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Top 100: Hockey's best players 21 and under

Who are the 100 best big league prospects? Our team of experts and scouts breaks down the names you should know.

This seems to get harder every year. The third installment of our Prospects Unlimited Top 100 was a bear to put together, simply because there is so much talent out there. The rankings are based on top-end potential for all players born in 1997 or later (so a late 1996 birthday like Jack Eichel is not eligible). We're projecting what the forwards will be like at age 23, the defensemen at 24 and the goalies at 25. Hockey insiders, Future Watch and senior associate writer Ryan Kennedy's draft rankings were consulted in compiling the list.

1. CONNOR McDAVID
POS: C | Age: 21 | Last Year: 1
Team: Edmonton (NHL) | Draft: 1st, 2015 (EDM)
Topping 100 points for a second consecutive year, McDavid joined Wayne Gretzky as the only players in NHL history with two scoring titles by 21. And yet, all off-season, McDavid talked about still wanting to "get better." It may have sounded like empty cliche talk, but he had a point. Other generational talents, from Gretzky to Mario Lemieux to Sidney Crosby, enjoyed their peak production around 22 or 23. Based on that trend, McDavid, boasting the fastest in-game speed the NHL has ever seen, isn't done ascending. No player this century has topped 125 points in a season, but if anyone can do it, it's No. 97. Whether he can find team success with the Oilers is another story.

2. AUSTON MATTHEWS
POS: C | Age: 21 | Last Year: 2
Team: Toronto (NHL) | Draft: 1st, 2016 (TOR)
The hype surrounding Matthews in his draft year rivalled McDavid's, but the production hasn't over Matthews' first two seasons. He has been "merely" awesome, but the surface numbers deceive. He paces the league in even-strength goals since debuting in 2016-17, and Matthews, not McDavid, led the NHL in primary points per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 last season. The only thing keeping Matthews' totals below supernova status has been deployment. He ranked 154th among forwards in power-play minutes per game last season. Now that coach Mike Babcock has stacked Matthews on the Leafs' No. 1 unit along with John Tavares and Mitch Marner, expect an MVP-caliber statistical explosion from 'Papi.'

3. PATRIK LAINE
POS: RW | Age: 20 | Last Year: 3
Team: Winnipeg (NHL) | Draft: 2nd, 2016 (WPG)
Laine's heavy, accurate shot found twine 80 times in his first two seasons, good for the third-most goals by a teenager in NHL history. To snatch the Rocket Richard Trophy from Alex Ovechkin, Laine must trim the slumps. He scored just once in his final 10 games of 2017-18 and still managed 44 goals, second only to Ovie's 49.

4. RASMUS DAHLIN
POS: D | Age: 18 | Last Year: 9
Team: Buffalo (NHL) | Draft: 1st, 2018 (BUF)
No defenseman has ever generated the pre-draft buzz that Dahlin did leading up to 2018, particularly in the era of social media and soundbytes, such as Erik Karlsson calling Dahlin "better than me." It's rare for a blueliner to make the NHL at 18, let alone dominate, but virtually anyone who has coached, watched or played with Dahlin believes he'll be a fate-changing player for Buffalo immediately. Dahlin has the swashbuckling rushes to rival Karlsson's forays, while also displaying the competitiveness and mean streak of Victor Hedman. There's risk in heaping too much responsibility on such a young player, especially on defense, but Dahlin has welcomed it. He wants it. Bet on a truly special career.

5. MATHEW BARZAL
POS: C | Age: 21 | Last Year: 30
Team: NY Islanders (NHL) | Draft: 16th, 2015 (NYI)

After a year of being fed by Dennis Seidenberg’s wife, Rebecca, and having his lunch handed to him by Seidenberg’s kids in video games, it was high time for Mathew Barzal to find a place to live. After all, when you’re 21 years old with great flow and coming off the best NHL rookie season since Evgeni Malkin’s freshman debut in 2006-07, well, living in your former teammate’s basement beside a kid’s gymnastics practice mat isn’t exactly the most favorable look. [Read Ken Campbell's feature on Barzal here.]

6. JACK HUGHES
POS: C | Age: 17 | Last Year: 54
Team: U.S. NTDP U-18 (USHL) | Draft: 2019
He was centering Team USA's top line with the under-18s last year when he was supposed to be with the under-17s. Dynamic and fast, Hughes destroyed the U.S. national team program's record for scoring by a first-year player with 116 points in 60 games. He's the easy choice for first overall in the 2019 NHL draft.

7. ALEXIS LAFRENIERE
POS: LW | Age: 17 | Last Year: 42
Team: Rimouski (QMJHL) | Draft: 2020
His coming-out party was his dominating performance at the Hlinka-Gretzky tourney, but Lafreniere also had 80 points as a 'Q' rookie. An October birthday means he'll play another junior season in 2019-20, when he'll continue to produce and make those around him better.

8. ELIAS PETTERSSON
POS: C | Age: 19 | Last Year: 53
Team: Vancouver (NHL) | Draft: 5th, 2017 (VAN)
All Pettersson has done since being drafted is blow away expectations again and again. He won every possible award playing against men in Sweden last year. He piled up highlight-reel plays in his first Canucks pre-season. Then he sniped a gorgeous goal in his first NHL game. Henrik Sedin's successor is making it look easy.

9. IVAN PROVOROV
POS: D | Age: 21 | Last Year: 8
Team: Philadelphia (NHL) | Draft: 7th, 2015 (PHI)

Claude Giroux is just 30 and is locked up until 2022, so the ‘C’ seems sure to remain on his sweater for at least the next four seasons. But when the time does come for a changing of the guard, there are those in the Philadelphia hockey community who believe 21-year-old Ivan Provorov is destined to take over that distinction. [Read Wayne Fish's feature on Provorov here.]

10. QUINTON BYFIELD
POS: C | Age: 16 | Last Year: 38
Team: Sudbury (OHL) | Draft: Eligible in 2020

As talented and as special a player as he is, Quinton Byfield is not immune to committing the occasional boneheaded rookie mistake. Such was the case early in the 2018-19 OHL season when, with his Sudbury Wolves down a goal to the Barrie Colts in the third period, he made a beautiful blind pass that ended up on the stick of…the Colts’ Ryan Suzuki. Bad idea. Suzuki scored to put the Colts up by two, three nights after they had administered a 10-3 beating on Byfield’s team. [Read Ken Campbell's feature on Byfield here.]

11. ZACH WERENSKI
POS: D | Age: 21 | Last Year: 5
Team: Columbus (NHL) | Draft: 8th, 2015 (CLB)

Any defenseman would've had trouble topping Werenski's scintillating rookie year, in which he finished third in Calder voting and garnered some Norris votes, emerging as a top-pair guy during the best season in Blue Jackets history. But Werenski came close to matching that effort as a sophomore, sniping 16 goals, one off the league lead at his position. He and partner Seth Jones form the best 25-and-younger blueline tandem in the game. Werenski worked hard after off-season shoulder surgery to make it into Columbus' opening-night lineup. He'll be tested in the first six weeks of the season while Jones sits with a knee injury. Can Werenski carry the Jackets at both ends of the ice on his own?

12. MIRO HEISKANEN
POS: D | Age: 19 | Last Year: 44
Team: Dallas (NHL) | Draft: 3rd, 2017 (DAL)
The Stars' broadcast team summed it up perfectly during his first NHL shift: "He plays like he's 26." Smart, poised and mobile.

13. MITCH MARNER
POS: RW | Age: 21 | Last Year: 12
Team: Toronto (NHL) | Draft: 4th, 2015 (TOR)
Slick passer and creative thinker looks more like his OHL star self every day. A year on Tavares' line will net a huge contract.

14. BROCK BOESER
POS: RW | Age: 21 | Last Year: 17
Team: Vancouver (NHL) | Draft: 23rd, 2015 (VAN)
An expert at finding space and firing the puck before you know he has it – with an electric release. As pure as goal-scorers get.

15. KAAPO KAKKO
POS: RW | Age: 17 | Last Year: NR
Team: TPS Turku (Fin) | Draft: 2019
Smart, skilled kid off to a hot start in the Liiga. Turku may try him at center, making him even more dangerous.

16. KIRBY DACH
POS: C | age: 17 | Last Year: 98
Team: Saskatoon (WHL) | Draft: 2019
Dach is making it look easy with the Blades, piling up points thanks to his size, shot and hockey IQ.

17. CLAYTON KELLER
POS: RW | Age: 20 | Last Year: 16
Team: Arizona (NHL) | Draft: 7th, 2016 (ARI)

The Patrick Kane comparisons won't stop until Keller stops looking like him. Remarkable ability to rag the puck. Fun to watch.

18. CHARLIE McAVOY
POS: D | Age: 20 | Last Year: 11
Team: Boston (NHL) | Draft: 14th, 2016 (BOS)

Among rookies with at least 50 games last season, his 22:09 per game was almost four minutes more than the runner-up – and was the highest average by any rookie in the past five seasons to play 50-plus games. McAvoy is a franchise pillar to succeed Zdeno Chara, possessing 200-foot versatility that calls to mind Drew Doughty.

19. MATTHEW BOLDY
POS: LW | Age: 17 | Last Year: NR
Team: U.S. NTDP U-18 (USHL) | Draft: 2019

On a star-studded NTDP squad, Boldy has emerged as one of the top scoring threats, despite the fact he wasn't as well-known as some of his teammates when he was originally tabbed by The Program. An incredibly gifted offensive talent, Boldy uses his vision and hands to both finish and set up his linemates. At the All American Prospects Game this fall, he dominated with three points in a 6-4 win, earning MVP honors. Once Boldy is finished his assault on the USHL and various college teams this season, he'll head to Boston College, where the similarly skilled Oliver Wahlstrom now plays.

20. NICO HISCHIER
POS: C | Age: 19 | Last Year: 19
Team: New Jersey (NHL) | Draft: 1st, 2017 (NJ)

During his Hart Trophy acceptance speech, Taylor Hall singled out Hischier for helping him win the award. Hischier didn't explode for an epic rookie season but held his own on the Devils' top line as they shocked the NHL and ended a five-season playoff drought. Hischier's speed and skill are no secret, but his toughness is underrated. After his 52-point rookie year, he revealed he played the entire season with a chronic left wrist and hand injury. He never missed a game. If he can be that productive and display that kind of chemistry with Hall as an injured rookie, what can a fully healthy, more experienced Hischier do? He was good but rarely elite in Year 1. That may change in Year 2.

21. LUCAS RAYMOND
POS: RW | Age: 16 | Last Year: NR
Team: Frolunda (Swe) | Draft: 2020
Entering the summer's Hlinka-Gretzky tournament, the Swedish hype was about Alex Holtz, but Raymond made his statement by racking up seven points in five games. The fast, heady winger has already made his SHL debut, too, after a sizzling start this year in junior.

22. CARTER HART
POS: G | age: 20 | Last Year: NR
Team: Lehigh Valley (AHL) | Draft: 48th, 2016 (PHI)

Hart was always a top-end goalie prospect, but his last year of junior and gold-medal win at the 2018 WJC shot him into the stratosphere. His mental game is top-notch and the Flyers need him as soon as possible.

23. JOSH LAWRENCE
POS: C | Age: 16 | Last Year: NR
Team: Saint John (QMJHL) | Draft: 2020
The Sea Dogs landed Lawrence with the 15th pick in the 'Q' draft because he had NCAA aspirations, but he joined Saint John and immediately put up points. He's not big, but he has a ton of speed and finishing skills.

24. ROBERT THOMAS
POS: C | Age: 19 | Last Year: NR
Team: St. Louis (NHL) | Draft: 20th, 2017 (STL)
Thomas isn't a lock to stay in the NHL after the nine-game mark. He's eligible to return to major junior. He has the skill set to stick, however. Thomas is a smooth playmaker with outstanding hockey IQ and defensive acumen, meaning he can fit on any line. He's not the type of prospect who can only play a scoring role.

25. PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS
POS: C | Age: 20 | Last Year: 33
Team: Columbus (NHL) | Draft: 3rd, 2016 (CLB)
Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen shockingly passed on fellow Finn Jesse Puljujarvi at third overall to grab Dubois in 2016. Kekalainen looks brilliant now, doesn't he? Dubois is big and strong with a nose for the net and a mean streak. He's blossoming into the No. 1 power center Columbus always projected him to become.

26. CASEY MITTLESTADT
POS: C | Age: 19 | Last Year: 43
Team: Buffalo (NHL) | Draft: 8th, 2017 (BUF)
Prides himself in making others around him better. A selfless puck distributor who plays his best in clutch situations.

27. QUINN HUGHES
POS: D | Age: 19 | Last Year: 48
Team: Michigan (Big Ten) | Draft: 7th, 2018 (VAN)
Amazing skater and puck-mover played for U.S. at worlds and will be a Hobey Baker candidate. Tagged for NHL next season.

28. HENRIK BORGSTROM
POS: C | Age: 21 | Last Year: 32
Team: Springfield (AHL) | Draft: 23rd, 2016 (FLA)
A surprise cut in training camp by the Panthers, but the dynamic and creative center can get stronger in the AHL.

29. MIKHAIL SERGACHEV
POS: D | Age: 20 | Last Year: 27
Team: Tampa Bay (NHL) | Draft: 9th, 2016 (MTL)
Notice how few players on this list have been traded? Dealing this big, all-around stud of a puck-mover was huge mistake by Habs.

30. ANDREI SVECHNIKOV
POS: RW | Age: 18 | Last Year: 22
Team: Carolina (NHL) | Draft: 2nd, 2018 (CAR)

Immediately brings elite sniping skills to offense-needy Canes. Also has a dogged worth ethic suited to coach Rod Brind'Amour.

31. FILIP ZADINA
POS: LW | Age: 18 | Last Year: 92
Team: Grand Rapids (AHL) | Draft: 6th, 2018 (DET)

His virtuoso performance at 2018 world juniors boosted the Czechs, now the lethal goal-scorer is getting AHL reps.

32. MATTHEW TKACHUK
POS: LW | Age: 20 | Last Year: 23
Team: Calgary (NHL) | Draft: 6th, 2016 (CGY)

His game grew last year, but the numbers got masked because a concussion cost him the final month. He almost doubled his goal total in fewer games. With his blend of supreme agitation ability and scorer's hands, he's a Brad Marchand-caliber game-breaker. Like Marchand, Tkachuk just has to stay out of his own way.

33. MORGAN FROST
POS: C | Age: 19 | Last Year: NR
Team: S.S. Marie (OHL) | Draft: 27th, 2017 (PHI)

Frost rocketed up the charts thanks to a breakout OHL campaign that saw him put up 112 points and finish second in MVP voting. Now Sault Ste. Marie needs him to be even more integral since a lot of talent has left the Greyhounds for the pros.

34. NOAH DOBSON
POS: D | age: 18 | Last Year: NR
Team: A-Bath. (QMJHL) | Draft: 12th, 2018 (NYI)

There is so much potential in Dobson thanks to his excellent skating and growing frame. The two-way defenseman helped Acadie-Bathurst win the Memorial Cup and once the league's trade window opens in December, he's apparently headed to Chicoutimi.

35. BRADY TKACHUK
POS: LW | Age: 19 | Last Year: 45
Team: Ottawa (NHL) | Draft: 4th, 2018 (OTT)
Keith's other son took a different path than major junior star Matthew. Brady was a freshman wrecking ball at Boston U. before turning pro. He's considered even meaner than Matthew. Brady has a chance for meaningful rookie minutes on a stripped-down Ottawa team, though he's eligible to be sent to the AHL or OHL.

36. ALEX DeBRINCAT
POS: RW | Age: 20 | Last Year: 40
Team: Chicago (NHL) | Draft: 39th, 2016 (CHI)

'The Cat' was drafted into the perfect era. His shifty puck skills and 5-foot-7, 165-pound frame make him slippery in a league where the slashing crackdown gives the waterbug players space. His 28 goals led the Blackhawks, and he'll likely pace them again in 2018-19. They're a team in transition. They need a new star.

37. ALEXANDER HOLTZ
POS: LW | Age: 16 | Last Year: 39
Team: Djurgarden (Swe) | Draft: 2020

Djurgarden isn't rushing their phenom, but Holtz has a knack for goal-scoring and has been tearing up Sweden's junior circuit as a 16-year-old.

38. ILYA SAMSONOV
POS: G | Age: 21 | Last Year: 20
Team: Hershey (AHL) | Draft: 22nd, 2015 (WSH)

After developing for years in Russia, Samsonov has finally come over to North America. Starting in the AHL, the big netminder will need time to get acclimated and he'll battle Vitek Vanecek for starts. But the Capitals know they have a high-end talent in the youngster.

39. KIRILL KAPRIZOV
POS: LW | Age: 21 | Last Year: 24
Team: CSKA (KHL) | Draft: 135th, 2015 (MIN)

His KHL contract doesn't end until April 2020, so the wait continues for one of the brightest offensive talents of this Russian cohort.

40. SPENCER KNIGHT
POS: G | Age: 17 | Last Year: 71
Team: NTDP U-18 (USHL) | Draft: 2019
The complete package in net, Knight was unbeatable early and looks like a surefire first-rounder. He's off to Boston College next season.

41. CALE MAKAR
POS: D | Age: 20 | Last Year: 41
Team: UMass (HE) | Draft: 4th, 2017 (COL)

Excellent puckmoving D-man was huge at the world juniors and is one of the top talents to watch in the NCAA once again this season.

42. CAM YORK
POS: D | Age: 17 | Last Year: NR
Team: NTDP U-18 (USHL) | Draft: 2019
The top 'D' prospect for the 2019 NHL draft, York brings smarts and mobility to the back end, where he piles up points. Re-opened his U.S. college decision.

43. SEBASTIAN AHO
POS: C | Age: 21 | Last Year: 15
Team: Carolina (NHL) | Draft: 35th, 2015 (CAR)

Tons of natural skill. Overlooked in an obscure market. Converted to a center late last season. Looks like he'll keep the job. Could form great tandem with Svechnikov.

44. MARTIN NECAS
POS: C | Age: 19 | Last Year: NR
Team: Carolina (NHL) | Draft: 12th, 2017 (CAR)

Necas, not Aho, was drafted to be Canes' long-term No. 1 pivot. Highlight-reel puck skills, excellent speed and goes to dirty areas.

45. CONNOR BEDARD
POS: C | Age: 13 | Last Year: NR
Team: West Vancouver (CSSHL) | Draft: 2023

Lethal shot and preternatural puck-protection skills make him impossible to handle. Not draft-eligible for almost five years.

46. CODY GLASS
POS: C | Age: 19 | Last Year: 65
Team: Portland (WHL) | Draft: 6th, 2017 (VEG)
Vegas' first-ever draft pick is an elite playmaker who has chance to rule the WHL and play a big role on Canada's WJC squad.

47. MATTHEW SAVOIE
POS: C | Age: 14 | Last Year: NR
Team: N. Alberta (CSSHL) | Draft: 2022
Excellent skater is basically a lock to go first overall in the WHL bantam draft. Will he apply for exceptional status so he can play full-time at 15 next year?

48. DYLAN COZENS
POS: C | Age: 17 | Last Year: NR
Team: Lethbridge (WHL) | Draft: 2019

Big, fast and talented, Cozens has the opportunity to light it up on a talented Hurricanes team. He'll battle Kirby Dach for top WHL prospect in the draft.

49. NOLAN PATRICK
POS: C | Age: 20 | Last Year: 25
Team: Philadelphia (NHL) | Draft: 2nd, 2017 (NHL)

Injuries led to underwhelming rookie start before he came on late. Now healthy and has great linemates. Ready to bust out.

50. KIEFFER BELLOWS
POS: LW | Age: 20 | Last Year: NR
Team: Bridgeport (AHL) | Draft: 19th, 2016 (NYI)

The shot has always been deadly, but Bellows has done a great job rounding out his game in recent years.

51. OWEN POWER
POS: D | Age: 15 | Last Year: NR
Team: Chicago (USHL) | Draft: 2021

A 6-foot-5 defenseman who can really skate and is already playing in the USHL. He's a Michigan commit.

52. JESSUE PULJUJARVI
POS: RW | Age: 20 | Last Year: 29
Team: Edmonton (NHL) | Draft: 4th, 2016 (EDM)

Too early to say "bust," but it's scary he's trying to prove himself merely as a viable NHL top-sixer right now, let alone a star.

53. CAYDEN PRIMEAU
POS: G | Age: 19 | Last Year: NR
Team: Northeastern (HE) | Draft: 199th, 2017 (MTL)

Amazing freshman campaign put the big goalie on the map, now he's got a shot at Team USA's WJC crease.

54. JESPERI KOTKANIEMI
POS: C | Age: 18 | Last Year: NR
Team: Montreal (NHL) | Draft: 3rd, 2018 (MTL)

Habs ripped for drafting need over best available. Then he shows NHL-ready skill, makes team. Maybe he was best available.

55. THOMAS CHABOT
POS: D | Age: 21 | Last Year: 14
Team: Ottawa (NHL) | Draft: 18th, 2015 (OTT)

The face of the post-Karlsson era. Chabot has the goods to be star No. 1 D-man. A great puck rusher who can play big minutes.

56. KRISTIAN VESALAINEN
POS: LW | Age: 19 | Last Year: NR
Team: Winnipeg (NHL) | Draft: 24th, 2017 (WPG)
Arrived in North America more NHL-ready than expected. Goal-scorer displayed improved defensive play and made Jets out of camp. The rich get richer.

57. NOAH HANIFIN
POS: D | Age: 21 | Last Year: 18
Team: Calgary (NHL) | Draft: 5th, 2015 (CAR)

Broke out for 10 goals, made first All-Star Game last season. Also played extremely sheltered minutes in Carolina. Asked to do more and tested more in Calgary.

58. ADAM BOQVIST
POS: D | Age: 18 | Last Year: 68
Team: London (OHL) | Draft: 8th, 2018 (CHI)

Fantastic rushing defenseman is getting used to North America with the pro-style Knights after a nice showing at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament.

