NHL Rank: Top-100 player predictions for the 2023-24 season

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Take a look at some of the best goals from five of the best players in the NHL, including Connor McDavid and Cale Makar. (1:14)

There has never been a better time to be a hockey fan, with legendary players such as Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin still playing at a high level, in-their-prime superstars like Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews generating highlight-reel fodder on a nightly basis, and a rising crop of tantalizing youngsters such as Connor Bedard and Matty Beniers.

So how are we expected to rank them?

We asked an ESPN panel of more than 50 broadcasters, analysts, reporters and editors to rate players based on how good they will be in the 2023-24 season compared to their peers. Emphasis was placed on their value for this upcoming season, which explains why players that are currently out injured (but expected to return) might be lower than if they were completely healthy.

The New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning lead the charge with six players each in the top 100, while the Anaheim Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers failed to get anyone on our list. Positionally, centers continue to dominate, with 34 of 100 slots and six of the top 10. Defensemen accounted for 28 of 100 spots, while nine goalies made the top 100 (and only one in the top 25). As for the wings, left wings win this round, with 18 in the top 100 compared to 11 right wings.

Write-ups are courtesy of ESPN reporters Ryan S. Clark, Kristen Shilton and Greg Wyshynski.

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100. Tomas Hertl, C, San Jose Sharks

2022-23 rank: 98
Age: 29

While his profile has receded as the Sharks have in the standings, Hertl is still a high-level power forward in the West. -- Wyshynski

99. Ryan O'Reilly, C, Nashville Predators

2022-23 rank: 55
Age: 32

A perennial Selke Trophy candidate, O'Reilly is looking to make his mark on a Predators team that fell three points shy of the final wild-card spot. -- Clark

98. Owen Power, D, Buffalo Sabres

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 20

A Calder Trophy finalist and member of the NHL's All-Rookie Team for 2022-23, the No. 1 pick of the 2021 draft just inked a seven-year contract extension that begins with the 2024-25 season. -- Clark

97. Sergei Bobrovsky, G, Florida Panthers

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 35

When you average out the play of "Regular-Season Bob" (.901 save percentage, 3.07 goals-against average) with "Playoff Bob" (.915, 2.78) you get a goaltender worthy of being in the top 100. -- Wyshynski

96. Morgan Rielly, D, Toronto Maple Leafs

2022-23 rank: 79
Age: 29

While he had a bit of defensive regression last season, Rielly remains one of the league's better offensive defensemen, skating for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations. -- Wyshynski

95. J.T. Miller, C, Vancouver Canucks

2022-23 rank: 53
Age: 30

Miller has put contract uncertainty behind him and is settled back into Vancouver, where he's gathered back-to-back 30-plus goal seasons and started this season off with a four-point effort to boot. -- Shilton

94. John Carlson, D, Washington Capitals

2022-23 rank: 64
Age: 33

Carlson's value to the Capitals' might best be understood in how much the team struggled without him last season -- Washington's play sunk after losing their top defender to injury, and having him back now will be a needed boost. -- Shilton

93. John Tavares, C, Toronto Maple Leafs

2022-23 rank: 80
Age: 33

Tavares remains an effective top-six center who is quietly averaging a point-per-game each season. Last season he produced an unheralded 36-goal campaign to eclipse the 30-plus goal mark for the first time since 2018-19. -- Shilton

92. Drew Doughty, D, Los Angeles Kings

2022-23 rank: 73
Age: 33

Though he falls in the rankings here, Doughty had the second-most points of his illustrious career last season. A key piece as the Kings push for another Cup. -- Clark

91. Mathew Barzal, C, New York Islanders

2022-23 rank: 50
Age: 26

If not for the lower-body injury that sidelined him for two months, Barzal would have scored more than 70 points for the second time in his career. -- Clark

90. Jacob Trouba, D, New York Rangers

2022-23 rank: 74
Age: 29

Trouba packs a punch from the blue line, both with his steady two-way contributions and the throwback physical nature of his game that continues to divide NHL fans. -- Shilton

89. Robert Thomas, C, St. Louis Blues

2022-23 rank: 37
Age: 24

Thomas' greatest strengths are his smarts on the ice and how instinctive he is with and without the puck. These are quite valuable traits in the franchise's prized two-way centerman. -- Shilton

