Over the years, the National Hockey League has been filled with superstar caliber talent. Players like Alexander Ovechkin, Drew Doughty, Sidney Crosby, Mike Green and Evgeni Malkin come to mind.
Do you notice one thing that all of those players have in common? Ovechkin is 24 years old, Sidney Crosby is 22, Drew Doughty is 20, Mike Green is 24, Evgeni Malkin is 23.
All of those players are in their early 20's and are already taking over the NHL.
And don't worry because there is plenty of more young talent that is coming our way either next season or in two years from now.
In no particular order, expect these following 10 young guns to make a splash in the NHL in the near future.
Cody Hodgson - Centre - Vancouver Canucks - 20 Years Old
Cody Hodgson was drafted 10th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Hodgson is only 5'11 and just 182 pounds, but his logic and knowledge on the ice over-powers his lack of size. Hodgson was ready to suit up for the 2009-10 Season but was held back due to a back injury. Hodgson scored eight goals and 20 points in 13 games this season with the Brampton Battalion of the OHL. Cody Hodgson should be capable to play for the Vancouver Canucks next season if he can remain healthy. Should Hodgson play in the NHL next season, expect him to put up impressive numbers if he plays along side one of the Sedin's or almost any other players to an already elite team that the Vancouver Canucks have.
Oliver Ekman -Larsson - Defense - Phoenix Coyotes - 18 Years Old
Oliver Ekman-Larsson is a very high-skilled defense-men who has great hockey knowledge and a large plus in his skating ability. Larsson is just 18 years old. Larsson was selected sixth overall in the 2009 draft and was the second defense-men to be picked, behind Viktor Hedman who went second overall. He is currently in the Swedish Elite League and has a chance at making the Coyotes team next season. Next year or not, Oliver Ekman-Larsson is going to add much more talent to an already strong Phoenix Coyotes defensive system.
Jordan Eberle - Centre - Edmonton Oilers - 19 Years Old
Jordan Eberle is not even 20 years old and he is already known nation-wide as a Canadian Hockey hero. Famously known for the game-tying goal in the semifinals game against Russia in the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championships. Jordan Eberle was selected 22nd overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. One concern for Jordan Eberle is his size and his physical play. He is a rather small player but his knowledge and his ability to perform in any situation can match his lack of size. He scored an amazing 50 goals and 106 points in the WHL with the Regina Pats in just 57 games. He spent 11 games down in the AHL and scored 6 goals and 14 points. Jordan Eberle is expected to play for the Edmonton Oilers next season.
Alex Pietrangelo - Defense - St.Louis Blues - 20 Years Old
Alex Pietrangelo is ranked as the number one prospect in all of hockey on www.hockeyfutures.com. Pietrangelo was selected fourth overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, behind only Zach Bogosian, Drew Doughty, and Steven Stamkos. The Canadian D-Man represented his country in the World Juniors in both 2009 and 2010, winning gold in 2009, and silver in 2010. Pietrangelo has a huge up-side to his hockey career, especially with his impressive offensive skill while maintaining a big 6'3 frame on the blue line. He has great vision on the ice and can develop into a very good offensive defense-men that can quarterback a power play. Alex Pietrangelo is on his last season entering the 2010-11 season with the St.Louis Blues before his entry level contract runs out so expect him to suit up for the majority of the season in 2010-11.
Nikita Filatov - Left Wing - Columbus Blue Jackets - 19 Years Old
Nikita Filatov was selected sixth overall in the 2008 draft & was just the second forward to be drafted in that draft, behind Steven Stamkos. You can't deny Filatov's potential and talent but the fact that he was unhappy in Columbus and decided to play in the KHL, really brings things into consideration. None the less, Filatov is still apart of the Blue Jackets organization and should he play with the team next season, they might have a really good chance at making the postseason. Filatov is a quick and slik Left Winger who is a natural goal scorer. Last season he scored four goals in eight games with Columbus and has a total of six goals in 21 career NHL games.
Jacob Markstrom - Goalie - Florida Panthers - 20 Years Old
Jacob Markstrom is one of two goalies to make this list. Markstrom was selected in the second round in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Florida Panthers. He is already known nation-wide for his crazy antics that he pulled against Canada in the World Juniors in 2009. Markstrom is a big Swedish netminder that could develop into an elite goalie in the future. Over his Swedish Elite League career he has averaged an outstanding 2.25 GAA and a .920 Save Percentage over 85 career games in the Swedish Elite League. Expect Jacob Markstrom to take over the starting role in Florida possibly next season or two years from now.
Nazem Kadri - Center - Toronto Maple Leafs - 19 Years Old
Nazem Kadri is expected to be the next up and coming star in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. Brian Burke landed big when he drafted the shifty forward seventh overall in the 2009 draft. Kadri spent the 2008-09 season in the OHL with the London Knights and tallied an excellent 35 goals, and 93 points in 56 games. Nazem Kadri is almost guaranteed a spot on the Maple Leafs roster next season and expect him to see significant ice time, especially on the power-play. Kadri was apart of the silver medal winning team for Canada in the 2010 World Juniors Championships. Nazem Kadri is one of the strongest shoot-out players in his draft class. A concern for Kadri would be his offensive awareness and turning the puck over in the neutral zone.
Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson - Left Wing - Edmonton Oilers - 19 Years Old
Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson is one of the most skilled prospects in the NHL. The super Swede is a very slick and quick skater and has a very good shot. Edmonton got their wish when they selected Svensson 10th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. The Oilers built on their bright future with plenty of promising prospects in the system. Svensson could play as early as next season with the Edmonton Oilers. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, also known as MPS (a short form for his rather long name) scored 12 goals and 29 points with Timra IK of the SEL. Expect Svensson to surprise more then a few faces whenever he enters the NHL and will most certainly be an exciting player to watch in the next few years.
Jonathan Bernier - Goalie - Los Angeles Kings - 21 Years Old
Jonathan Bernier is the second and last goalie to crack this list. Bernier was selected 11th overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings. In three games this season with the big club, Bernier posted an excellent 3-0-0 record while maintaining a superior 1.30 GAA and a .957 Save Percentage and even recorded a shutout. Jonathan Bernier's already impressive resume continues to the AHL (American Hockey League) by being awarded goalie of the year in the AHL. Bernier posted 30 wins and had an excellent 2.03 GAA with a .936 Save Percentage and recorded nine shutouts for the Manchester Monarchs. Bernier is expected to add solid goal-tending to an already strong team in the Los Angeles Kings. Bernier will most likely see a reasonable amount of games next season with the Los Angeles Kings.
Brayden Schenn - Center - Los Angeles Kings - 18 Years Old
Last but certainly not least, Brayden Schenn finishes off the list. The younger brother of Toronto Maple Leafs Luke Schenn is one of the best prospects around the NHL. He was selected fifth overall in the 2009 Draft. Schenn spent the year in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat as their leader and captain. In 55 games this past season in the WHL, Schenn posted an out-standing 34 goals and 99 points. Los Angeles has a very bright future with two of the ten most promising prospects in the league almost ready to make the jump from lower league to the big league. Expect Brayden Schenn to make an instant impact on the Los Angeles Kings next season as he is likely to make the team in the 2010-11 regular season.
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