A couple of days ago, we wrote a post about the oldest players in the NHL.
Today, let’s do the opposite.
The following are the 10 youngest skaters to play in a game this season, headlined by 18-year-old Daniel Sprong:
Jack Eichel is the oldest 18-year-old on the list. His birthday is coming up, on Oct. 28. The five below him are all 19 (drafted in 2014).
Sprong is a particularly interesting story. He was the 46th overall pick in the 2015 draft.
“Certainly, after draft day, it’s not a name that we thought we were going to see to start the season,” Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford told Sportsnet.
From that Sportsnet story (which is worth a read), on why Sprong fell to the second round despite piling up points in junior:
One NHL team had concerns about his size. (The Penguins list him at six-feet, 180 pounds). Another, according to a senior member of their front office, said Sprong gave “funky” answers during pre-draft interviews. A third team was worried that he’s so driven to succeed personally that he wouldn’t gain acceptance from teammates.
Anyway, it remains to be seen how many on the list will remain in the NHL all season. Sprong could be returned to junior, as could Vancouver’s Jared McCann and/or Jake Virtanen (most likely McCann), while Mikko Rantanen and Noah Hanifin are both eligible for the AHL.
The rest are probably safe.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, Ottawa’s Matthew O'Connor is the youngest goalie to have started a game this season. He’s 23.