Nick Richard’s 2022 NHL Draft Rankings: Final Edition
By Nick Richard1 year ago
We have reached the conclusion of another scouting cycle and the draft is now within sight. With that comes my final ranking for the 2022 NHL Draft, including notes on my top-100 ranked prospects.
In terms of what I value most when ranking prospects, pace and hockey sense are paramount. Skill is obviously important but processing the game and executing at the speed required from NHL players is a lot different than doing it in junior. While I place significant importance on upside, I sometimes lean more in the direction of projectability or NHL certainty than some other scouts I’ve interacted with.
With most leagues around the world returning to regular schedules and prospects having full seasons to showcase themselves, my board has undergone significant changes since the fall. This list is the culmination of over a year’s worth of film study and discussion on these players with fellow scouts whose opinions I trust and respect.
Sparing further preamble, here are my top-100 prospects for the 2022 NHL Draft:
1 | Logan Cooley
C | NTDP U18 (USNTDP) | 5’10” | 181 lbs | Shoots: L
The number one spot on my board has been a source of internal debate for practically the entire season. In the end, I had to go with my gut and my gut says that Logan Cooley has more upside than anyone in this draft. He had an outstanding season for the NTDP’s U18 team, earned a spot on the US World Junior squad as a draft-eligible player, and then capped it all off with a strong showing at the U18 World Championships.
Maybe the most explosive offensive talent in the class, Cooley does everything with tremendous pace. He is a powerful skater with exceptionally quick feet to win short-area races or blow by defenders down the wing and he has the lateral mobility to weave around checks or cut to the middle of the ice off the rush. That skating ability is great on its own but it is Cooley’s ability to process and execute at high speed that sets him apart. He combines raw speed with quick, dextrous hands and high-end vision to create chances in the offensive zone and his motor is always running. He is rarely stationary for any length of time and is always hunting space in the offensive zone where he doesn’t need much room to capitalize on a scoring opportunity and his shot is good enough to score from range as well, evidenced by his work running the powerplay from the half-wall. He is the kind of player that the puck seems to follow but that is a result of his awareness in the offensive zone and the way he supports the play, always ready to jump into space and pounce on a contested puck. If all that isn’t enough to get you excited about Cooley, he also competes hard on every shift and shows strong defensive instincts which aid in his ability to be a primary play-driver. There aren’t any glaring weaknesses in his game and his combination of high-end skill, incredible pace, and work rate off the puck land him in the number one spot on my list.
2 | Shane Wright
C | Kingston (OHL) | 6’0″ | 198 lbs | Shoots: R
Wright had a big season of his own and really turned it on in the second half for Kingston, finishing with 94 points in 63 regular season games. That he lands at number two on this list is more a credit to Logan Cooley than it is a criticism of Wright and I believe both players have the potential to be franchise cornerstones down the middle.
Wright is a do-it-all center who can be relied upon in all situations. His game is built upon elite-level hockey IQ that allows him to see plays unfolding ahead of time and he has an innate sense of where to be and when to go there. He isn’t necessarily an explosive skater but he has a powerful, clean stride that he uses to cover plenty of ice and drive play forward. Wright displays responsible habits in all three zones and is rarely caught out of position on the defensive side of the puck, regularly supporting play and providing outlets for his teammates. His biggest weapon, inarguably, is his lethal wrist shot. He doesn’t need much time or space to release it and it can come off his blade from a variety of angles, adding a layer of deception to an already powerful release. While he is known as more of a shooter, his playmaking abilities also stood out throughout the year due to his intelligence, quick hands, and ability to make timely decisions under pressure. Wright might not be the most electrifying talent in this class but there are next to no flaws in his game and he projects pretty safely as a top-of-the-lineup pivot with plenty of offensive pop and great two-way instincts.
3 | Juraj Slafkovsky
W | TPS (Liiga) | 6’4″ | 218 lbs | Shoots: L
Slafkovsky has long been considered one of the most enticing prospects in the 2022 class because of his pro-ready frame and tantalizing offensive tools. That he was able to parlay that into such a strong season – particularly on the international stage – is what has landed him in the top tier of prospects available in this year’s draft.
Slafkovksy has the physical makeup and the tools of a power forward but he layers elements of finesse on top of that power game, making him a truly unique prospect in this draft. He has some of the slickest hands in the class which he uses to get around defenders and drive the middle of the ice with consistency. He is supremely confident with the puck on his stick and possesses strong puck protection abilities, especially with his tendency to make plays off the wall and into the dangerous areas of the offensive zone. He is equally adept as a finisher as he is as a passer and has been able to create offense in a variety of ways. Slafkovksy has a long, powerful stride and represents more of a threat off the rush than you would typically expect of a player with his physical attributes but can sometimes try to do too much on his own. There has been progress in that regard and if Slafkovksy continues on his upward trend, he could end up as the most impactful player in the 2022 draft.
4 | Simon Nemec
D | HK Nitra (Tipos Extraliga) | 6’1″ | 192 lbs | Shoots: R
Nemec has a wealth of pro experience as a draft-eligible player, especially for a defenseman, and he has been an impactful player in the top Slovak league already. He put up 26 points in 39 regular season games before exploding for five goals and 12 assists in 19 playoff contests.
Nemec is an effective puck mover who shows maturity and composure beyond his years. His mobility on the back end allows him to shake the first layer of pressure and he is more than capable of leading the breakout, completing crisp passes through layers of coverage, or skating the puck out on his own. Nemec has good puck skills and shows a willingness to jump into the rush but he isn’t going to be regularly gracing highlight reels the way someone like Cale Makar does. Instead, he relies on intelligent reads and strong decision-making to create offense from the point. He is also a solid defender, due in large part to his mobility and brain. There aren’t many holes in Nemec’s game and if he can continue to pick his spots well offensively and further solidify his play off the puck, he could grow into a top-pairing defender at the NHL level.
5 | David Jiricek
D | HC Plzen (Tipsport Extraliga) | 6’3″ | 190 lbs | Shoots: R
Jiricek had his draft year interrupted by a knee injury just minutes into the World Juniors but was able to return and suit up for Czechia at the World Championships where his play helped to alleviate concerns regarding the lingering effects of his injury.
Where Nemec’s game could be considered a bit understated at times, Jiricek is noticeable on just about every shift. He displays an attacking mentality all over the ice, with and without the puck. He skates fairly well for a player his size and I believe his stride will become more refined as he continues to develop physically. He uses that mobility in concert with high-end puck skills to make opposing forecheckers miss and he doesn’t hesitate to lead the rush, never mind join it. Jiricek is a threat in the offensive zone, not just due to his vision and passing ability from the blue line, but because of his booming point shot that he gets on net with consistency. Defensively, he does well to shut down opposing rushes with his reach, and he is more than willing to finish a play with a big hit when presented with an opportunity. Jiricek is right there with Nemec as the top defenseman in the 2022 draft class and may ultimately end up being the more impactful player as he continues to refine his game in the coming years.
6 | Matthew Savoie
C/W | Winnipeg (WHL) | 5’9″ | 179 lbs | Shoots: R
Though his production slowed down a bit in the second half and into the postseason where he suffered a shoulder injury that ultimately ended his season, Savoie had a massive year for the Winnipeg Ice and showed that he is one of the most dynamic offensive talents in this year’s draft.
With puck skills and vision that grade out near the top of the class, Savoie is a threat to create offense just about every time he steps on the ice. Some scouts have questioned his skating ability and while I don’t think he is especially explosive for a player his size, his quickness and agility allow him to play through traffic to create chances from high-danger areas. One of Savoie’s greatest attributes is his deceptiveness with the puck on his stick; he has one-touch ability as a passer and as a shooter and does well to mask his intentions under pressure in order to keep defenders guessing. His shot is a legitimate weapon that comes off his blade with power and accuracy, and he can beat goaltenders cleanly from distance. Though he is undersized, Savoie competes hard and doesn’t shy away from the physical part of the game but his physical limitations may eventually force him to the wing in the NHL. Regardless of where he ends up playing, Savoie’s high-end offensive tools should translate to the pro level.
7 | Frank Nazar
C | NTDUP U18 (USNTDP) | 5’10” | 181 lbs | Shoots: R
Nazar shares a lot of similarities with his teammate, Logan Cooley. He plays with great pace in all areas of the ice, has slick hands under pressure, and uses that combination to get into middle ice to create offense. His 70 points in 56 games landed him third in team scoring, behind only Cooley and Isaac Howard.
Nazar is something of a buzzsaw out there with the way he is constantly flying around the ice and pressuring opponents with his speed. He has good hands and vision but really causes problems for opposing defenders with his propensity for getting into the slot or freeing himself up around the net. He uses that speed well off the puck as well, consistently hunting for lanes or open space to make himself available as a passing option. His shot is dangerous and deceptively heavy for a smaller player but it is his ability to find those chances in dangerous areas that makes him such a threat in the offensive zone. Nazar processes the game quickly and has good defensive awareness but lags just a little bit behind Cooley in terms of the consistency he plays with. That said, he has the potential to grow into an offensively gifted top-six forward who plays a responsible defensive game, whether it be down the middle or on the wing.
8 | Joakim Kemell
W | JYP (Liiga) | 5’9″ | 176 lbs | Shoots: R
Kemell started the year scoring at a historic rate in Liiga and though he dealt with injuries and his production slowed over the course of the season, he is still considered one of the more gifted scorers in the 2022 draft.
A consistent scoring threat with his great shot, puck skills, and attacking mindset, Kemell is one of the most exciting players in the draft. He can create his own opportunities off the rush, weaving around checks to get into dangerous scoring areas, and while that assertiveness is a big part of what makes him effective, I think he could unlock even more offense by implementing more of a give-and-go element into his game. His greatest weapon is his shot which features an array of deadly releases depending on what kind of resistance he is facing but he is particularly dangerous as a one-touch scorer and diversifying his attack to become more of a threat away from the puck will make him even more deadly. Kemell also plays an energetic game on the defensive side of the puck and despite his lack of size and strength, routinely finishes his checks to disrupt opposing possessions. He should develop into a fan favorite type of player and has the potential to be a consistent top-six scorer in the NHL.
9 | Cutter Gauthier
C/W | NTDP U18 (USNTDP) | 6’3″ | 201 lbs | Shoots: L
Gauthier flew a little under the radar through the first half of the season on a stacked NTDP U18 team but as the season progressed, he became an increasingly important member of their squad and ended the year with 34 goals and 31 assists in 54 games. He played on the wing for most of the season but NHL teams view him as a center and that is where he is expected to line up when he begins his collegiate career at Boston College next season.
Pretty much everything about Gauthier’s game points to him being an effective NHLer, and his road there might not be as long as some of the other players at the top of this draft. He is already built like a pro at 6’3″ and around 200 pounds, and he knows how to use that large frame effectively to protect and separate opponents from pucks. Gauthier skates well for his size, getting around the ice efficiently with a long stride and good posture. He uses that speed and strength to drive the inside portion of the offensive zone and force opposing defenders into difficult decisions. While he knows how to get to the scoring areas, he is dangerous from range with a shot that grades out as one of the best in the class. Definitely more of a shoot-first player, his vision and playmaking abilities seemed to progress as the season went along and he gained more comfort with the pace at which his line played. Gauthier is one of the more well-rounded, pro-ready players available in the 2022 draft and he isn’t short on offensive upside either. He projects as a versatile two-way scoring threat at the NHL level.
10 | Denton Mateychuk
D | Moose Jaw (WHL) | 5’11” | 194 lbs | Shoots: L
Mateychuk followed up a strong rookie stint for Moose Jaw in 2020-21, capped by an appearance at the U18 World Championships as an underaged player, with a stellar season in 2021-22 where he finished third in team scoring with 64 points in 65 games.
An undersized defenseman, Mateychuk utilizes high-end skating ability and vision to drive play from the back end. He is incredibly shifty with great four-way mobility that he uses to elude oncoming forecheckers, walk the offensive blue line with poise, or close on an attacking forward and force him to the outside. Mateychuk shows great poise with the puck on his stick and can pick apart opposing defenses with crisp passes through layers of coverage, both on the breakout and in the offensive zone. Everything about his game is just smooth and he does a good job of knowing when to push for offense and when to hang back to cover his defensive responsibilities. He defends well for his size due to his skating ability and hockey sense and I think if he were a couple of inches taller, he would be a surefire top-10 pick in this draft. Even at his below-average size, his potential as a prototypical modern-day two-way defender who can play top-four minutes is enough to land just inside the top-10 on my board.
11 | Liam Öhgren
W | Djurgårdens (SHL/J20 Nationell) | 6’1″ | 201 lbs | Shoots: L
Öhgren had a massive season in the J20 Nationell, scoring 33 goals and 25 assists in just 30 games, and while the production didn’t quite translate to the SHL this season, I think there are plenty of pro-level traits in his toolkit that will make him an offensive weapon at the next level.
With the ability to score goals in a variety of ways, Öhgren is one of the more versatile finishers in the 2022 draft. He can be a handful to play against down low, using his strength and puck skills to get into dangerous scoring areas and cause havoc around the net. He competes hard for loose pucks and has good spatial awareness to find those pockets of open ice around the opposing crease. His one-touch scoring ability in close is noteworthy but Öhgren also possesses a hard and accurate wrist shot that can beat goaltenders cleanly from the outside. While he can be elusive in tight spaces and play an effective give-and-go style, layering a bit more quickness into his game will make him even more of a threat as he climbs the ranks. Öhgren projects relatively safely as a top-nine NHL forward because of his well-rounded game and the way he competes but there is also the potential for him to grow into a top-six scoring winger if he can continue to build out his combination of power and skill.
12 | Danila Yurov
W | Magnitogorsk (KHL/MHL) | 6’1″ | 179 lbs | Shoots: L
There is no getting around the uncertainty surrounding Russian prospects in this draft and Yurov’s lack of playing time in the KHL only complicates matters further, but he has been dominant against his peers and is probably worthy of a higher ranking based purely on ability.
Yurov plays a mature, straight-ahead game but also has the skill to slow things down or beat defenders one on one. He is a technically sound skater who pushes the pace and works hard in all three zones, which often leads to offensive chances for his team. Yurov has great puck skills, a heavy and deceptive release on his wrist shot, and he can play through traffic into the middle of the ice. He does well to protect pucks in tightly contested situations, not only with strength and body positioning but with his ability to control the puck from a variety of hand positions. When, or if, he will be able to play in North America is the biggest concern but he has all the potential to be an impactful two-way forward who can play top-six minutes in the NHL.
13 | Jonathan Lekkerimäki
W | Djurgårdens (SHL/J20 Nationell) | 5’11” | 172 lbs | Shoots: R
Lekkerimäki has steadily climbed draft boards this season, first with his dominant play at the J20 level, followed by some impressive production in the SHL, and finally with a stellar performance at the U18 World Championships where he led the tournament in scoring with 15 points through just six games.
Lekkerimäki is a pure goal scorer with a loaded repertoire of finishing and creating skills. That repertoire features a variety of shots that he can use to finish a chance in close, snipe accurately from distance, or hammer one-timers past goaltenders from his off-wing. He is a shifty skater who can pull off slick dekes in stride to beat defenders and create his own scoring opportunities but he also displays strong off-puck awareness to find the soft spots in coverage and unleash his dangerous shot. Lekkerimäki doesn’t live on the inside as much as his teammate Liam Öhgren does but he is composed in control and can slow the game down from the outside to create space or pick apart coverages. There is still plenty of room for growth as he is on the younger side of this draft class and if he continues on his upward trajectory, Lekkerimäki has all the makings of an NHL goal scorer.
14 | Kevin Korchinski
D | Seattle (WHL) | 6’2″ | 185 lbs | Shoots: L
A key part of one of the CHL’s best teams, Korchinski has proven to be an impact player at the junior level. He finished one point ahead of Mateychuk, albeit in two more games, to lead all WHL draft-eligible defenders in scoring with four goals and 61 assists in 67 games during the regular season. He kept up that production through a deep playoff run and surpassed his goal output from the regular season.
Korchinski is a rangy, smooth-skating defenseman who can create offense from the back end with both his feet and passing ability. He has quick-twitch mobility that allows him to elude pressure and drive play forward, always keeping his head up to scan for passing options in transition. Korchinski displays confidence and composure with the puck on his stick in all three zones and has a knack for finding teammates in space. Defensively, he uses his great footwork to mirror oncoming attackers and angle them to the outside, often finishing with a strong stick check to disrupt possession. Korchinski has everything that NHL teams look for in a puck-moving blueliner and there is clear top-four upside in his game, especially if he can continue to progress in his own zone.
15 | Pavel Mintyukov
D | Saginaw (OHL) | 6’1″ | 192 lbs | Shoots: L
Mintyukov played a big role for Saginaw this season and lead the team in scoring as a defenseman, notching an impressive 17 goals to go along with 45 assists in 67 games.
A capable two-way defender, Mintyukov’s game really pops on the offensive side of the puck. He is a good skater who navigates the ice in an attacking manner, pushing play forward and leading the rush whenever he can. Mintyukov is especially dangerous in the offensive zone where he never hesitates to activate and jump into space to make himself available in a shooting area. He also has a good point shot and does well to find lanes and get it to the net, making him a diverse scoring threat from the back end. He defends fairly well with an active stick and a willingness to engage physically but problems arise when he gets a little too aggressive and finds himself caught out of position or behind the play. There are some things to work on in terms of his decision-making but the raw skill and offensive instincts are undeniable.
16 | Isaac Howard
W | NTDP U18 (USNTDP) | 5’10” | 181 lbs | Shoots: L
If Cooley and Nazar were the most dynamic offensive threats on the NTDP’s U18 squad, then Isaac Howard wasn’t far behind. He played in a few more games than both Cooley and Nazar but led the club in scoring with 33 goals and 49 assists in 60 games.
Howard doesn’t have ideal size but he is solid on his feet and has good burst in his first few steps. Those quick feet combine with even quicker hands to make him a difficult player to handle off the rush as he can play pucks through and around defenders to create chances. His goal-scoring instincts are high-end and he has a great sense of anticipation to pop open in high-danger areas at just the right time. Howard also has some dual-threat ability as a playmaker, and his puck skills allow him to draw defenders in to create open lanes. I like the way he competes and pressures the opposition to create quick change opportunities for himself and his teammates, and he has more than enough skill to capitalize on those chances. Howard is one of the more exciting offensive talents in the 2022 draft class and he should grow into a top-six weapon for whichever team lands him.
17 | Brad Lambert
C/W | Pelicans (Liiga) | 6’0″ | 183 lbs | Shoots: R
Lambert has long been considered one of the top players in his age group but he has struggled with consistency and just wasn’t able to put it all together and find any level of success in his draft year. He switched teams partway through the season – again – and his overall production actually declined from the previous season.
Despite all of those concerns, Lambert’s raw skill remains enticing. He is an elite skater with great top speed and outstanding agility – skills he puts to use in the transition game, routinely dancing through the neutral zone with possession to create clean entries into the offensive zone. He displays good vision when presented with time and space but can struggle to make things happen when he is under pressure or when he is forced to utilize his teammates more. I wouldn’t call Lambert a pure sniper but I think his shot is more dangerous than some give him credit for and he can run a powerplay from the half-wall. Overall, there is a lot to like about Lambert’s skill set but the concerns about his awareness and consistency of effort are warranted. If he can ever put it all together, though, he could eventually become a top-six forward with play-driving abilities.
18 | Owen Pickering
D | Swift Current (WHL) | 6’5″ | 179 lbs | Shoots: L
Pickering is a toolsy defenseman with a projectable frame and some untapped offensive upside. His production wasn’t on the level of guys like Mateychuk and Korchinski but he put up decent numbers on a poor team and continued to show steady growth over the course of the season.
With a rare combination of size, mobility, and instincts, Pickering is a bet on upside. Though he is still growing into his body, he has a clean stride and is quite agile for such a rangy defender. His length makes him an effective defender in transition as he will step up to smother passing options in the neutral zone, and he has the ability to recover if play gets behind him. Pickering makes a solid first pass, will join the rush, and shows good awareness in the offensive zone to jump into space when he sees an opening but his overall offensive projection is still a bit of a mystery. He might be a bit of a project but Pickering has an enticing package of skills and physical tools to work with, and should eventually develop into a reliable top-four defender in the NHL.
19 | Marco Kasper
C/W | Rögle (SHL/J20 Nationell) | 6’1″ | 187 lbs | Shoots: L
Kasper took on an increasingly larger role for Rögle as the SHL season wore on and took his game to another level in the playoffs, showing more confidence and assertiveness on the offensive side of things.
Displaying advanced maturity and refined off-puck habits, Kasper grew into a reliable player in one of the top professional leagues in the world over the course of the season. His commitment to playing a responsible defensive game helped to earn him more minutes as the season progressed and in turn, his offensive skill started to show up more consistently. Kasper is a solid skater with good puck skills and a willingness to transport the puck up ice. He battles hard for space in the offensive zone and while he may not be an elite playmaker, he makes quick enough reads to be an efficient facilitator. Even if Kasper never develops into a high-end offensive player, he has enough skill to chip in as a complementary piece and his well-rounded game should help him carve out a long NHL career.
20 | Rutger McGroarty
C/W | NTDP U18 (USNTDP) | 6’1″ | 201 lbs | Shoots: L
Another key piece of the NTDP U18 team, McGroarty captained the squad and led them in goals with 35 in just 54 games. He closed out the season by adding another eight goals in six games as he helped lead Team USA to a silver medal finish at the U18 World Championships.
