The lottery balls have fallen into place: The high of the NHL Draft order begins with the Montreal Canadiens at No. 1, the New Jersey Devils at No. 2 and the Arizona Coyotes at No. 3.

To offer you a take a look at how issues may play out, The Athletic’s NHL writers made picks for each lottery staff (plus the Nashville Predators, freshly eradicated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, who will decide at No. 17). A full first-round mock draft will comply with subsequent week.

Prospect author Corey Pronman audited their picks. He additionally sought suggestions from NHL scouts.

The 2022 NHL Entry Draft will happen in Montreal on July 7 and eight.

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

OK, so Wright isn’t the thrilling prospect you’d count on so as to add with the highest decide within the draft, however there’s no level wishing for a franchise participant when there isn’t one accessible. I see Wright as a bit like Nico Hischier in his draft 12 months, though there may not be Cale Makars and Elias Petterssons after him like there was behind Hischier in 2017.

While Wright’s respectable season in Kingston raises questions on his true offensive upside, the Habs additionally want to have a look at what his flooring is. Wright is very prone to grow to be an excellent NHL participant and a first-line centerman, and a adequate participant to assist the Habs construct a one-two punch at middle that might at some point resemble the Patrice Bergeron-David Krejci years in Boston (though, let’s be clear, Shane Wright is just not Patrice Bergeron).

A extra electrifying prospect might trace to greater potential or pizzazz, however would he have pretty much as good an opportunity of reaching his ceiling as Wright? Montreal merely doesn’t have the posh of constructing a mistake with this decide and Wright is usually a nice constructing block for them. —MA Godin

2. New Jersey Devils: Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, Tps (FINLAND)

The Devils have their top-six middle depth thanks to 2 earlier No. 1 total picks in Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. With the second total decide, New Jersey has choices. There’s fairly a couple of expert defenders to select from — or possibly they’re enticed by Slafkovsky, the most effective winger within the draft. That would give them the chance to handle a official space of want whereas holding onto the draft decide that Tom Fitzgerald hasn’t dominated out transferring … for a excessive impression ahead. Having this success within the draft lottery may change his tune because it offers the Devils the prospect to usher in an influence ahead who may emerge right into a core participant alongside both of their cornerstone facilities. —Shayna Goldman

Logan Cooley (Rena Laverty / U.S. NTDP)

3. Arizona Coyotes: Logan Cooley, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)

I believe the Coyotes, given the make-up of their staff and prospect pool, are among the many groups drafting on the high who’re almost certainly to pick out one of many high two defensemen, Simon Nemec and David Jiricek. But if Cooley is on the board, they’ll have a good harder time passing on the potential middle of the long run — and a participant who would, stylistically, complement wingers like Clayton Keller and high prospect Dylan Guenther fantastically. Cooley, who will play on the University of Minnesota subsequent 12 months, is a possible one-and-done participant who performs the sport with pace and creativity within the guts of the ice. —Scott Wheeler

4. Seattle Kraken: David Jiricek, RHD, Plzen (CZREP)

Look all through the group. The Kraken solely have one right-handed capturing prospect defenseman, and that’s final 12 months’s fourth-round decide Ville Ottavainen. Drafting David Jiricek would give them one other right-handed shot with a 6-foot-3 body. He’s spent the final two seasons enjoying in opposition to older, extra bodily mature competitors within the Extraliga, the best division of Czech hockey. The 18-year-old completed the common season with 5 targets and 11 factors in 29 video games after scoring 9 factors in 34 contests a 12 months earlier. Jiricek is taken into account to be the No. 1 defensive prospect within the draft, in line with The Athletic’s Corey Pronman. Knowing the Kraken would possibly add him to a younger core that already options Matty Beniers, Ryker Evans, Ryan Winterton and Ottavainen probably provides extra promise. Of course, the Kraken may go in any variety of instructions. They may go together with one other right-handed capturing defenseman in Simon Nemec or a ahead. Especially if Logan Cooley is obtainable at No. 4 when the draft arrives. —Ryan S. Clark

5. Philadelphia Flyers: Simon Nemec, RHD, Nitra (SLOVAKIA)

While the Flyers may actually use a dynamic, top-of-the-lineup ahead, Nemec strikes me as the most effective mixture of expertise plus want accessible to them at No. 5. Nemec completely has top-pair potential, given his well-rounded skillset and the truth that he’s already thriving in opposition to males in Slovakia. Philadelphia scouts doubtless shall be impressed by his hockey IQ (at all times one thing they prioritize of their evaluations), and his scoring explosion within the Slovakian Elite League playoffs (17 factors in 19 video games) speaks to his offensive upside. The indisputable fact that he’s a right-handed defenseman is only a bonus, however it’s an vital bonus given the dearth of them within the NHL and inside the Flyers’ system, particularly given the official considerations surrounding Ryan Ellis’ well being. Nemec would function a possible high-end answer to a roster concern they’ve been making an attempt to resolve for years. —Charlie O’Connor


Matthew Savoie (Photo courtesy Winnipeg Ice)

6. Columbus Blue Jackets: Matthew Savoie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)

The Blue Jackets have been underskilled and unsettled at middle ice for many of their existence, however the 2021 and ’22 draft might lastly change that.

