NHL 22 Player Ratings: Best Young Offensive Defensemen

Looking for a young offensive defenseman for your first line of the future? Look no further than this list.


Some say that the best defence is a good offence. Offensive defensemen take this saying to heart, and having a defenseman adept at offence adds an extra dimension to your team’s attack.

Regardless of the state of your franchise, finding a young offensive defenseman for the future is a must.


Choosing NHL 22’s best young offensive defensemen

This page will look at the best up-and-coming offensive defensemen in NHL 22 with Quinn Hughes, Adam Boqvist, and Evan Bouchard heading the list.

The players chosen for this list are all 21 and younger and listed on their grade in potential.

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


Quinn Hughes 86 OVR (Potential: Elite Med)

Team: Vancouver Canucks
Age: 21
Position: Left Defense
Type: Offensive Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Contract: $0.915M, 0 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 93 Speed, 93 Deking, 93 Puck Control

Quinn Hughes is a blur out there as one of the fastest players in NHL 22 by Outsider Gaming’s speed score, and the second fastest defenseman. Speed, especially on defence, is a precious commodity.

He is great with the puck with a 93 in deking, passing, puck control, and offensive awareness. His shot is solid with slap/wrist shot power at 88 and both accuracies at 86.


A great defender, Hughes has a 91 in stick checking, 87 in awareness, and 85 in shot blocking. His aggressiveness is only an 81 and body checking is only an 80, but he does have good endurance (87), durability (85), and strength (84), helping to compensate for the lower ratings.

During the 2020-21 season, Hughes had 38 assists and three goals over 56 games, with 19 assists and no goals on the power play. During the 2019-20 season – Hughes’ only playoff season thus far – he scored his only two game-winning goals and provided 14 assists and two goals in 17 playoff games.

Brandt Clarke 73 OVR (Potential: Elite Med)

Team: Los Angeles Kings
Age: 18
Position: Right Defense
Type: Offensive Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Contract: $0.925M, 3 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 85 Slap Shot Power, 84 Speed, 84 Acceleration

Note that the next three players are interchangeable; it just depends on whether you want the best player or the youngest player now, as the potential for all three is the same.

The eighth overall pick in the 2021 draft, Brandt Clarke is a solid player for some of just 18 years old. He is a quick player with a speed and acceleration at 84 and agility at 83 (speed score: 83.67), while his slap shot power is 85 and his wrist shot power 83, though his accuracies could be better at 73 and 74. He is also decent at defence with an 82 in awareness and 80 in stick checking, though a 74 in shot blocking holds him back.

Clarke’s physical stats are where he could improve the most. While his 83 in strength is solid, his other attributes are in the 70s with durability at 75, aggressiveness and body checking at 73, and fighting skill at 72. His endurance is a meagre 65. Target his durability and endurance first to provide him with more ice time.

While on loan to HC Nove Zamky during the 2020-21 season, Clarke had ten assists and five goals in 26 games. He also packed in 41 penalty minutes, and ended with a +/- of six.

Jamie Drysdale 80 OVR (Potential: Elite Med)

Team: Anaheim Ducks
Age: 19
Position: Right Defense
Type: Offensive Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Contract: $0.925M, 2 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 89 Acceleration, 89 Agility, 89 Speed

The sixth overall pick in the 2020 draft, Jamie Drysdale makes his way to the list already an 80 overall after a stint with Anaheim last season.

Drysdale is fast, even more so than Clarke, with 89 in speed, acceleration, and agility (speed score: 89). The defenseman is formidable on defence with 85 in awareness and stick checking and 84 in shot blocking. He is also adept with the puck with 88 in deking, 86 in passing and puck control, and 80 in hand-eye.

In 24 games with the Ducks during the 2020-21 season, Drysdale had five assists and three goals, including one assist on the power play. In 14 games for the San Diego Gulls, he has managed six assists and four goals, with another two assists in three playoff games.

Adam Boqvist 82 OVR (Potential: Elite Med)

Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
Age: 21
Position: Right Defense
Type: Offensive Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Contract: $0.895M, 1 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 90 Acceleration, 90 Agility, 90 Speed

Adam Boqvist is the second highest overall rated player and second fastest player on this list – with Hughes the only player ahead of him in both of those categories.

Boqvist has 90 in the three main speed categories, giving him a speed score of 90. He pairs that speed well with his puck skills: 89 in deking, 88 in passing and puck control, and 83 in hand-eye. He is a disciplined player (85) with good awareness (offence 88, defence 86), but his poise needs improvement (75).

During the 2020-21 season with Chicago, Boqvist had 14 assists and two goals, with another nine assists and four goals during the 2019-20 season. He has one game winner, coming in the 2019-20 season. His career +/- is -10.

Ryan Merkley 69 OVR (Potential: Elite Low)

Team: San Jose Sharks
Age: 21
Position: Right Defense
Type: Offensive Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Contract: $0.865M, 2 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 87 Acceleration, 87 Agility, 87 Speed

2018 first-rounder Ryan Merkley just makes this list thanks to his potential and still being 21. While his overall rating leaves much to be desired, he has the makings of a good player.

