NHL Core Four Part 3 Rankings #21-17
By, Zach Irwin (@ZachIrwin3196)
The weekend is here everybody and welcome back to the NHL Core Four rankings with part 3 of this series. It’s been awhile since you were able to read who are the next teams in these rankings, but don’t worry I have plenty of topics coming soon to give you all the hockey fix your craving for as we are only a week away from playoff hockey returning to our lives. And if you are new and didn’t see the first two articles don’t worry we got the link to get you all caught up.
Now without further ado let’s get started with #21!
#21: Vegas Golden Knights
1. Shea Theodore
2. Cody Glass
3. Alex Tuch
4. Peyton Krebs
Ever since Theodore was from Anaheim to Vegas during the expansion draft in 2017 Theodore has blossomed into a true number-one defenseman which has left Anaheim in shambles and Vegas thriving with a defenseman that should be getting serious Norris trophy consideration in the upcoming seasons possibly even next season. He plays in all situations of the game and did sign a long-term deal last season which now looks a bargain for the seasons to come as he climbs up the totem pole for top 10 defenseman in the NHL. Glass who was the Golden Knights first ever draft selection in the 2017 entry draft with the sixth overall pick. He had a rough rookie campaign this past season, but Glass did show flashes at times of his great two-way play and playmaking ability that afforded Vegas to select him with the sixth pick.
With all that said he’s got all the offensive tools to be a great second-line center at the very least, but no one would be shocked if he turned into a first-line center either. Tuch is the power-forward all the teams in the NHL salivate over and Vegas has one of the best. At 6’4” 220 lbs, he has a very big frame with the speed and skill to compliment that size. He had a breakout season last season with a 52 point campaign (20 goals, 32 assists). Tuch’s problem has been health since he has joined Vegas, but if Tuch can remain healthy, watch out. There are very few players that you can say the sky’s the limit for them and Tuch is one of those few players.
Krebs, who was drafted last year with the 17th overall pick, really dropped in the draft due to an achilles injury that sidelined him to miss all of the second half of his season. Potentially slotted as a top ten pick, Vegas snatched him when he dropped and now has an absolute steal on their hands. Krebs is a coach’s dream. He’s responsible, a hard-worker, and knows how to score goals. He should be a productive top-six forward for Vegas when he is finished his second junior season.
#20: Calgary Flames
1. Matthew Tkachuk
2. Noah Hanifin
3. Anedrew Mangiapane
4. Rasmus Andersson
Tkachuk is one of the most unique players in the NHL when you combine his abrasiveness with his offensive tools. It took him a bit to figure it out in the NHL even though he still was a very productive player who was putting up 20 goals, you knew there was more productivity than meets the eye. These past two seasons Tkachuk has put near 60 points in a season while also drawing penalties and being an absolute major pain in the you what for his opponents. Your team hates to play him, but make no mistake about it, your team is looking for a player like Tkachuk as well because he is that impactful for any team that he plays for. Hanafin is a great skater and defends well but he hasn’t turned that corner yet and performed like a bonafide top-pair guy like the Flames had hoped he would when he got traded to Calgary from Carolina.
It’s the same reason why Carolina traded the former top five pick from 2015 because he plays good, but they don’t want him to play “just good” they needed him to be great. Now since Carolina has Dougie Hamilton who was included in the Hanafin trade and is playing like a Norris Trophy candidate, the question becomes how long of a leash does Hanafin have until Calgary thinks about trading him as well. Mangiapane is a crafty and very scrappy player who turned in a fine 2020 season before it was shut down. A 32 point campaign (17 goals, 15 assists), who at the start of the season was playing on the fourth line, to when the season unexpectedly stopped was playing on the top line for the Flames.
He should be a top-six forward in the coming seasons for Calgary. Andersson skates very well, plays a physical style on the back-end, and holds his ground. He has a great mix of modern and old-school defender that will mesh well in today’s game and have still playing at a high-level when he gets much older. For a team that has a plethora of defenders on the back-end, Andersson was the most vital to the team due to his right-handed shot and speed, and ability to eat up and play 20 minutes a night on a daily basis.
