2021-22 Upper Deck Series 2 Young Guns Guide
There were complaints from collectors that the Series 1 Young Guns list was a little bit thin. We found a few gems in there, but the list could have been better. However, that has its advantages.
Series 2 is loaded with exceptional talent and opportunities to score a future legend. So, without further ado, here is our 2021-22 Upper Deck Series 2 Young Guns guide. Also, be sure to check out the 2021-22 Upper Deck Extended series Young Guns guide.
The Young Guns
The Young Guns series is in a league all its own when it comes to hockey rookies. Sure, hockey collecting doesn’t offer the same variety as football or baseball equivalents. But that is also an advantage. You can invest in the most promising prospects far more efficiently (not to mention cheaply) than in most other sports.
So, what else do you need to know? Who to invest in, of course. Cardlines has your back. Here are the Series 2 Young Guns divided into tiers for you. As you will see, the top tier is full of players. Honestly, the crop is just THAT good.
Tier 1 Of The 2021-22 Upper Deck Series 2 Young Guns Guide
Mason McTavish – Center – Anaheim Ducks
Mason is about as elite as a prospect can get. Sure, he was sent down from the Anaheim Ducks after nine games. But his form for the Hamilton Bulldogs since has been ridiculous. And no one is surprised. At 19 years old, his pedigree is impeccable. He has played for Canada at every level. The center stood out in the 2021 World U18 Championship. His 11 points in 7 games were instrumental in obtaining the Canadian gold medal.
Dawson Mercer – Center – New Jersey Devils
Dawson has a true hockey pedigree. With two hockey-playing siblings and a coach for a father, the center was practically born on the ice. The 18th overall draft pick has represented Canada at every level, helping the Great White North to the 2020 World Juniors Championship and playing a role in the senior team’s silver finish in 2022. Mercer’s performances for the Devils so far confirm that he has what it takes. A solid investment.
Alex Newhook – Center – Colorado Avalanche
According to HockeyProspect.com, “What makes Alex unique is his high-octane motor. He’s magnetized to the puck in the offensive-end and is constantly in motion.” In 2021-22 the center proved his mettle in the pros, with an impressive 33 points. Alex is nothing short of a menace and should be an outstanding offensive weapon in the NHL for years to come.
Lucas Reymond – Left Wing – Detroit Red Wings
The Swede was selected fourth in the 2020 draft. Honestly, that seems low, considering the wingers’ upside. Expectations were undoubtedly high after leading his country to the Under 18 title in 2019. However, few could have imagined Lucas’s massive impact on the NHL in his rookie season. Nevertheless, he seems poised for stardom with 23 goals and 32 assists for the Red Wings.
Cole Perfetti – Center – Winnipeg Jets
Cole is an exciting prospect with a strong record playing for Canadian juniors teams. According to Elite Prospects, Cole’s strengths are “his ability to scan the ice and break down coverages ensure that possession rarely dies on his stick. He’ll problem-solve his way through incoming variables, advancing play in a threatening posture where most might lose the puck entirely.”
Moritz Seider – Defense – Detroit Red Wings
Defensive players usually have limited hobby upside. However, Moritz is definitely the exception to that rule. He dominates on both sides, most due to his high hockey IQ. His rookie season performance was spectacular, with 50 points in 82 games for the Red Wings. He is a favorite for NHL Rookie of the Year. It doesn’t hurt that Seider is glamorous and good-looking. Definitely worth collecting.
Hendrix Lapierre – Center – Washington Capitals
Hendrix has had his share of injury problems, thus far stifling breakout potential. But his offensive potential is incredible. Elite Prospects had the following: “His pucks skills, and the ability to wield them with the same effectiveness at speed as he does at a standstill, make him a dazzling puck-carrier. Lapierre can effortlessly weave his way through an entire team on a moment’s notice, and he did that seemingly once a game during his tear at the Hlinka.” I’m a believer.
