The 10 Best Young Players in the NHL
The NHL is jam-packed with the top talent from across the globe, but who is the best of the bunch? The youngest players in the NHL are experiencing success at the highest level of competition and shattering the ceiling. Here is a look at some of the young players who are taking the nation by storm — do you agree with our list? Let us know!
10. Hampus Lindholm (21 years-old)
Defense, Anaheim Ducks
As one of the league’s best young defensemen, he is touted to have impressive offensive instincts which is demonstrated in a pair of 30-plus point seasons. With a plus/minus average of +54, it is easy to see that this young player is destined for greatness.
9. Nathan MacKinnon (21 years-old)
Center, Colorado Avalanche
At only 21 years-old, Nathan MacKinnon has already proved himself enough to take on a leadership role. The former Halifax Moosehead had 21 goals and 31 assists in 72 games last season while becoming the youngest player to be named a captain and win the Calder Memorial Trophy.
8. Aaron Ekblad (20 years-old)
Defense, Florida Panthers
At just 20 years-old Aaron Ekblad is already a feared defensmen in the league. Ekblad was selected 1st overall by the Florida Panthers in the 2014 NHL Draft. He finished his rookie season with 39 points in 81 games and was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy.
7. William Nylander (20 years-old)
Center, Toronto Maple Leafs
Selected in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft, 8th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs, William Nylander has found amazing chemistry with linemates Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman. He posted 11 points in 9 games and was the second leading scorer for the league and first among rookie players.
6. Bobby Fabbri (20 years-old)
Center, St. Louis Blues
During the 2014 NHL Draft, Robby Fabbri was selected during the first round by the St. Louis Blues. During his NHL debut, he scored his first goal. He recently signed a three-year deal to continue with the Blues organization.
5. Dylan Larkin (20 years-old)
Center, Detroit Red Wings
Dylan Larkin was selected 15th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft by the Detroit Red Wings. Impressively, Larkin also scored his first goal in his NHL debut and, at the time, was the first teenager to do so since Steve Yzerman in 1983. During his rookie season he led the team in goals, becoming the sixth rookie in franchise history to achieve this feat.
4. Jack Eichel (19 years-old)
Center, Buffalo Sabres
Selected 2nd overall in the 2015 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres, Jack Eichel scored his first goal during his rookie debut, becoming the youngest player in Sabres history to do so. He finished the season as the second overall goal scorer, and is a strong presence on the ice.
3. David Pastrnak (20 years-old)
Right Wing, Boston Bruins
Hailing from the Czech Republic, this young forward entered the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and was selected by the Boston Bruins with their 25th overall pick. During his first season he was one of two rookies to play in over 40 NHL games and led the Bruins offense during the second half of that season.
2. Connor McDavid (19 years-old)
Center, Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid is no stranger to being an extenuating circumstance. During his 2011-2012 season, he shattered records across youth hockey forcing Hockey Canada to grant him “Exceptional Player” status. He would go on to play in the OHL a year earlier than typically allowed before entering the 2015 NHL draft. He was selected 1st overall by the Edmonton Oilers and was made a captain. He is currently the youngest captain in the NHL.
1. Auston Matthews (19 years-old)
Center, Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews was selected 1st overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016 NHL draft. With four goals, he holds the record for most goals scored in an NHL debut. He also became the first American to be drafted first overall since 2007. He continues to drive the offense of the Maple Leafs as he already has 18 points in 22 games this season.