the No. 1 pick, but how did Jamie Benn fall to 129th overall?

    --Kane leads all 2007-drafted players in NHL games (658), goals (251), assists (412) and points (663). And, not to mention, Stanley Cups (three).

    --Seven forwards were drafted in the top 10 in 2007, and six of them rank among the top 10 highest-scoring forwards. The outlier is Zach Hamill, selected eighth overall by the Boston Bruins, who had four assists in 20 career NHL games.

    DEFENSEMEN: Here are the top 10 highest-scoring defensemen selected in the 2007 NHL draft, with draft position and NHL games played: 

     NOTES:

    --P.K. Subban, the 17th defenseman selected and the 43rd overall pick, leads all 2007-drafted blueliners with 278 points in 434 games.

    NOTES:

    More in the 'Backdraft' series:

  • Backdraft 2006: Ranking the forwards, defensemen & goalies from the 2006 NHL draft

    Sam McCaig at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    Take a look back at the 2006 NHL draft: We've ranked the top 10 forwards and top 10 defensemen by career NHL points and goalies by career NHL wins.

    FORWARDS: Here are the top 10 highest-scoring forwards selected in the 2006 NHL draft, with draft position and NHL games played:

    NOTES:

    --The oft-overlooked Nicklas Backstrom leads the scoring race among forwards drafted in 2006. The Washington Capitals center, who has spent most of his NHL career on a line with Alex Ovechkin, has amassed 477 assists in 652 games -- over 100 helpers more than the second-best playmaker (Claude Giroux, 351 assists).

    --Phil Kessel, with 273 goals in 750 NHL games, leads all 2006-drafted players in both categories.

    --Milan Lucic, selected in the second round (50th overall) by the Boston Bruins, is the only non-first-round pick to crack the top 10 in scoring among 2006-drafted forwards. It was a good draft for the Bruins: they took Kessel fifth overall, Lucic 50th and Brad Marchand 71st (Marchand sits 11th in scoring among forwards drafted in 2006, with 288 points in 454 games).

     NOTES:

    NOTES:

    --No goalie has been drafted higher than Bernier (11th overall) since 2006.

    More in the 'Backdraft' series: