NHL 22 Player Ratings: Best Young Defensemen

Here is your rundown on your potential right and left defensemen of the future – if you want your blueline to feature the best of NHL 22, that is.

Supporting the goalie, defensemen are key to any goal prevention and counterattacking strategies. With two defenders needed for your lines, it is crucial to acquire young talent that you believe will develop into stalwarts for your team.

Here, we’re going through all of the best young defensemen in NHL 22 – the ones with the potential to become elite-tier blueliners in the game.

Choosing NHL 22’s best young defensemen

This page will look at the best up-and-coming defensemen in NHL 22, with Quinn Hughes, Adam Boqvist, and Bowen Byram making an appearance. Each player was chosen based on their potential ratings and had to be 21-years-old at the oldest to make the cut.

At the bottom of the page, you will find the full list of all of the best young defensemen in NHL 22.

Quinn Hughes, 86 OVR (Elite Med)

Team: Vancouver Canucks
Age: 21
Type: Offensive Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Best Attributes: 93 Speed, 93 Deking, 93 Puck Control

Quinn Hughes fully deserves the praise and high ratings that he receives. With his Elite med potential, he may become one of the very best defensemen in NHL 22 just a few seasons in.

Hughes has elite speed and puck skill with a 93 in all three speed categories and deking, passing, puck control, and offensive awareness to match his Offensive Defenseman player type. He isn’t a slouch on defence either, with a 91 in stick checking, 87 in awareness, and 85 in shot blocking. Even though shooting is secondary for Hughes, he still packs a good shot with 88 in both shot power ratings and 86 in both accuracies.

The seventh-overall pick in 2018, Hughes has solidified himself in short time in Vancouver. In 68 games in 2019/20, he had 45 assists and eight goals three on the powerplay and two game-winners. During 2020/21, he had 38 assists and three goals in 56 games. Hughes is adept at finding his teammates for good shots on goal.

Rasmus Dahlin, 85 OVR (Elite Med)

Team: Buffalo Sabres
Age: 21
Type: Two-Way Defender
Shoots: Left
Best Attributes: 89 Passing, 89 Stick Checking, 89 Slap Shot Power

The first-overall pick in 2018, Rasmus Dahlin was rewarded with a three-year, $18 million contract in September. Should this be implemented in a roster update and you begin your franchise after, his new contract should be reflected.

A Two-Way Defenseman, Dahlin has great skills without the puck, featuring 89 stick checking and 88 in both awareness and shot blocking. He has 88 endurance, allowing him to maximize his two-way potential, and adds 87 acceleration, agility, balance, and speed. He has an 89 passing, 88 puck control, and 85 deking and hand-eye. So, Dahlin can be a stalwart aaat both ends for your team.

In 59 games during 2019/20, Dahlin had 36 assists and four goals, two on the powerplay and one game-winner. He had 18 assists and five goals in 56 games during 2020/21. With Jack Eichel’s uncertain future, Dahlin may need to take more offensive responsibility this later season and beyond.

Adam Boqvist, 82 OVR (Elite Med)

Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Age: 21
Type: Offensive Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Best Attributes: 90 Acceleration, 90 Agility, 90 Speed

Another top-ten pick from 2018, eighth-overall selection Adam Boqvist has solid ratings and can grow into a top-tier defenseman thanks to his Elite med potential in NHL 22.

Boqvist is fast with a 90 rating, trailing only Hughes on this list. He has great puck skills with 89 deking, 88 passing, 88 puck control, and 83 hand-eye. He can hold his own on defence with his 87 stick checking, 86 awareness, and 84 shot blocking.

Boqvist is entering his first season with the Columbus Blue Jackets after spending his first two with Chicago. In 2019/20, he had nine assists and four goals with one game-winner for the Blackhawks. During the 2020/21 season, he grabbed 14 assists and two goals.

Jamie Drysdale, 80 OVR (Elite Med)

Team: Anaheim Ducks
Age: 19
Type: Offensive Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Best Attributes: 89 Acceleration, 89 Agility, 89 Speed

At 19-year-old, Jamie Drysdale has the makings of a fantastic defenseman with solid enough ratings to warrant a good amount of ice time – which will also help him to develop into his hefty Elite med potential.

The sixth-overall pick in 2020, Drysdale is another speedy skater with an 89 in all three quickness categories. He has good puck skills to pair with his speed ratings with 88 deking, 86 passing, and 86 puck control. On defence, he can maintain with 85 awareness, 85 stick checking, and 84 shot blocking.

Drysdale spent 2019/20 with the Erie Otters, donning the ‘A’ while putting up 38 assists and nine goals over 49 games. He split time between the San Diego Gulls of the AHL and Anaheim in 2020/21, playing 14 games for San Diego to tally six assists and four goals. The top young defenseman also notched 24 games for Anaheim, adding five assists and three goals to his stats sheet.

