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Forums :: Blog World :: Sam Woo: Devils With #2 Overall Pick And Farm System Stocked
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Sam Woo
New Jersey Devils
Location: Harding, NJ
Joined: 03.31.2007

May 11 @ 5:23 PM ET
Sam Woo: Devils With #2 Overall Pick And Farm System Stocked
vlongo4419
New Jersey Devils
Joined: 07.31.2013

May 11 @ 6:18 PM ET
Definitely a good future lies ahead! I think any ideas of trading the pick went out the window once the cards showed us moving up. The pick will likely come down to Slafkovsky or Cooley, and like you asked, 'Will Fitzy draft based on need or best available?' Sucks we have sit on this for 2 months just waiting to see what he does.

Either way we're getting a good prospect with either guy, and adding someone into the pipeline that we wouldn't have had the opportunity to draft if we didn't move up.
BernardShakey
Joined: 08.16.2016

May 11 @ 6:23 PM ET
One comment. Says a lot about the state of the Devils franchise
dozerD10
Anaheim Ducks
Location: long beach, CA
Joined: 01.29.2014

May 11 @ 6:51 PM ET
Correct me if I'm wrong.. didn't Fitz say he would trade picks for a goalie...

If so I propose - Gibson for B+ level prospect and 2nd round picks.
halo63
Joined: 01.02.2015

May 11 @ 7:48 PM ET
Stocked with low end to mediocre talent.
NJ has done below average drafting and developing. Top 2 picks produced lukewarm results. No solid goaltending in the pipeline. Below average defense group. Underperforming forward class.

Right on track for the 8th-10 overall next year and 12-15 year after.
Banana_Hammock
New Jersey Devils
Joined: 10.01.2020

May 11 @ 8:00 PM ET
Right on track for the 8th-10 overall next year and 12-15 year after.
- halo63



So, with the current lottery rules, we don’t have a chance at 1st overall in the 2024 draft? Trade everyone. That sucks…
MartysBetter88
New Jersey Devils
Location: 94Nevermore, NJ
Joined: 07.01.2010

May 11 @ 9:58 PM ET
Leah hextall may be the worst announcer of any sport on any medium ever. It’s like chip n Dale doing play by play. Just insane how anyone could think anyone would want to listen to such a voice, let alone that voice call the whole game. Brutal.
Feds91Stammer
Detroit Red Wings
Location: "China was as proactive as possible" - Rinosaur, SC
Joined: 02.01.2012

May 11 @ 10:32 PM ET
Leah hextall may be the worst announcer of any sport on any medium ever. It’s like chip n Dale doing play by play. Just insane how anyone could think anyone would want to listen to such a voice, let alone that voice call the whole game. Brutal.
- MartysBetter88

I turned off multiple games this season in the 1st period because of her. (frank)ing brutal.
vlongo4419
New Jersey Devils
Joined: 07.31.2013

May 11 @ 10:37 PM ET
Leah hextall may be the worst announcer of any sport on any medium ever. It’s like chip n Dale doing play by play. Just insane how anyone could think anyone would want to listen to such a voice, let alone that voice call the whole game. Brutal.
- MartysBetter88


She's absolutely awful. I've watched every game on mute that has her commentating.
thechezman
New Jersey Devils
Location: 9083103373, NJ
Joined: 04.24.2016

May 12 @ 1:47 AM ET
Stocked with low end to mediocre talent.
NJ has done below average drafting and developing. Top 2 picks produced lukewarm results. No solid goaltending in the pipeline. Below average defense group. Underperforming forward class.

Right on track for the 8th-10 overall next year and 12-15 year after.

- halo63




Today @ 1:45 AM ET
INcorrect NJ prospect pool has been ranked second in league .
shvingter88
New Jersey Devils
Location: How have you not heard of your boy, CT
Joined: 10.12.2009

May 12 @ 5:32 AM ET
Stocked with low end to mediocre talent.
NJ has done below average drafting and developing. Top 2 picks produced lukewarm results. No solid goaltending in the pipeline. Below average defense group. Underperforming forward class.

Right on track for the 8th-10 overall next year and 12-15 year after.

- halo63

Jokes on you (frank)-o they’re picking top 5 the next 3 years
dmarsden2988
New Jersey Devils
Location: stafford is about equal to rya, NJ
Joined: 03.07.2011

May 12 @ 9:30 AM ET
Not a big deal but out of the possibilities for #2 when will the prospects be NHL ready because it seems many times teams go for NHL ready prospects first

Slaf? I know he is big and all but is he NHL ready or does he need more time?

Cooley? When will he be ready? People say he needs to bulk up some more

Jerecek?

Nemec?

Others?
shvingter88
New Jersey Devils
Location: How have you not heard of your boy, CT
Joined: 10.12.2009

May 12 @ 9:45 AM ET
Not a big deal but out of the possibilities for #2 when will the prospects be NHL ready because it seems many times teams go for NHL ready prospects first

Slaf? I know he is big and all but is he NHL ready or does he need more time?

Cooley? When will he be ready? People say he needs to bulk up some more

Jerecek?

Nemec?

Others?