88. Connor Bedard, C, Chicago Blackhawks

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 18

The thing about ranking the Blackhawks' rookie phenom here? There's an equal chance it could be seen as too high or too low by season's end. What's clear already: Bedard's shot and offensive creativity should have him mentioned among the NHL's brightest stars in short order. -- Wyshynski

87. Brandon Montour, D, Florida Panthers

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 29

A newcomer to the rankings, Montour used last season to show that he can handle what comes with being a top-four defenseman on a Cup contender, finishing with 73 points in 80 games. Offseason shoulder surgery will delay the start of his 2023-24 season by a couple months. -- Clark

86. Nazem Kadri, C, Calgary Flames

2022-23 rank: 54
Age: 33

Kadri's first season in Calgary was productive (including his fifth time scoring 20-plus goals), but he and the Flames are hoping for a breakthrough this season after missing the playoffs in 2022-23. -- Clark

85. Cole Caufield, RW, Montreal Canadiens

2022-23 rank: HM
Age: 22

The artist known as "Goal Caufield" is coming off injury and has a chance to hit the 30-goal mark -- a feat he could have achieved last season if completely healthy. -- Clark

84. Alex Pietrangelo, D, Vegas Golden Knights

2022-23 rank: 95
Age: 33

Aside from winning his second Stanley Cup, Pietrangelo tied his career-best mark in points last season (54). -- Clark

83. Patrik Laine, RW, Columbus Blue Jackets

2022-23 rank: 47
Age: 25

Injuries have frustrated Laine lately, but when healthy, the Blue Jackets' star winger is a highly effective contributor with the size, speed and shot to drive Columbus' offense. -- Shilton

82. Brock Boeser, RW, Vancouver Canucks

2022-23 rank: 70
Age: 26

Boeser has an excellent shot and nose for the net that could lead him toward a career-best season, especially if that four-goal outing on opening night is indicative of similar performances to come. -- Shilton

81. Jesper Bratt, LW, New Jersey Devils

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 25

Bratt has broken out as a marvelous scorer in his own right. But paired with teammate Jack Hughes? That's serious trouble for the rest of the league. -- Shilton

80. Thatcher Demko, G, Vancouver Canucks

2022-23 rank: 49
Age: 27

Demko's terrific athleticism and composure have always stood out, and with consistency to match he could stay perennially ranked among the NHL's most effective netminders. -- Shilton

79. Jaccob Slavin, D, Carolina Hurricanes

2022-23 rank: 69
Age: 29

Slavin remains one of the most trusted defensemen in the league, forming one of the league's premier partnerships alongside Brent Burns. -- Clark

78. Moritz Seider, D, Detroit Red Wings

2022-23 rank: 38
Age: 22

How Seider performs in his third season could be central to how the revamped Red Wings fare this season. -- Clark

77. Matt Boldy, LW, Minnesota Wild

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 22

Boldy rightfully turned heads in his first full NHL season, with a 31-goal showing that highlighted a highly effective emerging talent with terrific hands and vision. -- Shilton

76. Jordan Kyrou, C, St. Louis Blues

2022-23 rank: 52
Age: 25

Kyrou often comes through in the clutch for St. Louis, setting up timely goals -- or scoring them himself -- with an enviable speed and agility. -- Shilton

75. Devon Toews, D, Colorado Avalanche

2022-23 rank: 59
Age: 29

Signing Toews to a seven-year extension will keep him teamed up with Cale Makar, as they've formed one of the best pairings in the league. -- Clark

74. Joe Pavelski, C, Dallas Stars

2022-23 rank: 67
Age: 39

The second-oldest player in the NHL gave the Stars the type of venerable two-way presence that further legitimized their window of contention. -- Clark

73. Pierre-Luc Dubois, C, Los Angeles Kings

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 25

Dubois is a big, rangy center who fills that top-nine role as well as he does the net with a consistent 20-plus goal output. -- Shilton

72. Mark Scheifele, C, Winnipeg Jets

2022-23 rank: 72
Age: 30

Scheifele has been a dependable point-per-game producer and high-skilled top-six piece for Winnipeg his entire career -- hence the organization investing seven more years in him to keep their impactful center in-house. -- Shilton

