The 2022 NHL Draft is set to begin on July 7th and July 8th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. The Montreal Canadiens won this year’s Draft Lottery, marking it the first time since 1985 that the team hosting the event will have the first overall selection. The second pick belongs to the New Jersey Devils, followed by the Arizona Coyotes, Seattle Kraken, and Philadelphia Flyers.
There were a lot of back and forth opinions on which players will slot in where but like in the 2021 draft, pretty much everyone has the first overall pick penciled in. It’s almost time for one of the most exciting offseason events in the league to commence and to see the future stars take center stage.
Top 2022 NHL Draft Prospects
Shane Wright (Center)
A lot of people seem to have their eyes set on Shane Wright to go number one overall in the 2022 NHL Draft. There’s a lot to like about his game, especially if you’re Montreal. Wright has a great hockey IQ and awareness of all aspects of the game. Wright’s two-way style of play consists of his vision, shot, and defensive capabilities among other things. His compete level is top tier and he will do anything on the ice he’s asked of. What might be his most impressive trait is his maturity inside the game. Wright can be a difference-maker and a leader as a top forward in this league.
If there isn't already an article about Shane Wright titled "Details make the man", there should be
Details like anticipating where the puck will end up, taking the fastest possible lane, gaining inside positioning and leveraging his weight to ensure he wins possession are elite pic.twitter.com/ASaMfilnML
— Sebastian High (@high_sebastian) June 21, 2022
Logan Cooley (Center)
If Logan Cooley is taken number two overall, he’ll be the second center taken in as many picks. The first thing that flashes off of the screen when you see him is his elite speed and skating. That allows him to drive the net and make plays for his team. Like Wright, Cooley has a reliable two-way game, maybe slightly better. His overall skill just screams top-line center. Being just 5’10 at 174 pounds, he lacks size but he can still impact the game right off the faceoff in a big way. Once Cooley gets bigger and stronger, he will be even harder to stop at the NHL level.
Juraj Slafkovsky (Left Wing)
Juraj Slafkovky slots in at number three on this list but could easily take up any of the top two spots. The 6-foot-4 winger has amazing puck skills and can over-match others with his power and speed. Slafkovsky can create and finish plays and that’s what will make him a potential top-line player. Not only is his puck skills above average but his shot is as well, making his ability to score that much better. He has a few things to improve upon but if he can live up to his potential and be what we think he can be, Slafkovsky has a chance to become a star player.
David Jiricek (Defenseman)
Maybe the toughest decision in the 2022 NHL Draft will come between which defenseman to take first, David Jiricek or Simon Nemec? Jiricek projects as a top-pair blue liner with his big shot and competitiveness. His two-way play allows him to transition from defense to offense and vice-versa. He might be lacking in speed but the skating ability for his size and awareness to get to his spots and affect the opposition on both sides of the rink makes up for it. Jiricek has great vision along with skill, something that’s highly valued as a defenseman in this league. He’ll get even better as he moves closer to the NHL level and that’s dangerous for the opposition.
Simon Nemec (Defenseman)
Just like his fellow defenseman Jiricek, Simon Nemec has an exceptional compete level. His all-around skill and play-making ability is a great combination on the blue line. That along with his speed also allows him to add a great transition game to his arsenal. Nemec has strong puck/stickhandling, allowing him to create zone entries and opportunities for his teammates with his great passing ability. He loves to shoot the puck when he has the opportunity but lacks a little bit of power and accuracy in his shot. When he improves that part of his game, Nemec will be a serious threat to put the puck in the back of the net.