- dmarsden2988

Whoever we pick they will never be ready
Feds91Stammer
Detroit Red Wings
Location: "China was as proactive as possible" - Rinosaur, SC
Joined: 02.01.2012

May 12 @ 9:55 AM ET
Not a big deal but out of the possibilities for #2 when will the prospects be NHL ready because it seems many times teams go for NHL ready prospects first

Slaf? I know he is big and all but is he NHL ready or does he need more time?

Cooley? When will he be ready? People say he needs to bulk up some more

Jerecek?

Nemec?

Others?

- dmarsden2988

Hear me out.

8th Overall, Bertuzzi, and a Damien Brunner autographed jersey for the Hughes brothers.
vlongo4419
New Jersey Devils
Joined: 07.31.2013

May 12 @ 10:12 AM ET
Not a big deal but out of the possibilities for #2 when will the prospects be NHL ready because it seems many times teams go for NHL ready prospects first

Slaf? I know he is big and all but is he NHL ready or does he need more time?

Cooley? When will he be ready? People say he needs to bulk up some more

Jerecek?

Nemec?

Others?

- dmarsden2988


-Cooley is one and done in college, he'll be in the NHL next year after his college season ends. There are scouts who think he can play this upcoming season but I don't think he'll de-commit from Minnesota. He would essentially walk into our team with Luke late next season if we draft him.

-Slaf needs atleast one more season in either the Liiga or the AHL, maybe 2 honestly, then he probably makes the jump the following season. Wouldn't shock me though if hes given every chance to play this upcoming season since hes already playing pro(this would be a huge mistake imo), but not many people think hes ready.

-Both Jiricek and Nemec need atleast 2 more years before making the jump.

-Nobody else should be in consideration at the #2 pick. Realistically neither of the D should be either. Our pick should be Cooley or Slafkovsky.
dmarsden2988
New Jersey Devils
Location: stafford is about equal to rya, NJ
Joined: 03.07.2011

May 12 @ 10:22 AM ET
-Cooley is one and done in college, he'll be in the NHL next year after his college season ends. There are scouts who think he can play this upcoming season but I don't think he'll de-commit from Minnesota. He would essentially walk into our team with Luke late next season if we draft him.

-Slaf needs atleast one more season in either the Liiga or the AHL, maybe 2 honestly, then he probably makes the jump the following season. Wouldn't shock me though if hes given every chance to play this upcoming season since hes already playing pro(this would be a huge mistake imo), but not many people think hes ready.

-Both Jiricek and Nemec need atleast 2 more years before making the jump.

-Nobody else should be in consideration at the #2 pick. Realistically neither of the D should be either. Our pick should be Cooley or Slafkovsky.

- vlongo4419


Great thanks for this!

Good thing is it's seems our best prospects other than Holtz won't be ready for next season and if our goalies play at the same level we may be in line for bedard
vlongo4419
New Jersey Devils
Joined: 07.31.2013

May 12 @ 10:32 AM ET
Great thanks for this!

Good thing is it's seems our best prospects other than Holtz won't be ready for next season and if our goalies play at the same level we may be in line for bedard

- dmarsden2988


Yeah for sure, what we do with goaltending this offseason will make or break next season. I assume we add atleast one goalie, but it wouldnt shock me at all if we just have a completely new tandem. I honestly have no idea what is going to happen with Blackwood and if he'll be here or not.
Pomegrant
New Jersey Devils
Location: NJ
Joined: 01.18.2010

May 12 @ 2:05 PM ET
Jokes on you (frank)-o they’re picking top 5 the next 3 years
- shvingter88

they can't all be busts... right?
dmarsden2988
New Jersey Devils
Location: stafford is about equal to rya, NJ
Joined: 03.07.2011

May 12 @ 2:08 PM ET
For those without a sub to the athletic

The 2022 NHL Draft ranking: Pronman’s top 29 prospects at the draft lottery
Corey Pronman
May 10, 2022

Today I update my 2022 NHL Draft board ahead of tonight’s draft lottery. Soon we will have a draft order and mock draft season can begin.

The most important event on the draft calendar, the IIHF U-18 World Championships in Germany, are done — and with that comes expected movement. Czech forward Jiri Kulich saw his stock rise significantly, while other players such as USA winger Rutger McGroarty helped themselves too. Meanwhile, Canadian forward David Goyette’s tournament ended up pushing him out of the top tier of prospects.

There’s also an update to provide on Ivan Miroshnichenko, a player I had rated as a top 5 pick before he was diagnosed with a serious illness that will keep him out of hockey for a long time. Miroshnichenko was present at the U18s and met with several NHL teams. Following those meetings, several NHL clubs are feeling more optimistic about the prospect of drafting him compared to a month or two ago.

In discussions with Miroshnichenko’s representative Mark Gandler, he confirmed what has been reported by Russian news outlets: that Miroshnichenko was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Gandler also said that Miroshnichenko is in remission. In my last ranking I noted that I felt it was inappropriate to editorialize on Miroshnichenko’s draft stock given the serious medical issues he’s going through and my lack of subject matter knowledge in that area. Given the positive news since, and discussions with Miroshnichenko’s camp — who noted that they do not take offense to the player being discussed in a ranking or mock draft setting — I have reversed this stance, but I will still note that there is a large looming medical analysis question that I am not qualified to engage in. Thus, the analysis will be of a highly talented player, but one who has significantly more risk on his projection since then.

