Wednesday, March 29

2022 NHL draft: Shane Wright and nine more prospects to watch before the July draft

The countdown to the 2022 NHL Draft is officially on.

With most of the youth leagues in North America up and running, the draft season is officially upon us. Fans of fans will enjoy many stories over the course of the next nine months, and there is certainly no shortage of them. Just like there is no shortage of talent in the 2022 NHL Draft class.

FCHockey breaks down the 10 prospects you’ll want to keep an eye on throughout the season (in alphabetical order).

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10 draft-eligible to watch in 2021-22

Conor Geekie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)

Geekie, a 6-4 center, split his time between the Virden Oil Capitals of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) and Winnipeg. During his nine games with Oil Capitals, he recorded four points (one goal, three assists). The WHL then announced a return-to-game protocol in April 2021, prompting him to return to the Ice. Geekie finished the season with an impressive 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in 24 games despite a shorter season. He also comes from a hockey lineage, with his father Craig playing three seasons in the Western Hockey League in the 1990s, and his brother Morgan currently in the Seattle Kraken organization.

“Geekie is an offensive-minded powerhouse who leveraged his combination of size and skill to make a difference in this game against Regina from start to finish,” said FCHockey crossover scout Brandon Holmes.

Joakim Kemell, RW, JYP (League)

Kemell spent the majority of his draft season minus 1 on JYP’s U20 program, scoring 36 points (22 goals, 14 assists) in 38 games. He even earned a call for a game to play in Liiga, scoring in that appearance. Already on the scouts’ radar long before the 2021-22 scouting season, Kemell continued to impress at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he was always trying to make something happen with the puck. He already owns one of the best shots in this draft class and he’s not afraid to use it. He has the traits of a versatile scorer who can find the back of the net in many ways.

“Using his speed, he’s able to catch defenders flat-footed and cut into the middle of the ice for shot attempts in the high-danger area,” said FCHockey cross-scout Curtis Schwartzkopf. “Kemell also has very soft hands and can put a fine touch on his passes, often using a saucer pass to open up a passing lane that has already been eliminated.”

Brad Lambert, C, JYP (League)

Lambert has been listed as one of the top picks in the 2022 draft for a few years, and his dynamic offensive prowess continues to keep him in that conversation. Last year, Lambert played a full season in Liiga for JYP and amassed 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 46 games. He also represented Finland at the IIHF U-18 World Championship in 2021 last spring and at the IIHF World Junior Championship in 2021. In the latter, he showed off his high-level offensive skills as one of the youngest players. from Finland in the winter tournament.

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“He has good hands on his hands and uses his edge work to create space for others,” said FCHockey scout Mat Sheridan. “In transition, he’s able to pick up speed using his crossovers and he’s not afraid to attack lanes as he heads onto the ice.”

Rutger McGroarty, C, US-NTDP (USHL)

McGroarty is a burly center with a dynamic offensive skill set. In 2019-20, McGroarty played 63 games for the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 15U team and finished with 160 points overall (82 goals, 78 assists). He spent the 2020-21 season playing for the US U18 and U17 teams and appeared in the WJC-18 tournament. In his 30 USHL games, McGroarty finished with 12 goals and seven assists.

“He does a good job of finding open ice in the slot to present himself as a passing option and he always fights hard to position himself in front of the net,” Sheridan said. “He has good eyesight and is able to hit his teammates in the slot with a sharp, sharp pass, even under pressure.”

Ivan Miroshnichenko, LW, OMSKIE Krylia (VHL)

An international regular in recent years for Russia, Miroshnichenko projects to be among the top scorers and pure shot threats available in the 2022 NHL Draft class. He has become a star for the 2004 class of Russians at the level. international, captaining gold medal winning teams in both the Youth Olympic Games and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in recent years, as well as being a member of Russia’s silver medal squad in the U18s.

In his MHL debut season, Miroshnichenko became a trusted collaborator for Omskie Yastreby with 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 20 games played, earning him a promotion to Avangard’s VHL club to start the 2021 campaign. -22.

