A Guide To 2022-23 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey Young Guns [Updated]
The hockey releases have been coming fast and furious. The last crop of Young Guns appeared in the 2021-22 Upper Deck Extended Series two months ago. But now here we are again with the 2022-23 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey Young Guns guide.
The NHL has proven an incredible capacity to discover generation after generation of remarkable prospects. For example, the 150 Young Guns in the 2021-22 season flagship products were remarkably robust in quality.
So, will 2022-23 reach the same heights? Read on to find out. As a note, Series 1 will not include prospects who stood for the 2022 NHL Draft held on July 7–8, 2022, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. The exciting young players there will have to await the release of Series 2 next year.
The best Upper Deck Hockey Young Guns in 2022-23 Series 1
For hockey fans, this series needs no introduction. But, despite that fact, Cardlines (well, yours truly) has introduced these cards before.
It really has no direct equivalent in other sports. Instead, it is the standard rookie card, appearing in a unique insert series. The Young Guns cards combine a pleasingly high value with relatively easy availability in a flagship product.
Upper Deck has perpetuated the desirability of its flagship products in a way Topps has been unable to match.
Upper Deck Young Guns 2022-23 Series 1 guide — Tier 1
A breakdown of all the Young Guns in 2022-23 Series 1 are below. Stay tuned for our the Young Guns in 2023-23 Series 2.
Nicholas Abruzzese – Center – Toronto Maple Leafs
Though selected low in the draft, Abruzzese has shown some strong form. I don’t know how seriously you take Ivy League hockey, but Nic was dominant for Harvard. He went well over a point per game in two years, picking up Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2019-20.
However you feel about that, his 4-point in 4-game performance at the Olympics was a fabulous sign. He hasn’t blown anyone away in Toronto yet, but it’s early days. Nevertheless, this guy has something going.
Matty Beniers – Center – Seattle Kraken
The 2nd overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft looks ready to make an impact this year. Like many top talents, Matty roared out of the Michigan Wolverines early. He kept a pace of over a point per game over two years, picking up honors like the College Hockey News All-Rookie Team for 2021 and AHCA West First Team All-American in 2022.
That form also saw Beniers take a roster spot for the 2022 Olympics. And it helps that he is only 19 years old and already has 9 points in 10 NHL games. His path to being a starter for the Kraken seems paved, so get in on this guy.
Matt Boldy – Right wing – Minnesota Wild
Matt combines enviable physical attributes with skill and talent. We are talking about a 6″ 2, 194 lbs. winger who can skate rings around most players. If that isn’t enough, scouts report that his vision and anticipation skills are first-rate.
He has proven killing instinct, starring for the World Champion 2021 US Juniors team, with 7 points in 7 games. Do you want more? Ok, he can shoot from any angle. Boldy seems like a slam-dunk prospect and is in a pretty good market. One of the best prospects of recent years.
Thomas Bordeleau – Center – San Jose Sharks
Picked 38th in the 2020 draft by the Sharks, Thomas has set about proving he deserved a higher pick. One thing scouts held against the center was his height. But Bordeleau uses his small stature to best effect with incredible speed.
As Elite Prospects put it, Thomas is “at his best carrying the puck on the perimeter, scanning the defense, waiting for a passing opportunity to open up, and striking with extreme precision to a waiting teammate. I was particularly impressed by his performances at the World Junior Championship, where he scored 8 points in 5 games played.
But we already got an idea of his beautiful talents in two years for the Wolverines. Thomas won Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors in 2020-21 and even took the prestigious Tim Taylor award. Showing good form so far in the NHL, Bordeleau looks like a top-notch prospect.
Bobby Brink – Right wing – Philadelphia Flyers
In retrospect, brink was picked 34th in the 2019 Draft but deserved a higher spot. Instead, in 2021-22 he dazzled for the Denver Pioneers in the NCAA. His 57 points in 41 games made him the obvious choice for NCHC Player of the Year for 2022.
Though Bobby is only 5′ 8″, he’s one of those dynamic small guys that are impossible to guard. Hockey Prospect gave him an incredible writeup: “Much like a chess player manipulates his pieces to set up traps for his opponent; Brink does the same with his deception.” Elite and the Flyers know it.
Jake Christiansen – Defense – Columbus Blue Jackets
Jake is a hard-working undrafted wonder. With plenty of work ethic, he has managed to fight his way into the Blue Jackets team and made the Blue Jackets last year after some solid AHL form. But is he good enough to be a top-6 guy? Probably not anytime soon.
