2022 Season Preview

The 2021-2022 NHL season starts with seven players of Asian descent on a NHL roster, highlighted by a number of young forwards entering their prime in Nick Suzuki (MTL), Jason Robertson (DAL), and Kailer Yamamoto (EDM). Now the Montreal Canadiens’ undisputed No. 1 centre, Suzuki recently signed an 8-year extension with an $7.875 million AAV and will be relied upon to carry his team’s forward group – in the words of his teammate Jeff Petry:

He’s mature beyond the years that he’s played in this league. He’s a smart player, he’s responsible at both ends of the rink…he’s a guy that puts the team first. Whatever is needed to help the team get better is what he’s willing to do.

Defenseman Jeff Petry (MTL) to The Athletic (2021)

Robertson will be looking to build on a promising rookie season where was named a Calder finalist, while Yamamoto is aiming to break through in a solidifed top-six role after signing a 1-year extension as an RFA. Devin Shore (EDM) remains in a fourth-line role for the Oilers, while former linemate Jujhar Khaira (CHI) moves to the Blackhawks in a similar spot in the lineup. On defense, Matt Dumba (MIN) remains a staple on one of the best second pairings in the NHL while Jonas Siegenthaler (NJD) is looking to earn a regular spot in a NHL defensive corps.

First NameLast NamePositionBornNationalityTeam
MattDumbaRD1994CANMinnesota Wild
JujharKhairaLW1994CANChicago Blackhawks
Jason RobertsonLW1999USADallas Stars
DevinShoreC1994CANEdmonton Oilers
JonasSiegenthalerLD1997SUINew Jersey Devils
NickSuzukiC1999CANMontreal Canadiens
Kailer YamamotoRW1998USAEdmonton Oilers
Nick Robertson (TOR)

Forwards Jordan Spence (LAK), Jordan Kawaguchi (DAL), and Alex Kannok-Leipert are making their professional debuts after stellar junior careers in the QMJHL, NCAA, and WHL respectively. Winger Dennis Yan will also return to North America, where he’ll join Taro Hirose (DET) in the forward group of the Grand Rapids Griffins. Prospects to watch in the AHL include winger Nick Robertson (TOR), defenseman Jett Woo (VAN), centre Ryan Suzuki (CAR), and winger Sasha Mutala (COL).

First NameLast NamePositionBornNationalityTeam
TaroHiroseLW1996CANGrand Rapids Griffins
JoshHo-SangRW1996CANToronto Marlies
AlexKannok-LeipertRD2000CANAbbotsford Canucks
JordanKawaguchiC1997CANTexas Stars
SashaMutalaRW2001CANColorado Eagles
NicholasRobertsonLW2001USAToronto Marlies
KoleSherwoodRW1997USABelleville Senators
Kiefer SherwoodRW1995USAColorado Eagles
DylanSikuraW1995CANColorado Eagles
TylerSikuraC1992CANCleveland Monsters
JordanSpenceRD2001CANOntario Reign
RyanSuzukiC2001CANChicago Wolves
MitchellVande SompelLD1997CANBridgeport Sound Tigers
JettWooRD2000CANAbbotsford Canucks
DennisYanLW1997RUSGrand Rapids Griffins
Cliff Pu

In Europe, Kunlun Red Star Beijing are going with an Olympic roster in preperation for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, and have largely struggled outside of a few signature moments such as a 2-1 win over KHL powerhouse CSKA Moscow a few days ago. Winger Spencer Foo leads the team in scoring, with captain and former NHLer Brandon Yip close behind. The majority of the team is composed of American and Canadian players of Chinese descent, with other prominent players including forwards Tyler Wong and Cliff Pu, as well as defensemen Victor Bartley and Zach Yuen.

First NameLast NamePositionBornNationalityTeamLeague
StuartPercyLD1993CANMotor Ceske BudejoviceCzech
Victor BartleyLD1988CANKunlun Red StarKHL
SpencerFooRW1994CANKunlun Red StarKHL
ParkerFooLW1998CANKunlun Red StarKHL
Jason FramRD1995CANKunlun Red StarKHL
SamHuRW1996CANKunlun Red StarKHL
CoryKaneC1990USAKunlun Red StarKHL
OlegLiLW1991RUSSibir NovosibirskKHL
LukeLockhartC1992CANKunlun Red StarKHL
Cliff PuRW1998CANKunlun Red StarKHL
AlexRicheC1996CANKunlun Red StarKHL
TySchultzRD1997CANKunlun Red StarKHL
ChrisSetoLW1997CANKunlun Red StarKHL
PavelShenC1999RUSHK SochiKHL
GregSquiresRW1988USAKunlun Red StarKHL
TylerWongRW1996CANKunlun Red StarKHL
JunchengYanF2000CANKunlun Red StarKHL
BrandonYipLW1985CANKunlun Red StarKHL
ZachYuenLD1993CANKunlun Red StarKHL
KyenSopaRW2000SUIZSC LionsNLA
Brendan Lee

There are at least 11 players of Asian descent in the WHL, and at least 3 in the OHL. After going undrafted despite a mid-draft projection, Trevor Wong will be looking to bounce back this year with a new team. Among a number of promising rookies, Thomas Tien stands out after dominating at the U15 and U16 levels, posting 33 goals and 77 points in just 30 games during the last full 2019-20 season.

First NameLast NamePositionBornNationalityTeamLeague
JamesGuoRD2005CANPeterborough PetesOHL
SahilPanwarLW2002CANFlint FirebirdsOHL
NicholasWongC2001CANSaginaw SpiritOHL
ArshdeepBainsF2001CANRed Deer RebelsWHL
SamuelHuoC2001CANTri-City AmericansWHL
BrendanLeeF2002USAEverett SilvertipsWHL
SammyMayF2003CANVancouver GiantsWHL
JoshMoriLD2004CANPortland WinterhawksWHL
MatthewNgF2004USAEverett SilvertipsWHL
MarcusNguyenRW2004CANPortland WinterhawksWHL
KaydenSadhra-KangD2003CANSwift Current BroncosWHL
ThomasTienF2004CANMoose Jaw WarriorsWHL
TrevorWongC2003CANSaskatoon BladesWHL