Last week we projected the primary 17 picks with the assistance of our workers of writers. Today I’m releasing my very own preliminary projection of how I believe the primary spherical of the 2022 NHL Draft will go.

As most NHL groups haven’t but had year-end conferences to place collectively their lists, this mock just isn’t as intel-based as future iterations will probably be. Rather, I’ve tried to plug gamers in the place I believe it is sensible based mostly on expertise and match, and the place I’m listening to they’re being projected range-wise across the league.

1. Montreal Canadiens: Shane Wright, C, Kingston-OHL

While Wright has been No. 1 on most scouts’ lists all season, he isn’t on everybody’s, and this choose will probably be a debate over the following two months. Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky and USNTDP middle Logan Cooley have professional claims to this slot. As of now Wright stays the favourite, however that might change.

2. New Jersey Devils: Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, TPS-Liiga

New Jersey is a uncommon group choosing on this vary with no clear want for a middle. Cooley might very moderately be one of the best participant obtainable at this slot, however I believe a slight majority of scouts will say Slafkovsky is. He would look superb subsequent to Jack Hughes for the following decade.

3. Arizona Coyotes: Logan Cooley, C, USNTDP-USHL

Arizona’s ranging from scratch, and getting a possible first line middle is an effective way to begin this iteration of the rebuild. I might think about whichever of the highest three prospects will get right here will probably be the Coyotes’ choose.

4. Seattle Kraken: Simon Nemec, RHD, Nitra-Slovakia

Seattle added a possible first line middle within the 2021 draft in Matty Beniers and could possibly be in place now so as to add a possible high pair defenseman in Nemec or David Jiricek. In a ballot of scouts it’s a close to coin flip between the 2, with a slight majority preferring Nemec proper now after an important postseason in Slovakia. The World Championships might change that although.

5. Philadelphia Flyers: David Jiricek, RHD, Plzen-Czechia

Jiricek or Nemec make plenty of sense for a rebuilding Flyers group that lacks a real premium younger middle or protection expertise developing with Nolan Patrick’s improvement not going as deliberate.

6. Columbus Blue Jackets: Cutter Gauthier, LW/C, USNTDP-USHL

Gauthier is the highest contender to interrupt into the highest 5, as he has followers within the scouting world who assume he’s a transparent high 5 choose, if not a high 3, whereas some aren’t as near offered. If he doesn’t go high 5 he received’t final lengthy, as a tall, fast, expert, aggressive ahead who can play the center or wing.

Joakim Kemell (RvS.Media / Basile Barbey / Getty Images)

7. Ottawa Senators: Joakim Kemell, RW, JYP-Liiga

Kemell isn’t the largest winger, however he’s a extremely gifted goal-scorer who can drive the play. He has plenty of ability, but in addition provides a excessive compete stage Ottawa usually covets of their draft picks. Gauthier might very properly be of their combine as properly.

8. Detroit Red Wings: Marco Kasper, C, Rogle-SHL

Detroit’s want for a middle is well-documented and Kasper seems like a possible high two line middle. Some could also be stunned to see Kasper’s identify this excessive, however he’s trending on this vary with some groups and a robust World Championships is just serving to that argument.

9. Buffalo Sabres: Matthew Savoie, C/RW, Winnipeg-WHL

Buffalo doesn’t have a lot developing the center, however their middle depth chart is stable sufficient. Savoie matches this slot on expertise, and whereas he has an opportunity to stay down the center within the NHL, he’s in all probability a winger.

10. Anaheim Ducks: Kevin Korchinski, LHD, Seattle-WHL

Korchinski’s identify has been buzzing of late after a robust WHL playoffs. As a 6-2, cellular, extremely expert defenseman he has change into the favourite to be the third defenseman chosen. Anaheim might use one other high protection prospect to construct with Jamie Drysdale and Olen Zellweger.

11. San Jose Sharks: Jonathan Lekkerimaki, RW, Djurgarden-SHL

I might see any of Savoie, Korchinski or Lekkerimaki making sense for the Sharks. Lekkerimaki would add a high-skill and goal-scoring risk there isn’t plenty of up within the Sharks depth chart. That he was SHL teammates with their 2021 first spherical choose William Eklund is a humorous coincidence.

12. Columbus Blue Jackets: Pavel Mintyukov, LHD, Saginaw-OHL

Mintyukov belongs right here on expertise, however the query in NHL circles is the place he finally ends up given his passport despite the fact that he performed in North America. There appears much less concern on him than Russians taking part in in Russia, albeit not zero concern. The premium protection expertise runs out rapidly, and if the Blue Jackets wish to add some kind of high blue line expertise Mintyukov makes probably the most sense. If they find yourself with one in all Nemec/Jiricek I might see this choose as Geekie as a substitute.

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Conor Geekie (Chris Tanouye / Getty Images)

13. New York Islanders: Conor Geekie, C, Winnipeg-WHL

Where Geekie finally ends up will probably be one of many extra attention-grabbing issues to observe on this draft. Some scouts imagine he must be a high 8 lock, whereas others really feel he’s extra of a teenagers choose. As a 6-foot-3 middle with legit offense, I don’t count on he’ll final that lengthy even when he didn’t have the massive season some anticipated on a loaded Winnipeg ICE membership. The Islanders have good middle depth, however Geekie is one of the best participant obtainable right here. If Lekkerimaki received to 13 I might see him as an important match for the Islanders too.

14. Winnipeg Jets: Frank Nazar, C, USNTDP-USHL

Winnipeg has drafted two listed facilities within the first spherical in Chaz Lucius and Cole Perfetti who’re in all probability wings within the NHL, however Nazar has an opportunity to stay down the center on account of his nice pace and compete regardless of his dimension. He’s received a little bit of variance in opinions across the business, with some within the NHL seeing him as a high ten choose and others extra as a 15-25 choose.

15. Vancouver Canucks: Brad Lambert, RW, Pelicans-Liiga

Where Lambert finally ends up will probably be one in all extra attention-grabbing elements of draft weekend. Some scouts are nonetheless large believers within the participant and a few don’t wish to get near him. He’s received a ton of expertise and Vancouver doesn’t have anybody developing who can break open a shift like Lambert can so I can see them being a candidate for him.

16. Buffalo Sabres: Danila Yurov, RW, Magnitogorsk-KHL

Where Yurov goes will probably be probably the most debated elements of the leadup to the draft. He’s an agreed high 10 participant on expertise within the league, however as a Russian participant taking part in in Russia, whether or not he can safe a visa is a priority for league personnel. As a group with a number of firsts, Buffalo is sensible to take an opportunity with this choose, whether or not it’s on Yurov or a participant like Lambert. If not right here I can see Yurov going someplace within the second half of the primary spherical.

17. Nashville Predators: Denton Mateychuk, LHD, Moose Jaw-WHL

Nashville hasn’t used a high two spherical choose on a defenseman since 2016 so I can definitely see them seeking to improve their system there. Mateychuk and Owen Pickering each make plenty of sense round this vary.

18. Dallas Stars: Rutger McGroarty, LW, USNTDP-USHL

The Dallas farm system is in a great place proper now with no evident want. I might see a defenseman right here like Pickering or Mateychuk, however McGroarty would additionally make plenty of sense as a extremely expert, aggressive goal-scorer to complete off the performs Wyatt Johnston and Mavrik Bourque will make.

19. Los Angeles Kings: Jiri Kulich, LW, Karlovy Vary-Czechia

The Kings have a deep prospect pool and no apparent positional want on account of that. Kulich is arguably one of the best participant obtainable at 19 per some scouts, particularly following his excellent U18 Worlds the place he was named MVP of the match.

20. Washington Capitals: Lian Bichsel, LHD, Leksands-SHL

Bichsel is a reputation trending with plenty of NHL groups, and a high 20 choose is totally within the playing cards for a 6-foot-5 defenseman who skates properly sufficient and offers physicality with first go offense. I might see him or Pickering make sense on the Capitals spot.

21. Pittsburgh Penguins: Luca Del Bel Belluz, C, Mississauga-OHL

The Penguins haven’t drafted excessive a lot within the first spherical in order that they have a ton of wants of their system. Centers like Del Bel Belluz and Nathan Gaucher in addition to blueliners make plenty of sense right here. They don’t have a ton coming offensively within the system and Del Bel Belluz can present a serious ability and scoring improve.

22. Edmonton Oilers: Owen Pickering, LHD, Swift Current-WHL

The Oilers have used first spherical picks lately on defensemen Philip Broberg and Evan Bouchard however you’ll be able to by no means have too many huge large, cellular defensemen who can transfer the puck, and that’s what Pickering is even when the offense isn’t unimaginable.  I might see him or Bichsel as choices right here for Edmonton.

23. Anaheim Ducks: Jimmy Snuggerud, RW, USNTDP-USHL

Snuggerud’s projected draft slot has been powerful to nail down, as I’ve heard some sources say he might go properly into the teenagers, however others view him extra as a 20s sort of choose. I lean to the latter. With the Ducks getting Korchinski at 10, including a goal-scorer with dimension to place subsequent to Trevor Zegras or Mason McTavish can be a pleasant first spherical for them.

24. St. Louis Blues: Nathan Gaucher, C, Quebec-QMJHL

I believe the Blues system might actually use a defenseman however I don’t see the board lining up properly to take one on expertise if draft goes like this. Their system might additionally use a real middle, and Gaucher matches at 24. He can complement the expert gamers they’ve on their roster and within the system by offering onerous minutes and dimension down the center. That he’s teammates with fellow Blues first spherical choose Zachary Bolduc can also be only a coincidence.

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Ivan Miroshnichenko (RvS.Media / Monika Majer / Getty Images)

25. Tampa Bay Lightning: Ivan Miroshnichenko, LW, Avangard-VHL

Miroshnichenko has been making constructive progress in his struggle in opposition to Hodgkin’s lymphoma and perception round league is he might nonetheless find yourself being a late day 1 choose or early day 2 choose. Tampa hasn’t had many picks lately or saved that many prospects, so it might be a extremely intriguing choice to them to try to add a high expertise later within the draft.

26. New York Rangers: Noah Ostlund, C, Djurgarden-Sweden Jr.

Ostlund often is the prospect with the biggest variance amongst groups proper now. I’ve talked to scouts who assume he’s a high 15 choose and a few who don’t see him as a day 1 choose. The Rangers have plenty of good younger gamers coming, however a middle is their one evident want within the system. Ostlund would offer ability, pace and compete down the center even when he lacks dimension.

27. Minnesota Wild: Liam Ohgren, LW, Djurgarden-Sweden Jr.

The Wild have performed a great job in current drafts addressing positional wants internally at middle, protection and goaltender. Wingers corresponding to Ohgren or Isaac Howard are in all probability one of the best gamers obtainable at this slot. Ohgren would offer a mix of ability, goal-scoring and compete to the lineup.

28. Toronto Maple Leafs: Isaac Howard, LW, USNTDP-USHL

Howard, Ostlund and Slovakian winger Filip Mesar matches the excessive ability/IQ mentality that Toronto often drafts by and could possibly be choices for them at 28. Howard isn’t the largest or quickest participant, however he’s one of many extra purely expert gamers within the draft.

29. Montreal Canadiens: Filip Bystedt, C, Linkoping-SHL

Bystedt has been a reputation trending in scout circles for the previous couple of months, and a few sources have felt he’s been a primary rounder because the fall. He’s not filled with spotlight reels, however he’s a 6-foot-3 middle who can skate and has some offense, so there’s loads to dream on. He together with Wright and Nick Suzuki might solidify the Habs middle depth for some time.

30. Arizona Coyotes: Sam Rinzel, RHD, Chaska-US High School

Rinzel has been a reputation I’ve heard floated as a late first/early second candidate for some time. He’s received a methods to go development-wise, however the toolkit is superior as a 6-foot-4 defenseman who skates properly for his dimension and exhibits some offense. He’d be a great swing for Arizona’s second first spherical choose.

31. Arizona Coyotes: Owen Beck, C, Mississauga-OHL

Beck is a little bit of a boring first spherical choose, however he presents plenty of NHL traits on account of his skating, two-way play and does supply some offense too. He’s received an opportunity to be a 3rd line middle within the NHL which if he hits on that will be good worth on the 31 slot.

32. Buffalo Sabres: Reid Schaefer, LW, Seattle-WHL

Schaefer’s been a reputation trending in NHL circles within the second half. He’s an enormous, bodily winger who offers some offense and of completion and I might say has a 50/50 likelihood to be a primary rounder. He would complement plenty of the expert guys within the Sabres system with a special model of play.

(Illustration: Wes McCabe / The Athletic; Photos: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images; RvS.Media / Basile Barbey / Getty Images; Lawrence Iles / Icon Sportswire through Getty Images)

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