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Sports & Recreation Hockey

The Next Ones

How McDavid, Matthews and a Group of Young Guns Took Over the NHL

by (author) Michael Traikos

foreword by Eric Lindros

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Sep 2018
Hockey, Sports, Winter Sports
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2018
    List Price

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The NHL is a young man’s league. How young? Connor McDavid was twenty years old when he won the scoring title and MVP in 2017. Auston Matthews was still a nineteen-year-old rookie when he tied for second in the Rocket Richard Trophy race with forty goals. By the end of the NHL’s hundredth season, eight of the top thirty scorers—including four of the top ten—were twenty-three years old or younger.

Who are these fresh players? How did they get their starts? What did their journeys look like? This new generation of hockey superstars grew up differently than their predecessors and they weren’t all skating on frozen ponds like Bobby Orr. Connor McDavid strapped on rollerblades and deked around paint cans in his parents’ two-car garage. Auston Matthews learned to play hockey on a tiny three-on-three rink in the desert. Patrik Laine shot pucks at pop cans, William Nylander’s dad’s NHL buddies dropped him off at hockey camp, and Johnny Gaudreau chased Skittles candies around the ice while still in diapers. Each story is different. While Aaron Ekblad was always the biggest and strongest kid even while playing two years above his age group, a late bloomer like Mark Scheifele was continuously knocked around as he fought through obstacle after obstacle on his longer and more arduous path to the NHL. What the players share is passion and perseverance—almost to the point of obsession.

Hockey expert Michael Traikos travelled around the world from Helsinki to Thunder Bay interviewing rising NHL stars, their families, and more than two hundred teammates, coaches, scouts and friends. The result is a first-hand look at how each young star became the player he is today—and what they might become in the future.

About the authors

Michael Traikos has been writing about hockey for two decades. He is the National Hockey Writer for Postmedia News and his daily columns and feature stories are published in every major city across the country. He covered the Toronto Maple Leafs as the beat reporter for the National Post, and he is a regular contributor to The Hockey News. He lives in Newmarket, ON, on a street not far from where Connor McDavid used to shoot pucks on his driveway.

Michael Traikos' profile page

Eric Lindros, who was a No. 1 overall pick in the 1991 draft, scored 372 goals and 865 points in 760 games over a Hall of Fame career that spanned thirteen years. A former Philadelphia Flyers captain, he won the Hart Memorial Trophy in 1994–95 and had his famed No. 88 jersey retired by the franchise in 2017.

Eric Lindros' profile page


  • Winner, Silver - Independent Book Publisher Award (Sports/Fitness/Recreation)

Editorial Reviews

“Traikos does a great job of covering the next generation of superstars who we can expect to see in the NHL over the next decade . . . and where they could be headed in NHL lore.”

Kevin Gibson, TSN Research

Publishers Weekly