With the NHL Entry Draft 2022 rapidly approaching there are a few prospects who have already stood out amongst the pack and seem to be in a race for the top five overall picks, even with some of them possibly being impacted by the current situation overseas as the NHL has cut ties with the Russian league for the time being. Here’s a look at some of the amazing prospects that could find themselves in the top picks of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
Shane Wright: Center, Kingston Frontenacs, OHL
21-42-63 in 45 Games Played
Wright is the projected first overall pick for the NHL Entry Draft 2022 by every single outlet so far, and that message can not be shouted loud enough. This season in the OHL the center is projected to hit 90 points, a rare feat for a player in the OHL to accomplish. Overall, even if it were for his points and shot production, the player has elite edges, can turn on a dime, and always manages to blast past defenders at high speeds.
Wright has a third eye for passing and his stickhandling game rivals that of some NHL players and he hasn’t even had the career length to develop and refine his skills as of yet. Whatever team ends up selecting this forward will be in a solid position with an amazing prospect for the next season.
Joakim Kemell: Right Wing, JYP, Liiga
13-6-19 in 32 Games Played
Kemell is an extraordinary player from Finland who has made some solid moves on the wing. Overall, he has scored some great goals whether they be with team Finland, or with his team in Liiga. His defensive game could use some work, as so far in the season he has posted a -11 +/- rating which could see him move down in terms of his draft stock. However, the player carries himself extremely well and has shown himself to have some real star power.
In the past, this player has put up some impressive stats for his +/- so there is a chance that this is a product of a change in the lineup that saw some lost chemistry for the player in his current team. This player should certainly go in the top five picks of the entry draft, and if he doesn’t, it would most certainly go down as a draft-day steal for whatever team ends up selecting him in the NHL Entry Draft 2022.
Logan Cooley: Center, USNTDP Juniors, USHL
6-12-18 in 14 Games Played
Cooley is a solid playmaking center, with the one drawback to him playing with the USNTDP being that we don’t get to see as much of him during regular season play. The player is quick to get the puck off his stick and set up a play, whether it be to score for himself or get an assist. While his shooting may not be the most stunning in this draft class, his playmaking ability more than makes up for it and should see him go fairly high in the draft, as he looks to be a contender for a top-five pick.
Matthew Savoie: Center, Winnipeg Ice, WHL
25-42-67 in 49 Games Played
Savoie is a player that is really in competition for the top three picks in this entry draft with a predicted 93 points in the WHL this season. Overall this player has had some solid contributions and has been able to create chances no matter who he is playing with. This level of production hasn’t seen him slouch in his defensive end either, as his current +/- sits at a 29, the highest amongst the draft class currently.
Overall this player looks NHL ready and if he goes anywhere after the third overall pick, he is most definitely a steal for the team that ends up with him.
Simon Nemec: Defense, HK Nitra, Slovakia
1-25-26 in 36 Games Played
The only player on this list that plays in a defensive position, and one of the few players on this list who went to the 2022 Winter Olympics, Nemec has put himself in a good position to be a top prospect for the NHL Entry Draft 2022. Overall this player has made some strong defensive plays and has shown himself to be a good leader of men. His passing game is superb which has resulted in him getting 25 assists this season from a defensive position.
Nemec’s strongest claim to fame is probably his Olympic bronze medal win, as he helped bring his country through qualifying and into the bronze medal game. The defenceman embodies a two-way defenseman to the letter and could prove himself to be on the level with some of the top stars of the league with the right coaching and development.
Juraj Slafkovsky: Left Wing, TPS, Liiga
1-3-4 in 24 Games Played
Perhaps the largest player in consideration for a top-five overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft 2022, he may not be the greatest in terms of point production, he certainly makes up for it in terms of his defensive output. This player is comparable to some of the best two-way forwards in the NHL, and if he is paired with the right coaching and some good linemates and his points should rise. As well, the player managed an impressive run in the Olympics to win the bronze with Slovakia.
His game may be more fitting to that of an enforcer currently, given how his current highest stat is that of his time in the penalty box. A head coach like Rod Brind’Amor or other coaches who used to play this enforcer role may be able to help him refine his game and could see the player become a valuable NHL asset.
main image credits: