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Top NHL prospects who could play in the 2021 season

The Kings are LOADED with talent and they’ll be taking the ice this year.

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

First the logistics: To be considered a rookie, a player must not have played in more than 25 NHL games in any preceding seasons nor six or more games in each of the any two preceding seasons. As with baseball, it’s tricky to know exactly when a prospect will be called up, I’ve seen some players come up for a brief taste and then spend over a year until they are back again.

After a shortened offseason, it will be interesting to see what teams do with their prospects: Do they bring up some more in light of potential injury risk for vets or do they fear that they weren’t provided enough development late last year and they hold off a bit?

Here are 20 prospects that I’m optimistic about seeing time this year in the NHL.

Prospects who might play in 2021 Season

Rank Name Team Position Notes
Rank Name Team Position Notes
1 Trevor Zegras Anaheim Ducks C I'm excited to see what the Red Wings have in store with all the young talent
2 Bowen Byram Colorado Avalanche D Given how well he skates, he will thrive in the faster NHL
3 Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild RW He can hold his own at the higher league; been waiting for him to come to the big leagues for a while
4 Alex Turcotte Los Angeles Kings C One of a number of talented prospects for the Kings, he and Cole are fun to watch at Wisconsin
5 Alexis Lafreniere New York Rangers LW If they pair him up with Panarin, look out
6 Ty Smith New Jersey Devils D He will emerge as a top defender for the Devils who can head up their PP unit, good scoring upside here
7 Dylan Cozens Buffalo Sabres C Elite level talent, I fear for Sabres recent success cultivating their draft picks
8 Gabe Vilardi Los Angeles Kings C 7 points in just 10 games played last year, I am very optimistic on the impact he can make
9 Barrett Hayton Arizona Coyotes C Good well rounded player whose had exposure all around, he will be a center for top 2 lines at Arizona
10 Quinton Byfield Los Angeles Kings C I don't anticipate much out of the gate from Quinton, he's still building and maturing
11 Grigori Denisenko Florida Panthers LW He's smaller but he skates well and should grind out some goals
12 Tim Stuetzle Ottawa Senators LW Arm surgery is delaying progress from the #3 overall pick in 2020
13 Arthur Kaliyev Los Angeles Kings LW Among the many talented Kings prospects, Arthur has an elite scoring ability
14 Nicholas Robertson Toronto Maple Leafs LW Great shot, good puck possession, needs some work on his skating
15 Philip Broberg Edmonton Oilers D Offensive upside for this talented D; he's surprising people with his skating and scoring; a bit weak on defense
16 Morgan Frost Philadelphia Flyers C He's small but he sees the ice well and can make an impact on scoring sheet, can be inconsistent
17 Joseph Veleno Detroit Red Wings C Good skater with good puck possession skills; to be seen if Red Wings will be bringing up all of their young talent this year
18 Evan Bouchard Edmonton Oilers D Could be manning up the Oilers PP soon
19 Liam Foudy Columbus Blue Jackets C He's strong with skating and maintaining the puck, Jarmo Kekalainen has an eye for prospects
20 Peyton Krebs Vegas Golden Knights C He is a well rounded player with leadership qualities, he could thrive on a talented Vegas team