William Eklund – Center/Left Wing – San Jose Sharks
William is a 19-year-old Swedish prodigy, the son of a retired player. Swedish Junior Player of the year in 2021 certainly has considerable upside. According to Elite Prospects, “he plays at a high pace and with thought and creativity. He adjusts his speed to the play, scans his surroundings, establishes his pocket of space, and presents himself as a pass or shot option.”
Vasily Podkolzin – Right Wing – Vancouver Canucks
Vasily has been a regular for Russia at youth and junior levels, often seeming to carry the team. His first year for the Canucks was solid but unspectacular. But at age 20, Podkolzin is right where you want him to be. According to European Prospects. “Podkolzin combines his fine hockey sense, puck handling, and shooting with an aggressive, in-your-face type of game. He competes hard, is very difficult to play against, and has the tools to be a high-scoring player.”
Quinton Byfield – Center – Los Angeles Kings
The 2nd overall 2020 draft pick was brilliant for Canada in the 2021 World Juniors Championships. He has also shown great potential in his early NHL performances for the Kings. And we have reason to believe Byfield will be a superstar within a couple of years. Elite Prospects tells us, “most skaters seek out space; Byfield carries the puck like a power running back in the NFL. Blessed with a 6-foot-4 frame, explosive skating stride, and extremely gifted hands, this player always wants the puck on his stick. A fantastic transporter of the puck, deploying a wide array of rush patterns to adjust to defensive fronts.”
Anton Lundell – Center – Florida Panthers
According to Elite Prospects: “Everything about Lundell’s game is methodical and calculated, always thinking two or three steps ahead of his opponents at any given moment. He is an eager combatant in puck battles with a track record in those contests that match his enthusiasm. Rare is the moment where Lundell is out of position, and you’ll never have to worry about him fleeing the zone early.” He scored 44 points in 65 games for the Panthers, showing that he isn’t just a prospect. He’s the real deal.
Cole Sillinger – Center – Columbus Blue Jackets
A genuine future star. According to Elite Prospects: “His wrist shot release is especially potent, with a short draw, feet pointed at the net, adequate knee-bend, a hip-snap, his leg kicked back, and exploding from his chest. It’s a sight to behold. Sillinger makes the best of this shot with some stellar off of the puck instincts, an often overpowering wall game, and a penchant for driving the center lane of the offensive zone.” Indeed, at age 18, Sillinger has proven his mettle in the NHL. He had 31 points in 79 appearances for Columbus. As the youngest player in the entire league, that ain’t bad.
Tier 2 Of The 2021-22 Upper Deck Series 2 Young Guns Guide
Taylor Raddysh – Right Wing – Chicago Blackhawks
Taylor has already established himself as a valuable NHL player at age 24. I believe his game will improve markedly over the next two-three years. However, he hasn’t shown signs of blossoming into a genuine star.
Nils Lundqvist – Defense – New York Rangers
The baby-faced Swede has had trouble getting minutes on the ice for New York. Therefore, he has been forgotten by some collectors. However, Nils has buckets of talent and will break through sooner or later. His mobility and technique are a joy to watch.
Philip Tomasino – Center – Nashville Predators
Philip was selected relatively high in the 2019 Draft (24th overall) and had to deal with high expectations. He was also one of the outstanding players on the 2021 Canadian World Juniors Championship team that came in second. Additionally, his three-year contract is an indication that the Predators believe in the player. Still, his growth may be stalled by the considerable depth Nashville has at center.
Brett Murray – Left Wing – Buffalo Sabres
Drafted way back in 2016, Brett has been a late bloomer. However, at age 23, he is finally breaking into the first team in Buffalo. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t write Murray off. His performances for the Rochester Americans before being recalled by the Sabres were remarkably sharp. Now he is showing more capability at the NHL level.
Sampo Ranta – Left Wing – Colorado Avalanche
Like many talented youngsters on this list, Sampo will have difficulty breaking into the first team. However, the ability Ranta showed at the University of Minnesota hints at better things to come.
Karel Vejmelka – Goaltender – Nashville Predators
The goalie had the misfortune of playing for the atrocious Arizona Coyotes in his rookie season. Though he was on the receiving end of no less than 170 goals, he still showed a good deal of promise. His stellar performances for the Czech team in the 2022 World Championships are a better indicator of Karel’s potential.