59. EVAN BOUCHARD
POS: D | Age: 19 | Last Year: NR
Team: Edmonton (NHL) | Draft: 10th, 2018 (EDM)

The Oilers yearned for that big, mobile, defensively sound, right-shot blueliner…and one fell into their laps at 10th overall. With his crisp breakout passes and poised, brainy game, he was considered the most NHL-ready blueliner in the draft after Dahlin, so it wasn't a huge surprise to see Bouchard make the Oilers as a teen.

60. STEPHEN HALLIDAY
POS: LW | Age: 16 | Last Year: NR
Team: Central Illinois (USHL) | Draft: 2020
Born and raised in the Toronto suburbs, Halliday moved to Maryland at 11 before coming back home and starring for the Toronto Marlboros. The top pick in the USHL draft is a big-bodied scorer with vision. He has committed to North Dakota. The Peterborough Petes own his OHL rights.

61. BARRETT HAYTON
POS: C | Age: 18 | Last Year: NR
Team: S.S. Marie (OHL) | Draft: 5th, 2018 (ARI)

Top-end center can play in all situations and he's primed for a big boost in points as his role increases.

62. JACK ROSLOVIC
POS: C | Age: 21 | Last Year: 61
Team: Winnipeg (NHL) | Draft: 25th, 2015 (WPG)

Jets were OK losing No. 2 center Paul Stastny as UFA because they have Roslovic. Blinding speed and smarts are his best traits.

63. TYSON JOST
POS: C | Age: 20 | Last Year: 31
Team: Colorado (NHL) | Draft: 10th, 2016 (COL)

Offense hasn't yet arrived for him at NHL level, and the Avs badly need it, as they're a one-line team at the moment.

64. VICTOR METE
POS: D | Age: 20 | Last Year: NR
Team: Montreal (NHL) | Draft: 100th, 2016 (MTL)
Small build doesn't hurt him in today's NHL. Moves the puck quickly. Suited to modern standard of sound defensive play.

65. RYAN MERKLEY
POS: D | Age: 18 | Last Year: 57
Team: Guelph (OHL) | Draft: 21st, 2018 (SJ)

Ultra-talented blueliner impressed the Sharks early, now he needs to firm up his defensive play and keep maturing.

66. LIAS ANDERSSON
POS: C | Age: 20 | Last Year: 83
Team: Hartford (AHL) | Draft: 7th, 2017 (NYR)

Lost NHL roster spot to Brett Howden in training camp, but long-term Andersson has a speedy two-way game.

67. VITALI KRAVTSOV
POS: RW | Age: 18 | Last Year: NR
Team: Traktor (KHL) | Draft: 9th, 2018 (NYR)
Monster playoff effort vaulted him into the top 10 of the 2018 NHL draft. Kravtsov has great hands and a hulking frame. His KHL contract ends this April, too.

68. KAILER YAMAMOTO
POS: RW | Age: 20 | Last Year: 80
Team: Edmonton (NHL) | Draft: 22nd, 2017 (EDM)

The ideal wingers for McDavid are those who can keep up with him. It would thus be thrilling to see speedy Yamamoto eventually get a look on Oilers' first line.

69. KAIDEN GUHLE
POS: D | Age: 16 | Last Year: NR
Team: Prince Albert (WHL) | Draft: 2020

Top 2017 bantam draft pick has entered into his first full season in the 'Dub.' Guhle boasts a big frame and excellent skating abilities.

70. JUUSO VALIMAKI
POS: D | Age: 20 | Last Year: 89
Team: Calgary (NHL) | Draft: 16th, 2017 (CGY)

Has put up points everywhere he's played. Role will start small in NHL, but he's the power-play quarterback of the future, especially with Mark Giordano now 35.

71. OLIVER WAHLSTROM
POS: RW | Age: 18 | Last Year: NR
Team: Boston Col. (HE) | Draft: 11th, 2018 (NYI)

Wicked-shooting winger and NCAA freshman is a student of the game and will be a key threat for Team USA at the worldjuniors.

72. JORDAN KYROU
POS: RW | Age: 20 | Last Year: NR
Team: St. Louis (NHL) | Draft: 35th, 2016 (STL)

Few drafted players upped their stocks like Kyrou did last season. Almost two points per game in junior. Blues hope he can become their second-line right winger.

73. PEYTON KREBS
POS: LW | Age: 17 | Last Year: 82
Team: Kootenay (WHL) | Draft: 2019

Quick, smart and skilled, Krebs is the hard-working engine that drives Kootenay's offense. Point-per-gamer for Canada at Hlinka-Gretzky tournament.

