The NHL is a league that is constantly evolving. New prospects come into the league every year and make an immediate impact. Some of these players have long and successful careers in the NHL, while others flame out after a few seasons. This blog post will look at the top prospects for the upcoming 2022-23 season, including players drafted in 2021 and 2022. These players have the potential to outperform their peers this season.
According to Betway Hockey odds, the Colorado Avalanche are +400 favorites to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. They are followed closely by the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Florida Panthers at +850 and the Carolina Hurricanes at +1100. The defending Eastern Conference Champion Tampa Bay Lightning round out the top five at +1200.
2022 NHL Draft
The first round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft was interesting and added several NHL-ready players to the prospect pool. Several trades and plenty of off-the-board draft picks that stunned and surprised. At the end of the first round, a total of eight teams walked away with multiple first-round selections, with the Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, and Arizona Coyotes having three selections.
Matthew Savoie (Sabres 2022)
Starting with arguably the deadliest scorer in the draft, Savoie looks to be an incredibly dangerous shooter for opposition teams. Drafted ninth overall by the Buffalo Sabres, the 18-year-old center made an incredible return of 35 goals and 55 assists in 65 games for the Winnipeg Ice in the WHL last season.
He only finds himself low on this list because he will be headed back to the WHL and unlikely to appear for the Sabres as a prospect. However, there is no doubt that Savoie has the potential to become a major, major player.
Matty Beniers (Kraken 2021)
The No. 2 overall draft pick in 2021, Beniers opted to sign an entry-level contract with the Seattle Kraken in April 2022. He made his debut just two days after that, recording his first assist in that match and his first goal in a win over the New Jersey Devils four days later.
He ended the season with three assists and 9 points in 10 games. Beniers looked confident yet mature in his sophomore year in the league, albeit in a struggling team.
Shane Wright (Kraken 2022)
One of the biggest surprises of the 2022 draft was that Shane Wright was not the first overall pick despite being the favorite for an entire year. The Centre was drafted fourth overall by the Kraken and remains many pundits’ top prospect.
He finished last season at the Kingston Frontenacs in the OHL with 32 goals and 62 assists for 94 points in 63 regular-season games. Wright believes he is ready to make an impact from day one, hence opting to sign a three-year entry-level contract.
His scoring record from last season doesn’t even highlight just how good his three-zone play is and his overall team play when supporting. Wright is ready and raring to go, and many expect him and Beniers to lead one-two centermen at the Kraken for quite some time.
Owen Power (Sabres, 2021)
Potentially the most multi-faceted player to appear on this list, Owen Power is scarily talented. Although his defense is the strongest part of his game, the improvements he has made recently highlight just how ready he is for the league. He is incredibly light on his feet for a man who stands at 6-foot-6; he drives with the puck brilliantly and can easily attack off the line. Many have predicted him to win the Calder Trophy come this season.
He dominated at the collegiate level, and his offensive improvement has brought his game to the next level. Upon scoring his first goal for the Sabres last season, coach Don Granato told reporters; “This is a guy that’s studied the game of hockey at an extremely young age and developed himself like most elite NHL players…the best in the league have done that, and they do not, in my opinion, deserve to go in the young guy category because they’ve put so many hours of visualization and intense training.
“I think Owen slides more toward that category. He comes in with a lot of experience, having a very, very high game knowledge and hockey IQ.” The 2021 number 1 overall draft pick will be a monumental asset to the Sabres roster.
Simon Nemec (Devils, 2022)
Simon Nemec is the youngest player on this list and may just be the most exciting. The Slovakian just turned 18 in February of this year, yet has racked up 65 points in 112 games as a defenceman. He is statistically phenomenal and a brilliant puck mover, consistently playing at a level far from his peers.
Picked second overall in 2022, Nemec signed a three-year entry-level contract with the New Jersey Devils. Since Nemec has already been playing against men in Slovakia, there is a good chance he’ll see significant playing time on an improving Devils team this season.