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MHN 2022 NHL Mock Draft: Post-Lottery Edition

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NHL Draft

With the NHL Draft Lottery out of the way and the order of the first 16 teams confirmed, it’s time for a Post-Lottery Mock Draft.

During the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery, the Montreal Canadiens won the first overall pick in the NHL Draft Lottery this past Tuesday, while the New Jersey Devils jumped up to get the second overall pick. With the order of the first 16 selections now confirmed, Montreal Hockey Now will proceed with its Post Lottery Mock Draft.

Using the Montreal Hockey Now NHL Draft Rankings, the following Mock Draft was created based on the players available at each position. Organizational needs factored into the decision for some selections, but only if the feeling was that two or more prospects had similar potential.

 

MOCK 2022 NHL DRAFT

 

1. Montreal Canadiens – Shane Wright

The probable 1st overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, Shane Wright, has been talked about for years now as a potential No.1 Center in the NHL. Wright is sound in all three zones, can be used in all situations and has great vision with a devastating wrist shot (that he should use far more often than he currently is). He already plays an NHL game, and his qualities will translate without much worry to the NHL level.

There has been a little doubt cast in regards to Wright’s potential due to a slow start to his draft year this season, but Wright was able to turn the tables in the second half of the season; posting some of the best offensive numbers in all of Major Junior. Having missed out on 18 months of hockey due to covid pauses and season cancellations, Wright had to quickly catch up on lost time and now looks like the prime center many projected him to be leading up to the NHL Draft.

Having a combo of Wright and Suzuki down the middle would provide Montreal with the necessary building blocks for the future, as settling your future at center is a proven recipe for success in the NHL.

2. New Jersey Devils – Juraj Slafkovsky

Slafkovsky is a big boy standing at 6’4 and 225 lbs, but also possesses the skill, speed and hockey IQ necessary to be a prime power forward in the NHL. He plays an extremely fun possession game, using his large frame to protect the puck and allows him to be effective in any cycle game a coach wants to impose. He’s one of the most unique players in the NHL Draft this year and has some scouts considering him for the top spot.

However, he can also turn on the jets and be extremely dangerous on the rush, due to his power strides and long reach. It allows him to create separation rather easily, with opponents often bumping off of him in the Finnish Liiga, where he plays for TPS. He is able to take advantage of any amount of open ice that is given to him, and he possesses the Hockey-IQ and hands to make space for his teammates by causing havoc in all three zones.

With a logjam at center in New Jersey due to former 1st overall picks Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, it’s easy to see why New Jersey would choose Slafkovsky to add some much-needed size and skill to their wings.

 

3. Arizona, Coyotes – Logan Cooley

The Arizona Coyotes drop one spot and narrowly miss out on the Wright Sweepstakes, but end up selecting an equally exciting prospect in Logan Cooley. The speedy and dynamic center is precisely what Arizona is lacking in their prospect pool moving foward; elite offensive skill and a mature two-way game that will solidify their top-6 for years to come.

Cooley has the puck carrying ability that most teams salivate over; meaning he can break up plays, initiate zone breakouts himself, he can execute zone entries to perfection and, even more relevant, he’s extremely patient with the puck under pressure in the offensive zone.

Cooley’s game would fit right in with what general manager Bill Armstrong has said he’d like to do; make his club faster and more skilled. Having a player like Cooley to build their center line around as they undertake this seemingly long rebuild is going to be huge for the Coyotes.

4. Seattle Kraken – David Jiricek

This pick becomes tricky for the Seattle Kraken, as they need help in basically every position. With this pick, they go pure skill on the back-end and draft Czech defenceman David Jiricek. With the Kraken set to be bottom feeders for the foreseeable future and likely gunning for a top pick in the 2023 NHL draft (which is loaded at forward), they may think strategically here and go for the rare commodity of a potential top-pair, right-shooting defenceman.

David Jiricek’s knee injury is behind him, and he looks to have come back better than ever. He possesses the dynamic skill and physical attributes to be an all-around defenceman capable of playing top minutes in all situations, and he still has room to grow. His long reach, impressive size, great mobility and cannon of a shot make him a very attractive player at this junction of the draft.

5. Philadelphia Flyers –Joakim Kemell

The Philadelphia Flyers have had a need for goal-scoring that seems to have lasted forever and have spent a lot of draft capital over the years acquiring defensemen in the draft. With Chuck Fletcher looking to retool quickly, they’ll look for the purest goalscorer left at this junction in Finnish winger Joakim Kemell. The talented forward has wowed many fans with his eye-catching shooting mechanics, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make some noise in the NHL, playing alongside gifted playmakers like Sean Couturier or Joel Farabee.

Kemell plays that very rare combo of power and skill in his game, where he’s able to attack open ice with authority, only to create the prettiest play out of it, rather than the predicted crash toward the net. That unpredictability makes him extremely deceptive and almost impossible to defend, especially on the rush.

 

6. Columbus Blue Jackets (via Chicago)– Simon Nemec

The Columbus Blue Jackets can’t believe their luck and run up the podium to select a clear top-5 talent in Simon Nemec. Nemec is able to patrol the offensive blue-line quite effectively, often walking the line with the puck in such confidence and showing great patience before making the smart pass to an open player once he’s found the passing lane. Further to that, Nemec isn’t shy about pinching in the offensive zone, and is very calculated in doing so.

Simon Nemec is more than worthy of a top-5 selection, having broken U-20 scoring records for defencemen in the Slovak Extraliga this season and playoffs. Nemec plays a very intriguing offensive game that would fit with what the Blue Jackets have been building for the last two years.

