I started talking about the top players under 25 years old in the NHL on Sunday starting with the Metropolitan Division. Here are the top players under 25 years old in the Atlantic Division:
Auston Matthews, Center, Toronto Maple Leafs: He was the number one overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. At just 20 years old, he is Toronto’s top centerman and Matthews is a sniper. Matthews (2x all-star) has scored 23 goals and recorded 17 assists so far this season. He led Toronto to the playoffs last season. They gave the Washington Capitals a tough six game series, but Matthews hopes he leads Toronto to a Stanley Cup Title for the first time since 1967.
Mitchell Marner, Center, Toronto Maple Leafs: Marner was the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. He has scored eight goals and recorded 27 assists so far this season. At just 20 years old, Marner is the second line centerman for the Maple Leafs and they are one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL because of it. Marner has number one center potential, but he will never be the number one center in Toronto because of Matthews.
William Nylander, Winger, Toronto Maple Leafs: Nylander is also a part of the young nucleus in Toronto. He is 21 years old and Nylander was the eighth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. Nylander has scored 10 goals and recorded 28 assists so far this season. He has the talent to score 30 goals every season.
Nikita Kucherov, Winger, Tampa Bay Lightning: Kucherov was drafted in the second-round in the 2011 NHL Draft. Kucherov isn’t just a goal scorer but he is also a very good passer. Kucherov went to the All-Star Game again this season. He has scored 27 goals and recorded 37 assists so far this season. Kucherov will most likely win MVP this season.
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Goalie, Tampa Bay Lightning: Vasilevskiy was learning behind Ben Bishop for the past couple of seasons and this season he is taking full advantage of being the starter. His record is 30-9-2 with a .930 save percentage and a 2.23 GAA, along with seven shutouts. Vasilevskiy is very athletic and he can take over a game at any moment. He was an all-star this season and he is most likely to walk away with the Vezina Trophy this season. Vasilevskiy was a first-round pick by the Lightning in 2012.
Mikhail Sergachev, Defenseman, Tampa Bay Lightning: Sergachev is a very good two-way defenseman and he has the ability to be a quarterback on the power play. He has scored eight goals and recorded 19 assists so far this season. Sergachev was selected ninth overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2016 NHL Draft. He is just 19 years old and he has a ton of upside.
David Pastrnak, Winger, Boston Bruins: Pastrank was drafted in the first-round in the 2014 NHL Draft. Pastrnak has made the Bruins offense look better in the past couple of years. He has scored 20 goals and recorded 28 assists so far this season. At just 21 years old, Pastrnak is a special player.
Jake DeBrusk, Winger, Boston Bruins: DeBrusk was a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. He is a rookie this season and is providing scoring depth for the Bruins. DeBrusk has scored 11 goals and recorded 15 assists so far this season. He has the potential to be a top-six forward.
Charlie McAvoy, Defenseman, Boston Bruins: McAvoy was a first-round pick for the Bruins in the 2016 NHL Draft. He is one of the best young defenseman in the NHL. Bruce Cassidy has him on the first defensive pairing and he has a lot of trust in him. McAvoy played in the playoffs last season for the Bruins because they were thin on the blue line and Cassidy didn’t shy away from giving him big minutes. McAvoy has scored five goals and recorded 20 assists so far this season. He is currently recovering from a heart procedure, but McAvoy is expected to be back soon.
Jack Eichel, Center, Buffalo Sabres: Eichel is 21 years old and he was the second overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. Eichel could be a headcase, but there is no question he is one of the best young players in the NHL. Eichel has scored 20 goals and recorded 29 assists so far this season. He doesn’t have enough help him around for now, but Eichel has the ability to take over a series if one day Buffalo gets back there. Eichel was named to the all-star team again this season.
Aaron Ekblad, Defenseman, Florida Panthers: Ekblad was the number one overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. He hasn’t been exactly lighting it up, but Ekblad has been a good two-way defenseman ever since he came into the league. Ekblad has scored nine goals and recorded seven assists so far this season. He is just 21 years old and Ekblad can take his game to another level.
Thomas Chabot, Defenseman, Ottawa Senators: Chabot was drafted in the first-round in the 2015 NHL Draft. If Erik Karlsson for some strange reason gets traded, Chabot could very well make his way up to the number one defensive pairing. Anyways, he will most likely get there one day. He is a rookie this season and Chabot is just 21 years old. Chabot has played in 30 games and he has scored four goals and recorded six assists so far this season. Chabot has a lot of upside.