Jan Jenik – Center – Arizona Coyotes
The Czech player wasn’t considered star material when drafted in 2018. Still, his stick handling and intelligent play impressed scouts. But after a stellar campaign for the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL in 2021-22, plenty of observers believe Jenik may turn into an elite player. At 21 years of age, the center has plenty of time to get there.
Adam Ruzicka – Center – Calgary Flames
Ruzicka is a solid talent with a future in the NHL. His tenure for the Stockton Heat was remarkable. Adam’s 2021-2022 campaign saw him rack up 20 points and 16 appearances, earning a callup to the Flames. However, he doesn’t seem to quite have star stuff.
Jake Neighbours – Left Wing – St. Louis Blues
Jake didn’t do particularly well in his first few NHL games and was soon sent back to the WHL. Still, he has remarkable talent and a team that genuinely believes in him. Neighbours is known for his toughness. As one scout explained: “Opposition defenders step up on him, then crumble to the ice. He’s a brick wall. And a brick wall who can set-up teammates with some pace and deception have value.” However, he is more of a valuable tool than a future star.
Yegor Chinakhov – Right Wing – Columbus Blue Jackets
Yegor hasn’t exactly set the NHL alight. However, he has a great deal of potential. According to Elite Prospect Guide: “Chinakov’s offensive impact is impressive. He moves the puck quickly, supports the play well, and seems very aware of his options. His puck skills are high-end; he makes body fakes and quick cuts to force defenders to move their feet and open space. In addition, he consistently read opposing breakouts to intercept pucks.”
Benoit-Olivier Groulx – Center – Anaheim Ducks
Not a blue-chip prospect by any means. However, Benoit-Olivier has proven effective in the NHL and is mentally challenging. At only 22, there is still an upside there.
Matthew Phillips – Center – Calgary Flames
Calgary born and playing for the Flames, Matthew is a fan favorite. Additionally, his form in the AHL last year was superb. But at 24, he is pushing it for a top-notch prospect.
Jesse Ylonen – Right Wing – Montreal Canadiens
Jesse was a big star for the Finnish juniors team, helping them to the 2019 World Juniors Championship title. According to Draft in Europe, he is “an extremely agile forward and quick stickhandler who likes to play the game at a high pace.” Montreal really needs young talent now so that he will get a planet of chances. But at age 23, Ylonen isn’t quite blue-chip material.
Grigori Denisenko – Left Wing – Florida Panthers
The Russian has never lacked talent. According to Draft in Europe, Denisenko is “a playmaker with the shooting ability to finish chances himself.” He hasn’t entirely broken out in the NHL yet. But there is a good chance Grigori will come out swinging next season.
Pavel Dorofoyev – Winger – Vegas Golden Knights
A talented player who has shown a remarkable offensive talent for both the Russian juniors and at the AHL level. According to McKeen’s Hockey, Pavel is “a technically impressive skater, who looks very smooth on his skates and his great edge work allows him to play a dynamic East-West game.”
Tier 3 Of The 2021-22 Upper Deck Series 2 Young Guns Guide
Maksim Sushko – Forward – Philadelphia Flyers
Sushko was never remarkably highly rated and was chosen 107th overall in the 2017 draft. However, he didn’t cut it in his initial performances in the NHL. I am also unimpressed by his form since he returned to Dinamo Minsk in his native Belarus.
Jonas Rondbjerg – Left – Las Vegas Golden Knights
Jonas showed enough promise to be selected 65th overall in 2016 but has largely been disappointing. Rondberg is now settling into pro-level hockey, but stardom will not be in his grasp.
David Farrance – Defense – Nashville Predators
David was only a 92nd pick in the 2017 draft. However, his form at Boston University was good enough to intrigue the Predators, who gave him some ice time this year. However, Farrance has done little since. Nevertheless, he may still blossom eventually.
Jonathan Dahlen – Left Wing – San Jose Sharks
Dahlen was wildly uneven in his rookie season. Still, his best was quite good, and he has potential. But at age 24, stardom will likely elude Jonathan.
