With the trade deadline one week away, we are starting to see some younger players take on more prominent roles -- or be part of a trade that brings a veteran to a contender.
For this week's edition of the Power Rankings, we are taking a closer look at each club's young pool of NHL talent. Please note that this includes 25-and-under players on the NHL roster but not prospects in the minors, NCAA, juniors or overseas leagues.
How we rank:A panel of ESPN hockey commentators, analysts, reporters and editors rates teams against one another -- taking into account game results, injuries and upcoming schedule -- and those results are tabulated to produce the list featured here.
Note: Previous ranking for each team refers to the most recent edition, published Feb. 17. Points percentages are through Thursday's games.
Next seven days:@ VAN (Feb. 25), @ EDM (Feb. 27), @ CGY (Feb. 28), vs. BUF (March 2)
Boston's brilliant season has been spearheaded (mostly) by its veteran contingent -- with a couple of mid-20s exceptions. Charlie McAvoy (25) transitioned seamlessly back into the lineup post-shoulder surgery, Pavel Zacha (25) was an excellent offseason addition to the top six and Trent Frederic (24) is finding his way up front too. And we can't allow the strong play of Jeremy Swayman (23) to be totally overshadowed by Linus Ullmark's dominance, either.
Next seven days:vs. OTT (Feb. 24), vs. ANA (Feb. 25), @ VGK (March 1)
Carolina has an embarrassment of riches in the 25-and-under group. Sebastian Aho (25) is a point-per-game forward, Martin Necas (24) is producing a brilliant breakout season, Andrei Svechnikov (22) keeps tracking toward another stellar campaign and goalie Pyotr Kochetkov (23) stole the show during his early recall. Add Seth Jarvis (20) and Jesperi Kotkaniemi (22) to the youth movement mix, and the Hurricanes are in excellent shape.
Next seven days:vs. MIN (Feb. 24), @ SEA (Feb. 26), @ EDM (March 1), @ CGY (March 2)
Toronto is reluctant to part with its young guns for a reason: The team is well-stacked in the 25-and-under department. Auston Matthews (25) and Mitch Marner (25) require no explanation. Rasmus Sandin (22) and Timothy Liljegren (23) have, at last, matured into every-game NHLers, and Conor Timmins (24) is a welcome addition to that back end, too. In goal? Toronto has Ilya Samsonov (25) and Joseph Woll (24) just approaching their prime. And all those names are just the guys in regular roster spots; never mind what's in the Leafs' cupboards.
Next seven days:@ DET (Feb. 25), @ PIT (Feb. 26), vs. FLA (Feb. 28), vs. PIT (March 2)
Tampa Bay strikes a good balance between embracing its youth and leaning on (Stanley Cup-winning) experience. The Lightning's back end has key cogs in Mikhail Sergachev (24) and Erik Cernak (25), while 25-year-olds Brandon Hagel and Anthony Cirelli are critical components to the offensive attack. Oh, and rookie Nick Perbix (24) is just starting to show what he could bring to Tampa long term.
Next seven days:vs. PHI (Feb. 25), @ COL (March 1)
New Jersey is home to one Jack Hughes (21). Need we say more? Well, all right. The Devils' young core also includes Dawson Mercer (21), Nico Hischier (24) and Jesper Bratt (24). That's four of New Jersey's top five scorers. Suffice it to say, the Devils' youth are pulling their weight.
Next seven days:@ WSH (Feb. 25), vs. LA (Feb. 26), @ PHI (March 1), vs. OTT (March 2)
New York is bursting with youthful talents. They don't call it the Kid Line -- with Alexis Lafreniere (21), Kaapo Kakko (22) and Filip Chytil (23) -- for nothing. K'Andre Miller (23) is an emerging star on the Rangers' back end, and Adam Fox (25) is an established one. And let's not forget Braden Schneider (21), who has been holding it down admirably on New York's third pairing.
Next seven days:@ VGK (Feb. 25), vs. VAN (Feb. 27), vs. ARI (March 1), @ CHI (March 2)
Dallas boasts some seriously impressive young talent in every category. Jason Robertson (23) is an electrifying scorer already, Miro Heiskanen (23) ranks among elite defenders and Jake Oettinger (24) stands out among the NHL's best goalies. You want a youth movement? That one's as good as it gets.
