2022 NHL Draft: Top 10 Players Available in Round 2

Adam HermanJuly 8, 2022

2022 NHL Draft: Top 10 Players Available in Round 2

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    Round 1 of the NHL draft delivers the most theater, but Rounds 2 through 7 are often where NHL scouts earn their paychecks. Most of the obvious future NHLers are long gone. Consensus about player rankings ceases to exist. Scouts are looking at a wide range of players and have to hone in on the handful who give the team a chance to unearth talent.

    Of Bleacher Report's top 32 prospects available in the 2022 NHL draft, 26 were selected in Thursday's first round. That leaves six listed players available when the second round begins Friday at 11 a.m. ET. Beyond that group, there are also a number of other available prospects who are also very enticing.

    There will be a lot of intriguing prospects drafted at some point today. Listed alphabetically by last name, here are 10 to look out for.

Owen Beck, C, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

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    If Owen Beck makes the NHL, he's going to be a player whom coaches and fans love. The center is at full throttle every shift and simultaneously manages to play a cerebral game.

    His 21 goals and 30 assists in 68 regular-season OHL games is far from inspiring—fellow draft-eligible teammate Lucas Del Bel Belluz transcended in that department with 76 points—but when watching Mississauga, it was obvious who has the better NHL makeup. Beck is simply a well-rounded prospect.

    The foundations of Beck's game are work ethic and discipline. The Ontario native is a shutdown center who wins faceoffs, picks up his coverages in the defensive zone in an anticipatory rather than reactionary manner and battles for pucks. While he's not running around looking to hit someone, the 5'11¼", 187-pounder creates turnovers with heavy hits in open ice.

    His offensive skill set is varied, even if not superlative in any manner. He's a forceful skater who carries the puck north-to-south, often beating defenders with his speed or pushing them back. The right-hander drives the net decisively and can score occasionally from the high slot. It's a similar story with his passing ability: present but unspectacular. Beck's offensive output is the product of athleticism accentuated by respectable enough hands.

    He produces a lot of offense this way against defensemen in juniors, but at the pro level, he's going to meet his match physically and won't be able to blow by players. He has yet to display the vision or manipulation ability to beat defenders in more sophisticated ways.

    One can see a path where Beck adds more dimensions offensively and forces his way to a low-end second-line role. Much more likely is that Beck settles in as a bottom-six center who offers depth scoring and matches up against top lines.

    Beck ranked 29th on the B/R Big Board.

Seamus Casey, RD, US National Team Development Program (USHL)

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    Casey is a conventional puck-moving defenseman. From the defensive zone, he's the player starting the rush. He has great escapability in small spaces and has little problem beating the first forechecker. He is comfortable carrying through the neutral zone but also has an impressive ability to find teammates for stretch passes.

    He is one of the best "10-to-2" skaters in the draft. Within the offensive zone, Casey sidesteps wingers pressuring him at the points or along the walls. As a shooter, he fits the mold that offenses are trending toward in that, while his shot itself isn't devastating, he is adept at getting pucks on net through traffic to create deflections and rebounds. He's assertive in pinching along the walls to pressure pucks and keeping them in the zone.

    Casey has skeptics because of concerns about his defensive play. Some of that is warranted. At just 5'9½" and 173 pounds, he can be overwhelmed when forced to engage physically. This will be an issue at the pro level even if the Michigan commit does gain some strength.

    However, the criticisms are overblown. Casey takes good angles against puck-rushers. He defends well with his stick to break up plays, and his ability to retrieve pucks behind the goal line and skate them out of danger will put a dent in the opposition's ability to put him in difficult positions.

    The Miami native has upside as an offensive defenseman who starts the rush, makes transition passes and collects a share of points.

Ryan Chesley, RD, US National Team Development Program (USHL)

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    Chesley is a well-rounded defenseman who has made strides in practically every facet of the game over the last year.

    What primarily impressed scouts was his polished defensive game. At 6'½" and 201 pounds, Chesley's skating is average, but he has great timing for stepping up to break up rushes in the middle of the ice and is consistent in his ability to angling puck-carriers toward the boards and then punishing them with heavy hits. He defends well around the net, boxing out forwards and allowing the goaltender a sightline to the puck. He's not afraid to get in shooting lanes and block shots.

    The Minnesotan has also been a solid point-producer in junior hockey, though that likely won't hold up as he moves up the pro ladder. He has decent puck skills, but at the NHL level, he's going to be more of a participant in the offensive zone rather than a difference-maker. What will translate, though, is his ability to move the puck. Shutdown defensemen don't need to produce points, but in the modern game, they need to be able to find outlets and be able to skate the puck out with their nerves in check.