Savoie (5-10) doesn’t have basic No. 1 middle measurement, however he has a game-changer’s pace and ability set together with an NHL shot. He performs with a chip on his shoulder, too, and normal supervisor Jarmo Kekalainen has a tender spot for these guys.

There was no probability the Blue Jackets may stand up on the board for Shane Wright or Logan Cooley, so that they took the third-ranked middle on most scouts’ lists. Cooley tasks as a top-six participant.

The Blue Jackets drafted Kent Johnson at No. 5 and Cole Sillinger at No. 12 in final 12 months’s draft. Sillinger performed middle in Columbus as an 18-year-old this season and certain appears to be like like a budding top-six expertise. He had 16-15-31 and was surprisingly constant defensively. Johnson performed completely on the wing on the finish of this season, however coaches and administration insist he’ll get a glance within the center finally. He is a playmaker extraordinaire however must bulk up significantly to play within the center. The drafting of Savoie makes it more and more doubtless that Johnson may stay on the wing. He may finally push Boone Jenner again to left wing, too, after the captain performed within the center out of necessity. —Aaron Portzline

7. Ottawa Senators: Joakim Kemell, RW, Jyp (FINLAND)

The Senators have by no means picked within the No. 7 slot earlier than, and I do suppose there’s a probability they might commerce this decide for some instant assist earlier than the draft. In the previous, the identify that may have jumped out to me would have been Frank Nazar, as a result of he appears to test a whole lot of containers of what the Sens have drafted lately.

But I do suppose this group goes to want some high-end expertise up entrance, in order I take a look at our mock draft up so far, I’m inclined to lean in direction of Joakim Kemell on this spot. Kemell exploded out of the gates together with his membership staff in Finland in October, changing into the youngest participant in Liiga historical past to earn the league’s participant of the month award. He was main all the league in targets (12) and factors (16) when a shoulder damage sidelined him in November. From there, he wasn’t capable of rediscover his early season magic, however many scouts imagine he has the pace and ability that can permit him to be a productive top-six winger within the NHL.

Again, as we transfer nearer to the draft, I feel we must always count on to listen to extra chatter in regards to the Sens being open to buying and selling this decide. But for now, let’s plug in Kemell to Ottawa right here. —Ian Mendes

8. Detroit Red Wings: Cutter Gauthier, C/LW, USA U-18 (NTDP)

The Red Wings actually may have used one of many potential top-line facilities on the high of this class, as that place stays one of many weakest spots of their group behind Dylan Larkin. There are “purer” middle choices accessible right here in Marco Kasper, Frank Nazar and Conor Geekie, however Gauthier performed some middle earlier this season and has a minimum of an opportunity to play there on the subsequent stage. Whether he sticks down the center or finally ends up on the wing, although, his software equipment is spectacular, as a swift skating 6-foot-2 sniper. —Max Bultman

9. Buffalo Sabres: Jonathan Lekkerimaki, RW, Djurgarden (SWEDEN)

All issues equal, the Sabres would doubtless desire a middle with their choice (given what they have already got approaching the flanks in Jack Quinn and J.J. Peterka, and probably even Isak Rosen, final 12 months’s second first rounder). I thought of Frank Nazar and Conor Geekie right here. But Lekkerimaki, one of many extra dynamic gamers on this draft class no matter place, is broadly considered as the higher prospect. I feel the Sabres will doubtless get the most effective worth going after a winger with their first decide (a minimum of if middle Matthew Savoie, who could also be there, is gone) and a middle or defenseman with their second, even when they’d need to goal the latter positions extra aggressively. —Scott Wheeler

10. Anaheim Ducks: Marco Kasper, C, Rogle (SWEDEN)

Cutter Gauthier was a goal if he fell, however the massive winger with pace and an enormous shot was snapped up, so the Ducks may go in several instructions given the necessity for higher-end expertise up entrance and on the blue line within the system.

First-year GM Pat Verbeek desires extra measurement on his membership, however he additionally actually desires gamers who will covet the puck with the sort of tenacity he did all through his stellar profession. Kasper, 17, already has a strong 6-foot-1, 187-pound body and is an excellent skater who doesn’t lack in compete. He has a nostril for the web and has proven with Rögle of the SHL that he’s obtained a deft contact in terms of tipping level photographs.

