2022 NHL Mock Draft: Predicting the Top-10 Picks
With the Stanley Cup Playoffs coming to an end and the Colorado Avalanche being named the champions, we are now less than one week away from the NHL Draft taking place from July 7th-8th in Montreal. So with that being said here come all the 2022 NHL mock draft predictions and for the first time all year there seems to be some discrepancies around who is going to hear their name called first on draft night. These discussions and debates don’t just end with the first overall selection as everyone has their own opinions on how the draft will shake out from the first pick to the last.
To start the year Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs was the consensus first overall pick and not to mention he has been a player who has had the spotlight on him since he was playing for the Don Mills Flyers. However, recently the highly skilled Slovak, Juraj Slafovsky, has made his way into the conversation for the first overall pick, as at the beginning of the year he was ranked anywhere between the 6th and 12th selection. And now Bob McKenzie has Slafovsky ranked as the best prospect in this draft, which is something to be aware of as he has correctly predicted the first overall pick dating all the way back to 2009. Is this the year that breaks this amazing streak McKenzie has going?
If you are interested in betting on the first and second overall picks of the draft, you can go over to Caesars Sportsbook. If you wanted to bet on Wright to go first overall New York sports betting markets list him at -200 odds. Similarly, you can also bet on Slafovsky to go second overall where his odds are at -140. There is also the option to bet on other players to be drafted both first and second overall.
1. Montreal Canadiens: Shane Wright, C
In the years and months leading up to the 2022 NHL Draft Shane Wright has been the consensus first overall pick; however, recently many experts aren’t projecting Wright to be the slam dunk that everyone thought he would be. While the questions may be warranted I believe they have gone over the top. Let’s keep in mind Wright essentially lost a year of development during COVID as the only hockey he played was during the U18 World Championships where he performed like the best player in the tournament.
While the year Wright had in the OHL may not have been what many were expecting, his polished well-rounded profile is hard to ignore. Furthermore, Wright matches the needs of the Canadiens perfectly as they desperately need strength up the middle of the ice. And pairing Wright with Suzuki as the Canadiens 1-2 punch at center for the years to come, sounds like a duo that will put them in the position to succeed.
2. New Jersey Devils: Juraj Slafovsky, LW
Slafovsky has made his way up the big board and put his name in the discussion for the first overall pick leading up to draft night, but I still have him slotted in at number two. And despite the Devils having entertained trading this pick, I believe the smartest decision is to take the 6’4” 214 pound left winger as he is close to, if not NHL ready. The Devils are already strong up the middle of the ice with Hischier, Hughes, and Mercer. So does it not make sense to pair Hischier or Hughes with a potential top line winger, who can add both size and skill up front to this young core that appears to be poised to begin pushing for a playoff spot?
3. Arizona Coyotes: Logan Cooley, C
While the Coyotes could look to bolster their blue line as they search for another defensive anchor, it’s hard to pass up on the best player available. Cooley would pair perfectly with the Coyotes 2021 first round pick in Dylan Guenther as the young center would complement the skills of Gunether, who plays on the wing. Furthermore, Cooley also plays a complete game as he is considered by many to be a strong two way player, which is a trait that many teams are looking for in their top line centers now, especially with how much defenders are jumping into the play offensively.
Should Logan Cooley go 1st overall?
powered by InStat pic.twitter.com/4oxwTFvU3p
— Derek Lee (@DLee075) May 1, 2022
Arizona has said that they want players who want to be Coyotes, so it wouldn’t be crazy to see Cutter Gauthier selected here (who is from Scottsdale, Arizona); however, I believe what Cooley offers is too good to pass up.
4. Seattle Kraken: Simon Nemec, D
In the 2021 NHL Draft, the Kraken selected a center by the name of Matty Beniers and now they have the opportunity to pair Beniers with a potential cornerstone defenseman. There is a lot of debate regarding who the better player is in this spot between David Jiricek and Simon Nemec and either way the Kraken are getting a solid defenseman who has the potential to play in their top pairing.