    Chesley fits that standard. He's not going to stretch the opposition from the defensive zone, but he consistently finds passing options both into and out of the neutral zone.

    There may be other players available who offer the dream of a future star that Chesley does not, but the trade-off is that he is a solid bet to make the NHL and is more likely to hit his upside. The reasonable hope for the Minnesota commit is that he becomes a top-four shutdown blueliner who kills penalties and contributes occasionally on offense. That's a player who makes life a lot easier for his general manager and head coach.

    Chesley is ranked 24th on the B/R Big Board.

Jagger Firkus, RW, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

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    Jagger Firkus scores goals. He has one of the best shots in the draft. His one-touch release is borderline elite. He doesn't need a big windup, instead relying on snapshots to slingshot the puck top-shelf as quickly as he received it. He's a major one-timer threat and certainly will be the go-to shooting option on any power play. Because of how smooth his release is, Firkus can flick pucks over a goaltender's shoulders from in tight just as easily as he can rip it from above the faceoff dots.

    However, Firkus doesn't need to be handed the puck in shooting areas in order to score. The right wing will work for his opportunities, moving around the offensive zone to find opportunities for receiving passes. The Alberta native displays creativity in possession and an ability to create his own shots. Firkus is willing and able to take on defenders, particularly beating them inside with direction changes. He has good enough handles to deke past goaltenders on partial breakaways.

    His signature move on the puck is to carry into the offensive zone wide, then cut across the slot and either use the defenseman as a screen or beat a goaltender who is forced to open up his body as he moves post-to-post. Firkus does not need brute-force shots through defenders because he has good enough hands to create his own openings. In fact, he made the highlight reel this season with a lacrosse-style goal in Moose Jaw's opening playoff game against Saskatoon. Indeed, any team would be thrilled to add a player with moves like Jagger.

    Though Firkus is primarily a shooter, he uses that threat to establish other opportunities. He has quality secondary playmaking instincts. Sometimes when he's cutting across the slot and dragging defenders with him as he threatens to shoot, he'll instead drop the puck for a teammate cutting across in another direction. Firkus plays at a high tempo, and viewers can't help but notice him when he's in the offensive zone.

    The rest of Firkus' game rates as average or underdeveloped. Though he's quick on his feet, his skating stride lacks power. He works hard off the puck but isn't a physical presence; the 5'10" frame doesn't do any favors and, even for that height, his 151 pounds is well below where he needs to be. For that reason, his development is going to take some time, but it also offers a higher ceiling.

    He only turned 18 in late April and has a lot of room for more muscle. If and when gets stronger, his skating and physicality could see upticks. With that rounding out his game, Firkus could turn into a top-six scoring winger.

    He is ranked 26th on the B/R Big Board.

David Goyette, C, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

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    Goyette is a crafty, playmaking center. He's likely not going to quarterback at higher levels of hockey, but when he has the puck on his stick, he manages to connect with teammates in impressive and unsuspecting ways. His touch passes to escape pressure are among the best in the draft. He doesn't telegraph his intentions with his head, and he has a golfer's instinct of combining visual perception with stick mechanics to put the perfect weight behind his passes.

    He stands 5'10¼" and 175 pounds, but Goyette scores his fair share of goals around the front of the net. The Quebec native doesn't power his way to the net but instead floats into soft spots above the crease. Occasionally the left-hander will carry the puck into the offensive zone, beat the defender wide and then drive across the goalmouth and score from in tight. Goyette's engagement is inconsistent, but that's between the margins of "OK" and "very good." In some games he presents as more passive, while in others he displayed a lot more ambition. Never does he come off as lazy.

    Some see Goyette topping out as a good AHLer. It's easy to see the argument. His abilities on the puck are very good but not great, and the rest of his game is unremarkable. He's an average defender and is disadvantaged physically. If his skill alone doesn't present clear top-six upside, then what kind of role would that leave for him in the NHL?

    Here's the counterpoint: Goyette excelled in difficult circumstances last season. He missed an entire year of development after the 2020-21 OHL season was canceled because of COVID-19. The Sudbury Wolves were a bad team, and Goyette had virtually no help around him.

    Nonetheless, he kept a good attitude and produced a remarkable 30 goals and 40 assists in 73 games, with most of his success coming at even strength. Sudbury will be much better next season, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see his production explode. What kind of player he could turn into is hard to pin down, but the bet on his talent is worth it.