74. FILIP CHYTIL
POS: C | Age: 19 | Last Year: 81
Team: NY Rangers (NHL) | Draft: 21st, 2017 (NYR)

Can carry the offense with his puck skills and speed. Strong play without the puck makes him an intriguing all-around prospect who's ready for the NHL.

75. RYAN SUZUKI
POS: C | Age: 17 | Last Year: 66
Team: Barrie (OHL) | Draft: 2019

Quick, skilled and smart, Suzuki got off to a roaring start in his draft year, leading the OHL in scoring through the early weeks of the season.

76. JAKE OETTINGER
POS: G | Age: 19 | Last Year: 37
Team: Boston U. (HE) | Draft: 26th, 2017 (DAL)
After two solid campaigns with the Terriers, Oettinger probably could've gone pro, but he's returning for his junior season and that gives Boston University a chance to go deep. Oettinger was OK for Team USA at the world juniors, but there's no mistaking his talents in the crease. His size and calm demeanor between the pipes make him an elite netminding prospect, while his rebound control speaks to the technical side of his game. Once Oettinger leaves college, he'll have to battle fellow Stars pick Colton Point for reps in net – but that competition will help both youngsters.

77. TY SMILANIC
POS: C | Age: 16 | Last Year: NR
Team: NTDP U-17 (USHL) | Draft: 2020

One of the top names to know on the NTDP's under-17 squad, Smilanic is a swift-skating center with excellent hands who can really do damage on the scoreboard. The Regina Pats own his major junior rights. If Smilanic opts for the NCAA route, he's a commit to the University of Denver in 2020-21.

78. TIMOTHY LILJEGREN
POS: D | Age: 19 | Last Year: NR
Team: Toronto (AHL) | Draft: 17th, 2017 (TOR)
In terms of rebounding from a tough draft year, Liljegren pretty much hit the jackpot last season. The smooth-skating Swede helped the Tre Kronor earn silver at the world juniors, then Liljegren went on to win the Calder Cup with the AHL's Marlies, the first title ever for that squad. This year, he's back with the Marlies and Travis Dermott's graduation to the NHL means there is a bit of a vacuum to fill on the back end. Liljegren and a couple other older Swedes (Calle Rosen and Andreas Borgman) look like prime candidates to step up.

79. NICK SUZUKI
POS: C | Age: 19 | Last Year: 93
Team: O. Sound (OHL) | Draft: 13th, 2017 (VEG)
Acquired by Montreal in the trade that sent Max Pacioretty to Vegas, Suzuki was returned to major junior, where his stated goal is to win an OHL championship in Owen Sound. The nifty center plays a smart game and will have a chance to snag a big role on Canada's world junior squad.

80. ERIK BRANNSTROM
POS: D | Age: 19 | Last Year: 95
Team: Chicago (AHL) | Draft: 15th, 2017 (VEG)

An excellent offensive defenseman who dazzles when he leads the rush, Brannstrom is getting his first taste of North American hockey with the AHL's Wolves. Vegas doesn't need to rush him and getting stronger will help the kid. He scored twice in his first two games.

81. DYLAN STROME
POS: C | Age: 21 | Last Year: 55
Team: Arizona (NHL) | Draft: 3rd, 2015 (ARI)

Still young enough to qualify for this list, so there's hope. He's busted his tail to get his skating up to NHL standards, and he's torn up the AHL to the point there's little left to do there. It's time for the Coyotes to toss him in the deep end and find out if they have a superstar in the making, a 'quad A' player or something in between.

82. DANTE FABBRO
POS: D | Age: 20 | Last Year: 90
Team: Boston U. (HE) | Draft: 17th, 2016 (NSH)

Fabbro heads into his junior year at B.U. with great expectations and the 'C' on his sweater. The two-way blueliner could be a point-per-game player this season, though his ultimate goal is, as you'd expect, a national title. It's easy to see him turning pro in the spring.

83. GABE VILARDI
POS: C | Age: 19 | Last Year: NR
Team: Kingston (OHL) | Draft: 11th, 2017 (LA)

When he's healthy, Vilardi is a dominating presence up front thanks to his size, skill and puck-protection abilities (no wonder the Kings took him). But Vilardi has been dogged by injuries in his career and actually started off this season on the shelf in Los Angeles.

84. SHANE WRIGHT
POS: C | Age: 14 | Last Year: NR
Team: Don Mills (GTHL) | Draft: 2022

A prominent news item this season will be whether or not Wright decides to apply for exceptional status in the OHL. He has already played a year up and been successful thanks to his high hockey IQ and excellent skill set. He can finish or be a playmaker.