71. Jake Guentzel, LW, Pittsburgh Penguins

2022-23 rank: 56
Age: 29

Guentzel made a quick recovery from offseason ankle surgery to start the season for Pittsburgh, who need every ounce of Guentzel's scoring touch and playmaking ability to be at their best. -- Shilton

70. Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, Calgary Flames

2022-23 rank: 15
Age: 30

Huberdeau had a rough first season in Calgary -- with a humbling slide in point total to prove it -- but under the Flames' new regime, he has potential to reignite his offensive spark. -- Shilton

69. Kyle Connor, LW, Winnipeg Jets

2022-23 rank: 35
Age: 26

Connor recovered from a slow start to record his fifth season of more than 30 goals for the Jets. -- Clark

68. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, Edmonton Oilers

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 30

All RNH did in 2022-23 was notch his first 100-point season -- and score more points last season than he did the previous two seasons combined. -- Clark

67. Matty Beniers, C, Seattle Kraken

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 20

The reigning Calder Trophy winner is the face of an upstart Kraken franchise trying to show last year's playoff appearance was no accident. -- Clark

66. Alex DeBrincat, LW, Detroit Red Wings

2022-23 rank: 36
Age: 25

A change could do DeBrincat good after the high-flying winger saw his numbers drop slightly last season in Ottawa -- but he's off a strong start already in his first campaign leading the Red Wings' offense -- Shilton

65. Tyler Toffoli, RW, New Jersey Devils

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 31

Toffoli led the Flames with 34 goals last season and joined a high-octane Devils offense via trade in the offseason. -- Wyshynski

64. Zach Werenski, D, Columbus Blue Jackets

2022-23 rank: 39
Age: 26

Lineup absences have clouded Werenski's reputation, because otherwise he's played at an elite level throughout his eight-year NHL career. -- Wyshynski

63. Josh Morrissey, D, Winnipeg Jets

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 28

His breakout season saw him become a first-time NHL All-Star who finished in the top five of Norris Trophy voting. -- Clark

62. Elias Lindholm, C, Calgary Flames

2022-23 rank: 76
Age: 28

Underrated no more, Lindholm has firmly established himself as a preeminent two-way center who anchors the Flames' offense while raising the teammates around him. -- Shilton

61. Brent Burns, D, Carolina Hurricanes

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 38

Burns is as known for his point totals and shot generation as he is for his hirsute face and menagerie of pets. -- Wyshynski

60. Quinn Hughes, D, Vancouver Canucks

2022-23 rank: 58
Age: 24

If Hughes can harness what he did under Rick Tocchet for a full season, it could prove big as the Canucks make a push to get back into the playoff mix. -- Clark

59. Jonathan Marchessault, LW, Vegas Golden Knights

2022-23 rank: HM
Age: 32

A six-time 20-goal scorer, the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner is one of the many reasons the Golden Knights could make it two in a row. -- Clark

58. Timo Meier, RW, New Jersey Devils

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 27

Meier is a sharpshooting forward with the physical edge and all-around ability to be a problem on the ice -- unless, of course, you're on his side. New Jersey should rely on him for 30-plus goals a season for the foreseeable future. -- Shilton

57. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Tampa Bay Lightning

2022-23 rank: 10
Age: 29

For all that he has accomplished, it's possible his two-month absence to start the season could further underscore his importance to the Bolts. When healthy, still one of the world's most dominant goaltenders. -- Clark

56. Kris Letang, D, Pittsburgh Penguins

2022-23 rank: 92
Age: 36

Letang has faithfully -- and successfully -- patrolled Pittsburgh's blue line for nearly two decades and can still find ways to thrive in a consistent top-four role. -- Shilton

55. Clayton Keller, C, Arizona Coyotes

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 25

Breaking out to score 37 goals and 86 points pushed Keller into the top 100 -- and helps foster the idea that the Coyotes could be turning a corner back to contention. -- Clark

54. Dylan Larkin, C, Detroit Red Wings

2022-23 rank: 48
Age: 27

Larkin is continuously growing into a more complete 200-foot skater, with a heightened focus on defense to complement his impressive offensive stats. -- Shilton