The players are placed in a tier showing their NHL projection; for now I will only rank those I feel are in the upper echelon of the draft. Their skating, puck skills, hockey sense and compete level are also given a grade, with their shot being given a grade if it’s notably good or poor. The grading scale for tools has six levels, so it could be interpreted as 1-6, but it will be written out as poor, below NHL average, NHL average, above NHL average, high-end and elite. The tool grades are not formulaic, meaning the rankings incorporate the tool grades, as well as players’ statistics, size, and other information I’ve gathered in the process of making this list.

Once the junior playoffs and the World Championships unfold, I will release a long list shortly afterwards.

Projected bubble NHL All-Star and top of the lineup player
1. Shane Wright, C, Kingston (OHL)

Jan. 5, 2004 | 6′ 0.25″ | 191 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 1

Tier: Projected bubble NHL All-Star and top of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: Above NHL average
Compete: Above NHL average
Shot: High-end

Background: Wright was the captain and a top player for a top OHL team In Kingston. He finished 8th in OHL scoring. He was a top two-line center for Canada’s U20 team at the world juniors. He scored nine goals and 14 points in five games at the U18 worlds as a U17 player, leading Canada to gold. He was granted exceptional status to play in the OHL as a 15-year-old where he scored 39 goals and 66 points in 58 games.

Analysis: Wright is the top prospect in the 2022 NHL Draft but that margin has decreased over the course of the season. He’s a very well-rounded center who has no noticeable flaw in his skill set but there also isn’t a ton about his game that gets you overly excited. He can skate and handle the puck like an NHLer. Wright’s game translates because of his compete and direct style of play. He takes pucks to the net and plays with pace. He can pull up to make a tough pass but can take pucks to the interior too. He has the high-end vision to run a power-play unit and make tough plays with pace. His shot is very good, showing the ability to pick corners from long range consistently. Off the puck he’s competitive and responsible, showing maturity beyond his years. He projects as a No. 1 center in the NHL due to his all-around play but probably won’t be an elite scorer in the league.

2. Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, Tps (FINLAND)

Mar. 30, 2004 | 6′ 3.5″ | 218 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 2

Tier: Projected bubble NHL All-Star and top of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: NHL average
Shot: Above NHL average

Background: Slafkovsky was a regular player for TPS this season. He was named MVP of the Olympics where he played a huge role in Slovakia earning a bronze medal. He played a notable role on Slovakia’s U20 team which outshot Sweden 2:1 in a world junior game. He played for Slovakia’s national team in the Olympic qualifiers, and in the World Championships as a U17 player. He was a top player for the Slovakian U20 team as a 16-year-old and a top player for a top Finland junior team in 2021.

Analysis: Slafkovsky has all the assets you’re looking for in a top NHL forward. He’s a 6-foot-4 winger who can beat opponents with speed and skill. He can use finesse to put pucks through opponents, or power and quickness to get around defenders. Slafkovsky can set up and finish plays well. Physically, he won’t run over guys but his compete is good enough. He projects as a top-line winger with the potential to be a star in the league.

Projected top of the lineup player
3. Logan Cooley, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)

May. 4, 2004 | 5′ 10.25″ | 174 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 3

Tier: Projected top of the lineup player

Skating: Above NHL average
Puck skills: Above NHL average
Hockey sense: Above NHL average
Compete: Above NHL average
Shot: Above NHL average

Background: Cooley has been the leading player in the 2004 age group for the USNTDP the last two years, although his pure production doesn’t blow you away. He made the USA world junior team as a 17-year-old in a significant role as their No. 2 center with power play time. He was a top forward at the U18 World Championships. He was a top player for the U18 team as a 16-year-old as well. He’s committed to the University of Minnesota.

Analysis: Cooley is a dynamic player. When he has the puck on his stick you instantly notice him because of his high-end speed, skill and offensive IQ. He can make highly creative dekes and passes at full speed. The pace of his game is why I think he will be a top NHL player. He takes pucks up the ice and to the net often. Cooley lacks size, but he plays hard. He can drive play at even strength while also having the vision and shot to be a power-play threat running a unit from the walls. He projects as a first-line forward; as a center, he would be a low-end first-line center in the NHL.

4. David Jiricek, RHD, Plzen (CZREP)

Nov. 28, 2003 | 6′ 3.0″ | 189 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 4

Tier: Projected top of the lineup player

Skating: Below NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: Above NHL average
Shot: Above NHL average

Background: Jiricek was playing a notable role on a good Czechia league team and looking very good versus men, before a knee injury at the world juniors knocked him out for the second half. He has since started practicing again and was invited to Czechia’s national team camp. He played games for the senior Czechia team at the Karjala Cup. He was also named one of Czechia’s best players at the 2021 world juniors despite being one of the youngest players in the tournament.

Analysis: Jiricek is a big, right-shot defenseman who makes an impact at both ends of the rink. He has great individual skill to make opponents miss. You combine that with very good vision and a hard point shot, and inside the offensive zone he can make a lot happen and be dangerous on a power play. His skating won’t dazzle, but for his size he gets around well enough. What his skating looks like post-knee surgery is something to monitor. He shows some shiftiness to pull away from checks, but lacks ideal speed and burst for the NHL level. Despite that, he defends well due to his reach and a high level of physical play, often punishing opposing forwards with his body. He projects as a top-pair defenseman.

