Wild West: Core Three – Western Conference

Grant Campbell


A core three is what I would consider the three players in an organization who the team should build around. The best teams in the NHL have six or seven players that we could put as that team’s core three. Some teams it seems like we are scraping three players together and these are probably the teams looking to get Conor Bedard in the 2023 Entry Draft.

Core players are rarely available and usually only acquired for other core players. This off season saw the Flames move two of them and get one back, Minnesota move one to Los Angeles, Chicago move one to Ottawa and one in Arizona ask to be traded. Teams were a little more willing to make some big changes very recently.

Here are my Core Three from last season.

Here are the core threes as I see them for each of the Western Conference Teams as the 2022-23 regular season begins.

Anaheim Ducks (Average Age of Core-Three: 20.0)

Trevor Zegras (21 years old) – Zegras had 61 points in 75 games in his rookie season last year. The Ducks went out and got Ryan Strome to help out Zegras with matchups and some defensive responsibilities. His offensive ceiling is high.

Jamie Drysdale (20) – Drysdale had 32 points in 81 games in his rookie season, while struggling defensively. He might lose some power play time with the addition of John Klingberg, but he is the future of this team on defense.

Mason McTavish (19) – McTavish had an excellent World Juniors tournament in August and made it clear that he is ready for the NHL this season.

Last year, I had Troy Terry here, but I think he is more of an accessory than a core piece like the three above.

Arizona Coyotes (24.0)

Clayton Keller (24) – Keller broke his leg last year and missed 15 games after he had 63 points in 67 games. He is an offensive key to this team.

Nick Schmaltz (26) – Schmaltz had 59 points in 63 games last year and the team will need him to produce again this season.

Barrett Hayton (22) – After being excluded from this list last year, Hayton is back as he should be ready to take a step this season.

Jacob Chychrun ha