53. Mikhail Sergachev, D, Tampa Bay Lightning

2022-23 rank: 75
Age: 25

The Lightning lean on Sergachev to play important minutes in any situation, and the blueliner delivers on both sides of the puck, doubling his offensive totals last season while maintaining a high level of defensive play. -- Shilton

52. Seth Jones, D, Chicago Blackhawks

2022-23 rank: 97
Age: 29

Jones remains a mobile puck-mover with the vision and booming shot to threaten from the blue line. Chicago relies on him to carry a heavy load, and he's continued to provide steady returns. -- Shilton

51. Juuse Saros, G, Nashville Predators

2022-23 rank: 29
Age: 28

No goalie faced more shots than Saros last season, and his efforts nearly dragged the Predators to the playoffs. -- Clark

50. Filip Forsberg, LW, Nashville Predators

2022-23 rank: 27
Age: 29

What could a healthy Forsberg accomplish in a goal-friendly system like the one he now has with new coach Andrew Brunette? His career high is 84 points, scored in 69 games in 2021-22. -- Clark

49. Dougie Hamilton, D, New Jersey Devils

2022-23 rank: 63
Age: 30

There's a potency to Hamilton's offensive game that's unrivaled by many of his peers. The defender's stickhandling and powerful shot make him a threat in every on-ice situation -- Shilton

48. Jakob Chychrun, D, Ottawa Senators

2022-23 rank: 99
Age: 25

Chychrun excels in small spaces on the ice, forcing opponents to the outside and disrupting chances off the rush. A series of injuries have made availability an issue, but when he's in, Chychrun makes his presence felt. -- Shilton

47. Linus Ullmark, G, Boston Bruins

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 30

Ullmark was the league's darling in net last season, pacing all goalies in most statistical categories and winning his first Vezina Trophy after backstopping Boston to a record-breaking regular-season finish. -- Shilton

46. Kevin Fiala, LW, Los Angeles Kings

2022-23 rank: 57
Age: 27

Fiala combines explosiveness with composure, with a shiftiness making him difficult to defend. It's no wonder he's clocked more than a point per game in consecutive seasons with the Kings. -- Shilton

45. Anze Kopitar, C, Los Angeles Kings

2022-23 rank: 91
Age: 36

L.A.'s captain is only getting better with age. He's one of the league's premier two-way centers, leading by example for the Kings' crop of rising young stars. -- Shilton

44. Tage Thompson, C, Buffalo Sabres

2022-23 rank: 87
Age: 25

The tallest player (at 6-foot-6) to ever score 40 goals and 90 points in a single season is expected to come up big again for a team seeking its first playoff berth in more than a decade. -- Clark

43. Hampus Lindholm, D, Boston Bruins

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 29

Lindholm was the breakout star of Boston's blue line last season, producing career-best numbers as a mobile puck-mover who can be a sneaky-good asset in the Bruins' transition game. -- Shilton

42. Mika Zibanejad, C, New York Rangers

2022-23 rank: 16
Age: 30

Zibanejad is an instinctive forward who thrills as both scorer and playmaker. Now entering his 30s, Zibanejad's numbers continue going up -- which is great news for New York's present and future prospects. -- Shilton

41. Erik Karlsson, D, Pittsburgh Penguins

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 33

Karlsson's jaw-dropping 101-point performance in San Jose last season put him firmly back under the league's spotlight and earned the veteran an unexpected Norris Trophy. Now with the Penguins, it's time to chase a Stanley Cup. -- Shilton

40. William Nylander, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs

2022-23 rank: 89
Age: 27

Nylander hit 40 goals for the first time last season and had a strong showing in the playoffs (10 points in 11 games). It was a reminder of how good Nylander's offense can be when the winger is consistent with the all-around details of his game. -- Shilton

39. Johnny Gaudreau, LW, Columbus Blue Jackets

2022-23 rank: 33
Age: 30

Things can only be looking up for Gaudreau in Columbus after a tough first season. The veteran scored at a high level, dropping in 21 goals and 74 points that showed that even under bleak circumstances, Gaudreau can be an offensive spark. -- Shilton

38. Mark Stone, RW, Vegas Golden Knights

2022-23 rank: 42
Age: 31

Regular season or playoffs, Stone is the two-way constant who is trying to captain the Golden Knights to back-to-back championships. -- Clark

37. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Washington Capitals

2022-23 rank: 17
Age: 38

Ovi moved into second on the NHL's all-time goals list, and he finished with higher than a point-per-game average as well. Will he catch Wayne Gretzky this season? -- Clark

36. Roope Hintz, C, Dallas Stars

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 26

Everything Hintz pulled off last season (75 points in the regular season, followed by 24 in 19 playoff games) has created the expectation that he could be the next star to ascend in Dallas. -- Clark

35. Brad Marchand, LW, Boston Bruins

2022-23 rank: 43
Age: 35

Marchand's consistency as a bona fide top-six producer for Boston is more important than ever with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci having retired. The Bruins' new captain hasn't lost his feisty edge, either, and he pairs it with impressive offensive totals. That's no easy feat in a league that continuously seems to value youth over everything. -- Shilton

34. Jake Oettinger, G, Dallas Stars

2022-23 rank: 88
Age: 24

Last season allowed Oettinger to showcase what makes him valuable to the Stars, as one of the handful of goalies who can play nightly in this era of tandems. -- Clark

33. Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay Lightning

2022-23 rank: 20
Age: 33

The longtime Lightning captain has hardly entered the twilight of his career, as the past two seasons have been among his best. Stamkos is as competitive and smart as they come on the ice, and those are lasting traits to keep him on pace with the Bolts' high-flying forward group. -- Shilton

32. Artemi Panarin, LW, New York Rangers

2022-23 rank: 18
Age: 31

Panarin wields equal talent as scorer and playmaker, with a pass-first flair that pays major dividends for his teammates. He's an undeniable driver of the Rangers' offense and seems poised to possibly hit the 100-point mark this season for the first time in his career. -- Shilton

31. Nico Hischier, C, New Jersey Devils

2022-23 rank: NR
Age: 24

Hischier raised the bar last season with a breakout performance that included eclipsing 30 goals for the first time and establishing himself as one of the league's finest two-way centers. If Hischier keeps that up, the crescendo of Selke Trophy buzz building around him will keep getting louder. -- Shilton

30. Ilya Sorokin, G, New York Islanders

2022-23 rank: 82
Age: 28

Don't let last season's breakout fool you; Sorokin was no overnight success on Long Island. The netminder had been underrated until he served up a top-three SV% among regular starters (.924) in 2022-23 and carried New York on his back into the postseason. -- Shilton

29. Miro Heiskanen, D, Dallas Stars

2022-23 rank: 28
Age: 24

Last season showed the offensive side of his game. Could this be the season Heiskanen makes a push for the Norris Trophy? -- Clark

28. Igor Shesterkin, G, New York Rangers

2022-23 rank: 11
Age: 27

Shesterkin's performances have validated him as one of the best goalies in the game, and he's one of the main reasons the Rangers have legitimate title aspirations. -- Clark

27. Roman Josi, D, Nashville Predators

2022-23 rank: 14
Age: 33

Another all-around defenseman who has been among the NHL's best. Seeing how he'll perform in this new era of the Predators will be fascinating. -- Clark

26. Rasmus Dahlin, D, Buffalo Sabres

2022-23 rank: 68
Age: 23

Dahlin is as dynamic from the blue line as any forward, with the skating, stickhandling and shooting ability to prove it. The 23-year-old is fresh off a career-best season in which he averaged nearly a point per game while showing off the defensive traits that earned him Norris Trophy buzz. -- Shilton

25. Charlie McAvoy, D, Boston Bruins

2022-23 rank: 34
Age: 25

Having a do-everything, puck-moving defenseman has become pretty much a necessity in today's NHL. That's what makes McAvoy so valuable to the Bruins' success both now and in the future. -- Clark

24. Brayden Point, C, Tampa Bay Lightning

2022-23 rank: 26
Age: 27

Tampa Bay is literally not the same team without Point. He's the Lightning's jack-of-all-trades, a potent scoring threat at 5-on-5 and special teams, with a strong defensive foundation he uses to generate even more offensive opportunities for himself and others. -- Shilton

23. Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins

2022-23 rank: 13
Age: 36

Whether or not the Penguins have aged out of Stanley Cup contention, Crosby remains one of the NHL's best point producers as he enters the twilight years of a legendary career. -- Wyshynski