5. Simon Nemec, RHD, Nitra (SLOVAKIA)

Feb. 15, 2004 | 6′ 0.0″ | 190 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 5

Tier: Projected top of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: Above NHL average
Compete: Above NHL average

Background: Nemec played significant minutes versus men in Slovakia for the last two seasons. He has immense international experience. He scored 17 points in 19 games for his club team in Slovakia. He’s already played in two world juniors, and was among Slovakia’s best players both times. He was the best defenseman at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup this summer and played for the senior team at the World Championship last season and in the Olympics this season.

Analysis: Nemec is a very well-rounded defenseman. His puck game is great. He has the high-end brain to make a lot of tough plays often. Nemec can hit seams, make plays under pressure and makes a great outlet pass. He also shows individual skill which, when combined with good speed, allows him to be dangerous in transition too. Defensively he’s solid due to his skating, compete and brain, even though he’s not imposing physically and can be trusted with tough responsibilities. Nemec projects as a top pair defenseman.

Projected bubble top and middle of the lineup player
6. Cutter Gauthier, LW, USA U-18 (NTDP)

Jan. 19, 2004 | 6′ 2.25″ | 189 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 13

Tier: Projected bubble top and middle of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: Above NHL average
Shot: High-end

Background: Gauthier was a versatile and important player for the U.S. NTDP this season, playing often on both special teams, lining up at wing and center for full games depending on their roster. He became a go-to player as the season went along, lining up on Cooley’s wing and playing PP1. He’s committed to Boston College.

Analysis: Gauthier has the tools that can make you easily envision him in the NHL. He has a thick 6-foot-2 frame and can skate like an NHL player. With his size and speed he can overpower opponents to force turnovers or in how he attacks the net and it makes him an asset on the PK. Gauthier can create with his skating and skill, but his main offensive weapon is his shot. He can pick corners from distance with a powerful wrist shot. I didn’t love his playmaking early on but that part of his game grew on me as the season went on especially how he made passes on the move. I see a potential very good top-six forward whether at center or the wing with a chance to pop and become a true top of the lineup type.

7. Joakim Kemell, RW, Jyp (FINLAND)

Apr. 27, 2004 | 5′ 10.75″ | 171 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 6

Tier: Projected bubble top and middle of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: Above NHL average
Shot: Above NHL average

Background: Kemell came out of the gates flying in Liiga but slowed down in the second half when he returned from injury. He played a top-six role on Finland’s U20 team, and scored a goal a game at the Hlinka Gretzky and at the U18 Worlds. As an underage, he scored at a high rate as well in Finland’s U20 league and was a solid player for Finland’s U18 team as a 16-year-old.

Analysis: Kemell is a well-rounded winger who has almost every NHL attribute you want other than size at 5-foot-11. He brings skill and speed to his shifts, showing the ability to carry the puck up ice and create chances for himself and teammates. Kemell can pass the puck very well, but his shot is his main weapon. You can set him up from mid-range and he can finish. He lacks size, but he plays hard, showing no fear of engaging physically to win back pucks or to take a hit to make a play. He projects as a very good top-six winger who will score a lot of goals in the NHL.

8. Matthew Savoie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)

Jan. 1, 2004 | 5′ 9.0″ | 175 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 8

Tier: Projected bubble top and middle of the lineup player

Skating: Above NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: Above NHL average
Compete: Above NHL average
Shot: Above NHL average

Background: Savoie was one of the top forwards in the WHL as a 17-year-old, helping lead Winnipeg to the top of the standings and ending the season 7th in league scoring. He was a point-per-game player in the USHL as a 16-year-old. Savoie was the top pick in his WHL Bantam Draft after applying for and being denied exceptional status to play at the age of 15. He played at the U17 Challenge for Canada as a 15-year-old and was a top player.

Analysis: Savoie is a very talented scorer. He stands out with the puck on his stick and can attack in a variety of ways. Savoie is an excellent passer, who can run a power play, hit seams at a high rate and make tough plays under duress. He has very good hands to maneuver in traffic. He has good speed to beat opponents wide and he has a shot that can score from range. Savoie lacks ideal NHL size, but he competes hard and wins a surprising amount of battles for his size. He doesn’t have incredible speed and skill for a 5-foot-9 player so he may be moved to the wing in the NHL, but regardless I see him as a very good top-six forward.

9. Danila Yurov, RW, Magnitogorsk (RUSSIA)

Dec. 22, 2003 | 6′ 1.0″ | 178 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 9

Tier: Projected bubble top and middle of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: Above NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: NHL average

Background: Yurov played limited minutes on one of the best KHL teams, often lining up as a 12th or 13th forward for Magnitogorsk. Later in the season he played more junior games where he was very good for a top MHL team. He scored three goals and four points at a U20 four-nations tournament which helped him make Russia’s U20 team in a lower role. He was a point-per-game player in Russia’s junior league the previous season, and scored 11 points in seven games at the U18 world championships.