Moritz Seider, 80 OVR (Elite Med)

Team: Detroit Red Wings
Age: 20
Type: Two-Way Defender
Shoots: Right
Best Attributes: 88 Balance, 88 Body Checking, 88 Strength

German skater Moritz Seider makes an appearance as the sixth-overall pick in 2019 and is in the same boat as Drysdale, needing time to develop, but he is one year older. Still, it’s his Elite med potential that lands him among the best young defensemen in NHL 22.

Seider has excellent balance at 88, and although he is not as speedy as the others, that balance helps to make his 86 in the three speed categories that much more effective. He is a good body checker at 88, pairing that with his 88 strength. He has an 87 in shot blocking, 85 in awareness, and 85 for stick checking.

Seider is entering his first season as a member of the Detroit Red Wings. He spent 2019/20 with the Grand Rapids Griffins, tallying 20 assists and two goals in 49 games. He also played for Rögle BK on-loan in Sweden, where he amassed 21 assists and seven goals in 51 games.

Bowen Byram, 79 OVR (Elite Med)

Team: Colorado Avalanche
Age: 20
Type: Two-Way Defender
Shoots: Left
Best Attributes: 88 Slap Shot Power, 88 Wrist Shot Power, 87 Acceleration

Bowen Byram appears with good potential; potential that Colorado hopes he fulfils to make him their long-term left defenseman and further solidify what looks to be the makings of a dynastic team.

He has great skating skills with an 87 in all three speed categories and balance, followed by 85 in endurance and durability. On defence, he has 85 in stick checking, 84 in awareness, and 80 in shot blocking. He also has 86 in strength and 84 in body checking – so he can pack a wallop along the boards.

Byram donned the ‘A’ in 2019/20 for the Vancouver Giants, tallying 38 assists and 15 goals in 50 games. He played 19 games for Colorado last season, but could only put up two assists.

Brandt Clarke, 73 OVR (Elite Med)

Team: Los Angeles Kings
Age: 18
Type: Offensive Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Best Attributes: 85 Slap Shot Power, 84 Speed, 84 Acceleration

The only player featured on this list yet to see NHL ice time as the eighth-overall pick of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Brandt Clarke has the makings of a first liner if you have patience with his development.

Clarke has some decent ratings as an offensive defenseman, with 85 slap shot power, 84 acceleration, and 84 speed, as well as 83 agility, 83 wrist shot power, and 83 strength. His other ratings in the 80s are puck control and stick checking, both at 80.

Clarke spent 2019/20 with the Barrie Colts, amassing 32 assists and six goals over 57 games. On-loan to Slovakian team HC Nové Zámky last season, Clarke had ten assists and five goals in 26 games.

All of the best young defensemen in NHL 22

In the table below, you can find all of the best young defensemen in NHL 22, sorted by their potential at the start of Franchise Mode.

Quinn Hughes  Elite Med  8621Left Defense  Offensive DefensemanVancouver Canucks  
Rasmus Dahlin  Elite Med  8521Left Defense  Two-Way DefenderBuffalo Sabres  
Adam Boqvist  Elite Med  8221Right Defense  Offensive DefensemanColumbus Blue Jackets  
Jamie Drysdale  Elite Med  8019Right Defense  Offensive DefensemanAnaheim Ducks  
Moritz Seider  Elite Med  8020Right Defense  Two-Way DefenderDetroit Red Wings  
Bowen Byram  Elite Med  7920Left Defense  Two-Way DefenderColorado Avalanche  
Brandt Clarke  Elite Med  7318Right Defense  Offensive DefensemanLos Angeles Kings  
Simon Edvinsson  Elite Med  7218Left Defense  Two-Way DefenderDetroit Red Wings  
Carson Lambos  Elite Med  6818Left Defense  Two-Way DefenderMinnesota Wild  
Ryan Merkley  Elite Low6921Right Defense  Offensive DefensemanSan Jose Sharks  
Ryker Evans  Elite Low6019Left Defense/Right Defense  Two-Way DefenderSeattle Kraken  
Rasmus Sandin  Top 4 D High8021Left Defense  Two-Way DefenderToronto Maple Leafs  
Victor Söderström  Top 4 D High7720Right Defense  Two-Way DefenderArizona Coyotes  
Ty Smith  Top 4 D Med8421Left Defense  Two-Way DefenderNew Jersey Devils  
Noah DobsonTop 4 D Med8221Right DefenseTwo-Way DefenderNew York Islanders  

Get yourself the elite blueliner that every Stanley Cup contender needs by getting one of the top talents listed above.

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee is the Lead Editor for OutsiderGaming.com. He has a PhD in Education, but has always been a gamer. His main gaming interests are RPGs and sports, with some action and adventure on the side. Bruce still hails Chrono Trigger as the best game ever.

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