NHL 22 Player Ratings: Best Young Two-Way Forwards

Looking for your two-way forward of the future? This list will provide you with your best options.

In team sports, the ability to play both ways is a major boon. In hockey, this means someone who can have an impact both with the puck and defending their zone.

Here are the best up-and-coming two-way forwards as you set your franchise for the future.

Choosing NHL 22’s best young two-way forwards

This page will look at the best up-and-coming two-way forwards with William Eklund, Kaapo Kakko, and Joel Farabee among the most notable names on the list.

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

At the bottom of the page, you will find a list of the best young two-way forwards in NHL 22.

William Eklund 73 OVR (Potential: Elite Med)

Team: San Jose Sharks
Age: 18
Position: Center/Left Wing
Type: Two-Way Forward
Shoots: Left
Contract: $0.925M, 3 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 86 Offensive Awareness, 86 Durability, 84 Agility

While the next two players are rated higher overall, William Eklund gets the nod because of his age – he is two years younger than the next two players – and overall rating combined with his potential.

The seventh overall pick in the 2021 draft, Eklund has a balanced skill set. His durability and offensive awareness are his best attributes at 86, while his skating skills are also good with an 84 in agility and 83 in acceleration and speed.

He needs improvement in puck skills and a little bit on defence, too. His passing and puck control are 76 with hand-eye at 74 and deking at 72. His stick checking is 83, but his defensive awareness is 80 and shot blocking a 70. A two-way forward should be better in both of these skill areas.

Eklund spent the 2020-21 season with Djurgårdens IF where he had 12 assists and 11 goals in 40 games. In three playoff games, he added one assist and one goal.

Dylan Cozens 82 OVR (Potential: Elite Med)

Team: Buffalo Sabres
Age: 20
Position: Center/Right Wing
Type: Two-Way Forward
Shoots: Right
Contract: $1.015M, 2 Years Left, One-Way
Best Attributes: 87 Deking, 87 Acceleration, 87 Slap Shot Power

The second highest rated player on this list, Dylan Cozens has few weaknesses in his game.

The seventh overall pick in 2019 excels with the puck and his shot. He has 87 in deking and 86 in hand-eye, passing, and puck control. His slap shot power is 87 and wrist shot power 86, with accuracies at 85 and 86.

He has great skating skills as well, with 87 in speed, acceleration, and agility, while his physical skills are good with an 85 in durability and strength, and 83 in aggressiveness and body checking. He could improve in shot blocking, however, with a rating of just 75 for this skill.

In 41 games with Buffalo during the 2020-21 season, he had nine assists and four goals, with one of those goals on the power play. During the 2019-20 season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, he had 47 assists and 38 goals over 51 games.

Kaapo Kakko 81 OVR (Potential: Elite Med)

Team: New York Rangers
Age: 20
Position: Right Wing
Type: Two-Way Forward
Shoots: Left
Contract: $0.925M, 1 Year Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 88 Slap Shot Power, 88 Wrist Shot Power, 87 Deking

Kaapo Kakko is another well-rounded player who has already proven his worth with the Rangers.

The second overall pick in 2019 is an excellent shooter with 88 in both power categories, wrist shot accuracy at 85, and slap shot accuracy at 84. His skating skills are also great with an 87 in balance, 85 in endurance, and 86 in all three speed categories. On top of that, he has great puck skills, with 87 in deking and 85 in the other three categories.

He could improve his shot blocking, a 79, to fully reach his potential as a two-way forward. His discipline is a paltry 70, so those are two targeted skills to improve.

With the Rangers in 2020-21, he had eight assists and nine goals over 48 games. In 2019-20, he had 13 assists and ten goals. He added two power play goals and three game winners – one in overtime – during the same season.

Anton Lundell 70 OVR (Potential: Elite Med)

Team: Florida Panthers
Age: 19
Position: Center
Type: Two-Way Forward
Shoots: Left
Contract: $0.925M, 3 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 85 Discipline, 85 Durability, 82 Slap/Wrist Shot Power

The 12th overall pick in 2020, Anton Lundell has the potential to be your first line center with some patience and time.

He can improve everywhere, but he does already have good discipline and durability at 85, numbers which mean that he should stay uninjured and make few mistakes while on the ice. He packs a solid shot with 82 in both shot power ratings, and his 81 in speed suggests that he moves well.

To maximise his two-way potential, most of the attention dedicated to his improvement should focus on puck skills and defence. He has 80 in deking, and 78 in hand-eye, passing, and puck control. His defensive ratings are slightly worse with 78 in awareness and stick checking, and 77 in shot blocking. As a center, his faceoffs score should probably improve from 75.

With HIFK in 2020-21, Lundell had 16 goals and nine assists in 26 games, while the year prior, he had 18 assists and ten goals in 44 games. He also saw ten games with the Finland National Team in 2020-21, netting four goals and three assists.

Joel Farabee 84 OVR (Potential: Top 6 F High)

Team: Philadelphia Flyers
Age: 21
Position: Left Wing/Right Wing
Type: Two-Way Forward
Shoots: Left
Contract: $0.925M, 1 Year Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 88 Passing, 88 Offensive Awareness, 87 Deking

Joel Farabee is the highest rated player on this list, though he may be closer to his ceiling than those listed before him.