McGroarty can do a bit of everything and is the kind of player that can slot into multiple spots up and down the lineup due to that well-rounded skill set. He will never short you on effort and works hard on both sides of the puck, consistently finishing hits on the forecheck and driving to scoring areas. He has deft puck skills in tight, making him especially dangerous around the net-front area, but his shot also makes him a viable threat from distance. McGroarty has great hockey sense that allows him to be in the right spot more often than not despite his average-at-best footspeed and if he can improve in that area as he has vowed to do, there is a chance he could outperform his eventual draft slot and grow into an important player for whichever team selects him.
21 | Jagger Firkus
W | Moose Jaw (WHL) | 5’10” | 154 lbs | Shoots: R
Firkus had a big season for Moose Jaw in the WHL, finishing second in league scoring among draft-eligible players with 36 goals and 44 assists in 66 games.
What Firkus lacks in size, he more than makes up for in skill and effort level. He is elusive with the puck on his stick, layering quick cuts and weight transfers on top of good puck skills. He is a dual-threat offensive weapon who can make plays for his teammates by drawing defenders in before making a slick feed but his greatest attribute is his NHL-level release. It pops off his blade and he can deceive netminders with his ability to place it all over the net. It isn’t just the shot itself though, but the way he is able to create opportunities with his own skill or find them with high-end spatial awareness. The lack of size might scare some teams off but Firkus competes hard and has more than enough talent to justify being selected in this range.
22 | Owen Beck
C | Mississauga (OHL) | 6’0″ | 190 lbs | Shoots: R
Beck’s production during his draft year might not scream “first-rounder” but the pro-level traits in his game certainly do. His 51 points in 68 games were still good enough for third-most on the Steelheads and it isn’t difficult to envision him growing into a more consistent offensive contributor over time.
Beck plays an advanced two-way game and pushes the pace in a straight-ahead manner but also has some skill in his toolkit. He has good speed and I think his hands are better than he gets credit for, as he can make plays to beat defenders one-on-one when he gets them on their heels. It isn’t something that jumps out at you the way Logan Cooley’s speed or Shane Wright’s shot does but Beck has a habit of playing inside checks to get into middle ice, making himself available to receive passes in dangerous areas. His work ethic will endear him to scouts and coaches alike and he has the versatility to play in all situations. Another underrated part of his game is his dominance in the faceoff dot and while that might not translate to the pro level right away, there are a lot of parts to his game that should. Beck probably isn’t going to be a big-time offensive contributor as a pro but I feel pretty good about his projection as a high-motor, two-way center who can play a top-nine role and provide secondary scoring.
23 | Jimmy Snuggerud
W | NTDP U18 (USNTDP) | 6’2″ | 185 lbs | Shoots: R
Snuggerud was another prominent figure on the NTDP U18 squad, locking down a spot on the top line with Logan Cooley and Cutter Gauthier by season’s end. He finished the campaign with 24 goals and 39 assists in 59 games and added seven more points in six games at the U18 Worlds.
There are some similarities between Snuggerud and the player I have ranked just ahead of him, Owen Beck, in the way that they play inside checks and create space by driving the middle of the ice. Snuggerud’s feet are a bit heavier and he doesn’t play with quite the same pace but his skill level is higher, particularly as a shooter. He has a heavy release on his wrist shot and he can wire one-timers from the half-wall on the powerplay. He works hard on both sides of the puck and takes care of his defensive responsibilities as well, providing comfort for coaches to have him out there against the opposition’s best players. Snuggerud isn’t likely to be an offensive driver on his own but he does a lot of things to sustain possessions while creating space for his teammates and his shot can be a weapon at the NHL level.
24 | Noah Östlund
C | Djurgårdens (SHL/J20 Nationell) | 5’11” | 163 lbs | Shoots: L
The third in a trio of Djurgårdens forwards I have ranked in the first round, Östlund didn’t quite match the production of his teammates Liam Öhgren and Jonathan Lekkerimäki but had an impressive season in his own right.
Östlund is a well-rounded forward with great puck skills and an effortless stride. He has quick feet and is strong on his edges, allowing him to quickly build speed and carry the puck up ice through the neutral zone with control. Östlund is evasive and tough to check in traffic but still leans a bit more to the perimeter rather than driving the middle of the ice with consistency. His vision and passing ability allow him to create from the outside but added strength as he matures should help to diversify his offensive attack. He isn’t the biggest or strongest player right now but he competes well and has a good understanding of his responsibilities away from the puck. There may be a bit more projection with Östlund than there is with Öhgren or Lekkerimäki but the upside is there.
25 | Conor Geekie
C | Winnipeg (WHL) | 6’4″ | 205 lbs | Shoots: L
Geekie had a very productive year on what was arguably the best team in the CHL for much of the season, finishing with 70 points in 63 games. While I am admittedly lower on him than many others I have spoken with, there are still plenty of reasons to believe he can be an effective NHLer.
There is no questioning Geekie’s offensive skillset. He has great hands for a player with his frame and can execute skilled moves under pressure, particularly along the boards where he can use his size to aid in protecting pucks from opposing defenders. He is a strong playmaker and knows how to draw defenders to him in order to open lanes to find teammates in space and his shot is heavy enough to find twine from distance. The biggest issues in Geekie’s game all stem from a janky stride and below-average mobility. He can generate a head of steam when presented with a bit of runway but his short-area quickness and agility often get him caught behind the play or lead to him trying to do too much when faced with pressure. Even with all the concerns I have about his lack of pace, a 6’4″ center with Geekie’s raw skill is a rare commodity and it would be easy to understand a team taking a swing on him earlier than this.
26 | Jiri Kulich
C/W | Karlovy Vary (Tipsport Extraliga) | 5’11” | 179 lbs | Shoots: L
Kulich was already in the first-round discussion for his solid showing in the top Czech pro league but really cemented his place with his MVP performance at the U18 World Championships this spring.
Kulich is a skilled, versatile forward without many holes in his game. He skates well with a powerful stride and can carry the puck on his own to lead the rush, able to beat defenders with both his hands and his feet. I wouldn’t say he is a pure playmaker but he has decent vision and can facilitate efficiently, particularly off the cycle. He is deadly as a shooter, however, and can beat goaltenders with a variety of different releases, including a heavy and accurate one-timer that makes him a real powerplay threat. Kulich shows good awareness on the defensive side of the puck and has a good compete level as well. There is a lot to like about his game and his ability as a shooter could eventually make him an impact scorer at the NHL level.
27 | Tristan Luneau
D | Gatineau (QMJHL) | 6’2″ | 190 lbs | Shoots: R
Luneau is a former first overall pick in the QMJHL and was named the league’s defensive rookie of the year in 2020-21. He missed time while recovering from a knee injury to begin this season but still had an impressive year for Gatineau, playing huge minutes in all situations and finishing with 43 points in 63 games.
A smooth-skating, albeit not explosive, right-shot defender with good size and instincts, Luneau feels like one of the safer picks in the 2022 draft class. He has a powerful stride and solid four-way mobility but doesn’t have high-end separation speed to leave opposing forecheckers in the dust. Nevertheless, Luneau does well to evade pressure while protecting the puck and makes a great first pass to start the breakout. He sees the ice well, can distribute in the offensive zone, and has a booming shot from the point. I like the way he cuts down space and takes away the middle of the ice in the defensive zone, maintaining solid body positioning and tying up opposing sticks in front. He can quarterback a powerplay, kill penalties, and move the puck while providing a solid defensive presence. Luneau already has a great base of pro-level attributes and if he can add a little more quickness to his game, he could become a solid two-way defender capable of handling top-four minutes in the NHL.
28 | Ivan Miroshnichenko
W | Omsk (VHL/MHL) | 6’1″ | 185 lbs | Shoots: R
Miroshnichenko entered the season as a potential top-five pick but a serious health scare derailed his draft year and made hockey an afterthought. Thankfully, he has reportedly completed treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma and has been cleared to resume training. He is surely focused on getting back up to speed and continuing his hockey career but it is just great to see that he is healthy enough to do so.
Health concerns aside, Miroshnichenko is one of the more complete and pro-ready prospects in the 2022 draft class. He is a strong, technically sound skater with good posture who can generate speed through crossovers and dodge checks with good edgework. He has good puck handling skills and can execute both under pressure as well as with pace. He is more of a shooter with a straightforward attacking style but he isn’t without vision and playmaking ability either. And, to top it all off, he competes hard off the puck and is willing to put his body on the line. He might not have the same potential as an elite offensive driver as some of the other top forwards in this class but if all goes well, Miroshnichenko has all the makings of a high-end complementary, glue-guy type of player in the NHL.
29 | Filip Mesar
W | HK Poprad (Tipos Extraliga) | 5’10” | 172 lbs | Shoots: R
Mesar impressed playing against men in the top Slovak professional league this season, tallying eight goals and eight assists through 37 regular season games before adding another three goals and an assist in six playoff contests. He was also a part of the Slovak World Junior squad but was held without a point in two games before the tournament was shut down.
Mesar is an incredibly silky player who gets around the ice as well as just about anyone in this draft. He accelerates quickly and has great top speed but he is also agile and skilled enough to elude checks while maintaining possession off the rush. Mesar brings that same pace without the puck to pressure the opposition and create contested situations, and while he can sometimes be a little too perimeter-focused, he will utilize his puck skills and shiftiness to get into the middle of the ice where he can beat goaltenders with his deceptive release. He will need to continue to add size and strength as he progresses but Mesar plays with enough skill and pace to develop into an effective top-nine NHL winger.
30 | Ryan Chesley
D | NTDP U18 (USNTDP) | 6’0″ | 201 lbs | Shoots: R
Though he wasn’t the most productive blueliner on the NTDP’s U18 team, there is a good chance that he ends up being the first defenseman selected from his club. He didn’t see much powerplay time but still managed 12 goals and 17 assists in 59 games, adding another two goals and three assists through six games at the U18 World Championships.
Chesley is a solid all-around defenseman who can make a positive impact in all three zones. He has a clean and balanced stride with good footwork that allows him to maintain good gaps while defending the rush. He is crafty with his stick defensively and shows good dexterity in breaking up plays or swiping pucks, but he is also more than willing to finish with the body after leading with a stick check. Chesley shows good composure and defensive zone awareness, rarely getting flustered or caught out of position in his own end. He moves the puck well enough and can distribute from the back end in the offensive zone but his biggest weapon is his shot. He can absolutely rip one-timers and has a decent release on his wrister when presented with space as well. Chesley looks like a relatively safe bet as a solid two-way defender and there might be a bit more offensive upside than his numbers this season would indicate.