Thomas Novak – Center – Nashville Predators
A 25-year-old rookie is not what you look for in an investment. I wouldn’t write Novak off entirely due to his strong performances at the University of Minnesota. But he needs to recreate that in the pros soon.
Boris Katchouk – Left Wing – Chicago Blackhawks
The 24-year-old had a relatively weak rookie season in Chicago. But he was good enough in the AHL to keep an eye on.
Frederic Allard – Defense – Nashville Predators
A mediocre talent with the ability to break in as a role player. But I don’t see much more happening.
Jasper Weatherby – Center/Left Wing – San Jose Sharks
At 24, Jesse is not what you want from an investment. Weatherby probably has enough talent to make a promising career but nowhere near the offensive skill to make a memorable mark.
William Lockwood – Right-Wing – Vancouver Canucks
Scouts have focused on Lockwood for a while, especially since his star performance for the US in the 2016 Under 18 World Championships. He also started well for the University of Michigan in his freshman year. Unfortunately, William seems to have made little progress since.
Jacob Peterson – Center/Winger – Dallas Stars
Solid Swedish player with some scoring ability. His performances for Sweden in the World Cup, with 5 points in 5 games, certainly got my attention. Draft in Europe said he is “a Smooth two-way center that plays a smart game. Reads and hockey IQ are his main strengths.”
Oskar Steen – Center – Boston Bruins
He is a talented player, but at age 24, he has not shown the amount of talent you would want from a prospect.
Jacob Bernard-Docker – Defense – Ottawa Senator
The 21-year-old is a very talented player. But with an emphasis on defense, he doesn’t have much hobby upside.
Jonah Gadjovich – Left Wing – San Jose Sharks
Jonah had a great 2020-21 season for the Utica Comets with 18 points in 19 appearances. However, he has struggled to make any offensive impact for the Sharks.
Tier 4 Of The 2021-22 Upper Deck Series 2 Young Guns Guide
Vladimir Tkachev – Left Wing – Los Angeles Kings
The undrafted 26-year-old Russian had a shot in the NHL with the Oilers, but his contract was ruled void by the league. He returned to Russia, where Tkachev became a star for SKA Saint Petersburg. The left wing’s form earned him a second chance in the NHL with the Kings, but he failed to impress. There is little upside in his cards.
Mason Geertsen – Defense/Left Wing – New Jersey Devils
There is rarely any upside for a 27-year-old rookie. The problem is compounded by a lack of offensive production in his case.
Brandon Duhaime – Right Wing – Minnesota Wild
I don’t see anywhere near enough offensive production here to justify the investment. Duhaime may turn into a very good player. But not a big draw.
Dysin Mayo – Defense – Arizona Coyotes
Dysin is 26 and seems to have limited offensive capabilities. But, of course, you know what that means.
Justin Richards – Center – New York Rangers
At 24, Justin has yet to display sufficient offensive mettle. Unfortunately, I doubt that will change.
Ivan Prosvetov – Goaltender – Arizona Coyotes
He really doesn’t seem to be cutting it at the top levels. I am deeply unimpressed, while Ivan still has a few years to put it together.
Gregory Hoffman – Forward – Columbus Blue Jackets
Gregory is 29 and just went back to Switzerland. So, possibly the worst investment of the bunch.
Jake Leschyshyn – Center – Vegas Golden Knights
Jake never really showed the potential you want from a top prospect at any level. There is no reason to expect him to do so in the NHL.
Maxwell Wilman – Forward – Philadelphia Flyers
The 27-year-old is just now breaking into the pros.
Bottomline Of The 2021-22 Upper Deck Series 2 Young Guns Guide
If you are a hockey collector, this is a crop you cannot afford to miss. If things go as expected, at least two absolutely elite stars will be coming just out of series 2. Several others will have very strong careers. So load up, especially if you can get your hands on some of the parallels.
- French – (1:120 hobby, 1:120 e-Pack)
- Clear Cut – (1:288 hobby packs)
- Exclusives – /100
- High Gloss – /10