Auston Matthews heads back to camp after wowing Maple Leafs fans at the World Cup. USATSI

One of the best parts of any NHL training camp is watching the rookies battle for spots. So few of the young players end up making the NHL roster out of camp, but as we've seen in recent years, the opportunities are starting to become available.

As the league continues to skew younger, the opportunities for impact roles for first- and second-year players are there. These next few weeks will determine which of the high-end rookies will at least make the opening-night roster. For those that can be sent back to junior, they might even get a chance to play up to nine games with their NHL club during the regular season.

The fun part about making this list is that there are so many other good, young players that are going to win NHL jobs this year that I couldn't squeeze on. The future of the NHL is bright thanks to a lot of these young prospects. Here's 20 to keep a particularly close eye on over these next few weeks.

Note: Penguins goalie Matt Murray will retain his rookie status for next season, but his injury is likely to keep him out for the remainder of training camp and if you watched the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year, you already know he's one to watch. For those reasons, he was left off the list.

1. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs: The No. 1 overall pick in 2016 has already dazzled Maple Leafs fans with his performance at the World Cup of Hockey. He showed in that tournament that he was more than ready to make the transition. He might not move up the depth chart in training camp, but would it be surprising to see him in the mix to be Toronto's No. 1 center by the all-star break? It would not be.

2. Patrik Laine, Winnipeg Jets: Laine was shut out at the World Cup of Hockey, but so was the rest of Finland basically. It shouldn't do much to negatively impact his outlook on the season considering he was an 18-year-old against the game's elite players. This is a guy who just dominated the Finnish pro league and the World Championship last year. It shouldn't take him long to make his presence felt in Winnipeg.

3. Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs: Marner wants to make it impossible for the Maple Leafs to send him back to junior and he just might succeed. The 19-year-old torched the OHL last season and has little left to prove, but the Maple Leafs are not in line to contend this season. It's always a tough call about burning years off of an entry-level contract, but he looks ready for the NHL now.

4. William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs: The embarrassment of riches the Maple Leafs have at the top of their prospect system includes Nylander, who remains rookie-eligible after appearing in just 22 games with Toronto last year. The 20-year-old Swede had 13 points in those 22 NHL games and lit up the AHL last year.

5. Dylan Strome, Arizona Coyotes: The 2015 No. 3 overall pick put together his second straight season of more than 100 points in the OHL. He remains eligible to be sent back to junior, but with the Coyotes clearing roster spots for their young guys, he should be on the full-time roster. He's a big part of Arizona's future and will be looking to take a big step while learning on the job this year.

6. Pierre-Luc Dubois, Columbus Blue Jackets: Selected third overall in last year's draft, Dubois has designs on making the Blue Jackets roster. He's no sure bet to do it, but he's going to try to make it tough on the team. Given where the Jackets are organizationally, it certainly wouldn't hurt him to send him back. That said, there is pressure to compete this year after last year's disaster and if he makes them better, he'll be with the big club.

7. Zach Werenski, Columbus Blue Jackets: After completing his sophomore season at Michigan, the talented puck-moving defenseman played a leading role for the Lake Erie Monsters (now called the Cleveland Monsters) as they won the AHL's Calder Cup last season. He was also a dominant player at the World Junior Championship last winter. If that Calder Cup run is any indication, he's got a shot to be a big-time player quickly.

8. Jesse Puljujarvi, Edmonton Oilers: After slipping to No. 4 in this year's draft, Puljujarvi is the natural long-term replacement for Taylor Hall. His performances at the World Junior and World Under-18 championships, both of which Finland won, were simply dominant. He also performed very well in Finland's top pro league. Puljujarvi shouldn't have to worry about making the team so much as he does establishing a more prominent role over the course of the season.

9. Michael Matheson, Florida Panthers: After appearing in three regular-season games and five postseason contests for the Panthers last season, Matheson retains his rookie status. Last spring, he shined brightly for a star-studded Team Canada in a gold-medal effort at the Men's World Championship last spring. The 22-year-old should work his way into a bigger role on Florida's revamped blue line this year.

