2022 NHL Mock Draft: Shane Wright takes first place in the post-lottery edition

Congratulations to the Montreal Canadiens team. They will both host the 2022 NHL draft and #1 pick, which is both a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, you can choose an entire category. On the other hand, there are enough expectations about who Montreal should choose that the pressure on this player will be particularly intense.

We now know the order in which the first 16 teams will be able to choose. The biggest winner of the lottery was the New Jersey Devils, who would now pick second place overall. Without a lottery win, New Jersey would have finished fifth. Instead, the Devils now have three of the Top 2 picks in the last six drafts.

In many ways the pressure on the Devils was off because I’m not sure widely respected #1 Shane Wright would have been the best for them with Jack Hughes and Nico Hescher in the middle already.

In addition, the Chicago Blackhawks will give up the sixth place pick in Columbus Blue Jackets as part of the Seth Jones trade. They would only keep the selection if he was in the top two. The Vegas Golden Knights ceded No. 16 to the Javalo Sabers in the Jack Eshel trade, as this was a top 10 protected pick.

Announcement – Continue reading below

So, if you’ve ever read my work, you know the exercises.

The dummy draft is not linked to my personal ratings. My final draft of my rankings will be out in about a month, but that’s what I think the teams will be doing given the information we have now.

There’s a lot of guesswork at this point, but we’re using things like draft directions, system needs, conversations about the Scouting world and whatever else we have at our disposal to give you the best sense of the way things are at the moment.

So here’s a quick mock draft of 16 teams coming out of the sweepstakes.

Announcement – Continue reading below

1. Montreal Canadiens: Shane Wright, C, Kingston Frontenac (OHL)

This year’s draft did not produce a “generation” player, but it has a high end good enough to make a positive impact in the draft. Habs has a strong #1 position on Nick Suzuki, but she can really use No. 2 dynamite. In the long run, Wright might be the best. He has good two-way abilities, fine hockey sense and a top scorer shot.

Habs fans may need to exercise some patience with Wright who didn’t progress at the level most of us expected given the U16 season at OHL. Not playing anywhere last year may play a role, but other players who missed last season were able to make even bigger strides. As of now, he’s the number one man, but don’t be shocked to learn that the consensus isn’t nearly as unanimous as most thought would come this season.

2. New Jersey Devils: Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, TPS (league)

Demons are in a great place at the second. The pressure stopped and I don’t think Wright would have been the best anyway. So now they can go in a lot of different directions. The best is probably to go with a winger with big goals who plays the game with strength and skill. I like Slavkowski a lot, but I’m still interested in his overall work this season because he hasn’t produced as much as the much-anticipated winger in La Liga this season. The Devils can bolster their front group with a large forward lead which also has a size they can use up front.

3. Arizona Coyotes: Logan Cooley, C, USA national under-18 team

The most dynamic player in this draft as far as I’m concerned, Cooley is checking a lot of boxes. He’s among the most explosive skaters in this draft and has blistering hands to match. The only thing Cooley doesn’t have is a great chassis, but I think he has the best potential among the attackers in this draft. The Coyotes could allow Cooley, who was named the best striker in the World Under-18 Championship, to develop in Minnesota before including him in the fold.

4. Seattle Kraken: Simon Nemec, RD, H.K. Nitra (Slovakia)

Kraken already has a top spot in Matty Beniers and now they can add a potential defense element at No. 4. Nemec has hovered around the top level of this draft, but he’s entered the top four conversation for a real way late this season. With 17 points in 19 playoffs in the Slovak Pro League, Nemec’s season continued to evolve and caused quite a stir. Some scouts deviated from the Under-18 team to watch Nemec in Slovakia and they were hugely impressed there. It has a top four on the upside with an upper pairing cap.

5. Philadelphia Flyers: Cutter Gauthier, LW, US National Under-18 Team

One of the fastest climbing players in the draft class, Gauthier has the size, good hands, high level shot and drive that allows him to win many fights. Pilots have some good pieces in their backend system, but they have a lot of work to do to make their front group more menacing. Gauthier could be the power wing that adds an item they probably don’t have enough of.

Announcement – Continue reading below

6. Columbus Blue Jackets (via Chicago): David Jerichek, RD, HC Plzen (Czech Republic)

Jerichek has been sidelined since he injured his knee. He has since come back and has played well enough to be the first Czech national team for the Men’s World Championship. He has excellent offensive instincts and good movement. The Blue Jackets have a blue streak with plenty of offensive talent, but Jiricek might be one of the best scoring threats among the defensive players in the past few years.