85. LUKE HUGHES
POS: D | Age: 15 | Last Year: NR
Team: Little Caesars (U15) | Draft: 2021

The younger brother of Quinn and Jack, Luke is a defenseman who skates like an angel and has already committed to Michigan, where Quinn plays now. Luke needs to get stronger, but he's also just 15, so there's plenty of time for that to happen.

86. JORDAN GREENWAY
POS: LW | Age: 21 | Last Year: 64
Team: Minnesota (NHL) | Draft: 50th, 2015 (MIN)

With smaller, faster NHLers having their day, Greenway, a 6-foot-6 mountain of a man, brings attributes few other prospects possess. His pro-ready body helped him skip the AHL upon leaving Boston U. Now he just has to learn how to play meaner and translate his strength and puck-protection skill to the NHL.

87. SAM STEEL
POS: C | Age: 20 | Last Year: 35
Team: Anaheim (NHL) | Draft: 30th, 2016 (ANA)

Huge junior point producer has highest ceiling among the many kids who made the Ducks with so many of their veterans hurt.

88. CHAZ LUCIUS
POS: C | Age: 15 | Last Year: NR
Team: Gentry Academy (NAPHL) | Draft: 2021

Wicked goal-scorer from Minnesota is destroying the under-15 ranks with younger brother Cruz on his wing.

89. EELI TOLVANEN
POS: LW | Age: 19 | Last Year: 70
Team: Milwaukee (AHL) | Draft: 30th, 2017 (NSH)

AHL assignment was a shock, but Tolvanen needs to find space on North American ice for his lethal shot.

90. JOEL FARABEE
POS: LW | Age: 18 | Last Year: NR
Team: Boston U. (HE) | Draft: 14th, 2018 (PHI)

Great motor and skill level make him a frosh to watch as the Terriers reload under new coach Albie O'Connell.

91. MICHAEL RASMUSSEN
POS: C | Age: 19 | Last Year: NR
Team: Detroit (NHL) | Draft: 9th, 2017 (DET)

Massive wingspan. Tremendous improvement year over year. Detroit starting him at wing like it did Dylan Larkin as rookie.

92. RAPHAEL LAVOIE
POS: C | Age: 18 | Last Year: NR
Team: Halifax (QMJHL) | Draft: 2019

A force around the net thanks to his big frame and sweet hands. Playing for the Memorial Cup hosts.

93. PHILIP BROBERG
POS: D | Age: 17 | Last Year: NR
Team: AIK (Swe) | Draft: 2019

Great size and skating ability make him a real threat from the back end. He turned heads at Hlinka-Gretzky tournament.

94. KALE CLAGUE
POS: D| Age: 20 | Last Year: NR
Team: Ontario (AHL) | Draft: 51st, 2016 (LA)

Solid two-way defenseman enters first pro season after a strong finish to his junior career in the WHL.

95. LIAM FOUDY
POS: C | Age: 18 | Last Year: NR
Team: London (OHL) | Draft: 18th, 2018 (CLB)

Blinding speed and scoring touch makes him so tough to defend. He comes from an athletic family.

96. K'ANDRE MILLER
POS: D | Age: 18 | Last Year: NR
Team: Wisconsin (Big Ten) | Draft: 22nd, 2018 (NYR)

Awesome two-way potential thanks to his athleticism and mobility on the back end. Was NTDP standout.

97. RYAN POEHLING
POS: C | Age: 20 | Last Year: NR
Team: St. Cloud (NCHC) | Draft: 25th, 2017 (MTL)

The Habs think they have a new Ryan O'Reilly on their hands. Poehling had big sophomore season.

98. TAGE THOMPSON
POS: RW | Age: 21 | Last Year: 36
Team: Buffalo (NHL) | Draft: 26th, 2016 (STL)

Trade seemed to unlock potential. Impressed in pre-season. Towering net presence will complement Sabres' star centers.

99. TY SMITH
POS: D | Age: 18 | Last Year: 78
Team: Spokane (WHL) | Draft: 17th, 2018 (NJ)

Offensively dangerous D-man had rough under-18s for Canada, but is back producing in Spokane again.

100. DILLON DUBE
POS: C | Age: 20 | Last Year: NR
Team: Calgary (NHL) | Draft: 56th, 2016 (CGY)

Captained Canada's golden 2018 WJC squad. Stole job in Flames' bottom-six forward group with pre-season goal binge.

This story appears in the Prospects Unlimited 2018 issue of The Hockey News magazine.

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