The importance of good young talent to an NHL team cannot be overstated, as so many prospects are being developed and promoted very quickly in the league today. Here's our annual top 100 prospects in hockey, beginning with June's top two draft picks. If you don't know these names yet, you will soon.
Player eligibility: To be considered for the top 100, a player must still have Calder Trophy eligibility heading into the 2019-20 season. That means a player did not play more than 25 regular-season NHL games in the most recent season or, for players who have been called up and sent down fairly often, 50 career NHL games in all. Players must also be 25 years old or younger to be considered for the list.
1. Jack Hughes, C, New Jersey Devils
Elite speed, hockey sense and skill give Hughes a chance to be a special player not only for the Devils, but the NHL at large. He sees the ice and processes play development extremely well.
2. Kaapo Kakko, RW, New York Rangers
A pro-ready frame with skill and confidence to spare, Kakko has the look of an immediate impact player and a legitimate threat to win the Calder this season.
3. Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalanche
The best defenseman outside of the NHL in 2018-19, Makar followed up winning the Hobey Baker by seamlessly transitioning to the Stanley Cup playoffs with the Avs. He is a special talent with explosive skating and elite hockey sense.