TheSportster.com

Looking To The Future: 10 NHL Stars That Will Shine And 10 That Won’t

It's hard to recall a better time to be a young NHL prospect than right now. Young stars have spent much of the past year making their mark across the league, leaving a competitive Calder Trophy race in which any of Artemi Panarin, Connor McDavid or Shayne Gostisbehere could have reasonably earned the NHL's annual top rookie award (the nod ultimately went to the Blackhawks' Panarin). Notable omissions from the Calder race included Jack Eichel, Dylan Larkin, Max Domi and Colton Parayko, all of whom have star potential. When the NHL playoffs started, it was young phenom goalies like Matt Murray, Andrei Vasilevskiy and Martin Jones who took center stage.

On top of that, the recent 2016 NHL Draft ushered in another wave of budding future talent, led by Auston Matthews, the second once-in-a-generation player to enter the league in as many years after McDavid, and Patrik Laine, a potential 60 goal scorer. The Draft also brought its share of risks, including the Columbus Blue Jackets passing on presumptive No. 3 pick Jesse Puljujarvi to select Pierre-Luc Dubois. As is the case every year, some of these selections will pan out and make team executives look smart, while some won't and might even get some decision-makers fired.

You will hear many interviews in the immediate aftermath of the Draft that feature plenty of back-patting on the part of general managers and much boasting on how teams were successful in getting the guy they wanted all along. Sure, everything seems rosy right now, but the true stories of success and failure won't be fully known for years to come. Still, we develop a pretty good idea over time on just which prospects are navigating their way along a road to stardom and which ones aren't quite emerging as advertised. Here are 10 players that appear poised to fit into each category!

20 Future Bust: Tanner Pearson 

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of the 2013-14 season, Tanner Pearson was called up to the NHL to help with the Los Angeles Kings' playoff push and thrived, opening eyes with four goals and eight assists for the eventual Stanley Cup champions. It looked like a case of the rich getting richer as the No. 30 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft appeared bound for stardom. But the struggles of the club in the two years since have mirrored their prospect. Just as the Kings haven't won a playoff series since last hoisting the Cup, Pearson has failed to recapture the magic of that playoff run, failing to average so much as half a point per game.

19 Future Star: Christian Dvorak 

via youtube.com

18 Future Bust: Samuel Morin 

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

17 Future Star: Jimmy Vesey 

via bostonherald.com

16 Future Bust: Michael McLeod 

via sportsnet.ca

15 Future Star: Esa Lindell 

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

14 Future Bust: Jake DeBrusk

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

13 Future Star: Mikko Rantanen  

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

12 Future Bust: Slater Koekkoek 

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

11 Future Star: Dylan Strome 

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

10 Future Bust: Nikita Zaitsev 

via pensionplanpuppets.com

9 Future Star: Ivan Provorov 

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

8 Future Bust: Stefan Matteau 

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

7 Future Star: Mitch Marner 

via scoopnest.com

6 Future Bust: Jack Campbell

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

5 Future Star: Matt Murray 

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

4 Future Bust: Griffin Reinhart 

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3 Future star: Jesse Puljujarvi 

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

2 Future bust: Patrik Laine 

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

1 Future star: Auston Matthews

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

One guy you won't hear any such concerns about is the draft's No. 1 pick, Auston Matthews. As a pro in Switzerland last season, the Maple Leafs' long-awaited frontline center scored 46 points in 36 games for Zurich FC, which served as a prelude to an impressive performance for the United States at the World Championships. If it weren't for Connor McDavid coming along last season, the arrival of Matthews would have been seen as the coming of a once-in-a-generation talent. Now, McDavid and Matthews could be poised to engage in this generation's edition of Sidney Crosby vs Alex Ovechkin. Of course, given that they belong to historical sad sack franchises in Edmonton and Toronto, respectively, the chances are good that something might go awry along the way.

Give TheSportster a Thumbs up!

Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?

Get Your Free Access Now!

More in NHL

Looking To The Future: 10 NHL Stars That Will Shine And 10 That Won’t