The next generation of franchise players

Seth Jones is one player who was cited as the future face of an NHL franchise. Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Last week, we shared the results of a poll asking people around hockey the five players they’d pick if they were starting from scratch. It was a fascinating exercise, with Jonathan Toews edging Sidney Crosby for the top spot.

Naturally, not everyone was happy. Washington Capitals fans noticed that Alex Ovechkin didn’t get a mention. In my Wednesday chat, one Bruins fan was upset that Patrice Bergeron didn’t get a mention. Flyers fans were puzzled that Claude Giroux wasn’t on any ballots.

In the middle of polling executives, an assistant general manager suggested I circle back and ask the panel to vote again, only limiting the pool to players under 25. It’s a great idea, but I didn’t want to step on the toes of Corey Pronman, who is taking over Neil Greenberg’s annual "Top 25 Under 25" list.

But it definitely got us thinking. Which young guys who weren’t mentioned in 2014 will be in the top franchise players conversation in 2017?

I presented the question to a Western Conference director of amateur scouting since he knows these guys inside and out and tried to come up with a list. Since guys like Drew Doughty, Nathan MacKinnon, John Tavares and a few other great young players already received votes last week, they were disqualified from consideration.

Here’s the list we came up with