TSN thinks that Toronto’s “Core Four Under 24” is better than Edmonton’s

TSN has come out with a thought experiment in which they rank all 31 NHL teams based on their core of young players. Specifically, The Toronto Sports Network Frank Seravalli determines each team’s four best players under the age of 24 — the Core Four Under 24 — and ranks them based on that.

Despite having last season’s Most Valuable player, the Oilers didn’t come out on top. The Toronto Maple Leafs did.

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You’d think that having a guy on your team who won the Hart Trophy and reached the 100-point plateau at the age of 20 would give you the best core of young players in the league, but that isn’t the case. Seravalli gave Toronto the edge because Morgan Rielly is a young leader on the blueline, Mitch Marner and William Nylander are great young wingers, and the gap between Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid is shrinking by the day.

Personally, I’m not a fan of these kinds of things because the cutoff seems fairly arbitrary. I mean, if you changed it to Core Five Under 25 then you could add Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Oscar Klefbom to Edmonton’s list. What if you made it something like “Core Four of players who have played in the second round of the NHL playoffs”? 

I can sort of justify the logic here in that two of Edmonton U-24 players aren’t proven. Darnell Nurse has had a very good start to his season but hasn’t consistently played like a top-four defenceman like Rielly has, and Jesse Puljujarvi only has 31 games of NHL experience. But would you trade McDavid and Draisaitl for that entire lot of Leafs players? I think Matthews is a damn good player, but the gap between him and McDavid is bigger than this thought experiment suggests.

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What say you, Nation? Is TSN pandering to hockey’s biggest market here? Are they just trying to capitalize on a possible beef between two passionate fanbases? Or is there legitimacy behind how good Toronto’s young core is and the narrowing gap between McDavid and Matthews?

Here’s what the goons at The Leafs Nation have to say about the list…

So what is the case that Oilers fans are using? Well it’s that the guy that McDavid banks pucks off of has an impressive point total. Shocking. They are also trying to make a case for Darnell Nurse being a top talent, when the smart and good looking people of Toronto know that Connor Carrick would be ahead of him on any teams depth chart. The inclusion of Jesse Puljujarvi is laughable and just speaks to the lack of depth and the sad state of the Oilers franchise. Truly they should be pitied as another decade of darkness will soon be upon them.

  • 99CupsofCoffey

    I’d have to agree….for now. Nurse has found his game, and Puljujarvi seems a different player since he’s come up. Give it two months, and lets revisit it. I bet the Oilers will come out on top.

  • slats432

    I agree with TSN. I would give slight advantage on 97 and 29 vs 34 and 29 but Reilly and Marner over Nurse and Puljujarvi is a bigger deficit. #gooilersgo

  • Nation Dan

    If you create arbitrary parameters, you create your own narrative.

    Edmonton has the best core of 1 players under 24.
    Edmonton has the best core of 2 players under 24.
    Toronto has the best core of 3 players under 24.
    Toronto has the best core of 4 players under 24.

    Frank just likes to hear the keystrokes hitting his big beautiful ears.

  • Hemi

    This should not be a surprise. It’s TSN and as day turns into night, the Laffs have and will always be everything to TSN. Same goes for Mother Corp (CBC) aka “Communist Broadcasting Corporation” accept they include the Godless Habs in their version of what team(s) to promote.

    But lets face facts here, The Laffs and the Habs pushed down Canadian Hockey throats since I was a very young child and I am old now. I have never seen any other Canadian team treated as good as these to teams by the mentioned two media outlets. I hate both teams!

    Rant over!

    Go OIL Go!

  • Spoils

    I would add Larsson – at 25 to the Klefbom and RNH pile as far as young core. I am not convinced both Nylander AND Marner will hold their value? Then I would toss in the fact that McDavid had more assists than Matthews had points last year. McDavid has another gear he hasn’t hit this year.

    put that together and, I’d bet on the Oilers’ core

  • Jaysdude

    That comment from the Leaf’s Nation dude about Draisaitl and McDavid is all kinds of stupid. To be honest, as arbitrary as this is, I’m not sure who I’d give the edge to. I’ll tell you this–I’d likely not give up McD and Drai for all four of their guys. And Nurse is coming on really strongly and will be a really good D-man in my opinion. The jury is still out on Pulju, but then again, I’ve read several times that Marner has not been all that good this year and has been in Babcock’s doghouse. Given that, I’d likely give the edge to the Oilers.

