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The 2022 NHL Draft is almost upon us. It will take place from July 7-July 8, 2022. The premiere young hockey players in the world will have an opportunity to get drafted and play in the best hockey league in the world.
All North-American-born players must be born between January 1, 2002, and September 15, 2004. If a player was born outside of North America, they are allowed to be born in 2001 as well.
The Montreal Canadiens were the worst team in the NHL in the 2021-22 season, so they have the first pick in the Draft.
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Montral Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes has publicly stated that the Canadiens will select Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky, or Logan Cooley with the 1st pick.
Shane Wright is the odds-on favorite to be the 1st overall pick in the Draft. Wright, an 18-year-old Canadian center, plays for the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League and dominated in his most recent season. In 63 games, Wright ended with a whopping 94 points (32 goals and 62 assists).
Juraj Slafkovsky is less likely to be picked 1st, but it would not be surprising if he is. Slafkovsky, an 18-year-old Slovak winger, competes for Turun Pallosuers of the Finnish Elite League, the top league in Finland. His numbers are not as impressive as Shane Wright’s, but he is facing much tougher competition. Slafkovsky had five goals and five assists in 31 games this season.
Logan Cooley is less likely than Wright or Slafkovsky to be picked by the Canadiens, but more surprising things have happened. Cooley, an 18-year-old American center from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, came up in the Pittsburgh Penguins youth system and also played for the U.S. National U-18 team. Most recently, he competed in the USNTDP Juniors program and had 13 goals and 23 assists with a +/- of 19 in 24 games. Regardless of where he is drafted, he may play for the University of Minnesota next season.
Shane Wright is regarded as the top prospect in this year’s Draft. He is a very accurate shooter and has 71 goals over the last two seasons. Wright has the potential to make an immediate impact on any NHL team, and all the makings to be a starting center. Of all the players in this draft class, he has the highest ceiling.
Juraj Slafkovsky may be the most interesting prospect in the Draft. He possesses a lot of size for an 18-year-old; he comes in at 6’4” and 224 lbs. Slafkovsky is probably more prepared for the NHL than Shane Wright. He has been competing in Finland’s top league for almost one season and competed for the Slovak Olympic team in the 2022 Olympics. He excelled while representing his country; he finished with seven goals and was named the MVP of the tournament. Slafkovsky will be scooped up in the first three picks and can immediately help any team on the forecheck and near the net.
Logan Cooley is also an interesting prospect to watch. He will likely be a top-five pick and is one of the best centers available in this Draft. He is the best two-way center available and can help any team offensively. It is unclear if he will make an immediate impact in the NHL, as he has committed to play at the University of Minnesota in the upcoming season. I would look out for the lowly Arizona Coyotes to draft Cooley with the 3rd pick. Cooley is a smaller player and only weighs 181 lbs, but he will get bigger as he gets older.
Simon Nemec will not be the 1st pick, but he could go as early as #3 if the Arizona Coyotes choose to select a defenseman. Nemec plays in Slovakia’s top league and has developed into an impressive passer; he had 25 assists in 39 games in his most recent season. Nemec, like Slafkovsky, competed for Slovakia in the Olympics. He had a quieter performance than Slafkovsky but still held his own. Nemec will probably need to put on some weight in the NHL but already has a solid foundation at 6’1” and 192 lbs.
The 2022 NHL Draft class is considered to be a strong one. It is hard to say how strong this class is, as these players missed a lot of time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With that being said, there are a handful of players that could significantly benefit any team at this very moment.
The first day of the Draft will start at 7 p.m. EST on the 7th and will be broadcasted on ESPN in the United States and Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada. If you would like to stream the Draft, you can do so on ESPN+ or fuboTV or on SN NOW in Canada.
The second day of the Draft will start at 11 a.m. EST and will be broadcasted on the NHL Network in the United States and Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada. The second day can also be streamed through ESPN+, fuboTV, or SN NOW.
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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