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Four Lightning players named to The Hockey News’ list of the top 50 in the NHL

Only the Winnipeg Jets, with five players on the list, fare better.
From left, Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevskiy. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
From left, Victor Hedman, Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevskiy. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Sep. 18, 2018

The Lightning has one of the biggest collections of talent in the NHL, according to one international hockey publication.

Tampa Bay placed four players — second-most in the league — on The Hockey News' list of the top 50 players in the NHL, including two in the top five.

Right wing Nikita Kucherov ranks highest, at No. 3, followed in short order by defenseman Victor Hedman (No. 5). Center Steven Stamkos is No. 20, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy No. 25.

Which makes four players in the top 25, when you think about it.

Only the Winnipeg Jets, with five players, have more on the list: center Mark Scheifele (No. 9), right wing Blake Wheeler (No. 15), right wing Patrik Laine (No. 19), goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (No. 22) and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (No. 29).

Of Kucherov, THN writes, "He bet on himself with a bridge contract, and boy, did he bet right. Kucherov has become one of the deadliest snipers in the league."

On Hedman: "Hedman finally got his first Norris Trophy this summer, and it may not be the last."

On Stamkos: "His transition from shooter to setup man has been intriguing to watch. Stamkos can still fire away, but clicking with Kucherov has opened up new avenues."

On Vasilevskiy: "Vasilevskiy is a top talent with size, so 65 starts shouldn't faze him if he gets his body ready."

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid tops the list for the second straight year. Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby is No. 2.