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NHL Draft

MHN June 2022 NHL Mock Draft

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NHL Draft

With the NHL Draft a little less than a month away, it’s now time for Montreal Hockey Now’s June 2022 NHL Mock Draft.

During the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery, the Montreal Canadiens won the first overall pick in the NHL Draft Lottery, while the New Jersey Devils jumped up to get the second overall pick. With the order of the first 28 selections of the 1st round now confirmed, it’s time for the first 1st-round Mock Draft of the year.

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.

 

1. Montreal Canadiens – (C) 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 – (LW) 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.

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 – (C) Logan Cooley

The Arizona Coyotes 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 forward; 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 – (D) Simon Nemec

Simon Nemec is one of the more explosive defencemen in the NHL Draft. He can 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 Kraken have been building the last year.

5. Philadelphia Flyers – (C/LW) Cutter Gauthier

The Philadelphia Flyers will look to add some size and skill to their top-6, and Gauthier could be exactly what they need in their retool. He projects to be a top-6 power forward capable of owning the boards, generating a ton of scoring chances and being very effective in front of the net.

Yet another member of this year’s USNDT, Gauthier is a fast winger capable of playing a solid 200-ft game and has the ability to play both center and wing. His combination of speed and skill is very dangerous when combined with his fearless hunger for the high danger area.

6. Columbus Blue Jackets (via Chicago) – (C/RW) Matthew Savoie

The Columbus Blue Jackets debate for a while over who to take next, 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.

7. Ottawa Senators – (D) David Jiricek

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 NHL Draft.

His size (6’3) and his exceptional mobility pop out of the screen almost immediately, as he activates extremely well in the offensive zone and can make something out of nothing. He possesses a cannon of a one-timer, and an absolute howitzer of a wrist shot, making him an ideal fit for a top PP quarterback moving forward.

8. Detroit Red Wings – (C) 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 – (RW/C) Jonathan Lekkerimäki

The Buffalo Sabres 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.

Buffalo would solidify the forward position for a long while, giving top forwards like Tage Thompson and Peyton Krebs a running man to create havoc in the offensive zone with for years to come.

10. Anaheim Ducks – (RW) Joakim Kemell

Joakim Kemell is one of the purest goal-scorers in the 2022 NHL Draft and would help the Anaheim Ducks round out their forward core, giving franchise centerman Trevor Zegras a triggerman to finish his plays.

Kemell uses his quick hands, deceptiveness and incredibly heavy shot to mystify the opposition and earn his ice time, vaulting him onto the top unit for JYP. What makes Kemell extremely dangerous is his ability to cut into the center of the ice with such ease and with great power. It opens up passing lanes for him, but also shooting lanes; allowing him to unload his cannon of a wrist shot. He plays a very aggressive game that could be of great value for the Ducks, as they look to put the finishing touches on their rebuild moving forward.

11. San Jose Sharks – (C) Marco Kasper

Marco Kasper has vaulted up the rankings after an impressive season in the Swedish Hockey League and a strong showing at the World Championships for Austria. He plays a strong game in all three zones, making him quite the underrated puck carrier. On top of his puck protection abilities, Kasper does not shy away from going to the danger areas and is quite effective at deflecting shots or corralling loose pucks in-tight in order to bring them to the net. He likes to create havoc in front of the net and likes to drive the puck there, making him a handful for defenders.

He plays a power-centric game, allowing him to protect pucks and seamlessly generate breakouts himself without sweating forecheckers, while being an annoying and dangerous forechecker himself. Adding another potential top-6 C to the fold would be a big boost for the retooling Sharks.

12. Columbus Blue Jackets – (D) Kevin Korchinski

The Columbus Blue Jackets continue their haul at the 2022 NHL Draft, as 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.

He’s extremely effective with the puck in the offensive zone along the blue line, as he can glide from side to side with ease and outpace forechekers to find open ice and make a play. He’s got a lot of deception in his offensive game, often making defenders guess where he’s going and pouncing on that moment of hesitation to unleash a heavy wrister or a well-timed pass.

13. NY Islanders – (C/RW) 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 Lou Lamoriello in any way, as he picks the clear best player available at this rank.

Lambert’s game is all about speed and skill, as he’s 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 Islanders with many options down the line as their young forward corps continue to grow.

14. Winnipeg Jets – (C) Conor Geekie

Geekie has the best overall potential at this rank and could truly emerge as a top-6 C for the Jets if he is able to continue improving his skating over the next few years. Playing in the Jet’s backyard for the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice, Geekie plays a heavy and skilled game that resembles the style the Jets tend to look for in their top players.

Having Geekie in the fold in a few years would give the Jets an insurance policy up the middle with the uncertainty surrounding both Mark Scheifele and Pierre-Luc Dubois.

15. Vancouver Canucks – (D) 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 NHL 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.

