Sam Gagner, born August 10th of 1989, was the youngest player in the NHL for the 2007-08 season and that's still younger than any of this season's rookies who were all born prior to August. Still, it is interesting to note that 3 of the youngest skaters in the NHL this season are defencemen, not what most people would expect. Here now are the 5 youngest players in the NHL at the start of the 2008-09 season.
5. Alex Pietrangelo D - St. Louis Blues
Born: January 18, 1990
The fourth player chosen in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft last June, Pietrangelo played three games before getting hurt with the ever-vague 'upper body injury'. He's expected to be out until early next month. The 6'2, 206 lb, blueliner didn't register a point in any of those games but did play a fair amount: (14:01, 15:54 and 19:30). The injury to Erik Johnson was a blow to the organization this year but it definitely opened a door for the former Mississauga/Niagara IceDog.
4. Luca Sbisa D - Philadelphia Flyers
Born: January 30, 1990
He's the best thing from Switzerland since chocolate and he's taken to Philly like a Cuckoo to a clock. The Lethbridge Hurricanes would love to have Sbisa back but probably shouldn't hold their breath. Sbisa has 2 points through 8 games with the Flyers but is playing in a top-4 role as the team deals with some injuries but also looks for offence. His ice time is contiually hovering in the 17-20 minute range and he's being asked to play well above his tender years might suggest he's ready for. But... he's how old again??
3. Steven Stamkos C - Tampa Bay Lightning
Born: February 7, 1990
The talk about Stamkos has been the lack of minutes he's been getting. Stealing a joke from Corey Graham... remember the 'Seen Stamkos?' promo ads that the Lighting were running in the summer? Well the fans are starting to ask the same thing and it's not in a positive way. Stamkos, the odds on favorite on every list to be the Calder Trophy winner this year, has zero points after 7 games and has played as little as 6:05 one night. No points for the poster boy has got to be a concern and although I highly doubt he gets sent back to Sarnia... someone somewhere is asking if it might be for the best.
2. Nikita Filatov LW - Columbus Blue Jackets
Born: May 25, 1990
He's got a goal and he hasn't even played over ten minutes in a game, in fact his ice time is dwindling as time goes on. Last time out against New York he played juse under 3 minutes... those are minutes usually reserved for knuckle chuckers, not budding superstars.
1. Zach Bogosian D - Atlanta Thrashers
Born: July 15, 1990
The youngest player in the NHL this year is the blueliner from Massena, NY. The 3rd overall pick of the Thrashers, Bogosian was expected by many as one of the leading candidates to make a quck jump to the NHL. He doesn't have any points yet in Atlanta but like Pietrangelo and Sbisa, Bogosian is playing a bunch of minutes usually in the 13:30-16:30 range. The Thrashers site indicates that he's partners with Mathieu Schneider so you have to think some good things are going to happen for Bogosian sooner or later if that duo stays together.
It's interesting to note that Sam Gagner is still the 12th youngest player in the NHL...
Ranking blatanly stolen from Mirtle.