Kent Johnson – Center – Columbus Blue Jackets
Kent was the 5th overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft and looked to have been a solid one for Columbus. In his senior year for the Michigan Wolverines, Kent’s 29 assists placed him fourth in the nation. He had over a point per game in his two NCAA years and was picked for the All-Big Ten Freshman Team.
He was also one of the most influential players in the Canadian World Juniors title-winning team, with 9 points in 7 appearances. With this impressive pedigree, the Blue Jackets have already thrown the 20-year-old into combat, and he has looked solid. If anyone looks like a genuine future star, it’s Kent.
Pyotr Kochetkov – Goaltender – Carolina Hurricanes
Long seen as a promising goalie, Kochetkov was a first-round pick back in 2019. However, Pyotr proved his mettle with an exceptional performance at the World Juniors. He helped Russia to bronze and won the Best Goaltender award.
He’s looked equally impressive in his AHL stint. While he has only played 3 NHL games, Pyotr’s 2.42 GAA is very promising.
Jack Quinn – Right wing – Buffalo Sabres
Quinn made his name for the Kanata Lasers in the CCHL, winning the Rookie of the Year and the Top Prospect award in 2018. Jack was good enough to be picked 8th in the 2020 draft, and he seems to have picked up some steam since.
His 2021-22 campaign for the Rochester Americans was utterly dominant. Quinn racked up 61 points in 45 games at the AHL level, all but forcing Buffalo to call the precocious youngster up. He also featured prominently for the Canadian team in the World Juniors, helping Great White North to a second-place finish.
According to Elite Prospects, Jack can “get a ten-bell shot off on either foot and deploys a wide array of release points to ensure that the puck gets through any situations.”
Jordan Spence – Defense – Los Angeles Kings
No one expected the 95th draft pick to make such a significant impact in his first AHL season. But the dude killed it. His vision and quick feet made an immediate impact.
Spence was both an All-Rookie and All-Star pick, with 42 points in 46 games. Not bad for a then 20-year-old player. As a defenseman with killer offensive potential, the sky is the limit.
Owen Power – Defense – Buffalo Sabres
With a name like Owen Power, you better pack a punch. Amazingly, this guy lives up to the moniker. Scouts were drooling over the 6″ 6 brick wall, who could skate rings around the small guys.
Elite Prospects explained, “He doesn’t make many mistakes with the puck, and he has no problem working the short-range passing game to let his teammates do the legwork in transition. He doesn’t hesitate. He has a great knack for finding space. And he has a big enough shot to threaten from range credibly.”
The 1st pick in the 2021 draft looks ready to roll. When you have a sophomore defenseman racking up a point per game, it’s time to call the darn prospect up. Mr. Power also proved his mettle at the World Cup for Canada, playing an instrumental role in their title-winning run.
Lukas Reichel – Left wing – Chicago Blackhawks
Lukas is a blue-chip prospect. Elite Prospects outlined his advantages: “never gives up on a play, and wins battles through second efforts. Reichel is a capable puck-handler too, even at top-speed carrying the puck through a defender’s triangle, showing a predilection for outside-in maneuvers, and deploying weight shifts to avoid contact.”
Picked 17 in the draft, he was also sensational in the World Championships for Germany. Add to that his 2020-21 57 points in 56 game AHL season, and you can see why Chicago can’t wait to bring him in. The Blackhawks don’t have much else going on, so you can expect him to get every chance to bloom.
Marco Rossi – Center – Minnesota Wild
The 9th overall 2020 NHL draft pick continues to show incredible promise. Last season Rossi rocked the AHL with 53 points in 63 games played. So naturally, no one was surprised when he got a few chances with the Wild.
Elite Prospects tell us, “if there’s an opening, then Rossi will find it and ruthlessly exploit it. He’s defensively responsible with great off-puck positioning and support below the hashmarks.” A substantial investment indeed.
Mads Sogaard – Goaltender – Ottawa Senators
Everyone wants a 6″ 7 goaltender. But Mads also has those mads skills. Sorry. But he’s a wonderful goaltender. He’s only 21 and already an above-average goaltender. You never know how goalies will work out. But considering his size and consistency, Sogaard is a pretty good bet.
Upper Deck Hockey Young Guns 2022-23 — Tier 2
Nick Blankenburg – Defense – Columbus Blue Jackets
Nick has heard throughout his career that he lacks the size to be a top-notch defenseman. But he has proven his critics wrong with consistently strong performances. His senior season at the University of Michigan was awe-inspiring.
Blankenburg had 29 points in 38 games and earned Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors. He also played for the US in the 2022 Ice Hockey World Championships, though he didn’t leave much impression. So far, he seems pretty comfortable in the NHL and is likely to be a strong contributor.
Noah Cates – Left wing – Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers believe in Noah and he should play an important role for them this season. Indeed, his form at the NCAA level inspired enough confidence for him to skip the AHL altogether. At least for now.
Lukas Dostal – Goaltender – Anaheim Ducks
The Czech goalie was selected 85th overall in the 2018 NHL Draft by the Anaheim Ducks. At 22, he isn’t quite ready to be an NHL regular and will probably spend a good deal of time in AHL with the San Diego Gulls in 2022-23.
But some starts are on the cards, and I expect him to be in the mix competing for the main goaltender spot in 2023-24.
Samuel Fagemo – Right wing -Los Angeles Kings
Samuel was dazzling for Sweden in the 2020 World Juniors, with his haul of almost 2 points per game. But he hasn’t looked quite as sharp in the USA, neither in his time in the AHL nor in his few appearances for the Kings this year.
So Sam probably won’t be a regular this year and may spend time in the AHL. But he does have the talent to make it.
Vladislav Kolyachonok – Defense – Arizona Coyotes
Vlad is a solid player. A good, high-draft pick with some solid performance in the AHL. The problem is that his offensive production is notably mediocre, and Arizona is a particularly terrible market.
Jack LaFontaine – Goaltender – Carolina Hurricanes
This is a tough one. Jack has been stinking it up at the AHL and NHL levels recently. But it’s not like he lacks talent. His 2020-21 season for the University of Minnesota was one for the books.
LaFontaine got a 1.79 GAA, enough to win the Mike Richter award for best goalie in the nation. Now 24, unclear if he will turn it around. My guess is yes. But I wouldn’t bet my retirement fund on it.
Matias Maccelli – Winger – Arizona Coyotes
The Finnish player has been a reliable performer for his country, most notably in the 2020 Juniors. Last year, Maccelli was phenomenally effective for the Tucson Roadrunners, amassing 57 points in only 47 performances.
Needless to say, the Coyotes promptly called him up. He looked solid in the NHL and has a promising future ahead.
Jack McBain – Center – Arizona Coyotes
Jack rocked his last NCAA season with Boston College with an incredible 33 points in 24 appearances. He also played a role for Canada at the Olympic Games. At 6′ 4″, Jack also has size working in his favor.
The Coyotes seem to believe in the center, and he got many chances in the 2021-22 season. But, of course, Arizona isn’t much of an NHL market.
Ben Meyers – Forward – Colorado Avalanche
An undrafted 23-year-old isn’t usually a top-notch prospect, but Myers may be the exception. His junior year at the University of Minnesota was stupendous, with 41 points in 34 games played.
That was enough to grant him Big Ten Player of the Year honors and a ticket to the Olympics and the World Championships. Myers didn’t pass go and went straight to the NHL from the Wolverines. Colorado may have a real winner here.
Jacob Perreault – Right wing – Anaheim Ducks
Jacob is only 20 years old and was a first-round pick. Debuting for the Ducks this season, there are a lot of eyes on the youngster. Considering his age, last year’s performance for the Ontario Reign in the NHL was impressive.
According to Elite Prospects, his best use is “a pure sniper with one of the best shots in this draft class. It’s accurate, hard, and he can score from anywhere. His ability to catch and shoot pucks in stride when the passes aren’t in the wheelhouse is a transferable skill that will serve him well.” He is not quite a tier-one player, but he is close.
Marc McLaughlin – Center – Boston Bruins
Marc was not drafted, but that seems to have been a mistake for the nation’s scouts. Last year he starred in the AHL, with a strong point per game season.
He was even called up for the US Olympic hockey team for 2022. McLaughlin already has a few NHL games under his belt. So, while not quite ready: he is close.
Isaac Ratcliffe – Left wing – Philadelphia Flyers
Isaac is a big boy, standing at 6′ 6″ and weighing in at 200 lbs. But, as one scout noted, he definitely uses his size to his advantage. Likewise, Ratcliffe has a mean streak and loves to throw his weight around setting the game’s physical tone. But Ratcliffe hasn’t scored as often as expected in the AHL, and the Flyers will be hoping he steps it up in the big league.
Dylan Samberg – Defense – Winnipeg Jets
Samberg is a natural athlete, excelling at everything in high school. You know the type. He has a strong pedigree and was selected 43 in the draft and represented the US at the World Juniors. Winnipeg has some robust options, so unclear when Dylan will get a shot. But, at some point, he will break through.
Braden Schneider – Defense – New York Rangers
Though only 21, Braden played in every game of the 2021 World Cup for Canada. He also helped the juniors’ team to a silver medal. In addition, he surprised everyone last year by featuring heavily for the Rangers in the 2021-22 season, with 11 points in 43 appearances.