22. Sebastian Aho, C, Carolina Hurricanes

2022-23 rank: 22
Age: 26

Aho provides the sort of consistent two-way presence that practically makes him the embodiment of the Hurricanes. It's something the Canes will seek to tap into once again in a season that has them as a top Stanley Cup contender. -- Clark

21. Tim Stutzle, LW, Ottawa Senators

2022-23 rank: 85
Age: 21

Stutzle has the breakneck speed, skating ability and the scoring touch of a burgeoning offensive star. His dominant 90-point season in 2022-23 just scratched the surface of where Stutzle's all-around skill set came take him (and the Senators). -- Shilton

20. Mitchell Marner, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs

2022-23 rank: 12
Age: 26

Marner dazzles like few playmakers can. Still more confident passing than shooting, Marner has put together consecutive seasons of nearly 100 points, with a maturing defensive game to match his offensive prowess. -- Shilton

19. Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ottawa Senators

2022-23 rank: 31
Age: 24

There's an electric energy and obvious confidence that elevates Tkachuk above the competition. He's already a perennial 30-plus goal scorer with a solid two-way foundation, and his high character is an asset Ottawa will continue to appreciate from its young captain. -- Shilton

18. Victor Hedman, D, Tampa Bay Lightning

2022-23 rank: 8
Age: 32

Could this season be the most important of Hedman's career? He is seemingly always on the ice for critical minutes, and will continue to prove crucial as the Lightning seek to navigate life without Andrei Vasilevskiy for the first two months of the season. -- Clark

17. Kirill Kaprizov, LW, Minnesota Wild

2022-23 rank: 7
Age: 26

Kaprizov is a goal-scoring menace who is more than capable of creating challenges when he distributes. He is among the game's best wingers and a pivotal figure in the Wild's bid to reach the playoffs once again. -- Clark

16. Elias Pettersson, C, Vancouver Canucks

2022-23 rank: 32
Age: 24

Opening the season with a four-point game shows why he has been compared to aliens since the moment he debuted. It's another example of what has made Pettersson a franchise cornerstone for a team trying to change its fortunes. -- Clark

15. Aleksander Barkov, C, Florida Panthers

2022-23 rank: 9
Age: 28

It's possible the "he's underrated" talk could still exist. But what Barkov did last season by serving as the two-way anchor who captained the Panthers to the Stanley Cup Final has made him harder to ignore. -- Clark

14. Connor Hellebuyck, G, Winnipeg Jets

2022-23 rank: 46
Age: 30

Hellebuyck has handled a heavier load than any goaltender in the league in recent seasons, and done it so well the Jets extended their workhorse on a seven-year pact to keep him from going elsewhere. Considering the 30-year-old Hellebuyck tied for the second-most wins last season (37) with an exemplary .920 save percentage, that looks like a safe bet for now. -- Shilton

13. Adam Fox, D, New York Rangers

2022-23 rank: 23
Age: 25

Fox has finished in the top five in Norris Trophy voting the past three seasons, while being the sort of multidimensional defenseman who is a problem for opponents. He's a critical component of the Rangers' championship push. -- Clark

12. Jason Robertson, LW, Dallas Stars

2022-23 rank: 30
Age: 24

A second 40-goal campaign was just the start for Robertson, who also scored 100 points for the first time. Those individual accomplishments set the stage for him and the Stars to reach the conference finals, showing they can be the next big threat in the West. -- Clark

11. Matthew Tkachuk, LW, Florida Panthers

2022-23 rank: 19
Age: 25

Tkachuk bested his own best self last season to produce a second consecutive 40-plus goal effort and a career-high 109 points. The Panthers' firecracker used that skill to will his team to a playoff berth -- and was a driving force in Florida's unexpected ride to the Stanley Cup Final. And Tkachuk was a Hart Trophy finalist to boot. So, what will he do for an encore? Suffice it to say, Tkachuk is more than some simple pest. He's a bona fide star. -- Shilton

10. David Pastrnak, RW, Boston Bruins

2022-23 rank: 21
Age: 27

An elite scorer already, Pastrnak had 61 goals last season, bested only by McDavid's 64. Pastrnak continuing his progression into one of the NHL's most dangerous finishers would aid a Bruins team seeking more production following the departures of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, among others. -- Clark

