2022 NHL Draft tracker — Round 1: Slafkovský and beyond
Some years, it’s painfully obvious who will be picked first overall in an NHL Draft. Heading into the first night of the 2022 NHL Draft, there was instead plenty of intrigue. In the end, the Montreal Canadiens selected Juraj Slafkovský overall to kick off the 2022 NHL Draft.
Of course, “Who goes No. 1?” wasn’t the only reason why there was intrigue heading into Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft. Hockey fans also feasted on trade rumors, and actual trades on Thursday.
The splashiest pre-draft trade featured the Senators landing Alex DeBrincat, sending the Blackhawks three picks, including No. 7 in 2022.
While the defending champion Avalanche might not be so focused on Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft, they also made a trade, acquiring goalie Alexandar Georgiev from the Rangers. There was also a key signing, as the Penguins locked down Kris Letang.
So, it’s already been a fascinating start to 2022 NHL Draft week(end). Stay tuned at PHT as the fun continues.
On that note, keep track of each pick from Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft with PHT’s tracker. This post will be updated as picks roll in on Thursday.
1. Montreal Canadiens: Juraj Slafkovský, LW, TPS (Liiga)
In PHT’s Mock Draft, Brock Otten of McKeen’s Hockey wrote this about Slafkovský, the first Slovakia native to go No. 1 overall:
Slafkovský brings size and skill to the Canadiens. He’s basically as big as the pressure he’ll face if Shane Wright and other potential top 2022 NHL Draft picks end up being consistent high-level players.
It’s a fascinating move, and could have interesting ripple effects on other picks.
2. New Jersey Devils: Šimon Nemec, D, HK Nitra (Svk)
Slafkovský ended up the first prospect from Slovakia to go first overall. Šimon Nemec went second, which happens to be the second-highest a prospect from Slovakia has ever gone (Marian Gaborik held the previous mark, third overall in 2000).
On plenty of draft lists, Nemec ranked as the top defenseman in the 2022 NHL Draft. Some, however, might prefer David Jiříček. However that debate plays out, the Devils address a serious need on defense.
3. Arizona Coyotes: Logan Cooley, C, USN U18 (USNTDP)
Will Scouch of McKeen’s Hockey connected Cooley with the Coyotes in PHT’s Mock Draft. This is some extremely glowing praise of a player who could very well create some excitement for a franchise that sorely needs it:
4. Seattle Kraken: Shane Wright, C, Kingston (OHL)
For a long time, Shane Wright topped boards as the expected No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. As the draft week approached, intrigue bubbled up. Between Wright and Matty Beniers, the Kraken’s two top prospects both have been described as “two-way centers.”
Via Sam McGilligan of McKeen’s Hockey:
5. Philadelphia Flyers: Cutter Gauthier, LW/C, USN U18 (USNTDP)
See that LW/C designation? Depending upon whom you ask, there’s a belief that Cutter Gauthier could move to center, instead of playing wing. Some believe that development pushed him up the 2022 NHL Draft ranks.
Either way, he brings obvious perks that appeal to the Flyers: size and snarl to go with his skill.
More from Brock Otten:
6. Columbus Blue Jackets (from CHI): David Jiříček, D, HC Plzeň (Cze)
Some believe that David Jiříček is the most promising defenseman in the 2022 NHL Draft, not Nemec. Otten opined that Jiříček “may offer the largest boom potential of any defender available this year.”
7. Chicago Blackhawks (from OTT) – Kevin Korchinski, D, Seattle (WHL)
Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson emphasized that Korchinski was the player he had in mind when making the DeBrincat trade.
8. Detroit Red Wings – Marco Kasper, C, Rögle BK (SHL)
The Red Wings added Kasper to their already-deep prospect pool. Plenty of scouts covet his competitive style.
At 8th overall, Red Wings once again go to the SHL: they pick Austrian C Marco Kasper. Speedy, competitive center man playing with Rögle. Was excellent in the playoffs— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) July 8, 2022
9. Buffalo Sabres – Matthew Savoie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)
Scouch believed that the Sabres would pick Savoie at ninth overall. While Scouch noted concerns about Savoie’s speed, he noted underrated defense, and plenty of pluses.
