The 2023-24 National Hockey League (NHL) season kicked off on October 10. Things are getting heated on the ice as the 32 teams start their quest not only for the Stanley Cup 2023 -24 Champion’s $3.75 million prize money but also to get their names on a piece of history.
In this article, we’ve rounded up all the players worthy of being part of Tier 1. These most valuable players (MVPs) will likely belong to championship-caliber teams and get serious trophy consideration at the season’s end. Check them out here:
Who else would take the top spot if not Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid? He has high FanDuel NHL odds for a reason. Many people often throw around the term “generational talent,” but in his case, it’s spot on!
Throughout his career, he’s been scoring almost 1.5 points per game. Specifically, in six out of his first eight seasons, he scored over 100 points. What’s more, at just 26, he’s already a three-time MVP.
What’s even more mind-blowing is that as the game has become more open in the last couple of years, McDavid’s ability to dominate has only gotten stronger. Last season, he set personal records with 64 goals and 153 points. He certainly stands in a league of his own!
Colorado Avalanche’s center Nathan MacKinnon is strangely easy to overlook at times, but he’s arguably one of the best players in the league. In fact, he’s one of the fastest skaters in the NHL. Additionally, in the last six seasons, he’s racked up 553 points in just 409 games.
What sets MacKinnon apart from others is not just his ability to score goals and make plays but how he elevates the performance of his teammates. His all-around skill set embodies the modern NHL player, making him the ideal example of what it means to excel in the league.
Another center worth watching and betting on is Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews. He’s a goal-scoring machine. If he’s in good shape, he’s arguably among the most unstoppable players in the NHL.
Matthews’ impressive size, speed, and skill altogether allow him to fire off shots that can beat goalies from anywhere on the ice. He’s also great at getting in close around the net to grab loose pucks and tip in shots from defensemen past the opposing goalies.
Matthews has never scored less than 34 goals in a season throughout his career, whether it’s a shortened season due to the pandemic or not. He’s hit the 40-plus goal mark four times, and two seasons ago, he led the NHL with an incredible 60 goals.
Even in the shortened 2020-2021 season, he scored a remarkable 41 goals in just 52 games, earning him the “Rocket Richard Trophy”. All he’s been doing throughout his career is stacking up goals and points, and now that he’s 26, it seems like we’re in for some of his best years.
Florida Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk’s offensive skills alone could easily secure him a spot in the top 25. However, what truly propels him into the top five is everything else he does, making him among the difference-makers in the game.
Over the last two seasons, he’s consistently scored over 100 points, with three seasons of 30 or more goals and two seasons with 40+ goals. His fearless approach to getting after pucks and opponents equally certainly makes him a throwback player, like his father, Keith.
Beyond scoring, he’s a force on the ice, bringing a physical presence that fires up his teammates. His role in leading the Panthers to the Stanley Cup Final last year speaks volumes about his significance to the team and his identity as a player.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar finished third in Norris voting last season, even though he missed 22 games due to injury. It caused a bit of controversy, and that says something about how exceptional he is.
The 60 games he played, where he scored 17 goals and racked up 66 points, earned him immense respect since his debut in the 2019 playoffs. In just his first 250 games in the league, he has accumulated an impressive 261 points.
He also had a stellar performance two seasons ago, where he garnered 28 goals and 86 points and his first “Norris Trophy.” Adding to his accolades, he also took home the “Conn Smythe Trophy” as the playoffs’ MVP, helping the Avalanche secure the Stanley Cup.
Many teams hope to replicate his impact on Colorado, but it seems like no one is quite like Makar. What he’s achieved in such a short time is truly remarkable, and his skill set has completely changed how teams and coaches approach the game from the blue line.
This NHL ranking is based on performance, not preference. The players’ placements reflect their on-ice achievements and contributions, showcasing their impact on the league. More importantly, note that this is subject to change. Unfolding events and performances in the near future can change players’ standings. For the latest updates, stay tuned!