17. Nashville Predators – (RW) Danila Yurov

Danila Yurov is a pretty interesting selection at this junction for the Nashville Predators. He’s part of that new breed of two-way, rugged Russian wingers who love to play a fast-paced, smash-mouth style of hockey. He uses his speed and strong frame to power through neutral zones, making his transition game one of the best in the draft, as he’s able to identify open ice and attacks them with great velocity and power in his strides.

His game looks tailor-made for the NHL, as he combines his offensive tools with a motor that simply does not turn off, ever. That kind of heart and soul top-6 forward is hard to come by, even more so when he has the intriguing frame of a power-forward type player.

18. Dallas Stars – (D) Denton Mateychuk

The Dallas Stars 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.

19. LA Kings – (LW) Ivan Miroshnichenko

Now that Ivan Miroshnichenko is confirmed to be healthy and back to training, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be a slam dunk pick at this rank for the LA Kings. The lanky Russian winger plays a game predicated on great strong skating strides and great hockey sense.

He is able to attack open ice quickly and make solid plays with the puck to create open ice for his teammates. He’s really got a knack for knowing where his teammates are on the ice and being able to thread the needle with a laser pass right on the tape. With the Kings already boasting a deep prospect pool, they can afford to be patient.

20. Washington Capitals – (C/LW) Noah Östlund

Noah Östlund is an extremely intelligent and skilled forward that plays with a lot of pace. He can burn you in many ways, either with his great hands, his lethal one-timer or his deceptive passing game. His all-around offensive game helped him stand out as one of the best youngsters in Sweden this past season.

He creates something or tries a high-end play almost every time he touches the puck; that kind of creativity cannot be taught. He plays with lots of speed and pace to his game and is able to execute high-skill plays at very quick pace, all while being extremely agile and slippery in the offensive zone. It would be a breath of fresh air for the Capitals, as they continue to add potential top-6 forwards to their aging core.

21. Pittsburgh Penguins – (LW) Isaac Howard

Isaac Howard is a missile. He attacks open ice like few in this draft and is very explosive in the neutral zone. His explosiveness and his ease with the puck really stand out. In the NHL, there are players who are fast, and then there are players who are fast with the puck, and Howard is both. He’s able to carry the puck up so effectively and handle it in full stride, forcing defenders to back off quickly, sometimes even falling over.

The Penguins cannot afford to pass up on any pure talent at this junction of the draft, as their prospect pool is rather empty due to years of trading off their 1st round picks. Adding a player like Howard would give their ranks a jolt of energy and skill that could serve them well in the future.

22. Anaheim Ducks (Via Boston) – (D) Ryan Chesley

Ryan Chesley is one tough customer. Standing at 6’ foot and 196lbs, Chesley is one of those new-age defensive defensemen that are both sound in their own end, but also possesses incredible mobility and poise with the puck. Chesley’s offensive numbers will not wow you, but he does have a really strong shot from the point. In the neutral zone, Chesley is a rush-defending defenseman. That is to say that, if you’re coming down his side, you’re going to have to pay the price if you want to access the defensive zone behind him.

The problem for opposing forwards is, even if they dump the puck in to try and avoid contact and catch Chesley flatfooted, Chesley’s surprisingly good mobility allows him to quickly clamp the forward against the boards, while a teammate will come to extract the puck. Basically, very little gets by him on his side. Being that coveted right-shot defenseman, combined with his sound two-way game and exceptional skating, Chesley is a slam dunk pick here for the Anaheim Ducks.

23. St. Louis Blues – (LW/C) Rutger McGroarty

Rutger McGroarty plays a very powerful game predicated on puck protection and space creation; basically your prototypical power-forward.

He has one heck of a shooting arsenal that makes him especially dangerous. He has one of the most accurate and devastating wrist shots in the 2022 NHL Draft. He has a nose for the net and the velocity he gets on his shots immediately grabs your attention. He’s going to have to speed up his release at the next level, but the power is there for him to adapt his shooting mechanics to play quicker and execute faster. You simply cannot teach that goal-scoring acumen.

24. Minnesota Wild – (C) Nathan Gaucher

Nathan Gaucher plays a strong, two-way game predicated on power and skill. Patrick Roy uses him in every situation, especially to shut down the opposition late in games or during critical moments. Gaucher’s responsible two-way ability and impressive size (6’3 207lbs) make him a can’t miss player on the ice. He has a very good sense of anticipation, knowing when to pressure forwards to create the turnover.

He loves to go to the net and likes to station himself within five feet of the goalie when the puck is in the offensive zone. It’s very hard to pry the puck away from him when he has it, and will make oppositional defenders extremely frustrated if they engage in board battles with him. He has all the makings of a very efficient 3rd line center at the NHL level.

