This weekend, Blues star Ryan O’Reilly officially ranked 31st in Part Two of the NHL Network’s five-part countdown of the Top 50 Players Right Now. O’Reilly placed one spot ahead of Columbus defenseman Seth Jones.
When the NHL Network ranked the Top 20 Centers Right Now, good ol’ ROR ranked 15th.
NHL Network’s Jamison Coyle, E.J. Hradek, and Mike Johnson counted down the best players based on performance over the past several seasons, although there was emphasis on the 2019-20 season and 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The rankings also weighed the players’ projected performance in the upcoming 2020-21 season, taking into account injury and expected breakout for youngsters.
O’Reilly’s second season in St. Louis was dominant enough to earn him the 31st ranking. Johnson said of O’Reilly, “ He has become a picture of consistency in how he plays the game, what he does for his team and how effective he is at shutting down other players. You think about the Playoffs and he went up against Elias Pettersson, who had just lit the world on fire in the ‘return to play.’ When he got up against Ryan O’Reilly he got nothing and that is a testament to O’Reilly, not a criticism of Pettersson. It’s amazing that a guy who does as much winning and is as good as he is and can produce points, he’s so focused on just taking care of the team. Doing whatever he has to do, whether its faceoffs, killing penalties.”
31. Ryan O’Reilly, C, St. Louis Blues
32. Seth Jones, D, Columbus Blue Jackets
33. Blake Wheeler, W, Winnipeg Jets
34. Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalanche
35. Kyle Connor, W, Winnipeg Jets
36. Connor Hellebuyck, G, Winnipeg Jets
37. Dougie Hamilton, D, Carolina Hurricanes
38. Elias Pettersson, C, Vancouver Canucks
39. Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay Lightning
40. Matthew Tkachuk, W, Calgary Flames
41. Sean Couturier, C, Philadelphia Flyers
42. Mathew Barzal, C, New York Islanders
43. Kris Letang, D, Pittsburgh Penguins
44. Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston Bruins
45. Miro Heiskanen, D, Dallas Stars
46. Quinn Hughes, D, Vancouver Canucks
47. Patrik Laine, W, Winnipeg Jets
48. Max Pacioretty, W, Vegas Golden Knights
49. Zach Werenski, D, Columbus Blue Jackets
50. Johnny Gaudreau, W, Calgary Flames
Throughout the 2020 Off-Season, the NHL Network has ranked the best players by position, including the Top 20 Defensemen Right Now, Top 20 Wingers Right Now, Top 20 Centers Right Now, and Top 10 Goalies Right Now countdowns. The Top 50 Players Right Now will continue with ranks 30-21 this Sunday, December 20.
Viewers can visit NHL.com/TopPlayers for videos on the latest rankings following each new addition to the Top 50 Players Right Now.
Sunday, Dec. 20 (4:00 p.m. CT): Top 50 Players Right Now: 30-21
Thursday, Dec. 24 (4:00 p.m. CT): Top 50 Players Right Now: 20-11
Friday, Jan. 1 (5:00 p.m. CT): Top 50 Players Right Now: 10-1
So what do you think?? Did O’Reilly rank too low? Just right? Too high??? And what St. Louis Blues players do you think will crack the rest of the list? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @StLouisGameTime, @NHLFoley, and through the #NHLNTopPlayers hashtag! And make sure to tune in to the rest of the countdown!