Next seven days:vs. TOR (Feb. 26), @ STL (Feb. 28), @ DET (March 2)
Seattle is a veteran-focused team with one notable exception: Calder Trophy front-runner Matty Beniers (20), who's top three in scoring on the team and a constant threat all over the ice. Morgan Geekie (24) is on track for a career season as well. That's about all the Kraken have needed from their 25-and-unders.
Next seven days:vs. DAL (Feb. 25), @ COL (Feb. 27), vs. CAR (March 1)
Vegas hasn't turned the keys over to its next generation just yet. Nicolas Hague (24) is a trusted blue-line contributor and Logan Thompson (25) has taken over as the Golden Knights' No. 1 goaltender with Robin Lehner out injured. After that ... Vegas is mostly rolling out its established (and highly compensated) skaters.
Next seven days:vs. COL (Feb. 24), vs. NYI (Feb. 26), vs. LA (Feb. 28)
Winnipeg is right to rely on its youth. Cole Perfetti (21) was only getting better before an upper-body injury sidelined him this week, and both Dylan Samberg (24) and Morgan Barron (24) have grabbed regular ice time. Then, of course, there's 24-year-old Pierre-Luc Dubois, a consistent difference-maker up front who the Jets may or may not retain past this season. Fortunately, Winnipeg has other budding players to develop.
A panel of NHL players, coaches, GMs and other front-office personnel ranked the best players at each position:
Next seven days:@ WPG (Feb. 24), vs. CGY (Feb. 25), vs. VGK (Feb. 27), vs. NJ (March 1)
Colorado's 25-and-under set is highlighted by the likes of 23-year-old defenseman Cale Makar of recent Norris and Conn Smythe Trophy-winning fame, which alone would be enough to say the Avalanche are in good shape. But Colorado also has Bowen Byram (21), Alex Newhook (22) and Samuel Girard (24) making key contributions early in their careers, and that's a great sign for the future.
Next seven days:@ CBJ (Feb. 25), vs. BOS (Feb. 27), vs. TOR (March 1)
Edmonton is fully dialed in on its youth. Dylan Holloway (21) showed solid growth in the NHL prior to being hurt this week in an AHL game, while Ryan McLeod (23) is an increasingly reliable asset. Evan Bouchard (23) tackles a regular blue-line role, and Stuart Skinner (24) has been Edmonton's saving grace this season in net. Kailer Yamamoto (24) is back from injury as well, adding to the Oilers' list of valued up-and-comers making contributions.
Next seven days:@ NYI (Feb. 24), @ NYR (Feb. 26), @ WPG (Feb. 28), vs. MTL (March 2)
Los Angeles likely hasn't tapped its rising stars' full potential. Quinton Byfield (20) is getting plenty of seasoning between NHL and AHL appearances and will be a major factor in L.A.'s future. Arthur Kaliyev (21) -- newly back from injury -- is exceeding expectations in his second season, and stellar blue-line play from Mikey Anderson (23) just earned him an eight-year extension. That's naming only a few of the Kings' key young talents.
Next seven days:@ STL (Feb. 25), vs. TB (Feb. 26), @ NSH (Feb. 28), @ TB (March 2)
Pittsburgh is the NHL's oldest club with an average age near 30. That adds to the Penguins' ticking clock when it comes to another Cup run. Only Pierre-Olivier Joseph (23) among the early-20s crowd has appeared in more than 50 games, with Ryan Poehling (24) behind him, at 38. The Penguins have invested a lot in their aging core, though. Their pendulum is bound to swing the other way in years to come.
Next seven days:@ TOR (Feb. 24), vs. CBJ (Feb. 26), vs. NYI (Feb. 28), @ VAN (March 2)
Minnesota has made cap space in recent years moving on from veterans and keying on younger players. Kirill Kaprizov (25) and his game-changing offensive abilities are only the tip of that iceberg. Matt Boldy (21) is approaching the 20-goal mark this season, Calen Addison (22) has carved out a blue-line role and Sam Steel (24) is having a quietly effective campaign.