 

7. Ottawa Senators –Matthew Savoie

The Ottawa Senators debate for a while over two very talented forwards, but ultimately settle on the more dynamic and electric player in Matthew Savoie. The youngster possesses the speed, skill and shooting ability needed to thrive, be it at center or right-wing, in the NHL. He plays a very gritty game for a 5’9 forward and isn’t shy about getting his nose dirty when it matters most.

He plays a skating and possession game with a shoot-first mentality, making him very dangerous on the rush. Savoie’s favourite spot is at the top of the left circle on the powerplay, where he unleashes his devastating wrist shot. He projects as a top-6 player, be it at C or RW.

The Ottawa Senators continue adding great offensively talent to their forward corps and would have the luxury of slotting Savoie to the right-wing to start his career in the NHL and play alongside Shane Pinto or Josh Norris.

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8. Detroit Red Wings – Frank Nazar

Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings have settled their defence over the last few years and now ensure their future at the center position by drafting hometown boy, Frank Nazar. Nazar plays a 200-ft game predicated on top speed and excellent anticipation.

He uses his high Hockey IQ to read plays and make the opposition pay dearly for their mistakes. Headed to the University of Michigan this fall, Nazar will continue to grow and learn the rigours of the center position before making the jump to the NHL, much like Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin did many years ago.

9. Buffalo Sabres – Conor Geekie

The Buffalo Sabres traded away Jack Eichel and will want to shore up their center-line position moving forward. Geekie has the best overall potential at this rank and could truly emerge as a top C if he is able to continue improving his skating over the next few years.

Having Geekie in the fold in a few years would give them a 1-2 punch with Tage Thompson at C, while allowing Dylan Cozens and Casey Mittelstadt to play off the wings and truly load up the Sabres’ top-6 for years to come.

10. Anaheim Ducks – Jonathan Lekkerimäki

The Anaheim Ducks continue adding dynamic forwards to the fold with their selection of Swedish standout Jonathan Lekkerimäki. The gifted forward plays a very intelligent game predicated on sound decision-making and elite puck protection. He helps a line to generate offence on a consistent basis, and his high Hockey IQ helps him make those around him better.

Anaheim would solidify the forward position for a long while, giving franchise centerman Trevor Zegras a running man to create havoc in the offensive zone with for years to come.

11. San Jose Sharks – Kevin Korchinski

The times, they are a-changing. The San Jose Sharks have an aging defensive corps that requires an influx of youth, and there is likely no defenceman available at this rank that would be more electric and impactful than Kevin Korchinski. The Seattle Thunderbirds’ rearguard has exploded up the ranks due to his rapid growth and ability to impact the play in all three zones.

A player like Korchinski would help prepare the retooling Sharks for the post-Burns/Karlsson/Vlasic era; as they shift gears towards playing a more skilled and speed-oriented style of hockey. Korchinski would provide them with that presence on the blueline capable of enabling rapid breakouts and sustainable offensive pressure.

12. Columbus Blue Jackets – Brad Lambert

Over the last year, Brad Lambert has raised many questions, having played for three different teams in the Finnish Liiga in the previous two years. That will not intimidate general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen in any way, as he picks the clear best player available at this rank.

Lambert plays a game predicated on speed and skill, capable of making plays at top speed without breaking stride or form. He is a very dangerous playmaker that can play both center and wing; which could provide the Blue Jackets with many options down the line as their young forward corps continue to grow.

13. NY Islanders – Cutter Gauthier

The New York Islanders will look to add some size and skill to their top-6, and Gauthier could be exactly what the doctor ordered. He projects to be a top-6 power forward capable of owning the boards and being very effective in front of the net.

Yet another member of this year’s USNDT, Cutter Gauthier, is a fast winger capable of playing a solid 200-ft game and has the skills to be so much more. His combination of speed and skill is very dangerous when combined with his fearless hunger for the high danger area.

14. Winnipeg Jets – Denton Mateychuk

The Winnipeg Jets have a clear need on defence for mobile, offensive D capable of playing on the right side. Although Mateychuk is a left-shooting defender, he played on the right side for the whole season for the Moose Jaw Warriors and was one of the highest-scoring defencemen in all of Canadian Major Junior.

Mateychuk plays a game predicated primarily on elite transition. He can carry a puck end to end seamlessly and set up offensively. His edgework and crossovers are a thing of beauty as his dynamic skating ability really explodes off the rush.

15. Vancouver Canucks- Pavel Mintyukov

The Vancouver Canucks have a glut of top-end forwards that have made their way into the lineup, but continue to have difficulty building out a consistent defensive corps outside of Quinn Hughes and the emerging Jack Rathbone. Mintyukov could bring some of that dynamic offensive and transition ability to help take a load off Hughes moving forward.

Capable of playing both left and right, Mintyukov has a penchant for transition, as he loves to bring the pucks up the ice himself or initiate the quick breakout with ease. He loves to jump into the rush and carry the puck into the offensive zone himself. Despite not having elite speed, he moves up the ice so effortlessly that it’s fun to see him move around on the ice. He would certainly fit into what the Canucks are trying to build.

 

16. Buffalo Sabres (Via Vegas) – Liam Öhgren

The Sabres go back to selecting forwards at this rank and pick one of the most dynamic scorers in the draft in Liam Öhgren. He would help the Sabres in all situations, while providing them with a fine replacement for Victor Olofsson, should the Sabres decide to move on from him before his next contract.

Öhgren has a knack for scoring goals and has one of the deadliest wrist shots in the entire draft. His combination of shooting arsenal and speed make him a can’t miss in the first round, as those are clear skills that separate him from other prospects in this draft.

 

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