Like most players on this list, he has speed with 87s across the three speed categories. He has a strong shot with an 85 in both shot powers, but his accuracies are only mid-70s. Merkley also could become great at puck skills with 80 in deking, passing, and puck control, and 75 in hand-eye.

He needs work, particularly in defence and physically. His defensive awareness and stick checking are 77 with a 73 in shot blocking. The Canadian does have 85 in durability, but his strength is 70, body checking 68, and aggressiveness 65, while his endurance is 75. These are the areas to target for Merkley’s improvement.

For the San Jose Barracuda during the 2020-21 season, Merkley had ten assists and one goal in 31 games. He added an assist in four playoff games. During the 2019-20 season, Merkley had 61 assists and 15 goals over 60 games for the London Knights, and also spent 48 minutes in the penalty box.

Evan Bouchard 79 OVR (Potential: Top 4 D Med)

Team: Edmonton Oilers
Age: 21
Position: Right Defense
Type: Offensive Defenseman
Shoots: Right
Contract: $0.865M, 2 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 90 Slap Shot Power, 88 Wrist Shot Power, 85 Durability

2018 first-rounder Evan Bouchard appears on this list already a solid player, but with the potential to be even better for your team.

He has a powerful shot with 90 in slap shot and 88 in wrist shot, though his accuracies are 80 and 81. He has good skating ratings with 85 in speed, acceleration, balance, and endurance and 84 in agility. Bouchard is good on offence and defence with 85 in offensive awareness, discipline, passing, and puck control, and 84 in deking, defensive awareness, and shot blocking.

In 14 games with Edmonton during the 2020-21 season, Bouchard had three assists and two goals. He scored one goal and assisted another on the power play. For Södertälje SK on loan, he managed 11 assists and six goals over 23 games.

Nicolas Beaudin 76 OVR (Potential: Top 4 D Med)

Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Age: 21
Position: Left Defense/Right Defense
Type: Offensive Defenseman
Shoots: Left
Contract: $0.895M, 2 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 85 Agility, 85 Slap Shot Power, 85 Durability

Nicolas Beaudin is the only player on this list who can play two positions, and such versatility is always a plus.

The late first round pick from 2018 is a fast skater with 85 in all three speed categories. He also has 85 in slap/wrist shot power and durability, while on defence, he has 83 in awareness, shot blocking, and stick checking. He is already a good all-around player.

With the Blackhawks during the 2020-21 season, Beaudin had four assists and two goals in 19 games, with one assist on the power play. With the Rockford IceHogs, he had eight assists and two goals over nine games.

All the best young offensive defensemen in NHL 22

These are all of the best young offensive defensemen available in NHL 22.

NamePotentialOverallAgePositionContractTeam
Quinn HughesElite Med8621Left Defense$0.915M, 0 Years Left, Two-WayVancouver Canucks
Brandt ClarkeElite Med7318Right Defense$0.925M, 3 Years Left, Two-WayLos Angeles Kings  
Jamie DrysdaleElite Med8919Right Defense$0.925M, 2 Years Left, Two-WayAnaheim Ducks  
Adam BoqvistElite Med8221Right Defense$0.895M, 1 Years Left, Two-WayColumbus Blue Jackets  
Ryan MerkleyElite Low6921Right Defense$0.865M, 2 Years Left, Two-WaySan Jose Sharks  
Evan BouchardTop 4 D Med7921Right Defense$0.865M, 2 Years Left, Two-WayEdmonton Oilers  
Nicolas BeaudinTop 4 D Med7621Left Defense/Right Defense$0.895M, 2 Years Left, Two-WayChicago Blackhawks  
Jérémie PoirierTop 4 D Med6519Left Defense/Right Defense$0.750M, 0 Years Left, Two-WayCalgary Flames  
Calen AddisonTop 4 D Med7421Right Defense$0.795M, 2 Years Left, Two-WayMinnesota Wild  
Jordan SpenceTop 4 D Med6420Right Defense$0.820M, 3 Years Left, Two-WayLos Angeles Kings  
Dmitri SemykinTop 6 D Med6821Left Defense$0.815M, 2 Years Left, Two-WayTampa Bay Lightning  
Jakob RagnarssonTop 6 D Med5421Left Defense/Right Defense$0.750M, 1 Years Left, Two-WayNew York Rangers  
Michael KrutilTop 6 D Med6519Right Defense/Left Defense$0.750M, 1 Years Left, Two-WayChicago Blackhawks  
Lukas CormierTop 6 D Med6519Left Defense$0.810M, 3 Years Left, Two-WayVegas Golden Knights  
Zac JonesTop 6 D Med7620Left Defense$0.925M, 2 Years Left, Two-Way  New York Rangers  

Which young offensive defenseman will you acquire to bolster your line for the future?


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