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Next seven days:vs. TB (Feb. 25), @ OTT (Feb. 27), @ OTT (Feb. 28), vs. SEA (March 2)
Detroit knows what its best young players can do. Moritz Seider (21) won the Calder Trophy last season, and Lucas Raymond (20) is top five on the team in scoring. But the Red Wings' list of risers doesn't end there. Joe Veleno (23) and Michael Rasmussen (23) continue to grow, and there's a strong pipeline of prospects still to come for Detroit.
Next seven days:@ COL (Feb. 25), vs. BOS (Feb. 28), vs. TOR (March 2)
Calgary opened this season as one of the NHL's oldest teams. Not much has changed. The Flames use Dillon Dube (24) regularly -- including on their top line -- and Adam Ruzicka (23) continues to earn opportunities up front. Dan Vladar (25) has handled backup -- and, briefly, starter -- duties in net throughout the season as well. Otherwise, coach Darryl Sutter is sticking with a more veteran-laden lineup.
Next seven days:@ FLA (Feb. 24), vs. WSH (Feb. 26), vs. CBJ (Feb. 28), @ BOS (March 2)
Buffalo's stable of 20-something talents should be envied the league over. Owen Power (20), Mattias Samuelsson (22) and Rasmus Dahlin (22) patrol the Sabres' blue line well. Dylan Cozens (21) and Tage Thompson (25) will highlight Buffalo down the middle for years. Peyton Krebs (22) is still growing into his NHL role, and so are JJ Peterka (21) and Jack Quinn (21). And there's Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (23), the goaltender Buffalo hopes is its No. 1 netminder for years to come.
Next seven days:vs. LA (Feb. 24), @ WPG (Feb. 26), @ MIN (Feb. 28)
New York's brightest up-and-comers are both on the blue line. Noah Dobson (23) is a reliable defender and top five in team scoring, while Alexander Romanov (23) brings a noticeable physical presence. They'll keep developing. Another promising Isles youngster is Oliver Wahlstrom (22), a coveted scorer who's out for the season with injury. New York could use more contributors like him, though.
Next seven days:vs. BUF (Feb. 24), @ TB (Feb. 28), vs. NSH (March 2)
Florida has had nearly a dozen early 20-somethings in its lineup this season. None has been more important or impactful than 25-year-old Matthew Tkachuk, the team's leading scorer and burgeoning face of the franchise. Eetu Luostarinen (24), Josh Mahura (24) and Anton Lundell (21) have each played 50 more games this season too, and 21-year-old Spencer Knight continues to track as Florida's probable No. 1 goalie of the future.
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Next seven days:@ ARI (Feb. 26), vs. PIT (Feb. 28), @ FLA (March 2)
Nashville's blue line is where its youth comes through most. Jeremy Lauzon (25) is a regular -- if sometimes polarizing -- contributor, along with Dante Fabbro (24). But it's 21-year-old Juuso Parssinen who's having an unheralded campaign in the Predators' forward group. The rookie plays a physical game and has only gotten better since the All-Star break. Nashville has to appreciate where that could take Parssinen from here.
Next seven days:vs. NYR (Feb. 25), @ BUF (Feb. 26), @ ANA (March 1)
Washington is right there with Pittsburgh among the league's oldest groups. Win-now mode, engaged. Dylan Strome -- newly extended and having a strong season -- is still technically in that 25-and-under section, but the Capitals have a couple of other names on the rise. Aliaksei Protas (22) has been a regular in their offense, and Martin Fehervary (23) is earning his way on the blue line. We'll see if Washington doesn't infuse more youth in seasons ahead.
Next seven days:vs. PIT (Feb. 25), vs. SEA (Feb. 28), @ SJ (March 2)
St. Louis is old(er), now. But the Blues have invested well in key upstarts. Robert Thomas (23) and Jordan Kyrou (24) didn't accidentally earn identical eight-year extensions, after all. They're at the helm of St. Louis' 25-and-under set, and can lay a foundation for any aggressive youth movement (or that rebuild-adjacent "retool") toward which the Blues might be headed.