10. Anaheim Ducks – Pavel Mintyukov, D, Saginaw (OHL)
Otten acknowledges that Mintyukov needs to refine his defensive game, but “his offensive upside is through the roof due to his creativity and playmaking abilities.”
11. Arizona Coyotes (via SJS) – Conor Geekie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)
The Coyotes traded up for a center prospect who created some debate among different scouting staffs. Sam McGilligan described the range of possibilities for Geekie as “a fringe bottom six physical presence on one end and a polished top six monster with skill and size on the other.
12. Columbus Blue Jackets – Denton Mateychuk, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)
Denton Mateychuk could be an even bigger mystery. He’s one of the most polarizing prospects of the 2022 NHL Draft. Otten explains it succinctly.
13. Chicago Blackhawks (from MTL) – Frank Nazar, C, USN U18 (USNTDP)
Yet another player who inspires some real debate in scouting communities. Will Scouch captures some of the push-and-pull about Frank Nazar:
14. Winnipeg Jets – Rutger McGroarty, LW, USN U18 (USNTDP)
If nothing else, the Jets added a top-flight name to their mix. Otten described Rutger McGroarty as a “true power forward who can play in any situation” and become a fan favorite.
15. Vancouver Canucks – Jonathan Lekkerimäki, RW, Djurgårdens (SWE J20)
Habs Eyes on the Prize’s Jared Book put together a “consensus” mock draft for the 2022 NHL Draft, collecting 15 lists. Lekkerimäki averaged out as a possible ninth pick, and was in that 9-12 range in general.
Rob Howard showered Lekkerimäki with praise:
16. Buffalo Sabres (from VGK) – Noah Östlund, C, Djurgardens (SWE J20)
Howard describes a player who brings a lot to the table, if he can overcome size limitations.
A very intelligent playmaker and offensive creator, there are not many players with as solid a skill set, combining elite vision with clever stickhandling, precise passing and a gift for finding opportunities. Size registers as a concern, and his ability to handle the physical game at a higher level, but the home run potential at this stage of the draft is just too tempting to pass up.
Consider Östlund another key part of the Jack Eichel trade alongside Peyton Krebs and Alex Tuch.
17. Nashville Predators – Joakim Kemell, RW, JYP (Liiga)
At different times, Joakim Kemell seemed primed to go quite a bit higher than No. 17. Book’s aggregated consensus averaged him out to sixth.
Most of the nitpicking seems to revolve around Joakim Kemell as a higher pick. In this spot, seems like promising value for the Predators.
#Preds select Joakim Kemell 17th overall. I ranked him 4th overall.— Patrick Bacon (@TopDownHockey) July 8, 2022
Kemell scored at an excellent rate in Liiga - just under double the rate that 1st overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky did in the same league. Nashville snagging him here is the best value pick of the draft so far. pic.twitter.com/Tmjf0bRrGf
18. Dallas Stars – Lian Bichsel, D, Leksands (SHL)
While Kemell slipped, Bischel might have climbed a little higher than expected?
19. Minnesota (from LAK) – Liam Öhgren, LW, Djurgårdens (SWE J20)
In the PHT Mock Draft that tabbed Öhgren to the Wild at 19, Sam McGilligan of McKeen’s Hockey wrote the following:
20. Washington Capitals -- Ivan Miroshnichenko, LW, Omskie Krylya (VHL)
Brock Otten called Miroshnichenko “the ultimate” wild card in the 2022 NHL Draft. Otten explained why:
21. Pittsburgh Penguins – Owen Pickering, D, Swift Current (WHL)
A few days ago, The Athletic’s Corey Pronman wrote that Owen Pickering “projects as a second or third pair defenseman depending on how much the offense translates.”
22. Anaheim Ducks (from BOS) – Nathan Gaucher, C, Québec (QMJHL)
Brock Otten described Nathan Gaucher as “ideal pro player for today’s playoffs” and possibly a “perfect lockdown third-line center.”
23. St. Louis Blues – Jimmy Snuggerud, RW, USN U18 (USNTDP)
Another wonderfully named player, Jimmy Snuggerud is someone Otten pegs as a possible “middle-six fixture in the future.”
