Columbus Blue Jackets defensemen Seth Jones and Zach Werenski were both recently named to NHL Network's annual list of top players.
The list of 50, which is still being released, is always bound to stir the pot.
Jones opened eyes around the NHL for his play in the postseason bubble in Toronto, where he led all skaters with 32:40 TOI per game. And while some question whether Jones is a legitimate Norris Trophy-contender or merely a defenseman who plays big minutes, the Blue Jackets showed after his injury last winter that they're clearly a better team with him in the lineup. Jones was the 32nd ranked player, according to NHLN, between Blake Wheeler (33) and Ryan O'Reilly (31).
Werenski, who was ranked 49th sandwiched between Johnny Gaudreau (50) and Max Pacioretty (48) is coming off a season where he led all NHL defensemen in goals (20). A study of Werenski's goals from 2019-20 shows the 23-year old defenseman acts as a fourth forward in the offensive zone and is difficult to defend because of his unpredictable nature.
Interestingly enough, neither defenseman was listed as a betting favorite to win the Norris Trophy in 2020-21 (As a quick aside, betonline.ag should be punted into the sun for listing Neal Pionk at 33/1, but that's neither here nor there).
It's unlikely that any other Blue Jackets players are named to NHL Network's list, but it would be interesting to see where they see Pierre-Luc Dubois on this list? Seeing how they didn't list him among the top 20 centers in the NHL, maybe we don't want to know... What do you think NHLN got right or wrong? Drop us a note in the comment section below.