Welcome back to our Top 25 EIHL Players who are 25 or younger, if you’ve not seen picks 25 to 11, click here to see who didn’t quite make the top 10 before reading on.
Once again we’ll let you know the one rule, only players on full-time EIHL deals are considered for this list, so that will explain to some fans why certain guys aren’t included, don’t worry they will be in a couple of years.
So now we’re getting into the serious section, the top 10. The picks that will cause the most stir among fans who think someone should be higher, lower or not even included. Please go easy on me, I’m sensitive.
Let’s just get right into things with number 10.
10 . Jordan Cownie – Dundee Stars – 23
The first to crack the top 10 is also the highest rated Brit on the list in Jordan Cownie who’s having a great year with 9 points in 18 games on a Stars side that has talent but lacks goal scoring touch. His play has surely elevated his name in the GB ranks as a potential forward for the World Championships in April, and at 23-years-old he could continue his impressive form into an even higher positioning on this list next year.
9. Robbie Baillargeon – Milton Keynes Lightning – 24
Another MKL forward in the top 10, this time at number eight is a player who joined later in the season and has made an instant impression. Robbie Baillargeon is a young centreman with a lot of potential in this league. In the early part of his EIHL career he’s over a point-per-game already, and has really helped the Lightning recently with the team still searching for more wins, but definitely keeping the scores closer and able to sneak a couple of W’s themselves. Despite just playing 9 games compared to the 19 games most of his teammates have played, he’s already fifth in team scoring and tied second for goals with Tim Wallace with seven goals and behind Eric Neiley who leads with 9.
8. Fabrizio Ricci – Dundee Stars – 23
Another member of a young Dundee Stars side, Ricci has shown flashes of being a high end talent for the side, with 8 points on the year. He’s a gritty guy too at 6’2″ and over 200 lbs, he’ll play hard in all areas of the ice and if the Stars can get their goalscoring going, Ricci will play his part well as a solid shooter and assist getter.
7. Guillaume Gelinas Belfast Giants – 25
A great puck moving defenceman with smart defensive instincts, Guillaume Gelinas is just one of many great signings for the Giants over the summer and has come up big already early into his EIHL career. He’s not the tallest but he’s got a good build for his size so plays strong, plays smart and his vision makes him an absolute dual threat with nine assists on the year at the time of writing.
6. Tanner Eberle – Sheffield Steelers – 24
To start the year Tanner Eberle was significantly lower on the list, but over recent weeks the performances of himself and his teammates have started to reach the heights that people would have expected of them. Eberle currently has 11 points in 21 games which may not jump out at you, but it’s also the bite he plays with that makes him a crucial part of the Steelers offense. He’s not the biggest guy at all but plays a big man’s game, never shy from contact, and also a solid contributor with four goals and seven assists on the year so far.
5. Francis Beauvillier – Belfast Giants – 25
While he’s been limited to 12 games on the year, what Beauvillier has shown in those games is that he’s a fantastic talent, but you’d expect that of a 25-year-old coming straight from the AHL. By the seasons end he’ll probably convince me he was in with a look at the top three all along, but for now he sits at five on the list, and I hope I’m wrong about this one. He’s quick, he’s strong and has an eye for the net, if he stays for more than a year in Belfast, he’ll turn into somewhat of a star.
4. Justin Haché – Coventry Blaze – 24
A strong young blueliner for the Coventry Blaze and the highest rated one on our list, Justin Haché has had a great start to his EIHL career, leading the team in defensive scoring with 16 points in 17 game which is also good enough for sixth most among defensemen this year. A big body who plays an intelligent two-way game, Haché has impressed with his vision, skating and physicality, knowing exactly when to pinch to keep the play alive, step in to make a hit and also break the play out of his own zone to send the forward on a rush, or even take the puck up ice himself as a smooth two-way guy that makes his teammates better.
3. Brian Hart – Dundee Stars – 24
Another member of the Stars on this list and another one in the top 10, Brian Hart was great in his first year for the Stars and is showing it again this time around and with a letter on his jersey. He’s big and stocky so plays you hard along the boards, always looking to finish a hit as well as make a play, and he’s great at that too. Three goals and eight assists on the year right now, he’s not a flashy guy but gets it done the old school way.
2. Evan Richardson – Manchester Storm – 24
Just missing the top spot is new Storm forward Evan Richardson who is having a fine start to his first year in the EIHL. Nearly a point-per-game with 16 in 19 games, he’s a rare small forward for Manchester at just 5’8″. One of the best passers of the puck for this age category, he’s a fantastic little player for Ryan Finnerty’s squad, and he’s one that will draw your attention whenever he gets his quick feet moving on the ice.
1. Lukas Lundvald – Dundee Stars – 23
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Lukas Lundvald of the Dundee Stars, and for me I think he’s fully deserving of the top spot on this list. He’s not only one of the fastest skaters in the league, but also one of the most offensively gifted, smoothest skating and game changing forwards out there. His ability to create space for himself with his footwork is phenomenal, and his accuracy with both his passing and shooting makes him a threat whenever he’s on the ice. He was a gem of a find for the Stars last year, and is a bright spark in what has been a difficult year for them so far, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see some of the big players after his signature next summer, but I think he’s right at home at Dundee.
So there you have it, our 2018-19 quarter-season list of the Top 25 EIHL players aged 25 or younger. With a whole list of 25-year-olds in the list, next season will see a whole new class of players climbing the ranks or being new entrants into the list, and with some great young Brits waiting in the wings, we should start to see a few more homegrown names enter the conversation in the not too distant future.