“His shot is NHL ready, generates a ton of power behind his shot and has a fast pitch and pinpoint accuracy that will beat goalies from anywhere,” said FCHockey scout Austin Broad. “If you give him free space in the offensive zone, he will make you pay.”

Simon Nemec, D, HK Nitra (Slovakia)

Nemec spent the 2020-21 season playing for HK Nitra, where he recorded 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) from 37 games. He went on to represent Slovakia at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, recording four assists in five games as a crucial key in Slovakia’s career. He was captain in last year’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup tournament, where he led the Slovaks to a silver medal and added six points (goal, five assists) from five games. Nemec was named MVP of the tournament.

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“Nemec is a very talented two-way defender who is effective on both ends of the ice,” said FCHockey scout Douglas Larson. “Every aspect of his defensive game is exceptional, especially when you look at his quick defense. Nemec is not afraid to fire the puck when he sees an opening, and when he did, it was low, as he was shooting for a tip or a bounce. His decision making needs some work as I often saw him make a quick decision that was often not the best decision.

Matthew Savoie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)

With the uncertainty surrounding last year’s WHL season, Savoie played four games for the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) recording six points (three goals, three assists). After that brief period, Savoie found himself south of the border playing for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League (USHL). He posted 38 points (21 goals, 17 assists) in 34 games with the Fighting Saints and was named a member of the USHL All-Rookie team, but has returned to the WHL this season and is expected to be a top forward for Ice alongside. to Geekie. .

“He’s a chameleon on offense, one turn he’s an elite playmaker who finds his teammates with ease, the next he’s a power forward who uses his skating body to smash through defenders and cut through the ball. network, “Broad said. Dimensional offensive threat that adapts and changes its method of attack every time it hits the puck. “

Juraj Slafkovsky, C, Turku TPS (League)

Last season, Slafkovsky starred with the TPS team in the U20 SM-sarja league and recorded 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in 16 games. Last winter, he represented Slovakia at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships at age 16. He was also part of the Hlinka Gretzky Cup team that won silver, scoring nine points (three goals, six assists) in five games. Slafkovsky is sure to be locked on the World Juniors roster again, and a good showing there, coupled with a showcase at Liiga, makes him an intriguing choice.

“Slafkovsky is a great striker who can shoot and has great puck skills,” described FCHockey scout Mirolsav Simurka. “Given his size, it can be a bit surprising that Slafkovsky has one of the softest pairs of hands in this draft class. He is very strong with the puck on the run, controlling the puck at full speed, drawing in defenders and creating passing lanes for his teammates.

“He projects himself as a top-six winger with elite passing and playing skills, but he can also shoot the puck with great speed for his age. Slafkovsky is in the top 10, if not the top five, right now. “

Shane Wright, C, Kingston (OHL)

Welcome to the era of Wright. After starting his junior hockey career with a bang, scoring 39 goals in 58 games in his first season at Kingston, Canada’s next big star will have the entire hockey world watching him as he enters his draft year. His total of 1.14 points per game as a player of exceptional status in the OHL is second only to John Tavares, who arguably played for a better team.

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“He’s a player who could change the franchise,” Sheridan said. “He has an elite shot. He is able to get it off his cane quickly and can shoot with both feet and stride. He has excellent situational awareness on both ends of the ice: he constantly interrupts the passing lanes with his stick and always opens up in the offensive zone.

Danila Yurov, RW, Metallurg (KHL)

If you were tuning into the 2021 IIHF U-18 World Championships last spring, it would have been hard not to notice the play of Yurov, a skilled and competitive winger with double threat who has become one of Russia’s best youth skaters. .

He led all U18 skaters in scoring pace at the MHL during the 2020-21 season for Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk, scoring 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 23 games, which in turn earned him time in a limited role. at the KHL for Metallurg. In the U-18s, Yurov shone every night, finishing third over Russia in scoring with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in seven games en route to a silver finish.

“Yurov is a highly competitive two-way forward with exceptional awareness on both ends and the ability to power the offense,” said FCHockey cruiser scout Josh Bell. “His intelligence on ice is extremely strong. From his positioning on both ends to his pass readings, and this ability to take advantage of mistakes stands out in a big way. “

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