31 | Calle Odelius
D | Djurgårdens (SHL/J20 Nationell) | 6’0″ | 185 lbs | Shoots: L
Odelius had an impressive season for Djurgårdens in the J20 Nationell, notching 30 points in 43 games, and even earned himself some SHL time as the season wore on. He also played big minutes for Sweden at the U18 Worlds and was a key piece on their path to a gold medal finish.
There isn’t a lot of flash in his game but Odelius is a smooth-skating, composed defender who can move the puck. He has a fluid stride and is good on his edges, giving him the ability to evade pressuring forecheckers and skate the puck to safety before making a clean first pass. Odelius defends the rush well, using good footwork to stick with oncoming attackers and maintain a tight gap to limit their options. He occasionally shows some creativity from the offensive blue line but he doesn’t offer a dynamic offensive quality at this stage in his development. Odelius might never become a top-pairing, powerplay quarterback but his well-rounded game and mobility give him a chance to grow into a top-four defender down the line.
32 | Nathan Gaucher
C | Québec (QMJHL) | 6’3″ | 207 lbs | Shoots: R
Gaucher’s production actually took a bit of a step back this season and after registering just over a point per game in his draft-1 season, he finished his draft year with 31 goals and 26 assists for 57 points in 66 games. Still, his overall game showed signs of progress and translatability to the pro level.
A big-bodied pivot with good small-area skill, Gaucher can sometimes look overpowering at the junior level. He isn’t the most fleet of foot and there are some things to clean up in his stride but he can be a handful off the rush when he has some runway in front of him. Gaucher really imposes himself down low and along the boards where he uses his large frame and good hands to protect pucks and make skilled plays off the wall into the middle of the ice. He has a good shot and gets to scoring areas, can make plays to set up his teammates, and plays hard all over the ice. Gaucher’s ceiling might be a bit limited relative to other players in this range but he also presents a safer floor as someone who should be able to play a heavy game while chipping in with some occasional offense.
33 | Lian Bichsel
D | Leksands (SHL/J20 Nationell) | 6’5″ | 225 lbs | Shoots: L
Bichsel had a good year in Leksands’ system, showing off some offensive skill at the junior level and more than holding his own against men through 29 games in the SHL. Unfortunately, he suffered a late-season injury that forced him to miss the U18 World Championships.
A native of Switzerland, Bichsel is a physical monster who already stands 6’5″ while weighing in at 225 pounds. He also has impressive mobility and decent puck skills for a player of his stature. He protects pucks well from opposing forecheckers and can make solid reads to start the breakout but he might never grow into someone capable of being the primary puck mover on his pairing. Bichsel defends well because of his size, mobility, and willingness to engage physically with opposing forwards. There is room for improvement in terms of decision-making and keeping up to the pace of the pro game but Bichsel already has a solid base of skills to go along with very exciting physical attributes.
34 | David Goyette
C | Sudbury (OHL) | 5’11” | 174 lbs | Shoots: L
Goyette was one of the most productive draft-eligible players in the OHL this season on a poor Sudbury team, finishing the year with 33 goals and 40 assists in 66 games. With the Wolves failing to qualify for the playoffs, he would close out his draft year by representing Canada at the U18s where he tallied a goal and two assists in four games.
Goyette is a fantastic skater with high-end speed and agility. He layers deft puck-handling skills on top of his great feet to make highlight-worthy dashes off the rush, routinely walking opposing defenders to create scoring chances. He has more than enough skill to get himself into scoring areas and finish on his own but he can also string plays together while drawing in defenders to open up space for his teammates before hitting them with an accurate, well-timed pass. There is no questioning Goyette’s offensive skill but it doesn’t always show up and finding more consistency in his engagement level will be key as he continues to develop.
35 | Ty Nelson
D | North Bay (OHL) | 5’10” | 196 lbs | Shoots: R
Nelson was the first overall pick in the 2020 OHL draft and after missing a year due to the OHL’s pandemic-induced shutdown, had an impressive year on a really strong North Bay team as a draft-eligible player. He finished the season with nine goals and 42 assists in 66 games – good enough for the third-highest point total among OHL draft-eligible defenders.
Though he is on the shorter side at 5’10”, Nelson is a physically strong player who displays an attacking mindset all over the ice. He has a powerful stride and loves to join the rush when he sees a lane, helping to create odd-man situations in favor of his team. He can distribute from the back end but I think he is more dynamic as a carrier than as a passer. Nelson also has a heavy shot that makes him a scoring threat from the point. Despite his lack of size, he is more than willing to take a hit to make a play or dish out a big hit of his own. While that attacking mindset is what makes him so effective, it is also the thing that can get him into trouble at times and he will have to do a better job of picking his spots and making the simple play as he climbs the ranks.
36 | Jack Hughes
C | Northeastern University (NCAA) | 6’0″ | 170 lbs | Shoots: L
One of the older players in the 2022 draft class, Hughes had an impressive freshman season in the NCAA with Northeastern University. He finished the season with 19 points in 36 games while being trusted to play over 17 minutes per game, including powerplay time.
Hughes is a refined two-way center with great puck skills and good hockey sense. He is a fine skater with a clean stride and he should become more explosive as he adds strength to his lower body in the coming years. Hughes knows how to get to scoring areas and has decent touch around the net but he is more dangerous as a passer with his ability to execute under pressure and find passing options through layers of traffic. He might never become a primary offensive driver but he plays a responsible game and can facilitate well enough to keep up with skilled players. Hughes projects as a versatile middle-six forward at the NHL level.
37 | Gleb Trikozov
W | Omsk (VHL/MHL) | 6’1″ | 185 lbs | Shoots: R
Trikozov was highly productive at the Russian junior level, trailing only Danila Yurov in points per game among draft eligibles. He finished the regular season with 23 goals and 22 assists in 35 games, closing out his campaign on an equally impressive note by adding 10 goals and 8 assists through 13 postseason contests.
Trikozov is a supremely skilled, offensive-minded forward who can dazzle with some of the plays he makes. He is an elusive handler who employs quick fakes and weight transfers to dangle around defenders and find space in the offensive zone to unleash a shot or hit an open teammate with a pass. Trikozov’s shot comes off his blade quickly and powerfully, and he has the ability to release it from multiple points. While his offensive toolkit is tantalizing and he has produced well against his peers, his skating is just ok and he can sometimes fade into the background for stretches of time. He is still a bit of a project but Trikozov’s raw offensive skill is worth betting on in this range, provided the team drafting him is confident that they will be able to get him to North America.
38 | Mats Lindgren
D | Kamloops (WHL) | 6’0″ | 176 lbs | Shoots: L
Lindgren had a solid, if unspectacular, season for Kamloops. He played big minutes in all situations and finished the campaign with 44 points in 68 games, adding seven helpers in 17 postseason games before the Blazers fell to Seattle in the third round of the WHL playoffs.
Lindgren is an offensive-leaning two-way defender who is more efficient than he is flashy. He is composed with the puck on his stick and scans the ice with intelligence which allows him to make quick, small-area passes to alleviate pressure or start a breakout. There is a bit of a hunch in his posture but he has good feet and overall mobility to walk the offensive blue line or stick with checks on the defensive side. Lindgren is one of the younger players in this draft class with his late-August birthday and already boasts a solid base of skills along with some pro pedigree as the son of a former NHLer.
39 | Luca Del Bel Belluz
C | Mississauga (OHL) | 6’1″ | 179 lbs | Shoots: L
From one of the draft’s younger players to one on the older side, Del Bel Belluz made his way up draft boards with a highly productive first half of the season for Mississauga in the OHL. He finished second to Shane Wright in league scoring among draft-eligible players but slowed down in the second half and into the playoffs where he managed just a goal and three assists through 10 contests.
Del Bel Belluz is one of the best pure puck handlers in the draft. He has a variety of moves in his repertoire that he can use to beat defenders in one-on-one situations to sustain possession or create scoring chances. His shot is heavy and deceptive, making him a versatile scoring threat who can finish from in close or beat goaltenders from distance. The concerns stem from his lack of footspeed and overall pace which could make it difficult for his offensive talents to translate at higher levels. Nevertheless, Del Bel Belluz plays a responsible game and his raw skill could make him a productive middle-six forward down the road.
40 | Danny Zhilkin
C | Guelph (OHL) | 6’0″ | 196 lbs | Shoots: L
Zhilkin played a key role for Guelph this season and was utilized in all situations on his way to 23 goals and 32 assists in 66 games. As a December birthday, he also suited up for Canada at last year’s U18 World Championships where he picked up a couple of assists in seven games.
Though the production wasn’t eye-popping, Zhilkin showed that he has eye-popping skill over the course of the season. He is a strong skater with great hands to play pucks through and around defenders to create offense, and he is dangerous as both a passer and a shooter. Zhilkin’s play away from the puck also took strides this season and he showed some utility as a penalty killer who can keep the opposing powerplay honest. He still has to put it all together and get to middle ice with more consistency but there is a lot to like about the tools that Zhilkin already possesses.
41 | Elias Salomonsson
D | Skellefteå (SHL/J20 Nationell) | 6’1″ | 183 lbs | Shoots: R
Salomonsson was one of the more talked about players in the class heading into the season but he had an underwhelming season and didn’t take the leap forward that many expected. He spent most of the season playing at the J20 level, registering 11 goals and 11 assists in 35 games, and suited up for 10 SHL contests, albeit in extremely limited minutes.
The reason Salomonsson was projected as a top prospect in this class early on is his high-end assortment of raw tools. He is a right-hand shooting defenseman with good size, he is one of the smoother skaters in the draft, and he flashes skill with the puck on his stick. Salomonsson defends aggressively, closing on puck carriers and routinely wiping them out along the wall with solid physical play. He also provides some powerplay upside because of his good point shot and ability to handle the puck at the offensive line but he lacks vision and can be forced into poor decisions. The aggressiveness he plays with can sometimes get him in trouble and he will need to improve his processing speed on both sides of the puck but as one of the youngest players in the draft, there is plenty of runway for him to develop in those areas.
42 | Filip Bystedt
C | Linköping (SHL/J20 Nationell) | 6’4″ | 205 lbs | Shoots: L
Bystedt produced at a good clip at Sweden’s junior level, compiling 16 goals and 33 assists in 40 games, and earned 16 games with his SHL club where he scored a goal and an assist. He also featured on Sweden’s gold medal winning team at the U18 World Championships, tallying a pair of goals and an assist through six games.
Standing 6’4″ and weighing over 200 pounds, Bystedt is a skilled pivot who has the potential to play a power game at the pro level. He likes to carry the puck up ice in transition and while he isn’t the flashiest handler, he can be tough to strip the puck from when he gets a head of steam. Bystedt has refined puck protection skills, carrying it off his hip to keep it out of reach for opposing defenders, but will need to do a better job of stringing plays together and executing at a higher pace as he progresses. He displays some versatility in his offensive game with good net-front ability, a willingness to drive the middle, and decent vision to facilitate for his teammates. While he doesn’t have any one standout skill, Bystedt projects as a solid bottom-six center who can help to drive play in that capacity.