Now it’s doable that Verbeek may store this decide and search extra instant assist for his roster or transfer down a couple of spots to choose up some further belongings. Speedy middle Frank Nazar or offensive-minded defenseman Pavel Mintyukov may nonetheless be mendacity round at a decrease place, and Anaheim may get one and have an additional high-round decide to dangle in a commerce package deal. But even with the middle place theoretically set in Anaheim, Kasper could be a nice decide to current choices towards both having him on the wing or transferring both Trevor Zegras or Mason McTavish there down the road to strengthen total groupings.

11. San Jose Sharks: Brad Lambert, C, Pelicans (FINLAND)

Whether or not the Sharks have a brand new GM by the draft stays to be seen. There had been a couple of attention-grabbing prospects accessible at No. 11, together with a pair of fellows who had been ranked greater early on throughout the course of for this draft class – Lambert and Ivan Miroshnichenko. Two of San Jose’s latest first-round picks – Ryan Merkley and William Eklund – had been additionally gamers who had been ranked greater than they had been drafted (for various causes). The Sharks may tab Lambert right here with the hope that his high-end skating potential will get him to the NHL quickly, and the membership’s improvement employees will help ease among the points that led to his slide from as soon as being thought-about a possible top-3 choice on this class. —Corey Masisak

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Conor Geekie (Chris Tanouye / Getty Images)

12. Columbus Blue Jackets: Conor Geekie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)

The Blue Jackets gave severe consideration to drafting Conor Geekie with the No. 6 total decide however as an alternative went with the speedy, expert Savoie. Geekie is a middle, too, however a completely totally different participant.

Geekie is the sort of massive (6-4, 205 kilos) expert middle that NHL golf equipment normally covet, which is why it was a pleasing shock to see him nonetheless on the board at No. 12. When he’s performed rising he’s anticipated to hit 6-5, 225 kilos. Imagine him on a line with Patrik Laine.

The Blue Jackets, as famous above, are determined to repair their middle ice place. But additionally they want some measurement, some muscle, some snarl of their lineup after getting abused at instances this season. Geekie can deliver that component, too.

The one grievance about Geekie is his skating. But the instruments are there for him to be an impression participant. —Aaron Portzline

13. New York Islanders: Danila Yurov, RW, Magnitogorsk (RUSSIA)

There’s most likely simply pretty much as good of an opportunity that the Islanders use this decide as commerce bait for a longtime NHL veteran, as normal supervisor Lou Lamoriello has mentioned on a number of events that he’ll be pursuing trades within the offseason, doubtless for a left-shot defenseman to pair with Noah Dobson and a scoring winger.

But in the event that they preserve it, contemplating their prospect pool is fairly barren for the time being, they need to most likely simply merely goal the most effective ahead or defenseman accessible at this stage of the primary spherical. They may use extra depth within the system at each place. So, the decide right here is winger Danila Yurov, a playmaking winger who spent final 12 months in Russia. He would arguably be the Islanders’ greatest prospect upon his arrival, relying on what you consider middle Aatu Raty, who may conceivably problem for an NHL roster spot subsequent season however remains to be removed from a certain factor. —Kevin Kurz

14. Winnipeg Jets: Frank Nazar, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)

The board has damaged excellent to provide Winnipeg a tricky resolution. Dominion City, Manitoba-born defenseman Denton Mateychuk remains to be accessible after a standout season for Moose Jaw. The five-foot-11 Mateychuk performed massive minutes and scored at a degree per recreation, excelling in transition and including a dynamic layer to the Warriors’ offence. Drafting Mateychuk may make sense for the Jets past his native roots — it may permit Winnipeg to package deal equally expert and undersized defenseman Ville Heinola for extra instant assist.

Other extremely ranked defensemen on the board embrace easy skating six-foot-two Pavel Mintyukov and six-foot-two Seattle Thunderbird Kevin Korchinski, however Winnipeg chooses the speediest middle accessible: 5-foot-10 Frank Nazar from the US National Development Team Program.

Nazar is a top-10 rated expertise recognized for his blazing pace, willingness to assault from the center of the ice, and the 70 factors he put up for the U.S. under-18 staff this season. Nazar is dedicated to the University of Michigan subsequent season — a high NCAA program — the place he’ll look to provide offence together with his mixture of high-end competitiveness and top-flight pace. —Murat Ates

15. Vancouver Canucks: Nathan Gaucher, C, Quebec (QMJHL)

The Vancouver Canucks want mainly all the pieces of their comparatively barren prospect system.

Even with sub-6-foot defenders like Quinn Hughes and Jack Rathbone within the system, the membership can’t overlook the likes of Kevin Korchinski and Denton Mateychuk in the event that they’re the most effective gamers accessible.