The 14th pick in 2018, Farabee is solid in all aspects excepts faceoffs. His offensive skills are his best, with 88 in awareness and passing, 87 in deking, puck control, slap/wrist shot power, and wrist shot accuracy, and 86 in hand-eye and slap shot accuracy.

His skating skills are superb, with 87 across the three speed categories and 85 in balance and endurance. He could improve his discipline and poise, both 80, but that is your prerogative.

With Philadelphia in 2020-21, Farabee accumulated 20 goals and 18 assists in 55 games. That same season, he had three power play goals and one game-winner. He also spent 39 minutes in the penalty box. In 52 games during the 2019-20 season, he had 13 assists and eight goals.

Vasily Ponomarev 63 OVR (Potential: Top 6 F High)

Team: Carolina Hurricanes
Age: 19
Position: Center
Type: Two-Way Forward
Shoots: Left
Contract: $0.815M, 3 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 85 Discipline, 85 Durability, 82 Slap/Wrist Shot Power

Vasily Ponomarev is the first player not drafted in the first round on this list, riding his potential and age to a featured spot.

Ponomarev has many areas of improvement, but he does have some skills of note. His durability and discipline are 85, so he should avoid injury while making few mistakes on the ice. He has good power on his shots as both are rated 82, and he moves well with an 81 in speed, acceleration, and agility.

The area to target first might be his physical skills. You may feel better in his durability if his strength was higher than 70, and his aggressiveness and body checking above 68. His defence is similar with 72 in stick checking, 71 in awareness, and 68 in shot blocking.

During the 2020-21 season with the Shawinigan Cataractes, Ponomarev had 28 assists and ten goals in 33 games, adding three goals and an assist in five playoff games. He also added three goals for the Russia U20 team. This year, he has spent time on loan with both Spartak Moskva and Khimik Voskresensk.

Nils Höglander 81 OVR (Potential: Top 6 F Med)

Team: Vancouver Canucks
Age: 20
Position: Left Wing/Right Wing
Type: Two-Way Forward
Shoots: Left
Contract: $0.890M, 2 Years Left, Two-Way
Best Attributes: 90 Agility, 88 Acceleration, 88 Speed

Nils Höglander takes a featured spot over others with the same potential and age because of his higher overall rating. Aside from Garret Bolduc, the remaining two-way forwards are all either 20 or 21 years old.

Höglander, a second round pick in 2019, is one of the most agile players in the game with a rating of 90. He also has good speed and acceleration, both 88, making him ideal for speed lines. Add an 85 in all puck skills into the mix, and his combo of speed and puck skills make him dangerous on a breakaway situation.

He also has good shooting skills with 87 in both power skills, 84 in wrist shot accuracy, and 83 in slap shot accuracy. His durability and endurance are both 85, so he should avoid injury and stay on the ice longer, hopefully making more use of his speed and agility.

During the 2020-21 season, Höglander played in 56 games for Vancouver, recording 14 assists and 13 goals, with one goal on the power play and one game-winner. He also played 23 games on loan with Rögle BK, recording nine assists and five goals.

All the best young two-way forwards in NHL 22

The below table includes all of the best young two-way forwards you can target in NHL 22.

William EklundElite Med7318Center/Left Wing$0.925M, 3 Years Left, Two-WaySan Jose Sharks  
Dylan CozensElite Med8220Center/Right Wing$1.015M, 2Years Left, One-WayBuffalo Sabres  
Kaapo KakkoElite Med8120Right Wing$0.925M, 1 Year Left, Two-WayNew York Rangers  
Anton LundellElite Med7019Center$0.925M, 3 Years Left, Two-WayFlorida Panthers  
Joel FarabeeTop 6 F High8421Left Wing/Right Wing$0.925M, 1 Year Left, Two-WayPhiladelphia Flyers  
Vasily PonomarevTop 6 F High6319Center$0.815M, 3 Years Left, Two-WayCarolina Hurricanes  
Nils HöglanderTop 6 F Med8120Left Wing/Right Wing$0.890M, 2 Years Left, Two-WayVancouver Canucks  
Shane PintoTop 6 F Med7920Center$1.060M, 2 Years Left, One-Way  Ottawa Senators  
Barrett HaytonTop 6 F Med7921Center$0.895M, 1 Year Left, Two-WayArizona Coyotes  
Liam FoudyTop 6 F Med7721Center$0.895M, 1 Year Left, Two-WayColumbus Blue Jackets  
Isac LundeströmTop 6 F Med7721Center/Left Wing$0.875M, 1 Year Left, Two-WayAnaheim Ducks  
Connor McMichaelTop 6 F Med7620Center$0.865M, 3 Years Left, Two-WayWashington Capitals  
Simon HolmströmTop 6 F Med6920Right Wing$0.865M, 3 Years Left, Two-WayNew York Islanders  
Samuel PoulinTop 6 F Med6920Left Wing/Right Wing$0.865M, 3 Years Left, Two-WayPittsburgh Penguins  
Zachary BolducTop 6 F Med6618Center$0.925M, 3 Years Left, Two-WaySt. Louis Blues  

Which young two-way forward will you acquire to bolster your line for the future?

Bruce L

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