#stlblues select Jimmy Snuggerud 23rd overall. I ranked him 32nd overall.— Patrick Bacon (@TopDownHockey) July 8, 2022
Snuggerud scored at a decent but unspectacular rate in the USDP in each of the past two years. His size makes him a relatively safe pick, and okay value here. pic.twitter.com/zEB1SqVexE
24. Minnesota Wild – Danila Yurov, RW, Stalnye Lisy (MHL)
Brock Otten viewed Danila Yurov as “a top five talent this year when you eliminate politics” and that was if it was at No. 14. So, the Wild grabbing Yurov here at 24 looks like impressive work.
25. Chicago Blackhawks (from TOR) -- Sam Rinzel, D, Chaska (HIGH-MN)
An interesting call by the Blackhawks after receiving a pick to take on Petr Mrazek’s contract in a trade with the Maple Leafs.
#Blackhawks select Sam Rinzel 25th overall. I ranked him 126th overall.— Patrick Bacon (@TopDownHockey) July 8, 2022
Rinzel is a big boy who did fine in USHS-MN, but didn't really tear that league up, an he scored under half a point per game in the USHL. His profile is that of low-scoring defenseman that rarely pans out. pic.twitter.com/bF5JautnMq
26. Montreal Canadiens (from CGY) – Filip Mešár, C, HK Poprad (Svk)
The Slovakia - Montreal Canadiens connection continues with Filip Mešár. Brock Otten described him this way:
27. Sharks (multiple teams, last from Coyotes) -- Filip Bystedt, C, Linkoping (SWEDEN)
Look out, it’s a run on Filips. Anyway, Bystedt didn’t make the top 32 in the PHT Mock Draft, but averaged to 43 by Habs Eyes on The Prize’s consensus. Some ratings put Bystedt even lower:
#SJSharks select Filip Bystedt 27th overall. I ranked him 89th overall.— Patrick Bacon (@TopDownHockey) July 8, 2022
Bystedt scored at a decent, but unspectacular rate in the Superlit league, and scored very little in the U18 WJCs and the SHL. His big body doesn't justify the lack of scoring at this point in the draft. pic.twitter.com/0HqnbwYbWr
28. Buffalo Sabres (from FLA) – Jiří Kulich, C, Karlovy Vary (Cze)
Rob Howard broke down what he brings to the table:
29. Coyotes (from EDM) -- Maveric Lamoureux, D, Drummondville (QMJHL)
The Coyotes fixated on size with Maveric Lamoureux.
No disrespect to Maveric Lamoureux but this the type of pick that rarely works out to something notable. Older prospect, very low production (even as a D). The upside is often a bottom pairing dman with players that profile like this. A risky 1st rounder. pic.twitter.com/aj0ipUZom8— Byron Bader (@ByronMBader) July 8, 2022
Then again, maybe they’re counting on the entertainment value of his parents?
30. Winnipeg Jets (from NYR) – Brad Lambert, C, JYP-Pelicans (Liiga)
One of the most dramatic drops in Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft, this side of Shane Wright.
Expected him to go somewhere late in the 1st round and there he goes. 2-3 years ago Brad Lambert was considered a top 3 prospect for the 2022 draft. His production in the Liiga in his pre-draft year and draft year was so low that he fell well back. pic.twitter.com/BmOxlfthua— Byron Bader (@ByronMBader) July 8, 2022
Will Scouch vouched for Brad Lambert, opining that “nobody combines skill and speed better, and nobody had as unlucky and mystifying a season as Lambert.”
Could be interesting to see how Lambert turns out.
31. Tampa Bay Lightning – Isaac Howard, LW, USN U18 (USDP)
The Lightning only get so many first-rounders, but it’s possible they really made it count. Isaac Howard carries some heavy “steal” potential.
#GoBolts select Isaac Howard 31st overall. I ranked him 5th overall.— Patrick Bacon (@TopDownHockey) July 8, 2022
Howard is a high-ceiling forward who scored at an excellent rate in the USDP and the USHL in each of the last two years. His size isn't enough to change that Tampa made an excellent selection here. pic.twitter.com/tQ1l0NE3AM
No, this isn’t just because of his outfit.
32. Oilers (from Coyotes via COL) -- Reid Schaefer, Seattle (WHL)
Finally, the Oilers closed out Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft with Reid Schaefer. It seems like he wasn’t expected to go in the first round: