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Analysis

Top 32 Prospects for the 2022 NHL Draft

It is the midseason point for most of these prospects. The Philadelphia Flyers are terrible, and it is draft season because that is the only thing to look forward. This draft is considered average to below average by the scouting community. There is no franchise player in this draft and the top of the draft does not have a full consensus at the top pick.

I would say the top 10-12 players are in a tier close to each other and the next 20-30 players are very close to each other. Here are my top 32 draft eligible prospects for the 2022 NHL Draft. (All point totals are as of 2/4/22). Note: The comparison is of the playing style, not an exact comparison.

Top Tier

  1. Center, Matthew Savoie, Winnipeg (WHL), 5’9”, 179 lbs

Stats: 38 games, 19 goals, 36 assists, 55 pts

Eye-Test: Savoie would be the runaway top pick if he was 2 inches taller. His size shouldn’t matter because he has the skill and skating ability to be a number 1 center in the NHL. Savoie has a good chance at being around when the Flyers are on the board.

Comparison: Brayden Point, underrated due to size but is a plus point producer.

  1. RH Defenseman, Simon Nemec, HK Nitra (Slovakia), 6’0”, 190 lbs

Stats: 32 games, 1 goal, 22 assists, 23 pts

Eye-Test: Nemec made his debut in the top league in Slovakia when he was 16 years old. He has top pairing upside and could be the first overall pick. Nemec gets a slight bump over David Jiricek because he has slightly more offensive ability and Jiricek will be out for 3 months while he recovers from a knee injury, he suffered during the World Juniors. Nemec would be the Flyers’ top right-handed defenseman prospect of the last 30 years if selected.

Comparison: Charlie McAvoy, a rock back on the blueline that gives 22-25 minutes a night.

  1. Center, Shane Wright, Kingston (OHL), 6’0”, 185 lbs

Stats: 32 games, 16 points, 29 assists, 45 pts

Eye-Test: Wright has been the defacto top prospect of this draft for two years (not unlike Nolan Patrick in his draft year). Wright is a natural center and is a talented player. The OHL did not play last year and that will hurt anyone’s development. Bob McKenzie said that 9 out of the 10 scouts he talked to has Wright as the top prospect in this draft. Wright has picked up his play of late with 10 points in his last 5 games. If he continues his current play, he will be the top pick in 2022.

Comparison: Jonathan Toews, a 1C if he hits his potential who has great hockey IQ but probably is never in the top 20 in NHL scoring consistently.

  1. Left Wing, Ivan Miroshnichenko, Omskie Krylia (VHL), 6’1”, 185lbs

Stats: 31 games, 10 goals, 6 assists, 16 pts

Eye-Test: Miroshnichenko is all over the map where the scouting community has him. Miroshnichenko came into this year as a top 2 pick but has dropped down the draft boards. He is playing against men in the VHL but he is not playing against the top competition in his country. There are people that would argue playing bigger minutes against lesser but still physically superior competition is better for his development. He has all the attributes that you look for top prospects, skill, size, an elite shot, and plus skating.

Comparison: Evander Kane, an elite but possibly erratic future top 6 forward.

  1. RH Defenseman, David Jiricek, HC Plzen (Czechia), 6’3”, 189lbs

Stats: 29 games, 5 goals, 6 assists, 11pts

Eye-Test: A prototypical 1990s big and mean defenseman with very good skating and minute eater. Jiricek is out with a knee injury but he has played against men since he was 16 years old. He has a mean streak that is still needed on the rearguard in the NHL and he has one of the best point shots in the draft. Like Nemec, he would be the Flyers’ top right-handed defenseman prospect of the last 30 years if selected.

Comparison: Rasmus Ristolainen with a little more promise.

  1. Right Wing, Joakim Kemell, JYP (Liiga), 5’11”, 176lbs

Stats: 24 games, 12 goals, 6 assists, 18pts

Eye-Test: Kemell has the highest points per game on his team and has 5 less goals in 20 less games than Patrik Laine in his draft year. Kemell has an elite shot and fights hard in puck battles despite his size. He projects as a top 6 forward and seems to be like some of the Flyers more recent draft picks like Samu Tuomaala and Bobby Brink.

Comparison: a smaller Jason Robertson, throws pucks on net and can shoot from anywhere.

Second Tier

  1. Center, Logan Cooley, US National Development Program (USDP), 5’10”, 174lbs

Stats: 28 games, 15 goals, 23 assists, 38pts

Eye-Test: Cooley is a Pittsburgh native and is committed to the University of Notre Dame in 2022-23. He is the top point per game player on the USA U-18 team. He is another slightly built player but has the skill to be able to excel at the NHL level. He plays a 200-foot game and while he is undersized, he is strong on the puck.

Comparison: Clayton Keller, skilled and creative top 6 forward who will take time to excel in the NHL.

  1. Left Wing, Juraj Slafkovsky, TPS (Liiga), 6’4”, 218lbs

Stats: 21 games, 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 pts

Eye-Test: Slafkovsky is a big and powerful winger who is playing minimal minutes for TPS. He is a very good playmaker and projects as a top 9 forward. He wins puck battles in the corner and already has NHL size. Despite his size he is a very good skater.

Comparison: Valeri Nichushkin with more offensive upside.

  1. Right Wing, Danila Yurov, Magnitogorsk (KHL), 6’1”, 180lbs

Stats: 21 games, 0 pts

Eye-Test: Yurov has modest point totals but he is playing in the KHL and only playing a couple minutes a night. He also has the highest points per game of his MHL team. Yurov has top six forward potential with above average puck skills while being highly creative with the puck. He plays both sides of the puck and can play all special teams at the next level.

Comparison: Kirill Kaprizov, dynamic but not overly physical future top 6 forward.

  1. Center, Brad Lambert, JYP/Pelicans (Liiga), 6’0”, 179lbs

Stats: 29 games, 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 pts

Eye-Test: Lambert has the whole package but has yet to put it all together. If he does, he could be the best player to come out of this draft, but he carries more risk. He has recently switched teams from JYP to Pelicans in the Finnish top men’s league. Lambert came into this year with great promise but has been falling down draft boards due to inconsistent efforts.

Comparison: a less physically imposing Blake Wheeler, takes awhile to mature but could be a top player in his draft class over time.

Third Tier

  1. Center, Conor Geekie, Winnipeg (WHL), 6’4”, 205lbs

Stats: 38 games, 12 goals, 28 assists, 40 pts

Eye-Test: Geekie is a big, hulky natural centerman that is physically imposing. He uses his size to his advantage which is not always the case with 18-year-old players. The knock on Geekie is his skating is less than average but he has time to work on that. He is creative with and without the puck and projects to be a top 6 center.

Comparison: Dylan Cozens, a big and creative playmaking center.

  1. Center, Frank Nazar, US National Development Program (USDP), 5’10”, 175lbs

Stats: 36 games, 18 goals, 26 assists, 44 pts

Eye-Test: Nazar is committed to the University of Michigan, who has been transforming prospects into NHL level talent. Despite his size, Nazar is full of grit and vinegar. He is a ball of energy that brings grit and skill. He projects to be a middle 6 forward and might end up on the wing at the next level.

Comparison: Zach Hyman, a glue guy that every team needs to succeed.

  1. LH Defenseman, Denton Mateychuk, Moose Jaw (WHL), 5’11”, 188lbs

Stats: 40 games, 8 goals, 30 assists, 38 pts

Eye-Test: Mateychuk is the most dynamic defenseman in this draft. He is an elite skater and been a rock on a very good Moose Jaw team. Mateychuk is the future prototype of NHL defensemen that use their skating ability to beat bigger players to the puck and ice space. He is also has very good vision and playmaking ability. He projects as a middle pairing defenseman who is a power play quarterback.

Comparison: Samuel Girard, smallish left-handed shot, top power play producer.

  1. LH Defenseman, Pavel Mintyukov, Saginaw (OHL), 6’2”, 192 lbs

Stats: 37 games, 8 goals, 21 assists, 29 pts

Eye-Test: Mintyukov seemingly came out of nowhere this year. This is his first season in the OHL and is almost leading his team in points. Mintyukov has one of the best shots in this draft. He can play all situations and even has 2 short handed goals. He is very dynamic and is aggressive in the offensive zone. He projects as a middle pairing defenseman who acts like a fourth forward at times.

Comparison: a left-handed Brent Burns, might take a little while to make his mark but payoff could be huge.

  1. Center, Marco Kasper, Rogle (SHL), 6’1”, 183 lbs

Stats: 28 games, 4 goals, 2 assists, 6 pts

Eye-Test: Playing in the top Swedish league as a 17 and 18-year-old is nothing to sneeze at. Kasper sets himself apart with his hockey IQ and elite compete level. He plays a 200-foot game and his determination is 2nd to none. Kasper projects as a top 9 forward and has a chance to stick at center in the NHL.

Comparison: David Krejci, a guy you want on your team but do not want to play against.

Fourth Tier

  1. Left Wing, Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Djurgardens J20 (Sweden Jrs.), 5’10”, 165lbs

Stats: 26 games, 20 goals, 15 assists, 35 pts

Eye-Test: A smallish but elite shooting player. He will need time to put some muscle on his frame. He can shoot from anywhere and if he puts on the necessary muscle, he could improve his game. He projects to be a middle 6 forward but could play up in the lineup if paired with a center that can create space for him.

Comparison: high end is Jeff Skinner, low end is Tyler Ennis.

  1. Right Wing, Filip Mesar, HK Poprad (Slovakia), 5’10”, 167lbs

Stats: 26 games, 7 goals, 5 assists, 12 pts

Eye-Test: Mesar is the 3rd Slovak to make an appearance on this list. He has game breaking speed and that is his top attribute. He is playing against men in his home country. He has solid skill on and off the puck. He projects as a top 9 forward.

Comparison: Alex Texier, not as big but has a little bit of everything.

  1. Right Wing, Rutger McGraorty, US National Development Program (USDP), 6’1”, 200lbs

Stats: 30 games, 16 goals, 18 assists, 34 pts

Eye-Test: Easily the best name of the draft. McGraorty plays a pro style game and is committed to the University of Michigan. He is extremely strong and hard to play against. The knock on McGraorty is that his skating is below average. That is not an unusual knock on big, draft eligible players. The Flyers need players who make it difficult for the opposition to play against.

Comparison: Ryan Johansen, but meaner.

  1. Left Wing, Cutter Gauthier, US National Development Program (USDP), 6’2”, 189lbs

Stats: 34 games, 20 goals, 12 assists, 32 pts

Eye-Test: The 2nd best name in this draft. He is committed to Boston University. Gauthier is a solid skater and can absolutely rip the puck from anywhere on the ice. This seems to be a type of player that the Fletcher regime seems to target early on in the draft.

Comparison: Chris Kreider minus trying to run goalies.

  1. RH Defenseman, Ty Nelson, North Bay (OHL), 5’10”, 190lbs

Stats: 41 games, 6 goals, 24 assists, 30 pts

Eye-Test: Nelson was the top pick in the OHL Bantam Draft and has backed that up with his play. Nelson is a thick built but not tall. He plays a solid all-around game and projects as a middle pairing defenseman.

Comparison: Justin Faulk, plays all situations but is master of none.

  1. LH Defenseman, Owen Pickering, Swift Current (WHL), 6’4”, 179lbs

Stats: 41 games, 7 goals, 17 assists, 24 pts

Eye-Test: A long and lanky defenseman who came out of nowhere this year. He has been very solid for Swift Current. If he continues to grow at the rate, he has this year, he will be a top four defenseman in the NHL.

Comparison: Alex Goligoski, rangy defenseman with upside.

  1. LH Defenseman, Kevin Korchinski, Seattle (WHL), 6’1”, 185lbs

Stats: 38 games, 4 goals, 31 assists, 35 pts

Eye-Test: Korchinski is another rangy, biggish defenseman from the WHL. More than half of his points are from the power play. He is a solid skater and good passer. He has greatly improved each year in the WHL and he projects a as top four defenseman.

Comparison: Nick Leddy, a solid middle pairing defenseman who can chip in offensively.

  1. Left Wing, Liam Ohgren, Djurgardens J20 (Sweden), 6’0”, 187lbs

Stats: 19 games, 19 goals, 15 asssits, 34 pts

Eye-Test: Perhaps the best hands in the draft with scoring a goal per game. He has average size but is hampered by his skating. If he can elevate his skating ability to average, he could easily go in the top half of the first round. He has very good hockey IQ and that allows him to get to the soft spots on the ice. Ohgren will either be a top 6 forward or a NHL/AHL tweener.

Comparison: high end Jake Guentzel, low end Jordan Weal.

  1. Center, Luca Del Bel Belluz, Mississauga (OHL), 6’0”, 172lbs

Stats: 40 games, 21 goals, 33 assists, 54 pts

Eye-Test: 3rd best name of the draft. Del Bel Belluz has seemingly come out of nowhere. He did not play last year and only had 6 points in 58 games in the 2019-20 OHL season. He is tied for the lead in points for Mississauga. He is a natural centerman having already taken over 800 faceoffs this year alone. If he keeps this scoring pace up, he could easily be a top 12-15 pick at the NHL Draft.

Comparison: Anthony Cirelli, late bloomer who is a natural center and can put up 40-55 pts consistently.

  1. Left Wing, Isaac Howard, US National Development Program (USDP), 5’10”, 182lbs

Stats: 37 games, 18 goals, 26 assists, 44 pts

Eye-Test: Howard is committed to Minnesota-Duluth. He has some of the top hands and stick skills in the draft. He can stickhandle in traffic and make plays. While he is undersized, his skating is just average. He is the 5th forward from the US National Development program in this top 32. Howard will take time to make it to the NHL but he projects as a middle 6 forward.

Comparison: Joel Farabee, does a lot of the little things well and fell in his draft because of size.

Fifth Tier

  1. RH Defenseman, Tristan Luneau, Gatineau (QMJHL), 6’2”, 174lbs

Stats: 28 games, 5 goals, 10 assists, 15 pts

Eye-Test: Luneau is your prototypical puck moving defenseman where he is best with the puck on his stick. His positioning and skating leave something to be desired and definite area of work needed. He was the top pick in the QMJHL Bantam Draft. Luneau probably goes higher than this ranking due to being a right-handed shot and his size. He projects are a middle pairing defenseman who can chip in on the power play.

Comparison: Andrei Markov, decent size offensive defenseman.

  1. Center, Jack Hughes, Northeastern University (NCAA), 6’0”, 170lbs

Stats: 26 games, 5 goals, 4 assists, 9 pts

Eye-Test: No relation to the NJ Devils Jack Hughes or other Hughes brother. Hughes’ numbers do not explode off the page, but he is an 18-year-old playing in college during his first draft eligible year. A 1/3 of a point per game is solid production for not getting a lot of ice time on a team with eight other NHL draft picks. Hughes being a natural center will help elevate his value to teams.

Comparison: Ryan Poehling. Probably a 3C in the NHL but one who can do all the little things well and help a team win.

  1. Center, Adam Ingram, Youngstown (USHL), 6’2”, 165lbs

Stats: 33 games, 17 goals, 24 assists, 41 pts

Eye-Test: Ingram is committed to St. Cloud State who has been a powerhouse in the NCAA the last couple years. Ingram has good size but he needs to put some muscle on his frame over the next couple years to play center in the NHL. Ingram is very talented with the puck on his stick. He has a plus shot and is a solid playmaker. Ingram played in the MJHL (Manitoba Junior Hockey League) last year and now is the top scorer on his USHL team. Another top riser in this draft and could be a top 15-20 pick.

Comparison: Andrew Copp, solid middle 6 forward who can score 40 pts a year.

  1. RH Defenseman, Seamus Casey, US National Development Program (USDP), 5’9”, 162lbs

Stats: 35 games, 5 goals, 17 assists, 22 pts

Eye-Test: Casey is committed to the University of Michigan. The 6th and final member of the US National Development Program on this top 32. Casey is built like Quinn Hughes from Vancouver and has good but not elite skating ability similar to Hughes. Casey is a future power play quarterback that can anchor the first unit of any NHL team. The problem at the next level will be Casey in his own zone. He will have to use his skating ability to be one step ahead of forecheckers. Casey projects as a middle pairing defenseman who will be the 1st power play quarterback where the offense runs through him.

Comparison: a lower ceiling Quinn Hughes.

  1. Center, Nathan Gaucher, Quebec (QMJHL), 6’3”, 208 lbs

Stats: 32 games, 17 goals, 11 assists, 28 pts

Eye-Test: Gaucher would be higher on this list if he was producing at better than a point per game in the QMJHL. Last year he had 31 points in 30 games and you would like to see an uptick in production from the 17 year old season to the 18 year old season. Gaucher will play in the NHL because of how strong his compete level is but his skating is a major need of improvement. Gaucher is a natural center that can play both the penalty kill and power play. He projects as a center in the NHL that will be between a 2C and a 4C depending on how much he can produce offensively.

Comparison: Scott Laughton, a necessary glue guy that can play anywhere in the lineup but is offensively limited.

  1. Right Wing, Jagger Firkus, Moose Jaw (WHL), 5’10”, 153lbs

Stats: 45 games, 26 goals, 28 assists, 54 pts

Eye-Test: Firkus is a very small player who is second in scoring for one of the top teams in the WHL. Firkus is probably the biggest sleeper on this list. He has a great compete level and has enough skill to be a difference maker in the NHL. He is the top goal scorer for Moose Jaw. He is another top riser in this draft process and would be cemented as a 1st round pick if he puts on 20 pounds. He projects as a top 6 winger or as a NHL/AHL tweener if he is unable to put on enough muscle to match physically at the NHL level.

Comparison: Jordan Kyrou, a longer-term project but could be the diamond in the rough.

  1. Center, Owen Beck, Mississauga (OHL), 5’11”, 190lbs

Stats: 42 games, 15 goals, 21 assists, 36 pts

Eye-Test: Beck is a teammate of Luca Del Bel Belluz in Mississauga and both can be NHL players. Beck is another player that can play all situations and has a very good compete level. He is a player that does most things well but is the master at none. His offensive upside is limited but projects as a top 9 forward.

Comparison: Brock Nelson, ideally a middle six center that can play all situations while chipping in a little offensively.

I am a bearded manchild with a love for the Flyers, Eagles, Sixers, Phillies, Union, and all other things Philadelphia. I am here with my jar of pennies to throw in my 2 cents. Also, #girldad and craft beer lover.

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