Centermen like Jiri Kulich and Nathan Gaucher will maintain vital attraction too, as would extra rugged scoring wingers like Jimmy Snuggerud and Rutger McGroarty.

There’s doubtless a few extra dynamic items that went forward of fifteenth on this mock that the Canucks would have their eye on, however the group feels that there’s not a ton of separation between the fifth-overall choice and the fifteenth on this specific draft class. I feel they’ll critically take into account buying and selling down too, as a way of including further picks in an effort to handle the numerous hole of their prospect pipeline.

I’ve determined to mock them choosing Gaucher for now. Gaucher is a 6-foot-3 defensive-oriented centerman out of the QMJHL with good ft for his measurement and respectable arms. Gaucher is the decide partly as a result of I’ve heard that the group fairly admires the participant (though fifteenth total could be a bit wealthy for him), and partly as a result of it’s a excessive upside decide in the midst of the primary spherical. —Thomas Drance

16. Buffalo Sabres: Denton Mateychuk, LHD, Moose Jaw (WHL)

I feel the NTDP’s Isaac Howard is the most effective prospect accessible right here, however there’s no means the Sabres take two wingers, there isn’t a worthy middle left (they’d most likely take into consideration Noah Ostlund, if something), defensemen at all times get handed over once we do that train, and there’s no means one (or two) of Denton Mateychuk, Pavel Mintyukov, and Kevin Korchinski aren’t chosen within the lottery vary. I like Mateychuk, who’s having a stellar playoff run with the Moose Jaw Warriors for the time being, for the Sabres. —Scott Wheeler

17. Nashville Predators: Kevin Korchinski, LHD, Seattle (WHL)

Korchinski is a high-scoring defenseman who can deal with the puck, so he would match proper in with the Predators. Nashville’s left aspect is anchored by Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm, each of whom are 31. Korchinski would supply younger depth. —Adam Vingan

Pronman’s audit

The very first thing I observed because the mock went on was the long term on forwards. Between picks No. 6 and No. 15 solely forwards had been chosen. Based on historical past within the draft, it’s unlikely we received’t see a defenseman or three picked in that vary. The one which stood out to me as probably too low was Seattle defenseman Kevin Korchinski. While that’s the place I’ve him on my private checklist, in discussions with league personnel during the last month he’s a participant trending up, particularly after a powerful WHL playoffs. He is extra prone to go high 12 than high 20. Pavel Mintyukov can also be a powerful consideration in that vary. Both Korchinski and Mintyukov have similarities as cellular, extremely expert defensemen with good measurement who aren’t the most effective defensively, and I might guess they each go earlier than Mateychuk.

Only one Russian participant went within the high 17, with Yurov going to the Islanders. My private opinion is he most likely goes between 15-25 despite the fact that I’ve him high 10 on my checklist, however actually it’s onerous to say. It will solely take one staff considering they will get him a visa with no issues. I can’t say the writers obtained the Russian factor flawed — it very properly may play out like this, however it’s one thing to notice for certain.

Conor Geekie’s slot is attention-grabbing. He’s a extremely divisive participant within the business, with some scouts considering he’s a high 5-8 candidate, and others considering he’s a teenagers decide. I can see the place he landed on our mock as a sensible slot.

Also, have to like Porty uniting the Winnipeg ICE duo. That could be an important story!

NHL scouts’ audit

Almost each scout I polled mentioned Korchinski ought to have been a lottery staff decide. He’s the odds-on favourite to be the third defenseman picked within the draft at present. Almost each scout mentioned Yurov went too excessive as properly, even when they’re massive followers of the gamers. A sentiment felt across the league is that they don’t suppose a staff will gamble on him that prime once they really feel there are good options to choose from as an alternative. “Yurov is that high on my board but I’m not sure I see a team step up to take him there,” mentioned one scout.

There was much less consensus on different picks. Some scouts felt Marco Kasper went too excessive, whereas different scouts had no concern together with his slotting. Several felt Brad Lambert will go decrease than the place we had him slotted however some felt he was nice the place he was. Some felt Gaucher went too excessive and a few felt that was a great place for him. Several scouts like Geekie’s spot and a number of other sources mentioned they’d be very shocked if he obtained out of the highest 10. Some scouts felt Nazar went too low, and a few felt he went too excessive.

Some who had been following the draft leadup this season might elevate their eyebrow at Bultman taking Gauthier at No. 8, however one of many NHL executives I polled mentioned he’ll go greater than we mocked him; none mentioned he went too excessive.

“Reading your mock, it’s almost too chalk,” mentioned one scout. “I think there’s going to be some surprise names people aren’t uniformly discussing.”

(Illustration: Wes McCabe / The Athletic; Photos: Ken Andersen, Jean Catuffe / Getty Images; Russell Hons / CSM through ZUMA Wire; Cal Sport Media through AP Images)

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