NHL Draft prospect rankings 2022: Shane Wright headlines early top 32

It’s that point of 12 months the place we flip the web page on the earlier draft and switch our consideration to the upcoming version: the 2022 NHL Draft. 

And what a draft will probably be.

There must be no surprises on the top of this class, as we’ve watched the distinctive Shane Wright in awe for years already. From being granted distinctive standing into the Ontario Hockey League to profitable CHL Rookie of the Year in 2019-20 to main Canada to the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 gold medal, there’s no disputing he’s on the top of this class. 

You can guess that NHL groups shall be chomping on the bit to have the ability to get their jersey on him, too. There’s a cause the NHL up to date the NHL Draft Lottery rules. But, after Wright, issues will get attention-grabbing.  

In FCHockey’s preliminary rating for 2022, there are prospects from 12 totally different leagues and 10 totally different nations. It has the potential to be one of the numerous first rounds we’ve seen.  

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From the No. 2 spot on, positions are very a lot up for grabs. While gamers like Brad Lambert and Matthew Savoie as soon as appeared locks to spherical out the top three, a wave of Slovak and Russian prospects have entered that dialog after turning heads over the previous 12 months. And, you’ll be able to’t rely out the Americans on this class both, who may cost up the rankings.

It’s a protracted season and this record will change an awesome deal earlier than the 2022 NHL Draft kicks off July 7 in Montreal. Between from time to time, FCHockey shall be getting eyes on some gamers for the primary time in 19 months and the upcoming draft may have some massive surprises in retailer. It’s gearing as much as be a really thrilling season.

With the 2022 NHL Draft solely 9 months away, right here’s how FCHockey preliminarily ranks the top-32. 

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(Getty Images)

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1. Shane Wright, C, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

As talked about, there aren’t any surprises right here. Wright seems to have this spot on lockdown and barring a stunning efficiency from him, and one of many subsequent handful of names, he may simply run the course of the season on the top of each record. From his outstanding intelligence to his elite shot and from his maturity to his spectacular management expertise, Wright is a expertise that would change an NHL crew’s fortunes. After dropping the 2020-21 OHL season as a result of COVID-19 cancellation, we might be in retailer for a large season from the top prospect. If there’s one prospect you observe all 12 months, it must be Wright.

2. Simon Nemec, D, HK Nitra (Slovakia)

Playing in Slovakia’s top males’s league, Nemec has been capturing consideration at worldwide ranges together with the 2021 World Junior Championship, 2021 Men’s World Championship, Olympic Qualifiers, and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. We’ve seen him towards his friends, and we like what we’ve seen. He’s a gifted two-way presence that exhibits intelligence at each ends of the ice. He doesn’t have this spot on lockdown by any means, however he’s captured the eye of scouts at FCHockey.

3. Brad Lambert, C, JYP (Liiga) 

A reputation that you simply might need been anticipating at No. 2 on this record, Lambert’s inconsistency final season has dropped him from the No. 1 dialog into what shall be a battle for that second spot; nonetheless, that isn’t a slight towards the expertise he possesses. The expert ahead spent final season in Finland’s top males’s league, the Liiga. His means to take over a recreation offensively, his edgework, and his playmaking stand out as top expertise on this class. The hope is that he can carve out extra time for himself on the Liiga degree and enhance his consistency. 

4. Ivan Miroshnichenko, RW Omskie Krylia (VHL)

There’s going to be a battle for who would be the top Russian of this class, however for proper now Miroshnichenko takes the spot. The winger has constructed hype and pleasure round himself for years now, captaining gold medal-winning Russian groups and standing out towards older competitors. His shot seems prepared for the NHL degree and his means to fireplace it from anyplace makes him a risk every time he touches the puck. His means to learn defenses and get himself into these scoring probabilities is among the many greatest on this class.

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5. Danila Yurov, Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL)

He could have been within the shadow of Miroshnichenko within the lead-up to this season, however Yurov has exploded onto the draft scene. The winger is already on the KHL degree, because of his two-way prowess, excessive competitiveness and intelligence. Mix that together with his excessive offensive ability and talent to drive the play — even when enjoying towards males — make him a top prospect for the 2022 draft. He may make a push for the top Russian spot, and even increased on this class, particularly if he sticks within the KHL.

6. Matthew Savoie, RW, Winnipeg Ice (WHL) 

While Wright was on the sidelines final season ready for the OHL season to kick off, Savoie performed wherever he may, spending time in each the AJHL and the USHL. Now, with a full WHL season getting set, the promising younger prospect is again and able to take the league by storm. His offensive ability is outstanding in that it might adapt to what’s wanted in the meanwhile. You want a goalscorer? He might be the man. Need a playmaker? Get prepared for his imaginative and prescient to be on show. Want an influence ahead? He’ll drive his approach to the web and bulldoze opponents. While the WHL focus could be on 2023-eligible Connor Bedard, Savoie deserves among the limelight as properly.

7. Juraj Slafkovsky, C, TPS (Liiga)

Another top Slovak on this class, Slafkovsky has taken his skills to Finland, the place he’s been enjoying since 2019-20. After spending final season within the U20 SM-sarja, it seems like he’s made the leap to the Liiga degree to remain. An enormous ahead with an awesome shot, what’s most spectacular are his comfortable fingers that you simply don’t count on with a participant of his measurement. He performs a affected person recreation that’s past his years, with high-end playmaking means. While he’s at No. 7 on this record, he — and people above him — are all within the No. 2 dialog.

8. Rutger McGroarty, C, US-NTDP (USHL) 

An enormous-bodied centerman that appears unable to keep away from placing up factors, McGroarty is FCHockey’s top American within the preliminary rating (however even that race is tight). He finds open house so properly, all the time presenting himself as a scoring risk. The Nebraska native fights arduous to maneuver to the net-front and get open. With the puck, he might be the playmaker as properly, exhibiting good imaginative and prescient and hitting teammates with crisp passes and an awesome scoring likelihood. He could be the perfect goal-scorer within the class and when you get the possibility to observe him in motion, his offensive means shall be arduous to overlook.

9. Conor Geekie, C, Winnipeg Ice (WHL) 

While it seems like Savoie would be the star in Winnipeg, Geekie must be proper there with him. After beginning final season within the MJHL, Geekie went almost a point-per-game within the WHL final 12 months. Now getting into his draft 12 months, count on him to exceed that mark — particularly if he’s on the ice with Savoie. The middle brings measurement and ability to his recreation; an influence ahead with a capability to supply at a excessive degree. His means to regulate the puck is dominant at occasions and he’s very a lot a risk to climb these rankings because the season goes on. 

10. Joakim Kemell, RW, JYP (Liiga) 

Already stealing the present early within the 2021-22 season, Kemell has turn out to be a favorite on this class. The Finnish ahead is one other top goal-scorer and has a full arsenal of pictures, which he is aware of the way to use. He has nice pace that defenders nonetheless appear to not give him credit score for, as he usually catches them flat-footed and blows proper previous. He has nice fingers and a pleasant passing means. He’s exploded onto the scene this season, beginning within the Liiga and it doesn’t appear like he’s trying again. 

11. Isaac Howard, LW, US-NTDP (USHL) 

Along with McGroarty, Howard is a powerful contender for the top American within the class and will slide proper into the top-10. With a fast launch and a ton of energy behind his shot, he’s proper there together with his fellow American as a risk to seek out the twine. Howard can dish it out too although, with high-end playmaking talents and is a clutch performer, in a position to step his recreation up when the sport is on the road. The US-NTDP is a ton of enjoyable this season and Howard is an enormous a part of that.

12. Logan Cooley, C, US-NTDP (USHL) 

A daily with the U18 crew final season, Cooley is a two-way middle that drives the play. While he generates pace with the puck on his stick, his actions away from the puck are arguably extra spectacular. He angles out and reads the play properly whereas supporting his defenders, moving into the passing lanes and stealing pucks with ease. He’ll be a fixture of the US-NTDP crew and will discover himself within the top-10 because the season progresses.

13. Elias Salomonsson, D, Skelleftea AIK J20 (J20 Nationell)

 The top Swedish participant within the class, Salomonsson is likely one of the greatest defenders on this class. A robust candidate to push up the draft board, his data of the way to play in his personal finish may be very spectacular at simply 17. He makes use of his lengthy attain to get into the passing lanes, stress attackers, and steal pucks. He additionally brings some offensive ability to his recreation with a capability to supply factors and goes to be a enjoyable one to keep watch over this season.

14. Tristan Luneau, D, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL) 

The top prospect from the QMJHL, Luneau is a right-hand defenseman that appears to have been within the highlight for years already. Stepping proper into the league final season, he was a key a part of the blue line for Gatineau and must be a top participant once more in 2021-22. Extremely well-rounded, he brings skating, measurement and wonderful consciousness at each ends of the ice. He must be a scout favourite this season thanks partly to his well-composed play and excessive intelligence on the ice. 

15. Ryan Chesley, D, US-NTDP (USHL)

The top American defenseman within the class, Chesley will draw curiosity as a right-hand shot and his outstanding four-way skating means. He performs aggressive defensively, maintaining attackers to the skin with wonderful physique positioning and powerful stickwork. He additionally protects the center of the ice so properly and if wanted, is ready to throw his physique round and separate gamers from the puck with physicality. One of the top defenders within the class, he shall be extremely coveted by organizations.

16. David Jiricek, D, HC Plzen (Czech)

After Czech-defender Stanislav Svozil was a first-round contender all final season, this 12 months will see Jiricek take that spot. Entering his second season within the Czech Republic’s top males’s league, the defender might be a top-10 challenger because the season goes on. A two-way presence with above-average skating, Jiricek may be very a lot the most effective defenders on this class. He defends properly, defending the center lane and utilizing his vary to interrupt up performs. 

17. Bryce McConnell-Barker, C, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

This is the place it may get attention-grabbing. McConnell-Barker misplaced his whole 2020-21 OHL marketing campaign. While this season is essential for all the draft eligibles, people who missed their draft minus-1 12 months are coming with one much less 12 months of growth. Scouts haven’t seen these gamers in-game conditions in over a 12 months, so these gamers might want to show themselves that rather more. McConnell-Barker has nice pace to associate with a tough shot, and seeing how these have improved during the last 19 months shall be very attention-grabbing to see. 

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18. Seamus Casey, D, US-NTDP (USHL) 

Carried by his spectacular skating, Casey is one other expert participant from the US-NTDP that has been capturing consideration. He must placed on some weight, however the fast defenseman’s offensive ability and transition means stand out in spades. He has high-end edgework and is extraordinarily artistic in his footwork. This makes him elusive and he can shock the opposition together with his navigation of the ice. While undersized, his mobility shall be a wished asset.

19. Noah Ostlund, C, Djurgardens IF J20 (J20 Nationell)

Ostlund is a well-rounded, artistic middle who seems to be the top Swedish ahead within the class. He has nice pace and is aware of the way to use it by enjoying at a excessive tempo and aggressively driving play every time he’s on the ice. Ostlund reads the play very properly, and may simply be one of many hardest guys to play towards within the class. After a powerful begin to his 2021-22 season, count on him to make the leap to the SHL sooner quite than later.

20. Pano Fimis, C, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)

Like McConnell-Barker, Fimis misplaced his draft minus-1 season with the OHL cancellation. After placing up 104 factors (41 targets, 63 assists) with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in 2019-20, there was a ton of pleasure round Fimis taking the step up. Now that it’s taking place, that pleasure remains to be there. While he has a smaller body, the middle isn’t afraid of physicality and staying balanced. He’s a powerful stickhandler — maybe the most effective within the class — and likes to play arduous across the internet.

21. Frank Nazar, RW, US-NTDP (USHL)

The US-NTDP gained’t have any points discovering the again of the web this season, as Nazar is yet one more goal-scoring ahead on the American crew. He’s so spectacular at combating his approach to the entrance of the web and moving into the high-danger areas. Once there, he has a fast, correct shot that may blow previous the netminder. His offensive recreation will carry him, however he’s additionally spectacular in his personal zone, figuring out when to break down and help his protection.

22. Ty Nelson, D, North Bay Battalion (OHL)

The first total choose within the 2020 OHL Draft, Nelson is one other participant that sat final 12 months. Slightly undersized, Nelson makes it up with robust skating means and aptitude for offense. He excels in his transition recreation and sometimes steals consideration when he’s on the ice. Nelson is likely one of the gamers that scouts shall be most excited to see how he has progressed since he final hit the ice.

23. Nathan Gaucher, C, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) 

The second QMJHL participant on this record is getting into his third season, Gaucher has proven spectacular enhancements year-over-year. A flexible energy ahead with nice measurement and energy, he’s a bodily presence that brings a outstanding quantity of ability as properly. Going over a point-per-game final season, count on him to proceed his ascension this season as he seems to keep up and enhance his draft inventory.  

24. Marco Kasper, C, Rogle BK (SHL) 

The top Austrian within the class, Kasper has been creating his ability in Sweden with Rogle BK over the previous two seasons. After getting 10 video games on the SHL degree in 2020-21, it seems just like the ahead may turn out to be a fixture on the top-Rogle squad this season. A flexible ahead with wonderful skating expertise, Kasper is all the time an offensive risk. His playmaking can shock defenders with a fast, sneaky go in tight areas. As he will get used to the SHL degree, he might be a riser on draft boards all through the season.

25. (*32*)

Another US-NTDP participant? You guess. Gauthier’s identify hasn’t been round as a lot because the others, however will probably be. Born in Sweden and raised in Scottsdale, Ariz., the winger is an influence ahead that — you guessed it — is aware of the way to put the puck within the internet. He has good measurement and a powerful shot, which when mixed together with his hockey sense, make him a formidable pressure every time he’s on the ice.  

26. Ludwig Persson, C, Frolunda HC J20 (J20 Nationell) 

A participant that has been on the radar for a variety of years now, Persson hung out final season in each the J20 Nationell and the SHL, which he seems to duplicate this 12 months. A really robust skater — maybe the most effective within the class — Persson makes use of wonderful acceleration and makes use of crossovers to blow previous opponents usually. He’s agile, elusive, and handles the puck properly, a harmful mixture. Don’t be shocked if he shoots up draft boards because the season goes on. 

27. Simon Forsmark, D, Orebro HK (SHL) 

A two-way defender, Forsmark is already exhibiting off his skills on the skilled degree in Sweden. A big cause that he’s reached the SHL at such a younger age is because of his decision-making. He performs properly above his age, trying like a mature veteran in his personal finish at occasions. He performs arduous and by no means offers up on a play, particularly in his personal finish. He retains an energetic stick and scans the ice very properly. His skating and offensive recreation depart one thing to be desired, however his maturity and defensive recreation are very intriguing. 

28. Lian Bichsel, D, Leksands IF (SHL)

A cellular, puck-moving defender with nice measurement, Bichsel represents yet one more nation in our first spherical. The Swiss blueliner will be certain that scouts discover him, bringing a powerful bodily edge to his recreation. You may not count on it, however he additionally exhibits off some robust puck expertise to his recreation. Bichsel screams a participant that NHL groups will love, a defender with ability and a powerful, bodily presence. He seems to be sticking within the SHL this season, which ought to solely assist him stand up draft boards.  

29. Jonathan Lekkerimaki, C, Djurgardens IF J20 (J20 Nationell)

Do you want targets? Look no additional. Lekkerimaki has the facility, ability and imaginative and prescient to torment goaltenders. He can drive the web with regularity, but appears to take a unique path each time. He has a harmful shot and is aware of the way to get artistic to attain, even setting himself up with a rebound when wanted. Year-over-year, he’s a risk to guide his league in targets. That must be greater than sufficient to garner consideration from NHL scouts. 

30. Julian Lutz, LW, EHC Munchen (DEL)

As we noticed on the 2020 NHL Draft, Germany is a nation to observe on the hockey scene and that stays the case as Lutz seems to be one other German first-rounder. After enjoying most of his profession in Austria, he seems to have made the leap to the top males’s league in Germany, the DEL. He’s an enormous, arduous forechecking winger that may deliver offensive ability and is an agile skater with spectacular edgework.  

31. Lane Hutson, D, US-NTDP (USHL) 

The ultimate US-NTDP participant projected throughout the first spherical, Hutson may simply be one of many extra thrilling guys. His skating is among the many greatest within the class, and he has the power to navigate the offensive zone whereas creating performs. That similar ability could also be barely missing in his personal zone, however his offensive recreation is sufficient to maintain him within the top spherical. He has some work to do, but when he can enhance his play within the defensive zone, he may shoot up these rankings.

32. Denton Mateychuk, D, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

Mateychuk has an identical profile to Hutson. As a cellular, offensive defenseman that appears to all the time look to leap into the push (his skating is outstanding) and create scoring alternatives, he may quarterback the facility play. However, like Hutson, his defensive play is a piece in progress. He’ll want to enhance his hole management and stick positioning, however his offensive play will assist masks these faults on the junior degree. To take his recreation to the following degree, that defensive recreation might want to take a step ahead this season.

For FCHockey’s full record of the top 100, click here.

Josh Bell is a scout and the director of content material for FCHockey.

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