Next seven days:vs. MTL (Feb. 24), @ NJ (Feb. 25), vs. NYR (March 1)
The Flyers have some exciting names already in their midst. Goaltender Carter Hart (24), of course, has been a backbone for Philadelphia all season. Meanwhile, Owen Tippett (23) is playing some of his best hockey ever, Morgan Frost (23) has begun to excel and Cam York (22) is looking stronger by the game. Philadelphia is all about what's to come, and those talents -- plus others around them and still on the way up -- could satisfy for years.
Next seven days:@ CAR (Feb. 24), @ MTL (Feb. 25), vs. DET (Feb. 27), vs. DET (Feb. 28), @ NYR (March 2)
Ottawa has smartly grown its roster from within. Jake Sanderson (20), Tim Stutzle (21), Josh Norris (23) and Brady Tkachuk (23) are cornerstone pieces for the Senators who have only scratched the surface of their potential. Ditto Drake Batherson (24), who's producing strong numbers again this season. They all could help create another playoff contender in Ottawa.
Next seven days:vs. BOS (Feb. 25), @ DAL (Feb. 27), vs. MIN (March 2)
Vancouver's one-two punch of Quinn Hughes (23) and Elias Pettersson (24) showcases the most from the Canucks' 25-and-under set. Jack Studnicka (23) and Nils Aman (22) continue to build their résumés through multiple NHL call-ups, and Nils Hoglander (22) has been up and down too. The Canucks' roster has fluctuated all season, so we'll see how some of these prospects fit better into the club's next chapter.
Next seven days:@ PHI (Feb. 24), vs. OTT (Feb. 25), @ SJ (Feb. 28), @ LA (March 2)
Montreal is a front-runner for deepest pool of young guns. Let's check the list: 2023 No. 1 overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky (18), Kaiden Guhle (21), Arber Xhekaj (22), Cole Caufield (22), Kirby Dach (22), Nick Suzuki (23), Cayden Primeau (23) and on and on. It's hard to argue the Canadiens have future powerhouse potential with those players -- and more -- coming through.
Next seven days:vs. CHI (Feb. 25), vs. MTL (Feb. 28), vs. STL (March 2)
San Jose could use an infusion of youngsters. Other than Mario Ferraro (24), the Sharks haven't leaned on any 25-and-under players this season. Fortunately for San Jose, this is the perfect time of year to build up a stronger base of burgeoning threats.
Next seven days:vs. NSH (Feb. 26), vs. CHI (Feb. 28), @ DAL (March 1)
Arizona wields an impressive depth of young standouts. Clayton Keller (24) leads the way in club scoring, Matias Maccelli (22) and Barrett Hayton (22) are producing offensively at a good clip and JJ Moser (22) kicks in from the blue line. Then there's 19-year-old Dylan Guenther, who should be one to watch well into the Coyotes' future.
Next seven days:@ SJ (Feb. 25), @ ANA (Feb. 27), @ ARI (Feb. 28), vs. DAL (March 2)
Chicago remains a veteran-heavy team -- with an eye on capturing one specific 17-year-old (named Connor Bedard) come spring. This season, it's been Philipp Kurashev (22) and Taylor Raddysh (24) doing the most damage for the Blackhawks' 25-and-under crew. Cole Guttman (23) scored his first NHL goal last week, putting him on the radar to potentially pick up more opportunity as well.
Next seven days:vs. EDM (Feb. 25), @ MIN (Feb. 26), @ BUF (Feb. 28)
Columbus' bad luck with injuries has highlighted more of its young core. Cole Sillinger (20) and Kent Johnson (20) have played key roles up front, Kirill Marchenko (22) is proving to be a valuable scorer and Adam Boqvist (22) has grown on the blue line in Zach Werenski's absence. There's more of where those talents came from too, with Patrik Laine (24) still a leader as well in Columbus' 25-and-under unit.
Next seven days:@ CAR (Feb. 25), vs. CHI (Feb. 27), vs. WSH (March 1)
Anaheim is all about the future. It makes sense for its youth movement to be in full swing. Headlined by the incredible stylings of Trevor Zegras (21) and Troy Terry (25), steady contributions of Mason McTavish (20) and depth support from Max Comtois (24), Max Jones (24) and Isac Lundestrom (23), the Ducks have an enviable number of risers to point at.
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