NHL Draft Lottery 2022: Canadiens Win No. 1 Overall Pick, Devils Secure No. 2

Erin WalshMay 10, 2022

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY - JUNE 02: : National Hockey League Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly announces draft position during the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery on June 02, 2021 at the NHL Network's studio in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens will have the opportunity to select this year's most prized NHL prospect first overall after winning the 2022 draft lottery on Tuesday. It marks the first time since 1980 the franchise will pick first overall.

Canadiens Montréal @CanadiensMTL

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The Canadiens entered the draft lottery with the best odds to win the No. 1 overall pick at 18.5 percent. Montreal has been clamoring for the top pick in the draft for years, and now they'll finally get the opportunity to select a franchise-altering player.

Montreal had an incredibly disappointing 2021-22 season, finishing with the worst record in the NHL at 22-49-11. It marked the fourth time in the last seven seasons that the Canadiens missed the playoffs. 

That said, the Habs were just one season removed from reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games. 

The draft lottery determined the selection order for the 16 teams that did not qualify for the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs or teams that acquired a first-round selection via trade. However, this year's lottery featured some changes.

Teams were allowed to move up a maximum of 10 spots, meaning only the top 11 teams had the opportunity to land the first overall pick. There were also two draws, with the first determining which team got the No. 1 pick and the second determining which team got the No. 2 pick. Once the first two picks were revealed, the remainder of the teams were assigned a pick in inverse order of regular-season points.

Lowering the number of lottery draws to two ensured the team with the worst record, in this case the Montreal Canadiens, wouldn't draft lower than third overall.

The process was changed after the Detroit Red Wings, who finished with the worst record in the NHL during the 2019-20 season, ended up selecting fourth overall in the 2020 draft, losing out on the opportunity to select the best player available.

That said, let's take a look at the order for this year's draft and some of the top prospects available.

NHL Draft Selection Order

  1. Montreal Canadiens
  2. New Jersey Devils
  3. Arizona Coyotes
  4. Seattle Kraken
  5. Philadelphia Flyers
  6. Columbus Blue Jackets (via Chicago Blackhawks)
  7. Ottawa Senators
  8. Detroit Red Wings
  9. Buffalo Sabres
  10. Anaheim Ducks
  11. San Jose Sharks
  12. Columbus Blue Jackets
  13. New York Islanders
  14. Winnipeg Jets
  15. Vancouver Canucks
  16. Buffalo Sabres (via Vegas Golden Knights)

Shane Wright, Center: Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

Height/Weight: 6'1", 187 pounds

Shane Wright, who has been considered the valedictorian of the 2022 draft class by NHL draft analysts for years, is expected to be the first overall pick in this year's draft after a standout three-year career with the Ontario Hockey League's Kingston Frontenacs. 

The 18-year-old's draft stock took a dip early during the 2021-22 season after he posted 16 goals and 29 assists in 33 games for 1.36 points per game, which was just slightly better than his performance when he was 15 years old.

However, Wright, who served as the captain of the Frontenacs this past season, had a solid second half, rebounding to finish with 32 goals and 62 assists for 94 points in 63 regular-season games. He also added two goals and eight assists for 10 points in eight postseason games.

Wright has been highly sought after because of his impressive 200-foot game. He's one of the best skaters in junior hockey, often compared to Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, and his vision, passing and playmaking skills make him a dangerous dual threat.

Perhaps the best indicator of his two-way prowess came from TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button, who compared Wright to Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron.

"I continuously come back to Shane Wright as the clear-cut guy because I just see such a thoroughness in his play," Button said. "There's not a situation in the game that I wouldn't throw Shane Wright into and not feel confident that he can excel. And that's Bergeron."

If Wright turns out to be anything like Bergeron, he'll be a high-scoring, two-way center who can make plays on both ends of the ice. He would be a perfect fit for the Canadiens, and he is exactly the player they need to turn things around.

Logan Cooley, Center: United States National Team Development Program

Height/Weight: 5'11", 174 pounds

Like Wright, Logan Cooley is one of the top centers in the 2022 draft class, and he could be selected as high as second overall.

The 18-year-old from Pittsburgh has spent the last few seasons with the USNTDP. During the 2021-22 season, he tallied 27 goals and 48 assists for 75 points in 51 games for the U.S. National U18 Team.

While Cooley is also projected to be a high-scoring, two-way center at the NHL level, he plays a different game than Wright. His high-end speed, skill and offensive IQ separate him from the Frontenacs center. That said, he lacks size but isn't afraid to drive to the net for scoring opportunities.

And while Button views Wright as more of a Bergeron, he compared Cooley to Carolina Hurricanes star Sebastian Aho, who is one of the best all-around players in the NHL.

"They're really good centremen but very different," Button said. "And when I do the comparables, Bergeron and Sebastian Aho, I think that's how Logan plays the game, more like Sebastian Aho. Shane Wright plays it like Bergeron."

Aho is a tremendous skater, playmaker and also defends well. That said, his only detriment is his lack of size at 6'0", 176 pounds, but that hasn't necessarily limited him at the NHL level. He's a solid comparison to Cooley.

It's unclear if Cooley would make the jump straight to the NHL if given the opportunity. He is committed to play at the University of Minnesota next season.

Juraj Slafkovsky, Left Wing: TPS (Finland)

Height/Weight: 6'4", 218 pounds

Like Cooley, Juraj Slafkovsky has the potential to be selected as high as second overall after an impressive career with TPS in Finland.

During the 2021-22 season, Slafkovsky tallied five goals and five assists for 10 points in 31 regular-season games. He added two goals and five assists for seven points in 18 playoff games.

The 18-year-old also starred for Slovakia at the 2022 Winter Olympics, where he was named MVP of the men's ice hockey tournament after helping lead the country to a bronze medal with seven goals in seven games.

Slafkovsky is a solid skater who has a powerful stride and great leg strength. He sets up and finishes plays well and will use his body any way he can. That said, he's a multi-tool threat with the capability to pass, shoot and score with precision, which would be an asset to any NHL team.

Button compared Slafkovsky to Winnipeg Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois, who is big, strong and highly talented.

"Big, weighty, hard players to play against, but not elite offensive players. That's the separator for me with [Joakim] Kemell and Slafkovsky,” Button said.