43 | Lane Hutson
D | NTDP U18 (USNTDP) | 5’8″ | 159 lbs | Shoots: L
One of the more polarizing prospects in the 2022 draft, Hutson has had scouts weighing his high-end talent against his extreme lack of size and strength all season long. He was a star for the USNTDP this season, scoring 10 goals and 53 assists in 60 games before adding eight more assists in six games at the U18 Worlds and earning the tournament’s award for best defenseman.
There is no denying Lane Hutson’s skill level or hockey sense. He makes a ton of plays with the puck on his stick, whether it be completing a long pass to start the rush, waiting for a play to develop before hitting a teammate with a slick feed through a seam, or evading pressure with a quick cut or weight transfer to find open space. Hutson loves to activate offensively and he has more than enough skill to execute tough plays in and around traffic. He is light on his feet and shows good elusiveness but he isn’t exceptionally fast for such a small player, and while he defends well for his size, he can sometimes struggle to keep up when bigger, faster forwards attack with speed. If Hutson were a few inches taller, he would be gone long before this range and there is a chance he still will be, but the reality is that there just aren’t a lot of 5’8″ defensemen who find success in the NHL and he could ultimately fall even farther than where I have him ranked as a result.
44 | Jordan Dumais
W | Halifax (QMJHL) | 5’9″ | 165 lbs | Shoots: R
Dumais actually shares a lot of similarities with the player I have ranked just ahead of him. He is an undersized but extremely talented and intelligent player with average skating who was a star for his team this season. In fact, Dumais had one of the more productive seasons for a draft-eligible CHL player in recent memory, finishing third in QMJHL scoring with 39 goals and 70 assists in 68 games.
His greatest assets are his anticipation and ability to identify his options in short order. Dumais is always moving with a purpose, supporting the play or hunting for open space to make himself available. He quickly strings pass receptions into skilled moves and back into a shot or return pass, relentless in his pursuit of creating offense. There is room for improvement in his skating, notably in his explosiveness as his stride lacks power and extension, but that should improve as he adds strength to his lower body. He is a hard worker and that helps to mitigate some of the weaknesses present in his game, such as the skating and physicality. Those weaknesses will be obstacles on his way to the pros but NHL clubs place a premium on skill and hockey sense, and Dumais has an abundance of both.
45 | Cameron Lund
C/W | Green Bay (USHL) | 6’2″ | 192 lbs | Shoots: R
Lund got off to a slow start for Green Bay this season but a move to the wing early in the season seemed to spark his offensive game and he produced at just under a point per game in the final 50 games of the season.
One of the younger players available in the 2022 draft, Lund combines a projectable frame with good skating mechanics and offensive creativity to make an impact for his team. He attacks with a purpose and can execute skilled moves at high speed, making him a legitimate scoring threat off the rush. He excels in transition with intelligent rush patterns and he can string plays together in order to sustain possessions or create clean entries into the offensive zone. Lund will utilize his teammates when he sees an opening but he also has the ability to create his own chances with confident dashes towards the net. His shot is a high-end tool as well and he can mask his release to fool goaltenders from mid and long-range. Already possessing a pro-level offensive skillset, Lund has the potential to develop into a top-six winger if he can find more consistency while rounding out his game away from the puck.
46 | Reid Schaefer
W | Seattle (WHL) | 6’3″ | 214 lbs | Shoots: L
Schaefer was a steady riser this season and finished with an impressive 32 goals to go along with 26 assists in 66 regular season games. He was solid during a deep postseason run as well, notching another 21 points in 25 games.
With pro-ready size, a middle-driven game, and good scoring touch, Schaefer is a player who projects pretty clearly as an NHLer in some capacity. He handles the puck well and has a slick catch and release shot that comes off his blade with power. He makes smart reads and uses his body to box out in space in order to create room to get a quick shot off. Schaefer gets around the ice fairly well for his size but his speed isn’t a differentiator and he will struggle to create his own opportunities against smarter, quicker defenders. He probably tops out as a third liner but there are a lot of projectable NHL tools in his game.
47 | Adam Sýkora
W | HK Nitra (Tipos Extraliga) | 5’10” | 172 lbs | Shoots: L
Another player on the younger side for the 2022 draft class, Sýkora continued to climb draft boards as the season progressed. He put up impressive numbers in the top Slovak professional league, scoring 10 goals and seven assists in 46 games, and even earned a spot on the Slovak squad at the men’s World Championships where he added another pair of goals in six contests.
Sýkora is a tenacious winger who combines great speed with a good work ethic and quality offensive tools. He has a knack for forcing turnovers by pressuring defenses or jumping passing lanes and his speed/skill combination allows him to quickly turn those plays into offense. There is a relentlessness to Sýkora’s game that will endear him to any coach. Despite his small stature, he never shies away from the dirty areas and can cause problems for opposing defenders around the net-front area with the way he plays off contact and pounces on contested pucks. Sýkora’s ultimate upside is still a bit of a question mark but his pace, work ethic, and intelligence give him a pretty safe floor.
48 | Simon Forsmark
D | Örebro (SHL/J20 Nationell) | 6’2″ | 194 lbs | Shoots: L
Forsmark is one of the oldest players in the 2022 class with an October birthday but he also played more at the men’s level than most prospects in their first year of draft eligibility did this season. He was extremely productive at the junior level with 27 points in 23 games and suited up for 41 SHL games, sometimes playing upwards of 15+ minutes per game.
Playing a mature and well-rounded game, Forsmark was able to leverage his offensive instincts at the junior level. He scans the ice well to identify his options on the breakout and will activate to join the rush when he sees an opening but his offensive contributions are based more upon intelligence than high-end skill. Forsmark defends the rush well, maintaining a tight gap and utilizing an active stick to break up possessions but needs to use his body more effectively when defending down low in his own end. The main question in his NHL projection is his mobility as he is an average-at-best skater but if he can clean up his stride and find a bit more speed, he could become a capable puck-mover with a solid two-way game.
49 | Sam Rinzel
D | Waterloo (USHL)/Chaska High (USHS) | 6’3″ | 181 lbs | Shoots: R
Rinzel was a difficult prospect for me to place in this ranking because of the fact that he spent much of the season playing high school hockey before finishing out the year in the USHL, but his potential is intriguing.
A right-shot defenseman with good size and excellent mobility, Rinzel was dominant at the high school level but went through an adjustment period after joining Waterloo in the USHL. He has the skating ability and puck skills to shake forecheckers and lead the breakout but sometimes struggles when faced with a lack of time and space. Rinzel is always pushing for offense from the back end – he can manipulate defenders and open up lanes with his ability to walk the offensive blue line, and he has a good release on his shot to present a scoring threat from the point. He still has to put it all together, particularly on the defensive side of things, but Rinzel has the physical tools to grow into an impactful NHL defenseman.
50 | Mattias Hävelid
D | Linköping (SHL/J20 Nationell) | 5’10 | 172 lbs | Shoots: R
Hävelid produced well in the J20 Nationell, scoring 10 goals in 29 regular season games before adding another five in the postseason to lead all J20 defenders. He also got into 23 games for his SHL club – an impressive feat for such a young defenseman who is on the smaller side. He capped that all off with a stellar performance at the U18 World Championships, leading all defensemen with four goals and eight assists in six games on the way to a gold medal for Sweden.
Hävelid is on the smaller side but actually plays a solid two-way game, headlined by his high-end offensive tools. He is a fluid, albeit not an overly explosive, skater who utilizes weight shifts and good four-way mobility to shake forecheckers or create space inside the offensive blue line. He quickly identifies seams to complete difficult passes through layers of coverage but will also attack open space to create his own opportunities. Hävelid has a great shot that he loves to fire from all over the place, sometimes to a fault, but he is a real scoring threat working from the point. He defends well for his size, playing a tight gap and using his skilled hands to disrupt possessions for the opposition but his lack of size and strength will present challenges as he progresses toward the NHL. Nevertheless, Hävelid’s offensive skill and intelligence give him a chance.
51 | Adam Ingram
C/W | Youngstown (USHL) | 6’2″ | 174 lbs | Shoots: L
Ingram got off to a scorching start to the USHL campaign and even after slowing a bit down the stretch, finished the season with 26 goals and 29 assists in 54 games to lead his club in scoring.
A versatile offensive player, Ingram can create and finish opportunities in a variety of ways. He is a skilled puck handler who can play pucks around defenders and get to the net, he has decent vision to make plays for his teammates, and his shot pops off his blade with deception. Ingram’s stride is a little clunky and he could stand to add some pace to his overall game but he displays intelligence and a strong work ethic away from the puck which helps to drive offense for his team. He projects as a middle-six forward who can chip in with some secondary scoring at the pro level.
52 | Seamus Casey
D | NTDP U18 (USNTDP) | 5’10” | 172 lbs | Shoots: R
Casey had a solid year for the USNTDP, notching 33 points in 48 games before adding another six points in six games at the U18s, but concerns over his size and ability to put all of his raw skills together knocked him down draft boards as the season wore on.
Some of those raw skills are among the best in the class, however. Casey is an effortless skater who is light on his feet and can weave through traffic with the puck on his stick. He has elite puck skills, especially for a blueliner, and he is able to manipulate opposing defenders in transition to drive play from the back end. Casey’s hands allow him to quickly string pass receptions into skilled moves and he is shifty in traffic. He works hard off the puck and actually defends fairly well at the junior level because of his feet and good stick but as is the case with any small defenseman, he will face greater difficulty against more physically mature opponents. Casey’s upside is apparent but there is also some risk that comes along with it.
53 | Rieger Lorenz
W | Okotoks (AJHL) | 6’2″ | 185 lbs | Shoots: L
Lorenz dominated the AJHL this season to the tune of 38 goals and 47 assists in just 60 games and had a solid showing for Canada at the U18 Worlds with four points in four games. He opted to play Junior A in order to maintain his NCAA eligibility and he is committed to the University of Denver for the 2022-23 season.
Lorenz plays an assertive game, whether it be driving to the middle of the ice for a scoring chance or hounding pucks on the forecheck to create turnovers and quick-strike opportunities. He combines good puck skills with strong protection habits to sustain offensive possessions where he is able to capitalize with a quality release. Lorenz shows composure with the puck on his stick and doesn’t appear to get flustered under pressure but he isn’t the quickest or most elusive player and he will have to improve those areas of his game as he develops.