#19: Dallas Stars
1. Miro Heiskanen
2. Denis Gurianov
3. Roope Hintz
4. Ty Dellandrea
Heiskanen in only just his second season has already turned into one of the league’s best defenseman. His ability to move the puck in and out of his zone and on the powerplay is absolutely breathtaking. Not only that he defends very well and shuts down the top players on the opposing teams, and is smart offensively. There’s nothing more to really say about Heiskanen besides barring any major injuries that Heiskanen has many Norris trophies in his future and if all goes to plan will be in the hockey hall of fame when his career is all said and done. Gurianov is FAST. Reminding people of a former fast Russian player by the name of the
“Russian Rocket” Pavel Bure. Now I don’t think Gurianov has the scoring prowess like Bure, but Gurianov isn’t a slouch either when it comes to putting the puck in the net. With his killer speed and great skill, Gurianov will be a perennial 20 to maybe 30 goal scorer for Stars for many years to come. Hintz is extremely crafty in all areas of his game, whether it’s to be nifty in his offensive moves or shut down the team’s top players and cut them down on the defensive side. He had a coming out party of sorts in last year’s playoff run for the Stars and continued that run with a good season this year with 33 points (19 goals, 14 assists). Look for Hintz to be a huge factor again this upcoming playoffs for the Stars as they look to make another deep run and possibly get past the second round this time. Dellandrea is not only really skilled, but he has also added and shown some real grit to his game during his junior/college season before play was stopped. When called up and becomes established in the NHL, he’ll become a very dependable middle-six forward for the Stars in no time.
#18: Columbus Blue Jackets
1. Zach Werenski
2. Pierre-Luc Dubois
3. Emil Bemstrom
4. Alexandre Texier
Werenski has become one of the best offensive-defensemen in the NHL. He had a great year this past season in terms of goals, scoring 20 goals this regular season leading all defensemen in that category. He still has flaws in his game as Werenski since he’s been in the league has never been very good in his own end of the ice defensively. It’s why he is paired with teammates like Seth Jones or David Savard, guys who are very sound in their own end to help alleviate the burden defensively. He may one day become better defensively later down the line in his career, but for now he will just remain as one the most dangerous offensive defensemen in the league. Dubois is a big body power-forward type center.
He brings skill, speed, and takes great pride in playing a sound defensive game as well in trying to shut down the other team’s best player. He won’t really wow you with anything in his skillset, and maybe given the time could be considered elite, but for the time being he is not elite, he is very very good though. Bemstrom got a taste of the NHL this season scoring ten goals for 20 points this season. He is described as a natural goal-scorer who has great hands and is not afraid to get in front of the net and into the dirty areas to score goals. From reading up on him and his potential he has a very good chance to score 25 to 30 goals a season every year. Texier is speedy and crafty in all aspects of the game. His playmaking is good and has potential to improve. Expect him to take a step next season as he hopes to ascend into a top-six role on the Blue Jackets forward depth chart.
#17: New York Islanders
1. Mathew Barzal
2. Anthony Beauvillier
3. Noah Dobson
4. Oliver Wahlstrom
Barzal is one of the many bright young stars in the NHL today. With his high upside of skill and speed it’s no wonder why he will be a hot commodity this offseason as he will be a RFA. Consistency has been a concern with Barzal since his 85 point season outburst that won him the rookie of the year award. But when he is on his game and on top of things, he is almost unstoppable. He is one of the very few game changers that the NHL has in the league and not many players are like Barzal and the Islanders will hope to have him for many years to come. Beauvillier has become a good top-six forward, but hasn’t broken out as much as he was expected when drafted in 2015. He has scored 20 or close to 20 goals in the last two seasons, but like it was said before the Islanders know there is more that he can offer the team. For the team’s sake maybe his development is similar to his teammates of Josh Bailey who truly didn’t breakout until his age 29 season. Now that might be extreme, but Beauvillier might just need to take a few more years to really hit his stride as the team gets younger.
Dobson for his big frame skates very well for his size. His defense is really good and has room to improve which is scary for the other teams that will have to play against this hulking d-man. Aside from his skating and defending Dobson also moves the puck very well and has a great shot from the point. He should become a top-four defenseman on the Islanders in one to two years. Wahlstrom is an incredibly gifted goal-scorer, who has boom-or-bust potential. He could either be a star in this league or not make it at all. I personally believe that he has boom or bust potential, but if he doesn’t pan out he is still a very skilled bottom-six forward. If he does hit Wahlstrom has 30-40 goal potential and could become the next best goal scorer in the NHL.