The NHL’s Metropolitan Division is loaded with star players. From Sidney Crosby to Alex Ovechkin to Claude Giroux, the Metropolitan Division is not short on talented players.
Even with plenty of established star talent, the Metropolitan Division has a handful of young players who could become the next wave of NHL stars.
Which young players around the Metropolitan Division are poised for breakout seasons? Which players could be the NHL’s next young stars? Who should fans look out for in 2017-18?
Here are a few young players that could break out in 2017-18:
TEAM: PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Guentzel burst onto the scene in mid-November 2017 and scored 2 goals in his first career game. In 40 regular season games, the 22-year old Omaha, Nebraska native recorded 16 goals and 33 points. He made his name known in the 2017 NHL Playoffs when he tallied 13 goals during the Penguins Stanley Cup run. Guentzel was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Penguins and will likely take on a full-time role with the Penguins in 2017-18.
TEAM: CAROLINA HURRICANES
Aho played in all 82 games for the Hurricanes in 2016-17. The 20-year old Finn recorded 24 goals and 49 points last season. He was selected in the 2nd round of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Hurricanes. The young Finnish forward has impressed the Hurricanes fans with his tremendous speed and skill on the ice, and he has a knack for scoring nice goals with his hard shot.
TEAM: NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Hischier was taken with the #1 overall pick of the 2017 NHL Draft, and it was the first time a Swiss player was taken at that spot. Hischier has starred in many international tournaments with Switzerland. In 2016-17, Hischier played his junior hockey with the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). He will likely land an opening night roster spot with the Devils. Scouts have praised him for his incredible puck handling and burst of speed on the ice.
TEAM: PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
Patrick was selected with the 2nd overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. In 2016-17, he played his junior hockey with the Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL). Even though he bit the injury bug a season ago, that did not scare scouts. Scouts love his compete level, and they love that he does a lot of things on the ice well. Patrick is a polished prospect, and if healthy, will make many contributions to the Flyers for years to come.
TEAM: COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
The 20-year old Michigan native played in 78 games for the Jackets in 2016-17. In those games, Werenski recorded 11 goals and 47 points. Werenski impressed Jackets fans with his incredible poise on the ice. The young Jackets defenseman was taken 8th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft, and has given the Jackets a stable option on the blueline for many years to come.
By: George Foussekis