Outside of the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, the 2023-24 rookie class is shaping up to be very strong.
Logan Cooley will likely start with the Arizona Coyotes and other top prospects like Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Shane Wright, are set to play their rookie seasons in 2023-24.
Many of these players are playing on weaker teams which will by default make them guaranteed top-six forwards out of the gate. As well, with examples like Arizona, Columbus, and Chicago, there is a very large incentive for them to play Cooley, Fantilli, Jiricek, and Bedard in prominent roles.
These are some of the very best when it comes to NHL-affiliated prospects.
The top-three choices at the 2023 Draft in June all have very solid cases of their own to be Calder trophy finalists.
Bedard has been receiving Connor McDavid comparisons for years now.
Barring a brutal injury that derails his rookie season as well, he is the favorite to capture rookie of the year honours this season.
Outside of him, the players mentioned above all have high expectations for themselves.
Fantilli is a player who would likely be a first overall pick in almost any other year if it weren’t for Bedard, and he was selected third. He joins a Columbus Blue Jackets squad that is loaded with talent high in their lineup like Patrik Laine and Johnny Gaudreau.
The man sandwiched between them, Leo Carlsson, will be joining an up-and-coming Anaheim Ducks team that is packed with talent like; Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, and Mason McTavish.