Conn Smythe candidate, future Norris Trophy winner
(27) Mikko Rantanen – COL (Age:23/ Cap Hit: $9.25M/5 Years Left)
The future (and present for that matter) certainly is bright in Colorado. One of the reasons is winger Mikko Rantanen, who has posted 250 points in 281 career NHL games.
Despite being injured for part of this past season, the Finn still recorded 41 points in 42 games. Rantanen excelled during the Avs’ postseason run by recording 21 points in 15 games. He added an exception plus-11 rating to his point output.
The Avalanche drafted Rantanen tenth overall in 2015 and have not been disappointed. They have him locked up for five more seasons at $9.25 million. It is hard to imagine a scenario where they would part with him and break up the most exciting team in the league.
(26) Brayden Point – TB (Age: 24/Cap Hit: $6.75M/2 Years Left)
Another steal of the Steve Yzerman tenure in Tampa Bay, Point, was selected 79th overall in the 2014 draft. And oh, what value her has provided. In 295 regular-season games, the former Moose Jaw Warrior has amassed 116 goals and 262 points.
Point has translated that success into the playoffs as well, where he has piled up 42 points in 37 career postseason games. At the time of writing, the Calgary native has been dominating the 2020 playoffs with 25 points in 16 Lightning contests.
The only issue for Tampa Bay will be keeping him under contract when his current bridge deal expires. Point is slated to make a criminally low $6.75 million over the next two seasons, and then he will be doing the Scrooge McDuck money dive.
(25) Quinn Hughes – VAN (Age: 20/Cap Hit $917K/1 Year Left)
It is hard to imagine that Quinn Hughes is this good, this soon. At just 20 years of age, he has the poise of a ten year veteran on the Vancouver Cnucks blueline.
The Canucks drafted Hughes seventh overall in the 2018 draft, and he debuted that season with three assists in five games. After having nothing left to prove at the University of Michigan, the sleek defenseman laid his sights on terrorizing NHL opponents.
In his first full pro season, all Hughes did was put up 53 points in 68 games for Vancouver. That fantastic regular season has led to a Calder Trophy finalist nomination as the league’s top rookie.
Hughes did not let off the gas in the postseason either, picking up 16 points in Vancouver’s 17 game playoff run. The lights did not seem too bright for the Orlando native as he looked right at home through the Canucks postseason.
He is one of many young stars on a loaded Vancouver team that figures to be in contention for years. The only question is how many zeros will be on his next contract after his entry-level deal runs out following next season.