The NHL is abuzz with anticipation as the 2023-24 season kicks off, with a fresh batch of talented rookies ready to take the ice. Much like the excitement that surrounded Auston Matthews’ rookie year in 2016-17, this season brings us Connor Bedard, the No. 1 pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Draft.
Bedard’s remarkable skills and potential have already labeled him as the face of the future for the Blackhawks.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to Bedard and eleven other promising rookies who are set to make an immediate impact in the upcoming NHL season.
Connor Bedard – Chicago Blackhawks
No. 1 in the 2023 NHL Draft
At just 18 years old, Bedard (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) is already making waves. In the previous season with Regina, he led the Western Hockey League in various categories, including goals, points, and shots on goal.
Bedard is stepping into the limelight, and the Blackhawks are looking to him as their future leader. With the absence of former captains Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, Bedard has an excellent opportunity to establish himself as a key player for the team.
When asked about his aspirations, Bedard stated, “Your dream and lifelong goal are to play in the NHL and be an impact player, and that’s what I want to do. For me, it’s just about training, going to camp, and earning my spot on the team.”
Brandt Clarke – Los Angeles Kings
No. 8 in the 2021 NHL Draft
The Los Angeles Kings are seeking defensive strength, and Brandt Clarke is ready to answer the call. Clarke (6-2, 185) has showcased his skills in various leagues, including the NHL, AHL, and the Ontario Hockey League. Capable of quarterbacking a power play, he’s poised to become a crucial part of the Kings’ defensive lineup.
Logan Cooley – Arizona Coyotes
No. 3 in the 2022 NHL Draft
Logan Cooley, the top prospect for the Arizona Coyotes, is eager to take the NHL by storm. Cooley demonstrated his skills in the 2023 NHL Global Series and performed impressively in the NCAA. At just 19 years old, he’s already making a name for himself as a versatile and talented forward.
William Eklund – San Jose Sharks
No. 7 in the 2021 NHL Draft
William Eklund, who recently turned 21, is ready to play a significant role for the San Jose Sharks. Despite recovering from a shoulder injury, Eklund has proven his offensive prowess. He has displayed his ability in both the NHL and AHL, making him a player to watch this season.
Adam Fantilli – Columbus Blue Jackets
No. 3 in the 2023 NHL Draft
Adam Fantilli, an 18-year-old, is set to make his mark in the NHL. His impressive transition from NCAA hockey and winning the Hobey Baker Award speaks to his potential. The Blue Jackets have high hopes for him, with expectations that he may become their No. 1 center in the near future.
Luke Hughes – New Jersey Devils
No. 4 in the 2021 NHL Draft
Luke Hughes, brother of Devils center Jack Hughes, is a versatile defenseman who can play on both sides. He has shown his potential with outstanding performances in the University of Michigan and the NHL. Hughes might be on track to become the first defenseman to win the Calder Trophy in recent years.
Matthew Knies – Toronto Maple Leafs
No. 57 in the 2021 NHL Draft
Matthew Knies, who trained with Auston Matthews over the summer, is ready to make a difference for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 20-year-old forward is expected to shine on the top offensive lines alongside Matthews or John Tavares. His ability to be a game-changer makes him a player to watch in the upcoming season.
Jiri Kulich – Buffalo Sabres
No. 28 in the 2022 NHL Draft
Jiri Kulich, known for his dynamic skating, made a significant impact in his North American debut season. With the Sabres, he is set to build on his successful AHL performance and help his team reach new heights in the NHL.
Devon Levi – Buffalo Sabres
No. 212 in the 2020 NHL Draft (Florida Panthers)
Devon Levi, acquired by the Sabres in a trade, has consistently been a top-performing goalie. He led NCAA goalies in save percentage and was awarded the Mike Richter Award as the best goalie in college hockey. His remarkable athleticism and unshakable mindset make him an invaluable asset to the Sabres.
Pavel Mintyukov – Anaheim Ducks
No. 10 in the 2022 NHL Draft
Pavel Mintyukov, known for his prowess in transition and offensive abilities, is set to shine for the Anaheim Ducks. As the OHL defenseman of the year, he’s ready to make his mark in the NHL or the AHL, providing his team with a strong defensive presence.
Marco Rossi – Minnesota Wild
No. 9 in the 2020 NHL Draft
Marco Rossi is no stranger to the NHL, having played 19 games last season. With 104 points in the AHL and a strong presence on the power play, he’s poised to make a considerable impact at the next level.
Shane Wright – Seattle Kraken
No. 4 in the 2022 NHL Draft
Shane Wright, a right-handed shot, concluded last season impressively in the AHL. While he’s shown promise, he may need to return to the OHL under the Canadian Hockey League agreement if he doesn’t secure a spot in the NHL.
The 2023-24 NHL season promises a thrilling influx of young talent. Connor Bedard and these twelve rookies are ready to make their mark, and their journey is one to watch closely. As they step onto the ice, they bring fresh hope and anticipation to hockey fans worldwide.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who is the No. 1 pick for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Draft?
- Connor Bedard is the No. 1 pick for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2023 NHL Draft.
- Which rookie defenseman is expected to make a big impact for the Los Angeles Kings?
- Brandt Clarke, drafted in 2021, is anticipated to make a significant impact as a defenseman for the Los Angeles Kings.
- Who led the NCAA in assists in the 2022-23 season?
- Logan Cooley led the NCAA in assists during the 2022-23 season.
- What is William Eklund’s role with the San Jose Sharks?
- William Eklund is expected to play a significant role for the San Jose Sharks.
- Which rookie won the Hobey Baker Award as the best NCAA men’s ice hockey player?
- Adam Fantilli, a rookie, won the Hobey Baker Award as the best NCAA men’s