9. Jack Eichel, C, Vegas Golden Knights

2022-23 rank: 25
Age: 27

Eichel came into his own with Vegas last season and it no doubt contributed to the Golden Knights' Stanley Cup victory. After years of waiting for a taste of the postseason, Eichel averaged over a point per game on Vegas' run and laid to rest any notion that following a hard disk surgery and rehab process he wouldn't be a top-tier player again. If anything, Eichel could have more to give. -- Shilton

8. Nikita Kucherov, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning

2022-23 rank: 5
Age: 30

Take away the 30 goals he scored last season and his 83 assists would have still put him among the top 25 in points. Last season just reinforced what makes Kucherov one of the game's most dangerous players, and arguably the scariest winger in the NHL. It's something the Lightning will continue to count on to open the season now that Andrei Vasilevskiy is recovering from back surgery. -- Clark

7. Mikko Rantanen, RW, Colorado Avalanche

2022-23 rank: 24
Age: 27

The discussion around Denver the past few years regarding Rantanen was that his shot was just as treacherous as his ability to create. It was just a matter of when he would be able to showcase both. He did in 2022-23, and the result was a 55-goal, 50-assist season, a feat he'll push for again as the Avs have their eyes on another title. -- Clark

6. Leon Draisaitl, C, Edmonton Oilers

2022-23 rank: 6
Age: 28

Draisaitl's perennial stance among NHL leaders in goals and point production continue to prove that he's more than just McDavid's wing man. He has carved out a starring role in his own right, including his 52 goals and 128 points last season. And Draisaitl is an inspiring leader apart from just scoring ability -- he excelled for Edmonton in the 2022 playoffs while skating on a fractured ankle. -- Shilton

5. Auston Matthews, C, Toronto Maple Leafs

2022-23 rank: 3
Age: 26

Matthews opened his season with a hat trick performance that put him past the 300-goal mark in only 482 career games. The Leafs' top center has one of the league's best shots, is strong at both ends of the ice and keeps evolving in his craft, for example by taking on a penalty-killing role. -- Shilton

4. Jack Hughes, C, New Jersey Devils

2022-23 rank: 44
Age: 22

Perhaps no player to make the top-100 list from last season did more to boost his standing in the NHL than Hughes. His fourth season saw him nearly double his point total from the prior campaign, and he was a major reason the Devils reached the postseason. The conversation around the best centers in the NHL has been dominated recently by players such as Matthews, Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon. Could it be time for that discussion to have another entrant? -- Clark

3. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Colorado Avalanche

2022-23 rank: 4
Age: 28

A perennial threat to score 100 points, MacKinnon finally reached the century club last season when he finished with a career-high 111 in 71 games. MacKinnon's combination of creativity, power and speed is what has made him one of the NHL's most dangerous players who is also one of the main reasons why the Avalanche are seeking to add a second Stanley Cup in three seasons. -- Clark

2. Cale Makar, D, Colorado Avalanche

2022-23 rank: 2
Age: 24

Makar can use his intelligence, speed and stick to either escape situations or to find ways to make opponents uncomfortable on either end of the ice. While his offensive exploits are what attracts the most attention, there's more to Makar than just points. Last season, Makar became a more complete defenseman, playing on both special teams and leading the NHL in average ice time. -- Clark

1. Connor McDavid, C, Edmonton Oilers

2022-23 rank: 1
Age: 26

He is imminent danger personified. Anytime McDavid has the puck -- or even when he doesn't -- he's always a threat to do something. He can create for others or for himself in a number of different situations. This is why he remains the No. 1 player in the game, less than 150 points away from 1,000 in his career and turning 27 this year. -- Clark

Honorable mentions

Chris Kreider, LW, New York Rangers
Alex Tuch, RW, Buffalo Sabres
Trevor Zegras, C, Anaheim Ducks
Troy Terry, C, Anaheim Ducks
Noah Dobson, D, New York Islanders
Bo Horvat, C, New York Islanders
Carter Verhaeghe, C, Florida Panthers
Adam Fantilli, C, Columbus Blue Jackets
Logan Cooley, C, Arizona Coyotes
Adrian Kempe, C, Los Angeles Kings