54 | Jani Nyman
W | Ilves (Liiga)/KOOVEE (Mestis) | 6’3″ | 214 lbs | Shoots: L
Nyman had an impressive season in the second-tier Finnish men’s league, leading KOOVEE in scoring with 18 goals and 17 assists in 34 games. He also represented Finland at the U18 Worlds where he tallied four points in six games.
With NHL-level size and good offensive skill, Nyman is an enticing prospect in this range of the draft. He has slick hands and some deceptive playmaking ability but his shot stands out above all else. It is heavy, accurate, and he can release it without much time or space. He also shows good instincts away from the puck to find openings and make himself available in scoring areas. Nyman is also a decent skater who can be a handful in transition when presented with a bit of runway but he is more powerful than he is quick. One of the youngest players in the draft and already possessing the physical strength to compete against men, there is plenty to like about Nyman’s NHL projection.
55 | Matthew Poitras
C | Guelph (OHL) | 5’11” | 176 lbs | Shoots: R
Poitras began the year as a potential first-round pick and while he has plenty of translatable tools, his mediocre production and lack of offensive consistency saw him fall down draft boards over the course of the season.
While the production didn’t exactly stand out in his draft year, it certainly wasn’t for lack of effort. Poitras has one of the best motors in the class and I’m a huge fan of the way he hounds pucks all over the ice. He is relentless on the forecheck but also plays in control, routinely baiting opposing players into poor decisions that he is quick to pounce on. Poitras has a great defensive stick and strips pucks from opposing players on the forecheck, backcheck, and everywhere in between. He isn’t without offensive skill either and can find teammates on those quick-change situations with decent vision, while also having a good enough shot to be a scoring threat from mid-range. There is work to do in order to become a consistent offensive threat but Poitras already projects as an impactful energy player who can handle middle-six minutes.
56 | Bryce McConnell-Barker
C | Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) | 6’1″ | 181 lbs | Shoots: L
Like Poitras, McConnell-Barker entered the season as a somewhat highly touted prospect but despite his array of pro-level traits, his production failed to meet expectations.
McConnell-Barker is a talented offensive player with good vision and puck skills to complement a great wrist shot. His feet appear slightly heavy at times but he still manages to evade pressure well enough with the puck on his stick to find openings offensively. He plays a responsible game away from the puck as well, supporting the play and picking up his checks in a timely fashion to help limit the time his team spends defending. McConnell-Barker will have to continue to improve his foot speed and overall pace but he plays a mature game that features plenty of tools that should translate to the pros.
57 | Matyas Sapovaliv
C/W | Saginaw (OHL) | 6’4″ | 190 lbs | Shoots: L
Sapovaliv had a decent year with Saginaw in the OHL, finishing in a tie for third in team scoring with 18 goals and 34 assists through 68 games. He added three points through six games at the U18 World Championships while representing Czechia.
A big body with small-area skill, Sapovaliv offers an intriguing package as a playmaker. He has soft hands in tight which allow him to hang onto pucks and manipulate defenders to find lanes around the net. His puck protection skills really stand out along the wall where he is able to keep defenders on his back while handling the puck away from them and simultaneously scanning for a passing option. As you might expect, he isn’t the most fleet of foot and is less adept at creating his own scoring chances than he is at setting up his teammates. Improved foot speed and a renewed focus on using his size and strength to drive middle ice would go a long way towards unlocking another level in his game.
58 | Maveric Lamoureux
D | Drummondville (QMJHL) | 6’7″ | 198 lbs | Shoots: R
Lamoureux played a key role in his second season with Drummondville, logging big minutes in all situations and tallying 24 points in 54 games.
His standout trait is obvious – he is 6’7″ – but there is more to his game than just his imposing physical presence. For a big kid, Lamoureux actually skates quite well and shows good body control to change directions in order to evade pressure or stick with his check. He isn’t an offensive dynamo but he sees the ice well and makes a solid first pass, and his shot is a weapon from the point when he has time to get it off. Defensively, Lamoureux utilizes his reach to knock pucks off of attacking forwards or steer them to the wall where he is more than willing to wipe them out with a solid hit and he more than handles his own when defending the net-front area. There are still plenty of areas in his game that require improvement, such as his decision-making and tendency to be a little too aggressive, but there just aren’t a lot of defensemen with Lamoureux’s combination of size and mobility.
59 | Paul Ludwinski
C | Kingston (OHL) | 5’11” | 183 lbs | Shoots: L
Ludwinski had a pretty good season for Kingston and had the production to match in the postseason. After netting 16 goals and 27 assists through 67 regular season contests, he scored seven goals – four more than teammate Shane Wright – and added five assists in 11 playoff games.
When you watch Ludwinski play, it isn’t difficult to see why he is the kind of player who can excel when the games tighten up in the postseason. He brings a high level of energy to each shift and plays a hard-driving, north-south game that keeps the opposition on their heels. He wins plenty of short-area races, forechecks with intention, and causes his fair share of havoc around the opposing net. Ludwinski is also a skilled handler, capable of beating defenders and creating entries into the offensive zone. All those things you love about his game are also the things that limit him, however, as he never really changes pace to slow things down and doesn’t show a ton of offensive creativity. Still, Ludwinski should carve out a career as a useful energy player who can fit in with a variety of player types.
60 | Ryan Greene
C | Green Bay (USHL) | 6’2″ | 179 lbs | Shoots: R
This was Greene’s third USHL season and he showed moderate improvement in terms of production each year, leading Green Bay in scoring this past season with 19 goals and 32 assists in 59 games. He is set to join Boston University to begin his NCAA career next fall.
Greene is a crafty offensive forward with a projectable frame who can get to the middle of the ice and execute in traffic. He is a great puck handler who sets up defenders with quick fakes and toe-drags, and he also shows a tendency to change passing angles at the last second to ensure he finds his target. Greene is also a decent shooter who can capitalize on quality chances and he has a pretty good one-timer from his off-wing. He competes hard and shows some two-way ability but he isn’t an explosive skater just yet and that will be an area of focus moving forward.
61 | Tomas Hamara
D | Tappara (Liiga/U20 SM-Sarja) | 6’0″ | 185 lbs | Shoots: L
A native of Czechia, Hamara has spent the last few years playing in Finland and split time between Tappara’s U20 and Liiga teams this season, scoring 25 points in 32 games at the junior level.
Hamara is a solid two-way defenseman who moves well and displays composure in all three zones. He is proficient on the breakout, retrieving pucks and eluding pressure before making a clean first pass. Hamara reads the play well defensively and sticks to his checks in transition, utilizing his stick to clog up lanes and disrupt opposing rush attempts. He isn’t an offensive game-breaker but he distributes the puck well and has a decent shot from the point. His well-rounded game and ability to process the game give him a relatively safe floor as a third-pairing defender in the NHL.
62 | Nicholas Moldenhauer
C/W | Chicago (USHL) | 5’11” | 170 lbs | Shoots: R
Moldenhauer missed time to begin the season but was a star for the Chicago Steel upon his return, finishing the campaign with 18 goals and 25 assists in just 41 games.
A speedy, hardworking forward who can pull off skilled moves in stride, Moldenhauer possesses a diverse offensive skill set. He sees the ice well and distributes the puck with pace, has the puck skills to beat defenders one-on-one and play through traffic, and has a good sense of anticipation to arrive in scoring positions at the right time to utilize his quality shot. He can sometimes try to do too much but when he utilizes his teammates and plays a give-and-go game, he can be a real offensive driver. There is still a rawness to his overall game but if he can put it all together, Moldenhauer could grow into an effective middle-six NHL forward.
63 | Matthew Seminoff
W | Kamloops (WHL) | 5’11” | 183 lbs | Shoots: R
Seminoff was a prominent figure on a good Kamloops team in his third WHL season, finishing with 26 goals and 31 assists in 64 games. He also chipped in with nine more points in 17 playoff games on a long run for the Blazers.
Seminoff is a really intelligent player who plays a complete game. He can string plays together because of his processing speed, converting pass receptions into slick moves or crisp passes of his own. He takes intelligent routes in pursuit, as well as in support of the play, and gets to the inside in the offensive zone with regularity. The biggest deficiency in his game is his unrefined stride and sloppy footwork which limits his ability to separate, even at the junior level. That will be a significant roadblock for him to overcome on his way to the NHL but if he can correct it, there is middle-six upside as a strong complementary player at the NHL level.
64 | Jordan Gustafson
C | Seattle (WHL) | 5’11” | 179 lbs | Shoots: L
Gustafson produced well on a strong Seattle team this year, finishing the regular season with 23 goals and 29 assists in 58 games. He added another 16 points through 25 playoff contests before the Thunderbirds were ultimately defeated in the WHL finals.
Gustafson is a versatile, well-rounded player who competes hard and brings plenty of speed to the ice. He anticipates well and that lends itself to his high-paced, give-and-go style. Despite his below-average size, Gustafson plays hard and is impactful along the wall with his ability to play under checks and get pucks back to middle ice. He has a good catch and release wrister and the accuracy to pick corners from mid-range. He maintains responsible positioning away from the puck, patrolling high in the offensive zone as F3 on the forecheck or supporting the play in his own zone. Gustafson doesn’t possess elite-level talent but he consistently makes smart plays to tilt the ice for his team and he, too, should develop into an effective complementary piece in the NHL.
65 | Christian Kyrou
D | Erie (OHL) | 5’10” | 172 lbs | Shoots: R
The younger brother of St. Louis Blues forward, Jordan, Christian Kyrou had a very productive season for Erie in the OHL with 18 goals and 42 assists in 68 games. He has legitimate offensive skill on the back end but is small and doesn’t have high-end skating ability. Kyrou will have to continue to round out his game away from the puck but he has potential as a bottom pairing defender with powerplay utility at the pro level.
66 | Hunter Haight
C | Barrie (OHL) | 5’10” | 174 lbs | Shoots: R
Haight’s production was modest this season, finishing with 22 goals and 19 assists in 63 games, but he showed the potential for more. He is a versatile offensive threat who can make plays for his teammates, create his own opportunities, and finish them in a variety of ways. He shows intelligence and a good work rate off the puck but he is undersized and will need to put all of his offensive tools together to reach his potential as a middle-six NHL forward.
67 | Noah Warren
D | Gatineau (QMJHL) | 6’5″ | 225 lbs | Shoots: R
Warren is a hulking defenseman who had a solid season with Gatineau in the QMJHL, registering 24 points in 62 games. While I’m not as high on his mobility as some other scouts, he does skate fairly well for such a large player and can occasionally show flashes of transitional skill. His true value lies on the defensive side as he combines good stick skills and physical play to make more than his fair share of stops. I don’t see a ton of offensive potential but Warren could become a physically imposing third-pair defender in the NHL.
