Get to Know Five Young NHL Talents

Sterling EbyAnalyst IFebruary 5, 2009

This is an article pretty much to help you get to know a handful of young NHL superstars. You have probably heard their names, but I will help you get to know them a little bit better. So here we go!


No. 11 Anze Kopitar, Center, Los Angeles Kings

Anze (pronounced Ahn jay) Kopitar is the assistant captain for the Los Angeles Kings, and leads the team in points.

Kopitar was born in the country of Slovenia. He is the first player in NHL history from Slovenia. At 16 years old, Kopitar moved to Sodertalje, Sweden to play in Eliteserien. After one season in Eliteserien, he was officially selected in the 2005 NHL draft by the Los Angeles Kings.

In 2006, he made his NHL debut. After his first NHL season, he finished third in points among rookies, behind only Paul Stastny and Evgeni Malkin. In 2007-08, he continued his success, leading the Kings in assists and points for the season.

In 2009, at the age of 21, Kopitar has continued to break out, currently leading the Kings in assists and points with 14 goals and 27 assists for 41 points.


No. 17 Jeff Carter, Center, Philadelphia Flyers

This London, Ontario native has taken the NHL by storm in 2008-09.

After totaling 53 points last season with the Flyers in 82 games, he currently is 12th in the league with 53 points, tied for his career high. He is also second in the league with 32 goals.

Funny story. Carter was set to be traded last season to the Leafs. But the trade deadline rolled around and Carter stayed.

Funny story part two. Carter was set to be an unrestricted free agent. Days before, he decided to re-sign with the Flyers. Carter could have been a steal in free agency, but the Flyers made a very wise decision in keeping this talented kid.

At 24 years old, he has definitely not seen his best days of light yet. He could score 80-90 points this season if he stays healthy; he might even be able to put up 100 points in a season. It absolutely would not surprise me.


No. 19 Nicklas Backstrom, Center, Washington Capitals

Not to be confused with his counterpart with the same name for the Minnesota Wild, this 21-year-old Swedish kid was a steal for the Capitals.

Since leaving Brynas, in  Eliteserien, he has assisted his way to team-leader status in Washington. Being on the same lines as Alexander Semin and Alexander Ovechkin is almost like guaranteed points though!

He was drafted fourth overall in the 2006 NHL Draft by the Capitals.

In 2007, he finished second in the league in the voting for the Calder Trophy, losing it eventually to Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane. In fact, he set two rookie records, becoming the first NHL rookie to score four assists in two consecutive games and setting a rookie franchise record for the Capitals with 55 assists.

He is currently seventh in the NHL in assists with 40, and 12th in the league in points with 55.

Backstrom can definitely get an assist any night of the week. As long as Ovechkin and Semin are playing, Backstrom is guaranteed to get on the board with some sort of points!


No. 19 Travis Zajac, Center, New Jersey Devils

Travis Zajac is a talented young kid from Winnipeg, Manitoba, currently playing for the Devils. At the age of 21, he made his debut for the Devils.

Currently at the age of 23, he has taken Devil Nation by storm. He is fourth on the team in assists with 28 and third in points with 43 (behind Elias and Parise).

He is already posting his career-high season in almost every category, but at the age of 23, and with the amount of Devils talent, Zajac's potential is unlimited right now. He is nowhere near his prime.


No. 16 Devin Setoguchi, Right Wing, San Jose Sharks

Devin Setoguchi chosen to be a team leader for the Sharks since early this season. He has easily been one of the best young players in the NHL this season.

In his second NHL season, at the age of 22, he is already one of the best players on the team (with names like Roenick, Boyle, Cheechoo, and Blake). He is second on the Sharks this season in Goals with 21, and third on the Sharks with points with 45.

Devin Setoguchi was the first Sharks rookie to ever score two goals in his first ever NHL game. He was the eighth overall selection by the Sharks in the 2005 draft.

He is currently in his second NHL season, and if this is any sign to come, Setoguchi will be one of the many young and talented players to hop on the scene, and take on the NHL by storm along with these other four players.