Analysis: Yurov’s skill stands out when you watch him. His stick skills and overall creativity with the puck are high end. He’s a good skater and shows excellent ability to beat defenders with speed or with dekes. He also shows great skill in tight spaces to maintain possession. Yurov can make plays but I wouldn’t call his playmaking as dynamic as his stickhandling. He’s not overly physical but Yurov works hard to create turnovers and can kill penalties. He projects as a quality top-six winger.

10. Jonathan Lekkerimaki, RW, Djurgarden (SWEDEN)

Jul. 24, 2004 | 5′ 10.5″ | 165 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 10

Tier: Projected bubble top and middle of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: Below NHL average
Shot: High-end

Background: Lekkerimaki put up big numbers in Sweden’s J20 league showing significant goal-scoring ability in league and international play. He came up to the big club in Djurgarden in the second half where he played a notable role in SHL games and scored at a high rate for a 17-year-old. He scored for Sweden’s U20 team at a November tournament and led the U18 Worlds in scoring.

Analysis: Lekkrimaki is a skilled winger who has various offensive elements in his game, but the clear strength of his game is his shot. He is a goal-scoring threat from the faceoff dots with a hard, accurate wrist shot and one-timer that projects to be a weapon in the NHL. He has good speed, hands and vision to generate clean entries and make plays but those aspects don’t pop like his shot. Like a lot of shooters, he leans too much on his best asset and play too much on the perimeter which isn’t ideal for a player who lacks size. Lekkerimaki projects as a quality top-six winger.

Projected middle of the lineup player
11. Ivan Miroshnichenko, LW, Omsk Krylia (RUSSIA-2)

Feb. 4, 2004 | 6′ 1.0″ | 185 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: N/A

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: Above NHL average
Shot: High-end

Background: Miroshnichenko played all season up versus men in Russia’s second-tier league in a regular role before his season ended in January due to being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He scored 1 goal and 2 points at the U20 4 nations in November. He was the captain and a leading player for Russia’s U18 team when they won Hlinka Gretzky gold. He scored 6 goals and 8 points in 7 games at the U18 World Championships the previous season. He originally intended to play in Muskegon of the USHL instead of Russia the past two seasons but ran into visa issues.

Analysis: Miroshnichenko is a player with all the attributes you want in a top NHL winger. He’s got good size and strength. He’s a strong skater. He’s highly skilled. He can make plays and he’s highly competitive. His shot is a bullet and can be a weapon from the flank on a pro power play. He can beat defenders with speed, he can put pucks through legs, he can create at evens and on the power play. He has a bulky frame and can play a powerful style of game. He has the tools and track record of a projected top line winger, but given his diagnosis he is being placed several tiers below that due to the significant uncertainty in his future projection — despite positive developments since the initial diagnosis.

12. Marco Kasper, C, Rogle (SWEDEN)

Apr. 8, 2004 | 6′ 1.0″ | 183 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 12

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: Above NHL average

Background: Kasper has played a lot of games for one of the best SHL teams in Rogle over the last two seasons and got a regular shift this season. He scored 6 points in 13 SHL playoff games this season as well. He captained Austria’s U20 team at the world juniors. He also played very well for Austria’s senior team, including a four points in three games performance at a tournament in November.

Analysis: Kasper was easy to spot even in SHL games because of how powerful an athlete he is. He would often be the guy to wind it up in his own end to carry the puck due to his great speed and skill. Kasper has a strong 6-foot-1 frame, isn’t afraid to attack the hard areas, and can win some battles versus men as a 17-year-old. Kasper attacks with speed and skill, and while he can pull up to make a play or use his hard shot, his direct style of play will translate to the NHL. He projects as a second line center.

13. Denton Mateychuk, LHD, Moose Jaw (WHL)

Jul. 12, 2004 | 5′ 10.75″ | 188 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 20

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: Above NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: NHL average
Shot: Above NHL average

Background: Mateychuk played a ton for Moose Jaw this season, often playing half the game and was one of the best 17-year-olds in the WHL. He was also very good as a 16-year-old in the CHL and was invited to represent Canada at the U18s. He was the 11th pick in his WHL Bantam Draft.

Analysis: Mateychuk is an undersized but dynamic defenseman. His skating pops, showing very quick feet that can easily transition pucks up ice with speed or evade pressure easily. Mateychuk attacks with the puck using his skill, skating and vision, making him a threat off the rush and blue line to create chances He can play with pace, but can also make passes off the point and use his hard shot to create offense. He defends well in the WHL due to his feet but at 5-foot-11 the concern for scouts is how well he’ll be able to check in the NHL. It’s a reasonable concern but I think he’s so talented and the skating is so good that he will find a way to succeed and become a top four defenseman.

14. Brad Lambert, C, Pelicans (FINLAND)

Dec. 19, 2003 | 6′ 0.5″ | 175 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 11

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: Above NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: Below NHL average

Background: Lambert split this season between JYP and Pelicans in Liiga where his production rate dipped from his great underage season. He was having a monster world juniors before it was abruptly cancelled and was great at the tournament the previous season, too. His U18 and U17 games with Finland were not as impressive.

Analysis: Lambert is a high-end athlete. His skating ability is explosive. He has great speed and edgework, allowing him to cut away from pressure easily. You combine his skating with strong hands and he’s a go-to guy for zone entries. He can make tough plays in motion and shows O-zone creativity. He can use his skating to circle too much at times but this season showed more willingness to attack directly. He’s full of potential, even though I’ve seen him take a lot of nights off. I think he will be a top-six winger in the NHL but he may frustrate coaches.