68 | Vinzenz Rohrer
C | Ottawa (OHL) | 5’11” | 168 lbs | Shoots: R
Rohrer is just days away from only being eligible for the 2023 draft and put up solid numbers for Ottawa in the OHL this season, tallying 25 goals and 23 assists in 64 games before adding another four points in four playoff contests. Rohrer combines skill, hockey sense, and a strong work ethic to create offense. He has solid playmaking ability, a deceptively heavy shot for a smaller player, and slick hands in traffic. He will need to add a step but he already possesses a solid base of skills and upside as a middle-six NHL forward.
69 | Isaiah George
D | London (OHL) | 6’1″ | 194 lbs | Shoots: L
The point totals – 23 points in 67 games – don’t match the impact George made for London this season. He logged big minutes for the Knights and was a reliable defensive presence who played against the opposition’s best players. He is a tremendous skater with great top speed and four-way mobility who can stick with oncoming attackers off the rush to break up plays. George shows some upside as a puck mover but it isn’t currently a hallmark of his game and he will have to work on the offensive side of things as he continues to develop.
70 | Julian Lutz
W | München (DEL) | 6’2″ | 185 lbs | Shoots: L
As a result of injury, Lutz got into just 14 games for München this season but was able to represent Germany at the U18 Worlds where he scored two goals and two assists in four games. He is a big, strong kid with a clean stride who gets to the middle of the ice off the rush and can finish opportunities around the net. He layers some finesse elements into his game and has real potential as a power winger at the pro level.
71 | Devin Kaplan
W | NTDP U18 (USNTDP) | 6’3″ | 198 lbs | Shoots: R
Kaplan put up decent numbers with the NTDP’s U18 team this season, scoring 13 goals and 25 assists in 53 games. He has good size and vision as a playmaker, and he can finish around the net as well, but his heavy feet limit his ability to maximize his offensive tools. He reads the play well, can protect pucks along the boards and make plays off the wall, and gives a good effort away from the puck. Kaplan has the potential to become a two-way playmaking winger at the NHL level, but his skating will have to improve significantly.
72 | Ludwig Persson
W | Frölunda (SHL/J20 Nationell) | 6’0″ | 179 lbs | Shoots: L
Persson tore up the J20 Nationell this season, finishing with 61 points in 41 games. He is one of the older prospects in the 2022 class so that has to be taken into consideration but his production was impressive, regardless of his October birthday. Persson is a fine skater with dual-threat ability in the offensive zone, able to create for his teammates with timely passes or finish plays with his quality release. He plays a solid game away from the puck as well but his offensive skill and IQ will be his ticket to the NHL, if he can put it all together.
73 | Topias Leinonen
G | JYP (Liiga/U20 SM-sarja) | 6’5″ | 234 lbs | Catches: L
The first goalie on my list, Leinonen put up a solid .916 save percentage in 21 games for JYP’s U20 team. He also got into five Liiga contests but didn’t fare nearly as well. Leinonen has the size NHL teams covet at the goaltending position, already standing 6’5″ and weighing over 230 pounds. He moves well in his crease for a big kid and anticipates well to follow the play. There are some technical aspects to clean up in his game but he has plenty of tools to develop into an NHL goaltender.
74 | Cruz Lucius
W | NTDP U18 (USNTDP) | 6’0″ | 183 lbs | Shoots: R
Lucius bares a lot of similarities to his older brother who was drafted in the first round of last year’s draft but I don’t think he possesses the same upside. He missed most of his draft year and that certainly hurt his development, as well as his draft stock, but he did manage 18 points in 23 games upon his return to the USNTDP. He is a versatile offensive player who can create with his hands and vision, and he can score as well. His skating is the main concern as it limits his ability to separate from opposing defenders but he thinks the game well enough that even a slight improvement in that area could make him a middle-six NHL winger.
75 | Gavin Hayes
W | Flint (OHL) | 6’1″ | 176 lbs | Shoots: R
Hayes put up 19 goals and 30 assists in 65 games on a strong Flint team but was relegated to a bottom-six role for portions of the season. He has good size, a strong release on his wrist shot, and enough skill to create his own opportunities at the junior level. I would like to see him use his body to get into the middle of the offensive zone in advantageous positions a little more consistently but he has the ability. He has average footspeed, however, and will need to improve his overall pace to take advantage of his talents at the next level.
76 | Dylan James
W | Sioux City (USHL) | 6’0″ | 176 lbs | Shoots: L
It was a strong season for James as he made the move to the USHL, finishing the season with 28 goals and 33 assists in 62 games to earn the league’s Rookie of the Year award. He added five goals and three assists in 10 playoff games to help guide Sioux City to a Clark Cup Title. James is a well-rounded, hardworking winger with good hockey sense. He isn’t a burner but he shows good four-way mobility to pressure opposing players and he has the skill to create off of that pressure.
77 | Michael Fisher
D | St. Mark’s School (USHS) | 6’2″ | 198 lbs | Shoots: R
It is always difficult to gauge high school prospects but Fisher was absolutely dominant at that level, leading all defensemen in scoring with 13 goals and 37 assists in just 28 games. For context, the next highest scoring blueliner had 42 points in 62 games. Fisher is an elusive skater and a skilled puck handler who drives offense from the back end. He never hesitates to activate offensively and he has a dangerous shot working in from the point. There is two-way upside there and he doesn’t shy away from playing with physicality either. Fisher could outperform this ranking as early as next season when he begins his collegiate career at Northeastern.
78 | Alexander Perevalov
W | Yaroslavl (KHL/MHL) | 6’0″ | 192 lbs | Shoots: R
Perevalov put up 51 points in 44 MHL games and earned a brief look with Yaroslavl’s KHL team as well. He is an offensively skilled winger who can beat defenders on his own but also facilitates effectively. He isn’t an explosive skater but he can make plays off the rush and he works hard to get the puck back when the opposing team is in possession. If everything breaks right and he ends up playing in North America down the road, Perevalov could become a scoring middle-six winger in the NHL.
79 | Beau Jelsma
W | Barrie (OHL) | 5’10” | 174 lbs | Shoots: L
Jelsma put up decent totals in Barrie this season, leading the club with 27 goals and chipping in 20 assists in 68 games. He isn’t a flashy player but he is an effective one because of his skating ability and the energy he brings. Jelsma is an outstanding forechecker who takes good angles and uses a crafty stick to come away with more than his share of takeaways, and he has enough offensive skill to take advantage of those opportunities. He probably isn’t going to develop into a big-time offensive weapon but you don’t have to squint very hard to see him as an effective third-liner in the NHL.
80 | Servác Petrovský
W | Owen Sound (OHL) | 5’10” | 181 | Shoots: L
Petrovský finished third in scoring for Owen Sound with 28 goals and 26 assists in 65 games. He is a versatile offensive player who can set up teammates with smart reads or finish plays by getting to scoring areas with good anticipation. He has good hands in tight and shows an ability to play through traffic but he is an average skater and will have to add quickness to his game as he continues to develop.
81 | Fraser Minten
C | Kamloops (WHL) | 6’1″ | 185 lbs | Shoots: L
A July birthday, Minten is one of the youngest players in the draft but is also one of the most physical. He plays a powerful game, dishing out big hits and making plays off the boards into middle ice where he can use his heavy shot. He isn’t the most fleet of foot but he has a well-rounded skillset and even if he never becomes a real offensive threat as a pro, the rest of his game should help him carve out a career as a solid complementary piece.
82 | Vladimir Grudinin
D | Moskva (KHL/VHL/MHL) | 5’10” | 159 lbs | Shoots: L
He spent time at all three levels in Russia this season, including six games in the KHL, but Grudinin mostly played at the junior level where he registered 13 points in 18 games. He also made Russia’s World Junior team, picking up an assist in two games before the tournament was shut down. He is a pure offensive defenseman with great puck skills who can effectively run a powerplay. He is slippery with the puck on his stick and creates space to make plays for his teammates. Grudinin’s small frame will likely hold him back but his talent is worth betting on.
83 | Michael La Starza
W | Sioux Falls (USHL) | 5’11” | 185 lbs | Shoots: L
La Starza put up respectable numbers in the USHL for a player in his first year of draft eligibility. He tallied eight goals and 14 assists in 25 games with Waterloo before being traded to Sioux Falls where he added another eight goals and 14 assists in 32 contests. La Starza is a reliable two-way forward with a well-rounded offensive toolkit. He is a good skater but relies more on agility than pure speed to beat defenders, particularly along the wall where he utilizes cutbacks and quick fakes to protect pucks and make plays into the middle. He isn’t overly creative but he does a lot of things well.
84 | Topi Rönni
C | Tappara (Liiga/U20 SM-sarja) | 6’1″ | 181 lbs | Shoots: L
Rönni split time between Tappara’s U20 and Liiga teams, picking up 29 points in 30 games at the junior level and four more points in 19 professional games. He is a skilled offensive forward with good vision and a decent shot. He has good size and uses it well to protect pucks but he lacks separation speed. Rönni shows good instincts away from the puck as well and could develop into a solid two-way forward in the NHL.
85 | Viktor Neuchev
W | Avto (KHL/VHL/MHL) | 6’2″ | 165 lbs | Shoots: L
Neuchev is one of the older players in the 2022 draft and had impressive production in the MHL, finishing with 40 goals and 27 assists in 61 games. He has obvious offensive skill and can create with his stickhandling but he is also dangerous from the outside with his high-end shot. The problem is he spends a little too much time on the outside and he isn’t the most agile skater. Still, the offensive skills are intriguing and there is time for him to improve his mobility as he continues to grow into his projectable frame.
86 | Brandon Lisowsky
W | Saskatoon (WHL) | 5’9″ | 172 lbs | Shoots: L
Lisowsky was very good for Saskatoon this season and his 33 goals were the third most among WHL draft eligibles, behind only Jagger Firkus and Matthew Savoie. He creates – and finishes – a lot of chances off the rush in junior with good acceleration and the ability to make skilled moves in stride but that will prove more difficult as he climbs the ranks. His greatest weapon is his shot – it is heavy, deceptive, and accurate. Lisowsky will have to diversify his offensive attack a bit as he progresses but he has legitimate upside as a secondary scorer at the NHL level.
87 | Kasper Kulonummi
D | Jokerit (U20 SM-sarja) | 6’0″ | 174 lbs | Shoots: R
A smooth-skating two-way defender, Kulonummi put up decent numbers for Jokerit’s U20 team this season. He handles the puck well on retrievals, can elude pressure, and makes a good first pass out of the zone. He can facilitate offensively but he isn’t dynamic. Kulonummi defends well enough and could eventually be a reliable third-pair defender who can move the puck.
88 | Michael Buchinger
D | Guelph (OHL) | 6’0″ | 185 lbs | Shoots: L
Buchinger was an important player for Guelph this season, playing big minutes in all situations and finishing with 44 points in 63 games. He is a good skater who can elude pressure and start the breakout with a good first pass or by skating it out of trouble. He activates in the offensive zone with intelligence and can distribute the puck effectively from the point. His two-way game is solid, combining good stick checks and a willingness to use his body to break up opposing chances.
