7 Young & Unproven NHL Defensemen Who Will Be Great Someday
Alexander Romanov D MTL, Age: 21 — Alexander Romanov is a solid young defenseman who plays with good vision and defensive prowess. Romanov alertly stick-checks opposing players and spaces out well-timed body-checks when defending. An accurate shot and reasonable passing help round out Romanov’s offensive game. Alexander Romanov was a solid contributor for CSKA Moscow of the KHL as a teenager, played very well for Russia in the World Junior Under-20 Championships of 2019 and 2020, and is now fitting in seamlessly as a decent defenseman at the age of 21 for the Montreal Canadiens (Alexander Romanov). Alexander Romanov should have been selected a lot higher than he was in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, as Romanov could very well have an NHL career that emulates former Habs’ defenseman Andrei Markov.
Erik Brannstrom D OTT, Age: 21 — A lot of pressure has been placed on the shoulders of defensive prospect Erik Brannstrom of the Ottawa Senators, as Brannstrom was the primary asset received from the Vegas Golden Knights in the Mark Stone trade. So far, Brannstrom has looked good playing in the AHL and was phenomenal for Sweden in the World Junior Under-20 Championships in 2018 and 2019. The concern is that Erik Brannstrom is now playing overseas in the Swiss-A League after he struggled with the Senators last season. I’m still very optimistic about Erik Brannstrom though, as he’s a fast, offensively gifted defenseman who has the potential to be a great player at the NHL level.
Rasmus Sandin D TOR, Age: 20 — Similarly to Erik Brannstrom, Rasmus Sandin is a speedy and skillful defenseman who has been absurdly good in the AHL and for Sweden’s World Juniors U-20 team over the past two years. Sandin showed promise while playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season, but he never nailed down a spot in their lineup. I’m not at all concerned about Sandin, though, as he’s still only 20 years old (Rasmus Sandin).
Jakob Chychrun D ARI, Age: 22 — An underrated signing by former Coyotes’ General Manager John Chayka was locking up Jakob Chychrun at a $4.6 M cap hit through the 2024–2025 season (Arizona Coyotes-CapFriendly). Chychrun has quietly been maturing into a very good defenseman with offensive prowess, and he’s already played 249 NHL games thus far at the age of 22 (Jakob Chychrun). I don’t know if Chychrun will ever become an elite defenseman, but his excellent shot and improved defensive awareness are great signs for him to be a solid player for a long time.
Adam Boqvist D CHI, Age: 20 — After being drafted 8th overall in 2018 and having a stellar season with the London Knights of the OHL in 2018–2019, Adam Boqvist joined the Chicago Blackhawks as a 19 year old (Adam Boqvist). What’s amazing is that Boqvist’s role seems to have inflated for the 2020–2021 season, as he looks comfortable out there despite only being 20 years old. Boqvist projects to be a top-pair defenseman with excellent offensive skill.
Moritz Seider D DET, Age: 19 — While a lot of people questioned the Red Wings’ selection of defenseman Moritz Seider with the 6th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, I had a feeling that Steve Yzerman had just struck gold with a Victor Hedman clone. Moritz Seider has yet to play in an NHL game, but he was solid in the AHL in 2019–2020, he was excellent for Germany in the 2020 U-20 World Junior Championship, and he’s been tearing it up in the Swedish Elite League this season, as he’s posted 21 points and a +16 +/- rating in only 30 games thus far (Moritz Seider). I’m all in on Moritz Seider becoming a top-pair defenseman in the NHL sometime in the next three years.
Rasmus Dahlin D BUF, Age: 20 — Rasmus Dahlin has gotten off to a slow start this season, but I think that Dahlin’s truly elite potential has been swept under the rug a bit because he’s been trapped on a dismal Sabers’ team in each of the past two years. Rasmus Dahlin has 84 points in 147 career NHL games, and he’s currently 20 years old (Rasmus Dahlin). Dahlin’s incredible speed and offensive skill could catapult him into becoming one of the five best defensemen in the world at some point down the road.
Rasmus Dahlin. (n.d.). Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=201658
Moritz Seider. (n.d.). Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=212672
Rasmus Sandin. (n.d.). Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=207946
Alexander Romanov. (n.d.). Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=213745
Erik Brannstrom. (n.d.). Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=192067
Adam Boqvist. (n.d.). Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=210177
Jakob Chychrun. (n.d.). Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=177557
Arizona Coyotes — CapFriendly — NHL Salary Caps. (n.d.). Retrieved January 27, 2021, from https://www.capfriendly.com/teams/coyotes