With the World Juniors rapidly approaching, there are going to be some noteworthy Draft Year first-round prospects across the teams. I’ll try and explain each player for the 2022 NHL Draft per each team on the big stage in Alberta. Every team from The Gold Medal champs of the USA to Austria. Draft plus 1 and up will be a different article based on performances at the World Juniors.
2022 World Juniors Intro
Luca Erne RHD is a 6’3" 209-pound Austrian defender who will be 18 in late January of 2022. Erne plays in the USPHL with 17 points in 21 games played. He is ahead of Shakir Mukhamadullin at the age of 17 going onto 18 years of age with the hockey frame, and muscle mass index factor. The fact that Luca is already in North America playing this style of hockey will benefit him near and longer-term. The North American rink in Alberta will only come as a positive due to the fact he’ll benefit from a thinner ice rink. He’s a good skater for his size and is a player that reminds me a bit of Dougie Hamilton with his arm length and his shot. Erne’s mobility and size will be something NHL scouts should keep an eye on him as he garners attention during the World Juniors.
Shane Wright the "Golden Goose" as he looks to be the prized ticket player in the 2022 NHL Draft Class in the first round from the Kingston Frontenacs in the Ontario Hockey League. He has a lethal shot from anywhere a wishes to shoot from. Any team that ends up in the top 2 selections of the Draft Lottery is getting ready to have him on their franchise for the long term. He’s a key driver that will be the engine in Hockey Canada’s team while Canada is looking to win a gold medal after falling short of perfection to a very structured, and deeply skilled American squad that played with scrappiness and heart. Can Captain Canada prove to be the reason Canada is the force to be reckoned with? Well, get your popcorn ready because he’s gonna be a treat to watch.
David Jiricek a Czech RHD is 6’3" 190 pounds at the age of 18. He is a very fluid skater with lots of energy up and down the ice on zone entries with and without the puck. His slap shot is very similar to Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak which is an elite shot and apparently, he took lessons from him. Jiricek’s potential floor reminds me a lot of former New Jersey Devils offensive-defenseman Marek Zidlicky with a heavy shot that has the ability to not only go in the back of the net but also get redirected in for rebounds and tapped in for dirty goals.
Joakim Kemell a right-handed shot at RW playing in his full season in Finlands Liiga their highest level of pro hockey where this 17-year-old at 5’11" and 176 pounds has already yielded 12 goals and 18 points in 21 games played for JYP. Kemell will be looking to bring a sniper"s presence to Team Finland’s roster with the ability to pick the time and space he wants to terrorize his opponents with his ability to shoot the puck at will. Will Joakim become the key for Finland to having success and solidify his possible projection at Top 3-10 in the NHL Draft in 2022.
Danila Yurov is a RW who shoots left-handed standing at 6’1" 179 pounds he is currently a point plus per game at 1.06 in the MHL for the past 3 seasons with 50 points showing he can be a reliable playmaker. This kind of exposure will only allow him to display his skill set with teammates slightly more experienced while he is also looking to build his confidence at the KHL level. Can he be the winger that replaces Arseni Gritsyuk on even strength, and the power play? We will have to wait and see if he can fill in those big shoes as he has 6 points in 10 games played recently.
With a plethora of 17-year-old draft-eligible players for the 2022 NHL Draft for Slovakia, it is safe to stick with Juraj Slafkovsky. Juraj Slafkovsky a Kosice, Slovakia native is a 6’4" 225 pound mammoth of a LW. His size resembles more of a modern-day Jaromir Jagr, but what really comes down to Slafkovsky is his ability to be very fast, and dangling very well with his size as a power forward who can play make. Having guys like Mesar, Dvorsky, Nemec as his fellow skaters will be a great supporting cast that could upset some teams, and maybe get Slovakia to try and maybe medal for the bronze.
Logan Cooley is a 5’10" 174-pound center who is native to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has shown himself to be an established playmaking center who could be a Top 5 through Top 10 pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. He will be on a very experienced USA Hockey team with a strong core of centers and forwards making their rounds again. Cooley will showcase his skills both as a forward on offence and defence. Will he prove with his hockey IQ, and stick handling to be one of the top-rated centers in the 2022 NHL Draft Class with him stepping in Trevor Zegras’ shoes? Time will tell if Logan can prove to be a top-end scorer on both ends of the score sheet.
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