Schneider seems on the verge of a truly remarkable career. The only thing working against him is, of course, the position.
Nathan Smith – Center – Arizona Coyotes
At 24, Nathan is a bit long in the tooth for a prospect, and Arizona isn’t a great hockey market. But we can’t ignore the tremendous numbers he put up for Minnesota State last year. Fifty points in 38 appearances are nothing to sneeze at, as Smith was the second top-scorer in the United States.
He also earned a spot in the US Olympic team and was part of their somewhat disappointing fifth-place finish. With a solid NHL start in his pocket, Smith has a reasonably bright future ahead.
Brayden Tracey – Left wing – Anaheim Ducks
Brayden was a fairly highly rated prospect who was picked 19th in the 2019 NHL Draft. He was known for both his passing and finishing skills. At the time, McKeen’s Hockey noted that “When passing, he keeps things simple and to the point” and that “he has a quick shot and seems to recognize when passing lanes open, and he appears to play with patience when he has the puck.”
His stock has gone down a bit since then. But he may be poised for a rebound season after 31 points in 55 games for the AHL San Diego team. Should be ready for the big time in a year or two.
2022-23 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey Young Guns guide — Tier 3
Jakub Galvas – Defense – Chicago Blackhawks
There isn’t much upside in Jakub’s cards between his average capabilities and defensive position. He’s not a bad player and has been a regular for the Czech Republic Juniors team. But he has had zero points in the NHL, so I don’t think that is an aberration.
Fredrik Karlstrom – Center – Dallas Stars
Drafted 90th way back in the 2017 NHL draft, Karlstrom took a while to get there. If you look at his stats, you can see why. They are relentlessly mediocre at every level. Enough to keep moving up, but not at an eye-catching level. It is a primarily defensive skillset that got Frederik to the pros, so there is not much to see here.
Mark Kastelic – Center – Ottawa Senators
A low draft pick without much pedigree and already 23 years old. But Mark has seemed quite valuable in his first few games for the Senators and may end up carving a nice place for himself in the league.
Trey Fix-Wolansky – Right wing – Columbus Blue Jackets
Not a bad player. Had a pretty impressive season for the Cleveland Monsters in the AHL in 2021-22. But I don’t see any remarkable potential here.
Jordan Harris – Defenseman – Montreal Canadiens
Harris had a strong tenure at Northeastern University and excelled in his senior year, making All-Hockey East First Team. We love that he is in the excellent Montreal market and has the skills to break in. Eventually. But we don’t expect an easy ride for him in Quebec, considering the depth of the competition.
Zack Hayes – Defense – Vegas Golden Knights
Zack is the kind of rough-and-tumble defenseman you want on your team. But not necessarily in your card collection. Hayes brings limited offense to the table, and Vegas ain’t a hockey Mecca.
Hayden Hodgson – Right wing – Philadelphia Flyers
It can be hard to look past when a Young Gun is 26 years old. It also doesn’t help that Hodgson went undrafted. But while it took Hayden a bit longer to ripen than we would like, 2021-22 saw him turn into a juicy plumb indeed. His 70 points in the AHL was quite an impressive haul. The Flyers need all the help they can get so that he may get a lot of minutes. But the drawbacks mean he isn’t a significant investment.
Erik Kallgren – Goaltender – Toronto Maple Leafs
Another older prospect is just now coming into his own. But has been playing quite a bit for Toronto so far and looks solid, if unspectacular, in goal. Kallgren may yet make an excellent career for himself, but it’s a bit late in the game for the goalie.
Kaedan Korczak – Defense – Vegas Golden Knights
The Canadian defenseman is solid and will likely be an NHL starter after seasoning over a year or two. He was a regular for Canada in their World Juniors campaign and was integral to their second-place finish. However, there is minimal offensive upside here.
Carson Meyer – Right wing – Columbus Blue Jackets
Picked way down in the 179th round of the draft, Carson has taken his time maturing. Now 25, he is finally getting his share of NHL minutes. But my concern is that his AHL form has actually regressed over the last two years.
Jacob Moverare – Defense – Los Angeles Kings
Good defensive potential from the perspective of the Kings. But at 24 and with limited offensive capabilities, not much to see here from a collector’s point of view.
Chase Pearson – Center – Detroit Red Wings
You hate to see a player regress. But that is what happened to Chase last season. He seemed on the way up with a solid first AHL season in 2019-20. But two seasons later, and the numbers are only getting worse.
Valtteri Puustinen – Winger – Pittsburgh Penguins
The Finnish player performed above expectations in his first AHL season. His 42 points were enough for a brief call-up to Pittsburgh as well. He has shown promise before, participating in the 2019 World Juniors title-winning campaign for his country.