15. Jiri Kulich, C, Karlovy Vary (CZREP)

Apr. 14, 2004 | 5′ 11.5″ | 172 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: N/A

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: Above NHL average
Shot: Above NHL average

Background: Kulich got a regular shift vs. pros in Czechia this season with power-play time. He captained their U18 team and made their world junior team in a notable role. He led the U18 world championships in goals and was named MVP of the tournament.

Analysis: Kulich is a well-rounded prospect. He has a fluid, powerful skating stride that can generate clean entries and beat defenders wide. He has slick one-on-one skills and combined with his speed is a threat off the rush. He can make plays but is more of a threat when he’s in motion than picking apart defenses as a playmaker. Kulich has a great shot, showing a one-timer and wrist shot threat from range. Kulich doesn’t show fear from attacking the net or taking a hit to make a play. He projects as a top nine forward, whether at wing or center with the potential to play higher in a lineup.

16. Pavel Mintyukov, LHD, Saginaw (OHL)

Nov. 25, 2003 | 6′ 1.25″ | 197 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 14

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: NHL average
Shot: Above NHL average

Background: Mintyukov played a ton of minutes for Saginaw this season and was a top scoring defenseman in the OHL as a first-year draft-eligible player. He missed all of 2020-21 due to the OHL not playing. Previously, he was a top player at the World U-17 Challenge where Russia won gold, scoring five points in six games.

Analysis: Mintyukov is an exciting defenseman. He plays with pace and is aggressive as a rusher. His skating allows him to evade pressure easily and transition pucks up ice with his feet. Mintyukov is also highly skilled and can make plays through legs and sticks. He shows good offensive IQ, knowing when to activate and how to make plays with the puck. He also has a hard point shot, making him dangerous on the PP with his skating and vision. Defensively he’s solid, showing an ability to use his long reach, mobility and physicality to kill plays. He can be a little too aggressive at times trying to create offense when he leaves his defensive position. He projects as a top-four defenseman with the potential to play high in the lineup.

17. Frank Nazar, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)

Jan. 14, 2004 | 5′ 9.75″ | 175 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 15

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: Above NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: High-end

Background: Nazar was a significant player for the US program, often lining up as a top-two-line center.. He was highly productive as an underage player, scoring over a point a game. He’s committed to Michigan.

Analysis: Nazar brings a lot of speed and energy to his shifts. He lacks ideal NHL size, but he makes up for it with his effort. He is hard on pucks, and shows no fear in how he attacks the interior third of the offensive zone. He can make an occasional flashy deke or pass, but most of his offense comes from the high percentage areas. Nazar’s great speed helps him get to the net and turn around a lot of defenders. He projects as a third-line center with a chance to be a No. 2 center.

18. Conor Geekie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)

May. 5, 2004 | 6′ 3.25″ | 196 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 7

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: Below NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: NHL average

Background: Geekie was a top player on one of the best teams in the CHL this season, following up a great 16-year-old season where he was a point per game. He was the No. 2 pick in his WHL Bantam Draft right before his teammate Matthew Savoie. His brother Morgan Geekie plays for the Seattle Kraken.

Analysis: Geekie has drawn a lot of interest from NHL teams because he’s a 6-foot-3 center with a high skill level. With his hands and reach he’s able to consistently maneuver pucks through sticks and legs to create chances. He’s a big man who doesn’t shy away from physical contact, which combined with his skill makes him tough to deal with down low and strip the puck from in general. Geekie can make plays and run a power play, showing good vision and finish from the perimeter. His main flaw, like his brother Morgan’s was, is his skating. He’s a better skater than his brother and can separate occasionally at the WHL level but doesn’t project to do so in the NHL. Geekie projects as middle-six center with a chance to play higher in the lineup.

19. Rutger McGroarty, RW, USA U-18 (NTDP)

Mar. 30, 2004 | 6′ 0.75″ | 200 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 21

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: Below NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: Above NHL average
Shot: Above NHL average

Background: McGroarty was a top forward for the U.S. NTDP this season, often lining up in a premier scoring role and wore the ‘C’ for that age group. He scored 8 goals in 6 games at the U18 Worlds this season. He represented Team USA at the U18 Worlds as a U17 player. He is from the Lincoln, Nebraska area and is committed to Michigan.

Analysis: McGroarty is a highly-skilled winger who is a threat inside the offensive zone because of his very good puck skills, shot and vision. He can make a lot of plays with finesse, but also is highly competitive. He forces a lot of turnovers, wins a good number of battles and can create around the hard areas of the offensive zone. The knock on McGroarty historically has been his skating. He has an awkward stride that lacks ideal balance and mechanics, but he has enough quickness to be able to play in the NHL. He projects as a top nine winger with the potential to play higher in a lineup.

20. Kevin Korchinski, LHD, Seattle (WHL)

Jun. 21, 2004 | 6′ 2.25″ | 185 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 17

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: Below NHL average

Background: Korchinski was a top player for a good WHL team in Seattle this season and one of the best 17-year-old defensemen in the CHL. He was the 10th pick in his WHL Bantam Draft and invited to Canada’s U18 camp.