    • West

      If by almost 50 you mean 32.8. Also Edmonton got off to a bad start this year and Toronto a good one. Maybe we should do a thought experiment on the teams from last year and see who had the best core 4 under 24 then.

  • Randaman

    Servelli and the O dog on the Toronto Sports Network. Kinda says it all right there, doesn’t it? Idiots. I’m even starting to lose faith in McKenzie and Dregor lately. Button should be spelled Buffoon.

  • West

    Having read the article by Jon Steitzer over laffsnation, it is my best guess that he is 14 years old. What adult would write and publish something that idiotic. I have never heard of Connor Carrick and he is supposed to be better than Darryl? If he was that good you would think the Toronto media would be tooting his horn nonstop, you know, like they do for Austin Matthews.

    • Randaman

      Seriously? You have never heard of Connor Carrick? The Toronto media do toot his horn quite a bit and he is a great looking prospect. Nurse is no offensive juggernaut and needs to settle down defensively most games. He’s on the right track but still has a ways to go.

      • West

        Seriously. I barely have time to watch the Oilers play so there is no way I would watch the laffs. I stay as far away from TSN as much as possible because I don’t enjoy having the centre of the universe constantly shoved in my face.

        • Wilee1

          The Toronto bias is definitely a real thing. But has it ever occurred to you that basically one in seven of all Canadians live in the GTA? That nearly half of all Canadians live within a few hour’s drive of Toronto? Pleasing the Leafs fan is good business. That’s common sense.

  • Rusty Patenaude

    Seriously…who cares what Frank Seravalli’s opinion is? If Leaf fans are satisfied with their team…good for them. There is good reason for them to be happy to have those players. I am an Oiler fan and i would not trade the four Oilers named for those Leafs…I wouldn’t trade McDavid alone for those four Leafs, so what Frank Seravalli thinks means less than nothing to me.

  • Not a First Tier Fan

    This article could just as easily have been titled ‘Fart Noises Made By Stupid People.’

    … and I’m worried I’m insulting stupid people by saying that.

    Thanks for the laughs.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    I recall a time shortly before the 2013 lockout shortened season started some (outside of Oilers fans and media) thought Nuge, Hall, Eberle and Schultz were shoe-ins for the 2014 Sochi Olympic team.

    How’d that turn out?

    I’ll take whatever core will win us a Cup. Crazy, huh?

  • Space Pants

    I’m surprised they waited this long. Where was this bullcrap news when Nugey turned 24. Substitute Nuge for Puljujarvi, and it’s a no contest. Not surprising it wasn’t an under-25 list.

  • Jaxon

    If they did this 6 months ago, Klefbom, Nuge and Strome could be included. Slepyshev, Benning and Caggiula are 23 and under. Bear, Benson, Yamamoto, Jones, Paigin, Berglund, Mantha may be pushing into that list next season. 4 under 24 is about the only iteration of a certain number under a certain age that they’d squeak out a win. They don’t win 4 under 23. 2 under 24 they don’t win. 3 under 24 they don’t win. 5, 6 or 7 under 25 the Leafs don’t win. I don’t think they win 10 under 25. Or even 15 under 26.

  • Spydyr

    So some talking head in Toronto says the Leafs are (the best team ever) better. Who cares? I’ll count up the Cups won after McDavid’s career and pick the real best team.

  • Florescent Oil Orange

    Set aside your outrage for tan Homer bias for a second. This article may be the moment that the nation network decided to embrace their inner hockey buzz. Trolling for hits

    If that’s the case I’ll need to find a new place to read about hockey

  • Kevin

    At this stage in their careers, I would rank the individual players as follows: 1. McDavid, 2. Matthews, 3. Draisaitl, 4. Nylander, 5. Marner, 6. Rielly, 7. Nurse, and 8. Puljujarvi. The gap between Mattews and Draisaitl is larger than Draisaitl and Nylander/Marner.

    I agree the age cutoff and the number of players 4 is a bit arbitrary. If you considered the top 2 players under 24 for each team, Edmonton would be clear winners. If that’s increased to 3 players it could be a toss up. However, as framed, Toronto’s core is the clear winner. I’d like to point out that last year, Edmonton’s top 4 under 24 was ahead of Toronto’s group, however, you have to consider what players like Marner and Nylander achieved in their rookie seasons last year.

  • Me

    Toronto is third in the league, largely on the strength of those four players.

    Edmonton is third from the bottom of the league.

    How can you possibly argue with a lower ranking? Do results count for nothing? You know hockey games are played on ice, not paper, right?