Adam Raska – Right wing – San Jose Sharks
The 21-year-old has youth on his side. But he was a very low draft pick and has been less than adequate at the AHL level. The Sharks have thrown him into the first team to fill some gaps, but Raska has not seemed prepared.
Alex Vlasic – Defense – Chicago Blackhawks
A fine young player, highly valued by Boston University and US hockey. We are talking about a guy selected 43rd in the Draft after all. But the offense for collecting value really isn’t there.
Upper Deck Series 1 2022-23 Hockey Young Guns – Tier 4
Jonathan Kovacevic – Defense – Winnipeg Jets
Jonathan has been a late bloomer who was 74th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft. Only now, at age 25, is he ready to make a go at the highest level. It may be good enough to make an impact, but stardom seems highly unlikely.
Jeff Malott – Left Wing – Winnipeg Jets
The first and most obvious strike against Jeff is his age. Even worse, he does not seem quite ready to take on full NHL duties even now.
Brayden Pachal – Defense – Vegas Golden Knights
Brayden has never shown an offensive spark, and there is no reason to believe that will change.
Linus Sandin – Right wing – Philadelphia Flyers
The Swede is a bit long in the tooth for a prospect. The 26-year-old took too long to develop, which will probably be enough to put off most collectors. On the other hand, he seems like a decent enough player, with a strong season for the AHL Lehigh Valley Phantoms last year. But no value there.
Final word on the 2022-23 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey Young Guns
As you can tell, this is a very mixed crop. But if you thought that the exclusion of recent draft picks would mean a weak crop, that is not the case. There are 14 players in Tier One, far more than usual.
Hockey seems to produce more top-quality prospects than any other sport. So, with the high potential for a big star in this crop and the reasonable price of Series 1 products, you should feel excited to invest in this group.
2022-23 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey Young Guns Checklist
201 Matt Boldy – Minnesota Wild
202 Nick Blankenburg – Columbus Blue Jackets
203 Lukas Dostal – Anaheim Ducks
204 Jack Quinn – Buffalo Sabres
205 Jordan Harris – Montreal Canadiens
206 Nathan Smith – Arizona Coyotes
207 Hayden Hodgson – Philadelphia Flyers
208 Erik Kallgren – Toronto Maple Leafs
209 Kent Johnson – Columbus Blue Jackets
210 Thomas Bordeleau – San Jose Sharks
211 Samuel Fagemo – Los Angeles Kings
212 Jacob Perreault – Anaheim Ducks
213 Matty Beniers – Seattle Kraken
214 Braden Schneider – New York Rangers
215 Mark Kastelic – Ottawa Senators
216 Matias Maccelli – Arizona Coyotes
217 Linus Sandin – Philadelphia Flyers
218 Kaedan Korczak – Vegas Golden Knights
219 Brayden Tracey – Anaheim Ducks
220 Marc McLaughlin – Boston Bruins
221 Jake Christiansen – Columbus Blue Jackets
222 Ben Meyers – Colorado Avalanche
223 Jonathan Kovacevic – Winnipeg Jets
224 Pyotr Kochetkov – Carolina Hurricanes
225 Jakub Galvas – Chicago Blackhawks
226 Jacob Moverare – Los Angeles Kings
227 Bobby Brink – Philadelphia Flyers
228 Owen Power – Buffalo Sabres
229 Fredrik Karlstrom – Dallas Stars
230 Jack McBain – Arizona Coyotes
231 Carson Meyer – Columbus Blue Jackets
232 Adam Raska – San Jose Sharks
233 Dylan Samberg – Winnipeg Jets
234 Nicholas Abruzzese – Toronto Maple Leafs
235 Lukas Reichel – Chicago Blackhawks
236 Jack LaFontaine – Carolina Hurricanes
237 Valtteri Puustinen – Pittsburgh Penguins
238 Jordan Pence – Los Angeles Kings
239 Vladislav Kolyachonok – Arizona Coyotes
240 Isaac Ratcliffe – Philadelphia Flyers
241 Trey Fix-Wolansky – Columbus Blue Jackets
242 Zack Hayes – Vegas Golden Knights
243 Marco Rossi – Minnesota Wild
244 Chase Pearson – Detroit Red Wings
245 Mads Sogaard – Ottawa Senators
246 Brayden Pachal – Vegas Golden Knights
247 Jeff Malott – Winnipeg Jets
248 Alex Vlasic – Chicago Blackhawks
249 Noah Cates – Philadelphia Flyers
250 Matt Boldy/Marco Rossi CL