At one point in time, superstars like Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and others were teenage dreams on the ice. Now, they're established leaders with Olympic medals and Cup rings.
There has been an incredible renaissance of youth in the NHL in the last couple years, and more teams are feeling comfortable keeping a teenager in their lineup than in some past years. Of course, the influence of players like those three and names like Stamkos and Duchene impact the decision making of GMs everywhere.
What follows is, in no specific order, the top 10 players that aren't even old enough to legally consume alcohol in the United States.
Ryan O'Reilly, C, Colorado Avalanche - February 7, 1991
Adam Larsson, D, New Jersey Devils - November 12, 1992
DOB: January 16, 1991
It's hard to think that Duchene has two full NHL seasons under his belt already. He's already put up 138 points (60 goals, 78 assists) in 182 games for the Avs.
He didn't get off to the best start this year, but he's bouncing back and responding to his coaches. He's scored a goal in four of his last five games.
DOB: April 12, 1993
How about the night he had against Chicago on Saturday? Five assists in 17 shifts?
He's the first Oiler on this list, but not the last. They've drafted incredibly well in Edmonton the last few years, and it's starting to show on the ice.
DOB: November 14, 1991
You can't blame optimistic Oilers fans for looking at RNH and Hall and thinking about the quick impact Toews and Kane made in Chicago.
Speaking of Chicago, Hall dropped a hat trick on the Blackhawks on Saturday night to improve his young season total to 14 points in 19 games after putting up 22 goals in only 65 games as rookie last year.
DOB: January 31, 1992
We couldn't mention Taylor without quickly coming back to Tyler, could we? But while Hall was the freshman with the most impact from their dramatic draft competition, Seguin has been the overwhelming sophomore. He has 11 goals and 10 assists in 19 games this season (he had 11 goals and 11 assists in 74 games last year).
His play early on helped the defending champs stay afloat through some tough injuries up front.
DOB: May 16, 1992
How many 19-year-old former figure skaters have a 31-goal season on their NHL resume?
Skinner exploded onto the scene last year and turned away so many doubters by posting a remarkable 63-point rookie campaign. In 22 games this year, he's mocked the idea of a "sophomore slump" by putting up 21 points already.
DOB: August 2, 1991
He has steadily improved from a 26-point rookie season to 43 last year and now, almost a quarter of the way into the 2011-12 season, is already at 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 19 games. He's a big, strong, physical player that hasn't backed away from hitting anyone in his young career.
DOB: December 7, 1992
He's been impressive in his rookie season for the Flyers, putting up five goals in his first 19 games in Philly. Obviously there's a lot to be written for all of the kids from the 2011 draft class, but he's shown flashes of brilliance already.
DOB: July 31, 1992
The fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft spent last year in the WHL (92 points in 63 games), but got the promotion for the struggling Jackets this year and has responded very well.
He has five goals in his first 15 games and has, for the most part, looked every bit the NHL player. Seeing a 19-year-old like Johansen play well in Columbus should give Jackets fans hope for their future.
DOB: March 20, 1991
He's 20 years old, and (through Monday night) his 15 points ranks seventh in the NHL among defensemen. He's plus-four on the season and is skating top-four minutes on a team that's near the top of the Western Conference.
He skates like the wind and has, at times, been a more consistent player this year for Chicago than Duncan Keith. While that's more of an indictment on the one-time Norris Trophy winner than a compliment of the would-be college junior, Leddy has shown incredible improvement for the Blackhawks this year.
DOB: December 5, 1991
After falling to the 12th overall pick last year, Fowler went about the business of proving his doubters wrong. He rewarded Anaheim's faith by putting up 40 points in a solid rookie season and continues to put up strong points with nine in his first 20 games this year. His plus-minus is ugly, but should get better with age.