Sharks

These are the top 10 rookies to watch in the 2022-23 NHL season

Sharks
Matty Beiners

NHL season is about to be in full swing, which means it is time to start keeping watch for the young, new faces – the rookies.

Players entering their first year of professional play on NHL ice have a lot of pressure on their backs, including the potential to be crowned with the Calder Trophy at the conclusion of the season. Not to mention, the future of the NHL is in the hands of these athletes.

So, who will dominate this year as a first-year player?

Before the puck is dropped, let’s take a look at the top rookies entering the 2022-23 season:

Who are the top NHL rookies this season?

The top 10 rookies to watch in the 2022-23 season are as follows:

1. Matty Beniers, C, Seattle Kraken

This young American rookie was the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft and entered as one of the consensus top prospects. Beniers, who played collegiate hockey at the University of Michigan, was going to go back to the school for another yet, but decided instead to join the Seattle Kraken. 

The 19-year-old signed a three-year, entry-level contract and made his NHL debut on April 12, 2022. He racked up his first assists in a 5-3 loss to the Calgary Flames and scored his first NHL goal on April 16, during a home win against the New Jersey Devils.

 

Beniers had nine points (three goals, six assists) in his first 10 games with the Kraken.

2. Mason McTavish, LW, Anaheim Ducks

The 19-year-old Canadian ice hockey rookie, who was born in Switzerland, was the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. McTavish led the 2022 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship with 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) and helped Canada clinch the gold medal. 

McTavish had three points (two goals, one assist) during nine games with the Anaheim Ducks and competed for the Canadian national team at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. 

3. Owen Power, D, Buffalo Sabres

This 19-year-old prodigy, who is also Canadian, was selected first overall by Buffalo in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Like Beniers, Power played for the University of Michigan before making it into the big leagues. He returned to Michigan to play for his sophomore season, becoming the first No. 1 overall pick to play collegiate-level hockey since Erik Johnson in 2006.

Power was considered to be one of the top prospects for the draft and was selected for the Hockey Canada selection camp.

He had three points (two goals, one assist) and was plus-3 in eight NHL games for Buffalo last season. He was considered a point-per-game player at Michigan, scoring 32 points in 33 games.

4. Jake Sanderson, D, Ottawa Senators

The Canadian-American defenseman was drafted fifth overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Sanderson played for two years on the North Dakota Fighting Hawks at the collegiate-level, but he suffered a hand injury after his sophomore season.

The 20-year-old Sanderson signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Senators on March 27, 2022, but he has yet to make his NHL debut. However, Ottawa is expecting a smooth transition for the young rookie.

He combined for 41 points in 45 games in his two seasons at the University of North Dakota (including 26 points in 23 games during the 2021-22 season).

5. Logan Thompson, G, Vegas Golden Knights

Thompson just makes the rookie list at age 25, because once a player hits 26, he is no longer considered for the Calder Trophy.

Currently undrafted, the goalie signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Vegas Golden Knights on July 13, 2020. He began the 2021 season with the team’s AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights, and in March of 2021, Thompson made his NHL debut in place of Marc-André Fleury. He was sent back down to the Silver Knights but eventually made his first NHL start for the Golden Knights on Jan. 4, 2022. 

 

During the 2021-22 season, Thompson was 10-5-3 with a .914 save percentage, which was tied for 17th in the NHL, and one shutout in 19 games for Vegas.

6. Kent Johnson, LW, Columbus Blue Jackets

This 19-year-old Canadian prodigy was drafted fifth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. He also played alongside Beniers and Power at the University of Michigan, before taking it to the main stage. 

He played for Canada at the 2022 World Junior Championships and tied for sixth with nine points (three goals, six assists) in seven games. Johnson was also better than a point-per-game player with 64 points in 58 games at Michigan.

Johnson signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Blue Jackets on April 8, 2922 and made his NHL debut on April 13 against the Montreal Canadiens. 

7. Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, Montreal Canadiens

Youngest of the bunch, 18-year-old Slafkovsky was selected first overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft by Montreal. The Slovak scored seven goals in seven games for Slovakia during the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. He is the highest-drafted Slovak player in NHL history.

Slafkovsky has seven points (two goals, five assists) over 18 playoff games last season in Finland’s top professional hockey league, Liiga.

8. Cole Perfetti, C/RW, Winnipeg Jets

This young Canadian star was selected tenth overall by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. At 20 years old, he has a chance at being the NHL’s most valuable rookie, considering he had seven points (two goals, five assists) in 18 NHL games with the Jets during the 2021-22 season.

Perfetti played for Team Canada White at the 2018-19 U17 World Hockey Challenge and finished second in the tournament after scoring two goals and seven assists in five games.

He was also the leading scorer in the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup while on Team Canada, scoring eight goals and 12 points in five games.

9. Alexander Holtz, RW, New Jersey Devils

The 20-year-old Swedish rookie was selected seventh overall by the New Jersey Devils in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. He moved to North America from his home country of Sweden for the 2021-22 season and had two assists and 12 shots on goal in nine games with the Devils.

 

He was nearly a point-per-game player for the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League, totaling 51 points in 52 games.

10. Dylan Holloway, C, Edmonton Oilers

Holloway, 21, is one of the older rookies of the bunch. The Canadian is currently playing as a prospect for the Edmonton Oilers after being selected 14th overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

He has stood out during the preseason with six points (four goals, two assists) in his first four games with the Oilers. Last season, in the American Hockey League with the Oilers’ affiliate Bakersfield Condors, Holloway scored 26 points in 38 games.