NHL Top 25 Under 25​​: Ranking hockey’s best young stars for 2021-22

The NHL is an ever-shifting and evolving league. In the previous few shortened seasons, it has been taken over by the younger weapons. What hockey’s subsequent wave lacks in expertise they greater than make up for in high-wattage, line-to-line electrical energy. 

Final season, a then-23-year-old Auston Matthews received the Rocket Richard Trophy with a league-best 41 targets. Connor McDavid, at simply 24, grew to become the ninth participant in NHL historical past (becoming a member of the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr) to hit 100 points in 53 games; he completed with 105. And a 23-year-old Adam Fox, in simply his second NHL season, was named the league’s greatest blueliner.

This season marks a return to normalcy (knock on wooden!) and with meaning the return of SN’s high 25 beneath 25. Surveying the panorama, not a lot has actually modified since the last time we rolled out these rankings.

McDavid remains to be McDavid and Matthews remains to be Matthews which is why this listing is beginning at No. 1. It must be famous that, since that is relating to the 2021-22 season one participant whose standing is in limbo has been left off for now: Jack Eichel. Gamers on this listing additionally certified by being beneath 24 or youthful as of Oct. 1.

Listed below are Sporting News’ high 25 beneath 25 within the NHL within the 2021-22 season. 

(All analytics courtesy of Natural Stat Trick .)

(Getty Photos)

High 25 beneath 25

1. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers

Ahead | Age: 24 | Drafted: 2015, first total

2019-20 top 25 under 25 ranking: 1st

No surprises right here. McDavid will not be solely the perfect participant beneath 25, he is the perfect participant within the NHL, interval. In 2021 he received his third profession Artwork Ross Trophy (105 factors in 56 video games) and second Hart Trophy — this one, as anticipated, unanimously.

2. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

Ahead | Age: 24 | Drafted: 2016, first total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: 4th

Matthews continues to up his recreation year-over-year. In 2021 he captured his first Rocket Richard Trophy with 41 targets in 52 video games, and he did it with a wonky wrist besides. He’ll be wholesome in 2021-22 and because of the most effective pictures within the recreation, ought to contend for the coveted trophy as soon as once more.

3. Elias Pettersson, Vancouver Canucks

Ahead | Age: 22 | Drafted: 2017, fifth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: 14th

Now that the deal is completed, Pettersson is again in Vancouver and able to roll. He missed the ultimate 30 video games down the stretch attributable to a wrist damage and is “hungry for revenge.”

4. Adam Fox, New York Rangers

Defenseman | Age: 23 | Drafted: 2016, 66th total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: NR

A part of a younger core of defensemen making their mark within the league, Fox has jumped to the entrance of the pack after capturing the 2021 Norris Trophy. In 55 video games final season he completed with 47 factors (5 targets, 42 assists), a formidable plus-19 and led New York in ice time per recreation (24:42) whereas choosing up minutes on the facility play and penalty kill.

5. Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche

Defenseman | Age: 22 | Drafted: 2017, fourth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: NR

Ending proper behind Fox for the 2021 Norris was the Calgary native Makar. The 22-year-old, who received the Calder in 2020, oozes expertise from the blue line. He was restricted to solely 44 video games final season however has the most effective all-around video games within the league.

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6. Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche

Ahead | Age: 24 | Drafted: 2015, tenth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: eleventh

Rantanen skates simply via to make the listing’s deadline, as he turns 25 on Oct. 29. In 2021, he potted 30 targets in 52 video games alongside 36 assists and an eye-popping, league-best plus-30. He completed a degree behind teammate — and linemate — Nathan MacKinnon with 24 power-play factors (tied for fourth within the NHL) and when he was on the ice, the Avalanche had a Corsi For Proportion of 63.40 at 5v5.

7. Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes

Ahead | Age: 24 | Drafted: 2015, thirty fifth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: ninth

One of many brightest stars within the league, Aho continues to develop and develop his recreation. He notched 57 factors in 56 video games final 12 months and when he was on the ice, the Hurricanes had a 62.71 Targets For Proportion at 5v5 (14th-best within the league, minimal 700 minutes).

8. Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs

Ahead | Age: 24 | Drafted: 2015, fourth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: fifth

Detractors will hone in on Marner’s postseason play in 2021 (zero targets in seven video games), however he is nonetheless the most effective gamers within the NHL. In 355 profession video games, he has 358 factors together with 107 on the facility play.

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9. Charlie McAvoy, Boston Bruins

Defenseman | Age: 23 | Drafted: 2016, 14th total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: fifteenth

McAvoy’s contract is up after 2021-22 and his new deal is predicted to be a well-earned — and big — payout. With Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug out of Boston, McAvoy has emerged as a power on the blue line. He scored 21 even-strength factors (one behind Fox) throughout final season’s common season and within the postseason, with extra ice time on the person benefit, scored eight of his 12 factors on the facility play. 

(Getty Photos)

10. Mathew Barzal, New York Islanders

Ahead | Age: 24 | Drafted: 2015, sixteenth total 

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: twentieth

Barzal is a dynamic power on the ice. A talented playmaker with pace and quickness, he is led the Islanders in scoring every of the final 4 seasons — and he is solely performed 4 seasons. The 2018 Calder Trophy winner, he has 252 factors in 289 video games.

11. Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars

Defenseman | Age: 22 | Drafted: 2017, third total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: twenty fifth

One of many smoothest skaters within the recreation, Heiskanen struggled a bit in 2021 with simply 27 factors in 55 video games and 17 consecutive video games sans objective. He averaged 24:58 final season for ninth-best within the NHL and was fourth on the crew with 52 blocked pictures.

12. Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames

Ahead | Age: 23 | Drafted: 2016, sixth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: 18th

Agitator No. 1 within the NHL, Tkachuk struggled alongside his crew in 2021. It has been a little bit of decline in numbers for the American winger who scored a career-high 34 targets in 2018-19, 23 two seasons in the past and simply 16 final 12 months. 

“I simply need to are available right here this 12 months and be actually passionate and aggressive,” he said. “Final 12 months wasn’t the 12 months myself or anybody else needed. So, a contemporary begin. I’m actually excited to be right here to alter the previous few years for this crew.”

13. Nick Suzuki, Montreal Canadiens

Ahead | Age: 22 | Drafted: 2017, thirteenth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: NR

Suzuki has at all times been on the radar however in 2021 he got here to the forefront along with his distinctive play for a Canadiens squad that went to the ultimate. The centerman showcases glorious imaginative and prescient, a excessive degree of talent and a eager play-making capacity. In simply two seasons he is posted 41 factors in every — the primary in 71 video games, the second in simply 56.

14. Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks

Defenseman | Age: 21 | Drafted: 2018, seventh total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: NR

Like Pettersson, Hughes might have signed his contract on Oct. 3 however is predicted to have an enormous season in 2021-22. Whereas he struggled final 12 months with out defensive companion Chris Tanev (who went to Calgary), Hughes is a dominating offensive defenseman that harkens again to the times of fellow American blueliner Brian Leetch. Throughout his rookie season in 2019-20, Hughes grew to become simply the third defenseman within the NHL’s fashionable period to steer all rookies in factors, becoming a member of Leetch and Bobby Orr. Within the 2020 bubble, he set an NHL document for many factors (16) and assists (14) by a rookie D-man in a single postseason.

(Getty Photos)

15. Mikhail Sergachev, Tampa Bay Lightning

Defenseman | Age: 23 | Drafted: 2016, ninth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: honorable point out

Getting into his fifth season, Sergachev is simply 23 and already a two-time Stanley Cup champion. One of many youthful guys on a crew aiming for a three-peat, he ranked fourth on the Bolts in point shares behind Andrei Vasilevskiy, Victor Hedman and Brayden Level; mighty spectacular contemplating that was forward of men like Steven Stamkos and Ryan McDonagh.

16. Alex DeBrincat, Chicago Blackhawks

Ahead | Age: 23 | Drafted: 2016, thirty ninth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: 19

17. Brock Boeser, Vancouver Canucks

Ahead | Age: 24 | Drafted: 2015, twenty third total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: honorable point out

18. Andrei Svechnikov, Carolina Hurricanes

Ahead | Age: 21 | Drafted: 2018, second total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: honorable point out

19. Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators

Ahead | Age: 22 | Drafted: 2018, fourth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: honorable point out

(Getty Photos)

20. Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets

Ahead | Age: 24 | Drafted: 2015, seventeenth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: 21

21. Cole Caufield, Montreal Canadiens

Ahead | Age: 20 | Drafted: 2019, fifteenth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: NR

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22. Jakob Chychrun, Arizona Coyotes

Defenseman | Age: 23 | Drafted: 2016, sixteenth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: NR

23. Thomas Chabot, Ottawa Senators

Defenseman  | Age: 24 | Drafted: 2015, 18th total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: 12

24. Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild

Ahead | Age: 24 | Drafted: 2015, one hundred and thirty fifth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: NR

25. Spencer Knight, Florida Panthers

Goaltender  | Age: 20 | Drafted: 2019, thirteenth total

2019-20 high 25 beneath 25 rating: NR

Honorable mentions

  • Travis Konecny, RW, Philadelphia Flyers
  • Jack Hughes, F, New Jersey Devils
  • Alexis Lafreniére, F, New York Rangers
  • Tim Stützle, F, Ottawa Senators
  • Zach Werenski, D, Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Vince Dunn, D, Seattle Kraken
  • Rasmus Dahlin, D, Buffalo Sabres
  • Mackenzie Blackwood, G, New Jersey Devils
  • Jesperi Kotkaniemi, F, Carolina Hurricanes
  • Patrik Laine, F, Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Pierre-Luc Dubois, F, Winnipeg Jets
  • Nico Hischier, F, New Jersey Devils
  • Noah Hanifin, D, Calgary Flames
  • Timo Meier, F, San Jose Sharks
  • Kaapo Kakko, F, New York Rangers
  • Clayton Keller, F, Arizona Coyotes
  • Carter Hart, G, Philadelphia Flyers
  • Trevor Zegras, F, Anaheim Geese
  • Bowen Byram, D, Colorado Avalanche
  • Jason Robertson, F, Dallas Stars
  • Alex Newhook, F, Colorado Avalanche
  • Ivan Provorov, D, Philadelphia Flyers
  • Dillon Dube, F, Calgary Flames | NHL High 25 Underneath 25​​: Rating hockey’s greatest younger stars for 2021-22

Aila Slisco

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