7. Ottawa Senators: Joakim Kemell, RW, JYP (league)

Will Kimmel slip that far? This is unlikely, but possible given the wide disparity in opinions about who the teams believe is at the top level. If it did, that would seem like an easy decision for Ottawa. They’ll add another dynamic wing and simply get the best player available if things break down right.

8. Detroit Red Wings: Danila Yurov, RW, Magnitogorsk (KHL)

As an organization that has not traditionally shied away from the top Russian players, I don’t expect that they will fear Yurov, who has been among the top potential players all season. He is tied to a one-year contract only in KHL. Red Wings couldn’t land someone who would immediately come into this range anyway. The only concern, aside from obvious geopolitical considerations, will be if Yorov gets enough ice time next season. When he played with the pro team, he could hardly see the ice. He’s been very good for the U20 league, so I hope he gets the proper development somehow.

9. Buffalo Sabers: Frank Nazar, C, US national under-18 team

Sabers will be filtered into a number of quality prospects in the next one or two seasons. This takes some of the pressure off this selection to speed up the process. By taking on a player like Nazar, the Sabers can let him go to Michigan as he develops and equips himself when the Buffalo needs him. Nizar is a particularly skilled and creative striker with a speed that relieves concerns about his size.

10. Anaheim Ducks: Kevin Korchinsky, LD, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

Ducks has a good long-term defensive man in the top pairing on right shot Jamie Drysdale, but he can boost that blue streak with a left puck drive. Korchinski is a 6-foot-2 back guard with top-level offensive ability and drives the disc at a high level. Still need to work on defense. But it will allow Anaheim to continue building a blue line that lifts the ice efficiently. Korchinski has been one of the true rookies in this category and just keeps building a case for himself to move up in the first round.

11. San Jose Sharks: Pavel Mintyukov, LD, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

The chance of picking an offensive defensive man who has scored 17 goals this season and has 62 points in 67 games would be too tempting to miss at this range. Mintyukov is an ordinary defender, but can he move pucks? As the sharks move away from some of the oldest, Mintyukov could help usher in a new era on the San Jose Blue Line.

Announcement – Continue reading below

12. Columbus Blue Jackets: Matthew Savoy, C, and Winnipeg Ice (WHL)

After capturing a senior defensive man with their previous pick in this delusion, the Blue Jackets could return to build their forward corps. Columbus significantly boosted his potential system with three preliminary rounds in the last draft. Now they have two top 12 picks and can continue to focus on highly skilled players. I don’t know Savoie will slip that far, but he has slipped a little bit during the season. However, he has earned 90 points in 65 games with Winnipeg and has shown some dynamic elements as well as high competition.

13. New York Islanders: Conor Geekie, C, Winnipeg ICE (WHL)

The islands have a bit of a less deep pipeline in the middle. Geekie has been fairly polarizing as he had a mediocre production and there are very reasonable concerns about his skating. However, Geekie has a high level of hockey feel and comes in at 6-foot-4, 205, while appearing as a solid six-center, two-way. He turned 18 in May and has taken a big step this season.

14. Winnipeg Jets: Jonathan Likremäki, right wing, Djurgardens (Sweden)

With most of the best defensemen on the board, I don’t think it would make sense for the planes to get here, necessarily. Having a legitimate scoring winger with sophisticated offensive instincts and a recent 15-point lead at the U18 World Championship would be a huge value at 14. I’m not overly convinced that Lekkerimaki will go long the way he is. Has risen. He had a great season, scoring seven goals in 26 SHL games and then dominating the U18s – after losing a month to illness. The Lekkerimaki fits very well with the way the Jets have played historically as well.

15. Vancouver Canucks: Rutger McGroarty, LW, US National Under-18 Team

If the Canucks had any desire to get grittier and stronger while not giving up so much to attack, McGroarty would make a lot of sense. Just shy of 6-foot-1 and over 200 pounds, he’s an absolute handful in front of the net. McGarraty can also score from distance with a high-quality shot. His foot speed is the biggest concern at this point because all his other gear translates positively to the NHL. It will be interesting to see how Patrick Alvin handles his first draft at the helm, especially since the Penguins rarely had their first manager during his tenure there.

Announcement – Continue reading below

16. Buffalo Sabers (via Vegas): Marco Casper, C, Rogel (Sweden)

An Austrian playing in Sweden, Kasper played a regular bout for the team that reached the SHL Final this season. Casper had only scored 11 points in 46 games, but scored six points in 13 games after the season ended. He has a good size and strength and can play with a nasty line. I think he climbs a lot of boards and looks like he could fit well into a mid-six of swordsmen in the future. Buffalo has a lot of hubs in the system, but I’m not sure they have one quite like Kasper.

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