Analysis: Korchinski has a clear NHL toolkit. He’s a 6-foot-2 defenseman who can skate and has offensive abilities. He’s able to carry pucks up ice well with his skating, and has excellent edgework to evade pressure. Korchinski shows touch and vision with the puck to run a power play and create off the blue line. Despite his size and skating, he struggles defensively, showing in and out compete on that side of the puck. He has clear top-four defenseman tools, but whether he can improve his defensive play enough will determine whether he can be a legit top four-guy or have to be deployed carefully by a coach.

21. Nathan Gaucher, C, Quebec (QMJHL)

Nov. 6, 2003 | 6′ 2.75″ | 207 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 18

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: Below NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: Below NHL average
Compete: Above NHL average

Background: Gaucher was an important all-situations center for a top QMJHL club in Quebec. He didn’t post big scoring totals this season after scoring a point per game in the prior season. He was invited to Canada’s U20 camp in the summer as an injury replacement.

Analysis: Gaucher is a skilled and competitive center. He possesses a bulky 6-foot-3 frame and is a physical player which allows him to win a lot of puck battles. Gaucher creates a lot of offense around the net due to his physical tools. He’s a responsible two-way player who can PK well. Offensively he’s not flashy, but he has the hands to make plays inside the offensive zone. He creates a lot around the hard areas of the ice.He has a fluid stride, but lacks top-end speed and doesn’t make a ton of plays. Gaucher projects as a third-line center who won’t be a big scorer but will have significant two-way value.

22. Owen Pickering, LHD, Swift Current (WHL)

Jan. 27, 2004 | 6′ 4.0″ | 178 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 16

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: Below NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: NHL average

Background: Pickering played major minutes for Swift Current this season and put up solid scoring totals for a defenseman his age. He was named one of Canada’s top 3 players at the U18 World Championships. He was a ninth round pick in his WHL Bantam draft but experienced a significant growth spurt since then.

Analysis: Pickering’s tools are evident to anyone who watches a game or two. He’s a 6-foot-4 defenseman who skates quite well for his size and has offense. He can carry through the neutral zone to create controlled exits/entries and is good on retrievals. He can also pull up to make a good outlet or seam pass in the O-zone. He can use his size and feet to close on checks efficiently. Pickering’s ascent has been quick, and thus there are some raw aspects with his play with the puck and overall consistency. He projects as a second or third pair defenseman depending on how much the offense translates.

23. Luca Del Bel Belluz, C, Mississauga (OHL)

Nov. 10, 2003 | 6′ 0.5″ | 175 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 19

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: Below NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: NHL average
Shot: Above NHL average

Background: Del Bel Belluz had a productive season playing all situations for a strong Steelheads team, being one of the top scorers in the OHL early in the season but that production tailed off in the second half. His production trended way up after only scoring six points in his first OHL season in 2020. He was a third-round pick in his OHL Draft.

Analysis: Del Bel Belluz is a very skilled center with decent size. He has the crafty puck skills to manipulate the puck in tight areas and often shows he can beat defenders one on one. He can run a power play off the flank due to his very good vision and shot although I don’t see that as his role in the NHL. He lacks footspeed for the higher levels, but he works hard enough and provides some two-way value down the middle. He projects as a top-nine forward. With his feet he may struggle to stick at center but if he does it’s on the third line.

24. Jimmy Snuggerud, RW, USA U-18 (NTDP)

Jun. 1, 2004 | 6′ 1.25″ | 186 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 22

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: Below NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: NHL average
Shot: Above NHL average

Background: Snuggerud was a top-six forward for the U.S. NTDP this season and one of the most improved players on the program from the previous season. He’s committed to Minnesota.

Analysis: Snuggerud’s a talented winger who can be dangerous with the puck on his stick. He has one-on-one skill, good vision, and his best asset is his shot. He is a long-range shooting threat with a one-timer you can build a power-play unit around. Snuggerud has good size, competes well and is responsible defensively. The only issue is he has heavy feet which could impede him as he advances levels. The rest of his game is strong enough though that I think he could be a top-nine forward.

25. Owen Beck, C, Mississauga (OHL)

Feb. 3, 2004 | 5′ 11.5″ | 185 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: N/A

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: NHL average

Background: Owen Beck played a significant role on a good OHL team. He was a regular in every important situation. He was the 29th pick in his OHL draft.

Analysis: Beck brings an intriguing amount of speed and skill to his shifts. He has NHL-level skating, and is able to make highly-skilled plays through checks at full speed. He shows the ability to be able to set up his teammates well while also being able to finish in tight or from the circles. Beck isn’t the biggest forward, but he competes well, can PK and doesn’t shy from getting inside by using his speed. He projects as a top-nine forward, likely on the wing.

26. Jagger Firkus, RW, Moose Jaw (WHL)

Apr. 29, 2004 | 5′ 9.75″ | 153 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 27

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: NHL average
Shot: High-end

Background: Firkus has scored at a strong rate in the WHL over the past two seasons, being a big part of Moose Jaw’s offense. He’s trended up significantly after being the 82nd pick in his WHL Bantam Draft. He was named player of the game for the CHL Top Prospects Game.