25. Toronto Maple Leafs – (C) Luca Del Bel Belluz

Luca Del Bel Belluz is one of the better gambles in this draft. He possesses a lethal wrist shot, which he loves to unleash at the top of each circle in the offensive zone. It has great velocity, although the release needs some work in order to be easier to get off at the next level. He also doesn’t shy away from driving to the net, often time building up speed and overwhelming defensemen on his way to crashing the net. Once he’s in tight, Del Bel Belluz uses his underrated hands to deke out goaltenders or make a pass to an incoming teammate.

On top of his offensive attributes, Del Bel Belluz is also very good defensively when it pertains to anticipating plays and intercepting passes. He would bring a blend of skills that the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t currently have, having invested heavily in defensemen and wingers over the last few drafts.

26. Montreal Canadiens (Via Calgary) – (LW/RW) Jimmy Snuggerud

Jimmy Snuggerud is an interesting player from the USNDT. He has a really good frame, standing at 6’2 and 185 lbs and is a shoot-first kind of winger. He can get shots off very quickly, be it on the rush, on loose pucks in the slot or one-timers from the circle. He’s a goal-scoring winger that plays a power game and loves to push the puck into traffic.

He uses his combination of size and skill to help him establish possession in the offensive zone. You love watching Snuggerud engage in board battles, because it’s an absolute wrestling match between he and defenders, and he always seems to come out with the puck and then has eyes for only the net. That’s exactly the kind of winger that is currently missing in the Canadiens’ prospect pool, who can combine size, skill and shooting ability, while having legit top-6 potential.

27. Arizona Coyotes (Via Carolina) – Jagger Firkus

The undersized forward has vaulted himself up the rankings this season due to an explosive jump in his progression with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors. He plays a strong all-around game with lots of deception to it. He has great hands and a nose for the net, making him very difficult to defend. His shot is likely his strongest feature, as he has one of the quicker releases in the NHL Draft.

Firkus is your classic boom-or-bust type of gamble that a team like the Arizona Coyotes could afford to make at this junction in the draft, and he could wind up paying significant dividends if he can further round out his game and put on some weight on his frame.

28. Buffalo Sabres (Via Florida) – (C) Jiri Kulich

Jiri Kulich is a very intense and intelligent center that plays with a relentless motor. He loves to be in the thick of the action and is always in pursuit of the puck when it’s not on his stick. He plays a very mature game for his age, displaying strong anticipation and an eye for detail. He also has rather underrated vision, being able to make sneaky set-up plays for his teammates while on the rush.

29. Edmonton Oilers – (D) Owen Pickering

Owen Pickering is able to combine incredible Hockey IQ with exceptional mobility and great situational awareness into great two-way hockey for the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos. From the first moment you see him play, Pickering likes to calm things down and make the right decision with the puck. He’s not shy about carrying the puck up himself if he sees openings, and he is able to activate in a pinch, throwing everyone off-guard.

Pickering is also a very efficient quarterback for the offence at the point, be it at even strength or on the man advantage. His mobility helps him move around the offensive zone with ease, and he doesn’t shy away from going into high-danger areas in order to get better shooting options.

30*. Winnipeg Jets (Via New York) – (D) Tristan Luneau

Tristan Luneau plays a very sound two-way game predicated and good decision-making and a quick breakout. He plays a very smooth style of defending, using his above average skating to keep him in good positioning at all times; while also not being shy to activate in the offensive zone to maintain possession. He has a good ability to force his opponents to commit mistakes due to his good anticipation and aggressive defending. He’s rather effective at boxing players out to the outside and making the right play to ease the pressure in the defensive zone.

He plays a style that is very reminiscent of former Winnipeg Jets defenders, and he plays a position of significant value and need for the Jets as a right-shot defenceman.

31*. Tampa Bay Lightning – (D) Seamus Casey

Seamus Casey is extremely efficient defenceman when it comes to puck transition. His first pass is elite, as he is able to find the open man very quickly to initiate breakouts. He’s also not shy at all about carrying the puck all the way and even pinching deep into the offensive zone to maintain possession. Casey also has a very impressive set of shooting tools, his wrist shot has a serious knack for hitting the net from the point. Casey also loves to make the extra move toward the center of the slot in order to get better angles for his shots, resulting in many rebounds and primary scoring opportunities.

Casey brings about the high-tempo style the Lightning love to play and would fit well within an already established defensive core.

32*. Arizona Coyotes (Via Colorado) – (D) Lane Hutson

Lane Hutson is perhaps the most intriguing defenceman in the 2022 NHL Draft, as his explosive skating and exceptional playmaking skills are absolutely off the charts. He plays a game predicated on carrying the puck up the ice with incredible speed; making him extremely effective for both zone exits and zone entries in open ice. The main concern of some scouts is his small stature (5’8, 159 lbs), as it is extremely difficult for defencemen of that size to defend at the NHL level, especially in the playoffs.

Ultimately, the raw skills and skating ability make Hutson a great gamble for the Arizona Coyotes, as he’ll have all the time to develop at his pace in the NCAA next season for Boston University.

* Ranks not yet confirmed for NHL Draft

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