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Shane Wright of the KIngston Frontenacs. Photo by Robert Lefebvre/OHL Images.

It seems like just yesterday that we were putting the finishing touches on the 2021 NHL Entry Draft Guide, thanks to a late July date that was one month later than normal. The turnaround to the 2022 scouting season was short, yet in a way that is refreshing. The 2021 Draft was such a difficult one to scout with so many leagues on condensed or non-existent schedules. So far, the 2022 scouting season has seemed, well...normal and that is what is refreshing about it.

Other than a lack of Canadian participation, the 2021 Hlinka/Gretzky cup was held to kick off the season. The OHL has returned and the entire CHL is playing a full schedule. The Swedish junior leagues are back and the country looks to have a strong crop again. Every league being scouted across the globe is operating as per usual and it has made our job that much easier.

Our first 2022 NHL Draft ranking takes into account some international performances, in addition to league start-ups. The McKeen’s scouting team has been hard at work behind the scenes and we feel very confident in this early assessment.

Let’s look at a few breakdowns…

Positionally, our Top 32 includes 9 defensemen, 23 forwards, and zero goaltenders. This is the first time in a while where our list has not included a goaltender in the first round. Obviously, things can change, but right now it does not look like there is a Wallstedt, Cossa, or Spencer Knight in this group.

Regionally, our Top 32 includes ten CHL players, three players playing in Finland, six members of the U.S. U18 team (out of the USHL), six players playing in Sweden, three players playing in Russia, two players playing in Slovakia, one playing in the Czech Republic, and one playing in the AJHL.

It should come as no surprise to see Shane Wright at the top of our rankings. He is awakening from his slow start and is the reigning OHL player of the week. The brilliant two-way center still looks like a lock to be the first overall selection.

Other notables include:

  • Winnipeg Ice forward Matthew Savoie at #2, who is playing phenomenal hockey for arguably the CHL’s top team at the current moment.
  • Finnish winger Joakim Kemell at #3, who is currently leading Liiga in goal scoring and is on pace for the best U18 season in Finnish hockey history.
  • Long hyped Finnish winger Brad Lambert at #10, who has struggled to start the year and has become a very polarizing player already, including within our scouting ranks. His ranking at #10 serves as a middle ground compromise considering some within our team argued for him at the end of the first round, while others argued for him to be inside the top five.
  • Austrian born power center Marco Kasper at #18, who has been terrific playing for Rogle in the SHL and has become a favourite of our Swedish scout Patrik Bexell.
  • Stocky offensive defender Ty Nelson of the North Bay Battalion who makes up for a lack of ideal size with plus mobility, an intense physical approach, and a booming point shot. Like Lambert, Nelson was heavily debated, but our video scout team are huge fans of him.

Also listed are ten honorable mentions. These HM’s received heavy consideration based on the recommendation of our regional scouts. However, we just could not fit them into our first round ranking at this time. You can find those HM’s at the bottom of the list.

1 Shane Wright C Kingston (OHL) 6-1/190 5-Jan-04 14-6-12-18
2 Matthew Savoie C Winnipeg (WHL) 5-9/180 1-Jan-04 18-8-21-29
3 Joakim Kemell RW JyP (Fin-Liiga) 5-11/175 27-Apr-04 16-12-6-18
4 Juraj Slafkovsky LW TPS (Fin-Liiga) 6-4/225 30-Mar-04 13-0-3-3
5 Simon Nemec D HK Nitra (Svk) 6-1/190 15-Feb-04 15-0-8-8
6 Danila Yurov RW Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL) 6-1/175 22-Dec-03 17-0-0-0
7 Conor Geekie C Winnipeg (WHL) 6-4/205 5-May-04 18-6-17-23
8 Logan Cooley C USN U18 (USDP) 5-10/180 4-May-04 15-9-11-20
9 David Jiricek D HC Plzen (Cze) 6-3/190 28-Nov-03 20-4-5-9
10 Brad Lambert C JyP (Fin-Liiga) 6-0/180 19-Dec-03 15-1-3-4
11 Ivan Miroshnichenko LW Omskie Krylia (VHL) 6-1/185 4-Feb-04 20-4-5-9
12 Frank Nazar C USN U18 (USDP) 5-10/175 14-Jan-04 18-7-13-20
13 Noah Ostlund C Djurgardens J20 (Swe J20) 5-10/160 11-Mar-04 10-2-13-15
14 Elias Salomonsson D Skelleftea J20 (Swe J20) 6-1/170 31-Aug-04 14-5-5-10
15 Tristan Luneau D Gatineau (QMJHL) 6-2/175 12-Jan-04 13-1-6-7
16 Seamus Casey D USN U18 (USDP) 5-10/160 8-Jan-04 18-5-8-13
17 Jonathan Lekkerimaki C Djurgardens J20 (Swe J20) 5-11/170 24-Jul-04 16-16-9-25
18 Marco Kasper C Rogle BK (SHL) 6-1/185 8-Apr-04 16-4-2-6
19 Ryan Chesley D USN U18 (USDP) 6-0/195 27-Feb-04 17-1-3-4
20 Filip Mesar C HK Poprad (Svk) 5-10/165 3-Jan-04 13-4-3-7
21 Nathan Gaucher C Quebec (QMJHL) 6-3/205 6-Nov-03 17-7-8-15
22 Alexander Perevalov LW Loko Yaroslavl (MHL) 6-0/190 16-Apr-04 22-17-16-33
23 Rutger McGroarty LW USN U18 (USDP) 6-1/205 30-Mar-04 12-8-10-18
24 Rieger Lorenz LW Okotoks (AJHL) 6-1/185 30-Mar-04 22-12-20-32
25 Matthew Poitras C Guelph (OHL) 5-11/175 10-Mar-04 16-4-9-13
26 Ty Nelson D North Bay (OHL) 5-9/195 30-Mar-04 16-4-11-15
27 Ludwig Persson LW Frolunda J20 (Swe J20) 6-0/180 8-Oct-03 14-5-14-19
28 Denton Mateychuk D Moose Jaw (WHL) 5-11/190 12-Jul-04 16-6-9-15
29 Mats Lindgren D Kamloops (WHL) 5-11/175 26-Aug-04 15-1-8-9
30 Isaac Howard LW USN U18 (USDP) 5-10/180 30-Mar-04 18-8-12-20
31 Liam Ohgren LW Djurgardens (SHL) 6-0/185 28-Jan-04 14-1-1-2
32 Paul Ludwinski LW Kingston (OHL) 5-11/175 23-Apr-04 14-3-7-10
  Simon Forsmark D Orebro J20 (Swe J20) 6-2/195 17-Oct-03 19-3-18-21
  Jack Hughes C Northeastern (NCAA-HE) 6-0/165 2-Nov-03 12-3-2-5
  Hunter Haight C Barrie (OHL) 5-10/175 4-Apr-04 14-4-4-8
  Bryce McConnell-Barker C Soo Greyhounds (OHL) 6-1/185 4-Jun-04 16-8-4-12
  Vladimir Grudinin D Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (MHL) 5-10/160 9-Dec-03 14-2-6-8
  Kevin Korchinski D Seattle (WHL) 6-1/185 21-Jun-04 14-0-8-8
  Devin Kaplan RW USN U18 (USDP) 6-2/200 10-Jan-04 18-4-10-14
  Lian Bichsel D Leksands (SHL) 6-5/215 18-May-04 6-0-1-1
  Cutter Gauthier LW USN U18 (USDP) 6-2/190 19-Jan-04 18-8-9-17
  Gleb Trikozov RW Omskie Yastreby (MHL) 6-1/185 12-Aug-04 8-7-4-11