89 | Artyom Duda
D | Moskva (VHL/MHL) | 6’1″ | 181 lbs | Shoots: L
Duda had a big year in the MHL, piling up 14 goals and 27 assists in 52 games. He is a skilled offensive blueliner who can lead the rush and create chances with his puck handling and vision. He is a legitimate shooting threat from the point as well and has a good sense of when to activate into the attack. Duda is a solid defender at the junior level as well but he will have to improve his mobility to keep up with the faster, stronger, and more skilled forwards he will face in the pros.
90 | Mathew Ward
C | Swift Current (WHL) | 5’8″ | 157 lbs | Shoots: L
Ward had a strong season for a poor Swift Current team, leading the club in scoring with 22 goals and 35 assists in 64 games. He is a skilled and tenacious forward who doesn’t seem deterred by the fact that he is just 5’8″ and weighs less than 160 pounds. He competes hard all over the ice and there is a “pest” element to his game. Ward is shifty in traffic and there is creativity to his playmaking but he also has a tendency to force things and he will have to reign that in a bit. His lack of size will make it difficult for his game to translate to the pro level but I have a hard time betting against him.
91 | Pano Fimis
C | Niagra (OHL) | 5’11” | 176 lbs | Shoots: R
Fimis entered the year with some moderate hype but didn’t quite meet expectations in his draft season. He scored just 14 goals and 30 assists in 54 games but he didn’t have much help on a Niagra team that finished at the bottom of the OHL standings. The raw skill is still there and Fimis can make plays for his teammates or finish them on his own, and he showed improvement away from the puck this season as well. He is a strong bounce-back candidate as he heads back to junior next season.
92 | Josh Filmon
W | Swift Current (WHL) | 6’2″ | 159 lbs | Shoots: L
Filmon’s 45 points in 67 games trailed behind teammate Mathew Ward’s production but he has the NHL frame and speed that Ward lacks. He is still a raw player but he shows good vision to set up his teammates and he gets into scoring areas to utilize a shot that is an ever-improving weapon. Filmon is a project but he has a good base to work with.
93 | Ryan Healey
D | Sioux Falls (USHL) | 6’1″ | 179 lbs | Shoots: R
Healey’s production this past season didn’t match his potential as an offensive creator from the back end. He registered just 18 points in 59 games but he was a consistent play driver for Sioux Falls. He controls the offensive blue line with poise and has slick hands to maneuver around pressure to open up lanes from the point. He will need to improve his mobility and round out his game away from the puck but I expect Healey to put up solid numbers when he joins Harvard next season.
94 | Markus Vidicek
C | Halifax (QMJHL) | 5’10” | 154 lbs | Shoots: L
Vidicek produced at almost a point per game this season in Halifax, finishing with 18 goals and 47 assists in 68 games. He is a skilled playmaking pivot with great vision who competes hard off the puck. He has quick feet and decent mobility but he is still undersized and his stride lacks power. Vidicek is the kind of player who could become more and more effective as he climbs the ranks and plays with more talented, refined players who can take advantage of the opportunities he creates.
95 | Tyler Brennan
G | Prince George (WHL) | 6’4″ | 190 lbs | Catches: L
Brennan’s regular season was a bit underwhelming but he was stellar in Prince George’s short playoff run, putting up a .954 save percentage in four games. He is a big, athletic netminder who moves efficiently in his crease and has the ability to make difficult saves. He will need to improve his ability to process what is happening and track play in front of him but he has NHL potential.
96 | Elias Pettersson
D | Örebro (SHL/J20 Nationell) | 6’2″ | 185 lbs | Shoots: L
Pettersson split time between the SHL and Sweden’s junior level this season, including 17 games at the top level. He plays a refined defensive game and has good size for the position. He reads the play well and will step up on opponents in the neutral zone to shut down plays in transition, either with a good stick check or a solid hit. There isn’t a ton of flash in his offensive game but he moves the puck well and limits risky plays.
97 | Cole Knuble
W | Fargo (USHL) | 5’10” | 174 lbs | Shoots: R
Knuble is an undersized but energetic forward who put up 20 goals and 29 assists in 62 games for Fargo in the USHL. He is a strong transition player because of his puck skills and ability to dictate pace but he doesn’t have exceptional speed for a smaller player. He is an intelligent defensive player who works hard off the puck as well and he has a chance to grow into a bottom-six NHL forward who can help create offense down the lineup.
98 | Cedrick Guindon
C | Owen Sound (OHL) | 5’10” | 170 lbs | Shoots: L
Guindon had a good season for Owen Sound, tying for the team lead with 30 goals and finishing second in scoring on the club with 59 points in 68 games. He is a crafty forward with a quality release and some decent goal-scoring instincts. He will have to continue to add strength and to have his game translate to the pros but he has enough hockey sense to make it as a two-way forward who can chip in on the scoreboard.
99 | Samuel Savoie
W | Gatineau (QMJHL) | 5’10” | 190 lbs | Shoots: L
Savoie’s production was mediocre this season but there is a lot more to his game than the numbers suggest. He is a hardworking forward who skates well and brings energy on the forecheck, finishing with a solid hit at every opportunity to disrupt opposing possessions. He doesn’t have a ton of offensive upside but he goes to the dirty areas and causes havoc down low for opposing defenders. It isn’t difficult to imagine Savoie developing into an effective checking forward.
100 | Jake Furlong
D | Halifax (QMJHL) | 6’1″ | 190 lbs | Shoots: L
Furlong put up solid numbers and played a big role for the Mooseheads this season. His skill doesn’t stand out but he plays a solid defensive game and moves the puck effectively while scanning the play in front of him. He is a smooth skater who can do a little bit of everything on the back end but doesn’t excel in any one area. He likely tops out as a third-pairing defenseman but he has a good chance of reaching that ceiling.
|1||Logan Cooley||C||L||5-10||181||2004-05-04||USNTDP||NTDP U18||USA|
|4||Simon Nemec||D||R||6-1||192||2004-02-15||Tipos Extraliga||HK Nitra||SVK|
|5||David Jiricek||D||R||6-3||190||2003-11-28||Tipsport Extraliga||HC Plzen||CZE|
|7||Frank Nazar||C/W||R||5-10||181||2004-01-14||USNTDP||NTDP U18||USA|
|9||Cutter Gauthier||C/W||L||6-3||201||2004-01-19||USNTDP||NTDP U18||USA|
|10||Denton Mateychuk||D||L||5-11||194||2004-07-12||WHL||Moose Jaw||CAN|
|16||Isaac Howard||W||L||5-10||181||2004-03-30||USNTDP||NTDP U18||USA|
|18||Owen Pickering||D||L||6-5||179||2004-01-27||WHL||Swift Current||CAN|
|20||Rutger McGroarty||C/W||L||6-1||205||2004-03-30||USNTDP||NTDP U18||USA|
|21||Jagger Firkus||W||R||5-10||154||2004-04-29||WHL||Moose Jaw||CAN|
|23||Jimmy Snuggerud||W||R||6-2||185||2004-06-01||USNTDP||NTDP U18||USA|
|26||Jiri Kulich||C||L||5-11||179||2004-04-14||Tipsport Extraliga||Karlovy Vary||CZE|
|29||Filip Mesar||W||R||5-10||172||2004-01-03||Tipos Extraliga||HK Poprad||SVK|
|30||Ryan Chesley||D||R||6-0||201||2004-02-27||USNTDP||NTDP U18||USA|
|35||Ty Nelson||D||R||5-10||196||2004-03-30||OHL||North Bay||CAN|
|36||Jack Hughes||C||L||6-0||170||2003-11-02||NCAA||Northeastern University||USA|
|37||Gleb Trikozov||W||R||6-1||185||2004-08-12||MHL||Omskie Yastreby||RUS|
|39||Luca Del Bel Belluz||C||L||6-1||179||2003-11-10||OHL||Mississauga||CAN|
|43||Lane Hutson||D||L||5-8||159||2004-02-14||USNTDP||NTDP U18||USA|
|45||Cameron Lund||C/W||R||6-2||192||2004-06-07||USHL||Green Bay||USA|
|47||Adam Sýkora||W||L||5-10||172||2004-09-07||Tipos Extraliga||HK Nitra||SVK|
|52||Seamus Casey||D||R||5-10||172||2004-01-08||USNTDP||NTDP U18||USA|
|56||Bryce McConnell-Barker||C||L||6-1||181||2004-06-04||OHL||Sault Ste. Marie||CAN|
|60||Ryan Greene||C||R||6-2||179||2003-10-21||USHL||Green Bay||CAN|
|61||Tomas Hamara||D||L||6-0||185||2004-03-09||Liiga/U20 SM-sarja||Tappara||CZE|
|71||Devin Kaplan||W||R||6-3||198||2004-01-10||USNTDP||NTDP U18||USA|
|73||Topias Leinonen||G||L||6-5||234||2004-07-19||Liiga/U20 SM-sarja||JYP||FIN|
|74||Cruz Lucius||W||R||6-0||183||2004-04-05||USNTDP||NTDP U18||USA|
|76||Dylan James||W||L||6-0||176||2003-10-12||USHL||Sioux City||CAN|
|77||Michael Fisher||D||R||6-2||198||2004-05-02||USHS-Prep||St. Mark’s School||USA|
|80||Servác Petrovský||C||L||5-10||181||2004-08-10||OHL||Owen Sound||SVK|
|83||Michael La Starza||W||L||5-11||185||2004-01-14||USHL||Sioux Falls||CAN|
|84||Topi Rönni||C||L||6-1||181||2004-05-05||Liiga/U20 SM-sarja||Tappara||FIN|
|87||Kasper Kulonummi||D||R||6-0||174||2004-03-01||U20 SM-sarja||Jokerit||FIN|
|90||Mathew Ward||W||L||5-8||157||2004-01-24||WHL||Swift Current||CAN|
|92||Josh Filmon||W||L||6-2||159||2004-03-18||WHL||Swift Current||CAN|
|93||Ryan Healey||D||R||6-1||179||2004-05-19||USHL||Sioux Falls||USA|
|95||Tyler Brennan||G||L||6-4||190||2003-09-27||WHL||Prince George||CAN|
|98||Cedrick Guindon||C||L||5-10||170||2004-04-21||OHL||Owen Sound||CAN|
Honorable mentions: Otto Salin, Nick Pierre, Jake Livanavage, Kocha Delic, Ilya Kvochko, Alexander Suzdalev, Fabian Wagner, Jack Devine, Spencer Sova, Cole Spicer, Antonin Verreault, Jace Weir, Jake Karabela, Aleksanteri Kaskimäki, Hudson Thornton
(Statistics from EliteProspects.com)
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