10. Jimmy Vesey, New York Rangers: After all of the attention he received this summer following his spurning the Nashville Predators and Buffalo Sabres in favor of free agency, Vesey now has to fight for a roster spot in a crowded forward group for New York. He had a dominant rookie camp, which should have been expected for a 23-year-old high-end prospect. Now he has to prove it in NHL camp. The Hobey Baker winner should make things interesting.

Defenseman Ivan Provorov has a good chance at cracking the Flyers' lineup. USATSI

11. Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia Flyers: After absolutely dominating the WHL last season with 73 points in 62 games as a defenseman, Provorov has probably proven all he can at the junior level. The Flyers are going to give him an honest shot to make their lineup and the 19-year-old Russian has a good chance of making good on the opportunity. Adding another high-end youngster to a blue line that got such a boost from Shayne Gostisbehere last year could be fun to watch.

12. Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames: The No. 6 draft pick is going to make a case to make the Flames, but that doesn't mean he'll stick. Johnny Gaudreau not being in camp only improves Tkachuk's odds of making the opening-night roster and getting that 9-game tryout. He has that mix of skill and toughness that the Flames brass will surely value, but another year in junior might not hurt the son of former NHL star Keith Tkachuk.

13. Christian Dvorak, Arizona Coyotes: After a brilliant career with the London Knights, Dvorak will either be in the NHL or AHL this season. Even if it's the latter, it shouldn't be long before he has a chance to make an impact on the Coyotes roster. The 20-year-old helped captain the Knights to the Memorial Cup on a line with Marner and Tkachuk, while taking huge steps forward himself as a player. He had 52 goals and 121 points last season in the OHL.

14. Travis Konecny, Philadelphia Flyers: An underwhelming draft season that had some injury setbacks turned out to be fortunate for the Flyers. Konecny slipped to 24th overall and now looks to be one of the more exciting prospects in NHL camp this year. The 19-year-old had 101 points in the OHL last year and has NHL-level playmaking abilities. It wouldn't be totally surprising to see him make the Flyers out of camp.

15. Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes: He is not coming into camp with nearly the fanfare of the other two Finnish prospects on this list, but Aho could be an immediate impact player for Carolina this season. He was a point-per-game player in Finland's top pro league at 18 and an offensive force at the World Junior and Men's World Championships. Assuming he makes a quick adjustment to North American hockey, he has a chance to do some special things with a younger Hurricanes lineup.

17. Anthony Mantha, Detroit Red Wings: After appearing in 10 games with the Red Wings last year, Mantha should be well-prepared to compete for a bigger, longer chance this season. A dominant scorer in junior, he underwhelmed in his first pro season two years ago. He found his game more and more in the second pro season and scored two goals in his short NHL stint last year. The 6-foot-5 winger has all the traits to become a legit scorer at the pro level.

18. Nick Schmaltz, Chicago Blackhawks: A super-skilled winger on the NCAA champion North Dakota hockey team last year, Schmaltz may not end up making the Hawks right away, but he is an important prospect for them. He had 46 points in 37 games last year and is a high-end playmaker. AHL time certainly won't hurt him, but the holes in Chicago's lineup thrusts him into the competition for the opening-night lineup.

19. Pavel Buchnevich, New York Rangers: After waiting and wondering when he'd arrive, Buchnevich is set for his first stint in North America. He didn't put up awe-inspiring numbers in the KHL, but 87 points in 158 games as a young player in a higher-end pro league is still pretty darn good. The Rangers have a lot of young guys competing for spots, but Buchnevich didn't cross the pond for the minors. Look for him to compete for an opening-night roster spot.

20. Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets: After leading the nation in scoring last season as a freshman at Michigan, Connor made the decision to jump to pro hockey. The Jets have a bright future down the left wing as Laine, second-year forward Nikolaj Ehlers and Connor all play the left side. He has good size and the skill level is going to put him in the mix. The Jets don't have to rush Connor, but last season was eye-opening to his vast potential.

Bonus: Mikko Rantanen, Colorado Avalanche: After sustaining an ankle injury, Rantanen probably isn't going to get a chance to prove himself in training camp, but he should challenge for NHL time this year. The talented Finnish center was the AHL rookie of the year at 19 years old after putting up 60 points in 52 games.