The Hockey News yearbook includes an annual "Top 50 Players" in the NHL. It came up in our discussion threads recently, and I realized it doesn't appear to be shared online anywhere. (It's different from the Top 50 player-voted list they published in March.)
Since it's summer, it's decent fodder for debate, and it's not giving away publishing secrets to share their ranking (the issue has been out for a while, too), I'll post their list here. You'll have to get your hands on the yearbook if you want the rationale for each one, though I'll answer specific questions in comments.
They don't really provide criteria, though Ken Campbell's intro asks, "If you were starting an NHL team right this minute, which player would you pick first?" As you'll see, this isn't an age-limited list or anything, and yet -- oh lookie there, John Tavares makes the Top 20.THN Top 50 Players Summer 2012
1. Evgeni Malkin
2. Steven Stamkos
3. Sidney Crosby
4. Claude Giroux
5. Jonathan Quick (first goalie is awfully high, and...)
6. Drew Doughty (...lower than Quick?)
7. Zach Parise
8. Anze Kopitar (I'd take him over Parise)
9. Zdeno Chara
10. Henrik Lundqvist
31. Jason Pominville
32. Phil Kessel
33. Jordan Eberle
34. Ryan Callahan
35. Logan Couture
36. Ryan McDonagh (I mean seriously Bob Gainey?!)
37. Martin St. Louis (still vintage)
38. Jamie Benn
39. Joe Thornton (a steady fall)
40. Thomas Vanek
41. Duncan Keith (so recently a Norris winner)
42. Patrick Sharp
43. Keith Yandle
44. Max Pacioretty
45. Gabriel Landeskog (already?!)
46. Jeff Skinner
47. Patrick Kane
48. James Neal
49. Jarome Iginla
50. Martin Brodeur
Personal thoughts not already in italics:
- Having Brodeur on their is pretty inexcusable. Like a lifetime tribute or something.
- Interesting how much Kane has fallen.
- Interesting that Eberle is so high, and Taylor Hall isn't even on the list.
- Ditto for Nash, while Brad Richards isn't even on the list. (Nor is Marian Gaborik. Boy, unrestricted free agency is sweet.)
- On that note, I count 38 of these players who are with the teams that drafted them -- and it'd be 40 before Suter and Parise moved on this summer.
Anyway, those are one writer or pool of writer's rankings. I'm sure you see plenty to quibble.