Analysis: Firkus’ skill and creativity stand out consistently. He shows great ability to beat defenders one-on-one with his stickhandling. He can make tough passes at a high rate through seams and under pressure. He is a shot-and-pass threat which makes him a major asset on a power play and often scores from range with a release that will beat NHL goalies. Firkus is quick, but not fast, showing good enough skating and compete to win battles but he’s not going to beat NHL defenders wide. The scoring ability is significant enough that I think he can be a middle-six winger.

27. Isaac Howard, LW, Usa U-18 (NTDP)

Mar. 30, 2004 | 5′ 10.0″ | 182 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 23

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: Above NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: NHL average

Background: Howard has been a highly productive forward for the U.S. NTDP over his two seasons. He was called up to the U18 team as a 16-year-old where he played a significant role at the U18 world championships with four points in five games. He was a top scorer in the tournament overall at this year’s U18’s. He also scored seven goals in four games at the Youth Olympics. He’s committed to Minnesota-Duluth.

Analysis: Howard is a player defined by his skill level. His stick skills are among the best in the draft. He can make quick and creative dekes consistently. He’s known as a goal-scorer, but he can make creative passes and make difficult plays in small areas. Howard is a good enough skater for the NHL, but for a 5-foot-10 guy you’d like to see a little more burst. His goal scoring is more a product of his skill and willingness to attack the middle than an elite shot. He projects as a top-nine winger.

28. Liam Ohgren, LW, Djurgarden Jr. (SWEDEN-JR.)

Jan. 28, 2004 | 6′ 0.0″ | 187 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 25

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: Below NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: NHL average
Shot: Above NHL average

Background: Ohgren was a goal per-game player and top scorer in Sweden’s J20 league while also playing limited minutes in the SHL. He was a top player for Sweden’s U18 team and played for the U20 team in November.

Analysis: Calling Ohgren a goal scorer isn’t a novel observation given his stats this season but he’s shown he can score goals in a variety of ways. He has great hands and can create offense through his skill. He generates a lot of offense around the high-percentage areas because of his strength and compete. Ohgren also has a shot that can score from range. He’s smart enough with the puck to move it well but is more of a shooter and worker than a playmaker. His skating is OK. I’ve heard from scouts who like it but I’ve never seen a player who can separate with speed. He projects as a top-nine winger.

29. Filip Mesar, RW, Poprad (SLOVAKIA)

Jan. 3, 2004 | 5′ 10.0″ | 167 pounds

March 2022 Ranking: 24

Tier: Projected middle of the lineup player

Skating: Above NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey sense: NHL average
Compete: NHL average
Shot: Above NHL average

Background: Mesar has played pro hockey in Slovakia the last two seasons. He was a top forward at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in the summer. He made Slovakia’s world junior team in a scoring role and also played well in games for Slovakia’s senior team.

Analysis: Mesar’s game is defined by speed and pace. He’s one of the better skaters in this draft, with the ability to burn up the neutral zone to create clean entries with speed. He has good skill and playmaking ability, and shows he can make tough plays with the puck with pace. Mesar lacks size at 5-foot-10 and isn’t an overly physical player. His compete is good enough for me but probably not where you want for an undersized player. I think with his speed, skill and scoring ability he can carve out a career as a top-nine winger though.

- Leninthebuff

TurdFergeson
Vegas Golden Knights
Location: Calgary
Joined: 01.04.2021

May 12 @ 2:35 PM ET
Sam Woo: Devils With #2 Overall Pick And Farm System Stocked
- SamuelPWoo

Apparently there is a lot of talk that the devils are looking to trade the pick?
Crushers68
New Jersey Devils
Location: Hilton Head Island, SC
Joined: 02.17.2009

May 12 @ 2:53 PM ET
Apparently there is a lot of talk that the devils are looking to trade the pick?
- TurdFergeson


Pucks and Pitchforks has an article about trading the pick for M Tkachuk, who is an RFA in 2 years. Not sure why they would want to trade him, but i would make that trade in a heart beat. That guy has snarl, size and can score. And is only 24 yrs old. Make it happen Fitz
vlongo4419
New Jersey Devils
Joined: 07.31.2013

May 12 @ 4:12 PM ET
Apparently there is a lot of talk that the devils are looking to trade the pick?
- TurdFergeson


Before the lottery and the pick moved up to #2, yes there was talk. That talk has very quickly died down after the lottery though.
vlongo4419
New Jersey Devils
Joined: 07.31.2013

May 12 @ 4:13 PM ET
Dhaliwal, who is one of big Canucks reporters, says the Devils were one of the teams that were hot after JT Miller at the trade deadline.
dmarsden2988
New Jersey Devils
Location: stafford is about equal to rya, NJ
Joined: 03.07.2011

May 12 @ 4:17 PM ET
Dhaliwal, who is one of big Canucks reporters, says the Devils were one of the teams that were hot after JT Miller at the trade deadline.
- vlongo4419


Wonder what it would take
vlongo4419
New Jersey Devils
Joined: 07.31.2013

May 12 @ 4:23 PM ET
Wonder what it would take
- dmarsden2988


Probably more than we were willing to pay. 1 year from UFA, in line for a massive raise, and will be in his 30s before that huge contract even starts. Great player but I don't see the fit. Probably why nothing got done.
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