With 2020 just around the corner another decade is coming to a close. For the NHL this decade has been one of the most successful. Last week the NHL released a list of who they felt were the top players of the decade. The list is full of hall of famers and legends but I personally feel the NHL are missing a few names but that’s not what we are here for. I’m here to tell you who I think will dominate the next decade.

 

10. Carter Hart – Philadelphia Flyers  (Canada)

GP: 57  W: 29  L: 21  OTL : 4   GAA: 2.65  SV%: .914 

At only 21, Hart is the youngest starting goalie in the NHL. Breaking into the league last season, Hart has been exactly what the Flyers needed between the posts. The Flyers are in a rebuild of sorts but Hart has been able to get them ahead of schedule.

With Hart at the helm, I’m sure next decade will be very good for the Flyers.

9. Leon Draisaitl – Edmonton Oilers  (Germany) 

GP: 392  G: 147  A: 226  P : 373 –  All-Star (2019, 2020)

At number nine comes McDavid’s sidekick. Since entering the league in 2015, Draisaitl has grown into one of the leagues elite goalscorers. Scoring 50 goals and recording 105 points last season, his partnership with McDavid has been dominating the league.

At only 24, Draisiaitl’s best years are in front of him and he won’t be fading out any time soon.

 8. Shea Theodore – Vegas Golden Knights  (Canada) 

GP: 235  G: 28  A: 78  P: 106  –   Stanley Cup Finalist : 2018 

There’s no denying that the past decade was dominated by forwards and I have no doubt the next will be too. However, I have a good feeling Theodore will become one of the elite defensemen in the league.  After a slow start to his career in Anaheim, he was reborn when he joined Vegas. He’s become a key piece in the success that Vegas has had.

Don’t be too surprised if he wins the Norris in the future.

7. Alexis Lafreniere – Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)  (Canada)

GP: 93  G: 102  A: 153 P: 175 (All in the QMJHL)

If you don’t recognize the name then you better get use to it because come next season, you will be hearing it a lot. Lafreniere is the projected number one pick in the 2020 draft. He’s a speedy winger that has great vision. Mix that in with his ability to score and you can see why Detroit seems okay with being in last.

Also, last time there was this much talk about a player coming out of Rimouski, it kind of worked out really well for Pittsburgh.

6. Andrei Svechnikov – Carolina Hurricanes  (Russia)

GP: 121  G: 37  A: 38  P: 75  –  Michigan / Lacrosse Goals: 2 

If this past decade has taught us anything, it’s that the young guys aren’t afraid to put on a show and 19-year-old Svechnikov is the poster boy. From fighting Ovi, to scoring the goal of the year not once but twice this year, Svechnikov has given us our money’s worth.

Pair all that skill with the swagger he has and there’s no doubt Svechnikov will be a dominate force come the next decade.

5. David Pastrnak – Boston Bruins  (Czech Republic) 

GP: 360  G: 161  A: 181  P: 342  –  All-Star: 2 (2019, 2020)   Stanley Cup Finalist: 2019 

Pastrnak is a scoring machine. He has had three straight 30 goal seasons and more than likely will have a fourth come season’s end. The ability to score on demand and being paired up with Bergeron and Marchand, Pastrnak is arguably the most dominant forward in the NHL. At only 23, there is still so much more to come from him.

4. Mitch Marner – Toronto Maple Leafs  (Canada) 

GP: 270  G: 77  A: 183  P: 260

Marner just makes it looks so easy. There is no one that enjoys playing the game like Marner does. Even with all the negativity from playing in the center of the hockey universe, he continues to improve. Every year Marner shows the league that there are two stars coming out of the six.

If Toronto ends their cup drought in the next decade, Marner will be a big reason why.

Honorable Mentions 

Now before we get to the top 3 I just wanted to say it was super easy to pick the top 3 on the list but 4-10, not so much. Here are the few players that just missed the cut and I’m sure will prove they should of been on this list,

Elias Pettersson – Vancouver Canucks

Sebastian Aho – Carolina Hurricanes

Anthony Deangelo – New York Rangers

Sean Walker – Los Angles Kings

Quinton Byfield – Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

3. Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers  (Canada) 

GP:328  G:150  A:285  P: 435 –  Art Ross: 2 – Ted Lindsay: 2  – Hart:1  –  All- Star: 4 (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)  

McDavid is the only player on my list that features in the top 10 of the 2010’s. There’s no denying that McDavid could be the best player of his generation. You might be asking me then how can he be only third on my list?

Well it’s simple, as good as he is I DON’T think he has the grit to win. What’s so good about being  the MVP if you can’t play in the playoffs?

2. Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado Avalanche  (Canada) 

GP: 495  G: 177  A: 281  P: 458  – Calder: (2013-14) – All Star: 4 (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)

What McDavid lacks in grit, MacKinnon has and doubles it. After being drafted first overall in 2013, MacKinnon has been a big reason for the success Colorado has had. He set a career high in goals, assists and points last year leading the Avalanche to the playoffs and this year he’s on pace to break them again.

MacKinnon is a force and will dominate the next decade.

1. Auston Matthews – Toronto Maple Leafs  (United States) 

GP: 252  G:137  A: 114  P: 251 –  Calder (2016-17) – All Star: 4 (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)

When he scored four goals in his debut, you knew Matthews was going to be special. He scored 40 goals as a rookie and led the Leafs to the playoffs. Matthews even with injuries, has had 3 straight 30 goal seasons and is well on his way to a fourth.

However, it is what Matthews has done this year why I have him at number one. With all the injuries and all the negatives in Toronto, Matthews has been one of their best players game after game. 46 points in 40 games with 26 goals has him among the elite.

Year after year, Matthews looks more comfortable in his role improving on his game.  This next decade has a chance to be historic for both Matthews and Toronto.