With that being said, I think Nemec gets the edge as he is a strong right shot defenseman who plays a solid two-way game and has unbelievable hockey sense and IQ. This was on display as he posted unprecedented numbers with Nitra in the Tipos Extraliga, which is the top professional league in Slovakia, putting up 26 points in just 39 games.
5. Philadelphia Flyers: David Jiricek, D
There are a number of options that the Flyers could go with when making the 5th overall pick; however, I think that the 6’3” 190 pound right handed defenseman may be too good to pass up. There’s a lot to like about his game already as he has great offensive instincts, scoring 11 points in 29 games with Plzen in the Czech Extraliga, which is the Czech Republic’s top professional league.
With John Tortorella being named the head coach for the Flyers, Jiricek should fit the scheme of the Flyers as everyone knows Tortorella loves big physical defenseman, who can contribute on both sides of the ice.
6. Columbus Blue Jackets (via Chicago): Cutter Gauthier, LW/C
Cutter Gauthier is someone that has made his way up the draft boards since the beginning of the season and rightfully so as he is a 6’3” 194 pound power forward with an elite shot and NHL-ready skating ability. Despite many of the Blue Jackets top prospects being forwards, there is always a premium on big, strong centers and taking Gauthier to bolster your lineup down the middle seems logical.
Logan Cooley from Cutter Gauthier. Silky in transition. 3-2 USA #2022NHLDraft #U18MensWorlds pic.twitter.com/jAXMIS4tVh
— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) April 23, 2022
Gauthier had an exceptional year with the USNTDP as he had 65 points in 54 games and was second on the team in goal scoring. He is now committed to Boston College, which is a school that has developed a wealth of great NHL players.
7. Ottawa Senators: Joakim Kemell, RW
The Senators already have a strong prospect pool and the opportunity to add an elite goal scorer to the mix in Kemell looks to be a seamless fit. While the Senators have considered trading this pick to make the team better now, I think it makes the most sense to hold onto it and draft someone that will be able to grow with the young stars that the team already has in its pipeline. Kemell projects to have the upside of a top-six forward and would pair nicely on the wing of Tim Stutzle as his goal scoring potential matches Stutzle’s superb playmaking ability.
8. Detroit Red Wings: Marco Kasper, C
Steve Yzerman is known for going a little off the board and finding immense talent where not everyone sees it, which is why projecting Kasper to go here doesn’t seem crazy. In 2021 the Red Wings took a defenseman Simon Edvinsson and a goalie Sebastian Cossa, so it only makes sense that they look to shore up the middle of the ice this year.
Many people love the motor and compete level that Kasper plays with as he is completely committed to improving his game and giving it everything he has both on and off the ice. Another thing to mention is Kasper’s skating ability is considered to be elite as playing in the Swedish Hockey League he didn’t look out of place and his offensive skill may be better than he gets credit for.
9. Buffalo Sabres: Jonathan Lekkerimaki, RW
The Sabres selected defenseman Owen Power first overall in the 2021 NHL draft and now it’s time to go back to building out the offense this year. Buffalo already has a collection of offensively gifted forwards in their prospect pool and adding Lekkerimaki makes their forward group of the future look very dangerous.
Lekkerimaki’s best attribute is his shot, which is considered to already be NHL-caliber and he can score any way you want, whether it’s with his wicked wrist shot, slap shot, or a one-timer he is able to pick goalies apart. Pairing this young goal-scoring Swede with a power forward like Dylan Cozens sounds like a match made in heaven for the Sabres.
10. Anaheim Ducks: Matthew Savoie, C
The Ducks can go a number of different ways with the 10th overall selection as there is still a lot of talent left on the board. They also have the 22nd overall selection so I think this gives them the flexibility to look at who the best player available could be and I think Savoie still being available at 10 is too good to pass up.
By drafting Savoie Anaheim will have solidified their team down the middle, adding him to the likes of Mctavish and Zegras. Not only would Savoie strengthen the center position for the Ducks but his skillset is quite desirable as he is a natural skater with tons of speed and his abilities offensively are impressive as he has a lethal shot and a nice pair of hands.
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