    Goyette is ranked 32nd on the B/R Big Board.

Mattias Havelid, RD, Linkoping (Swedish Hockey League)

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    The Swede deviates from his father, former NHL shutdown defenseman Niclas Havelid, in that he primarily plays a more offensive game. Don't be fooled by his 5'9", 165-pound frame: Among draft-eligible defensemen, Havelid may be the best shooter in the draft.

    Although his slap shot is a threat, it's his wrist shot that really drives his offense. Havelid will walk the blue line to find a shooting lane and get off a quick but hefty release, usually keeping the puck low to make it difficult for the goaltender to track. This also earns him some assists through deflections above the crease. He will sometimes feint the point shot, then carry below the circles and beat a goaltender over the shoulders.

    Havelid is skilled at using his speed during puck retrievals while keeping enough separation from the first forechecker. When the forecheck is tight, he can spin his way out of pressure. Havelid makes his share of stretch passes from the defensive zone and is above-average in finessing cross-zone passes in the offensive end, though he could use some work on putting more weight on those passes without sacrificing accuracy.

    Whether Havelid will be a first-unit power-play quarterback in the NHL is a key question. He doesn't yet have the manipulation abilities to create zone entries or make penalty killers scramble in their end, but both the shooting and passing abilities are there. With some work, he might cross over from a "maybe" to a "yes."

    Havelid is deceptively solid defensively. At the beginning of the season, he was getting thrown around in puck battles. Later he became sturdier on his feet, showing increased strength as well as an understanding of how to widen his stance and keep a low center of gravity to survive physical engagements. His quick acceleration from a relative standstill lends to an ability to win short sprints to loose pucks or to play tight gaps and break up rushes.

    Where he needs to improve is in his posture, as sometimes when he gaps up, he stands laterally rather than getting shoulder to shoulder, which leaves him vulnerable to a direction change. He was used on the penalty kill in juniors last season, though he may not stick in that role at higher levels.

    Havelid had no points in 23 SHL games, but he held his own in limited minutes against older pros. More importantly, he dominated at the junior level, registering 10 goals and nine assists in 29 games at Sweden's under-20 level—plus five goals and five assists in eight playoff games—while combining for 21 points in 11 games at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and U18 World Championship.

    Havelid's development will be a slow burn, but he is a well-rounded defenseman despite his size and has upside as a top-four defenseman who gets power-play time.

Lane Hutson, LD, US National Team Development Program (USHL)

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    In terms of managing the puck, Hutson is the best defenseman in this draft. The 5'8¼", 158-pounder takes advantage of his small stature by darting in and out of tight spaces and changing directions frequently. He is confident in possession and shows no problems starting rushes and creating zone entries by himself. He is both a responsible and sophisticated passer. He finds opportunities to stretch the ice from his own zone and executes tough passes through small seams in the offensive zone, setting up teammates for scoring chances. The 18-year-old has scored at the junior level, but it's typically by moving into the circles when receiving low-to-high passes. He's not a threat from the point.

    Hutson's 63 points in 60 games this season set a points-per-game record (1.05) by a draft-eligible USNTDP defenseman, beating out some notable names such as Erik Johnson, Adam Fox and 2021 fourth overall pick Luke Hughes. Some of Hutson's production was inflated by a stacked roster, but he also moved the needle for the team and was clearly head coach Dan Muse's top offensive defenseman despite some valiant competition from Seamus Casey.

    The concerns with Hutson are unsurprisingly on the defensive side. He is small even compared to the typical offensive defenseman. He can get in lanes but is generally overwhelmed, and he's also an easy target for puck-carriers in the neutral zone. Hutson's problems in this regard are hampered by his skating, which is generally fine but nowhere near the high level one would hope for from someone his size.

    The Chicago native is a boom-or-bust pick; it's hard to imagine him as a No. 6 defenseman in the NHL. The defensive game is probably not going to be there, so it's all about how much of an impact he can make with the puck. If all works out, the Boston University commit could be a sheltered top-four defenseman and power-play quarterback in the mold of the St. Louis Blues' Torey Krug.

    Hutson is ranked 30th on the B/R Big Board.

Cameron Lund, C, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)

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    Lund put forth a great first impression at the beginning of the season, as he was one of the better performers at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August.

    What stood out, and continued to in the USHL, is his goal-scoring ability. The right-hander snaps his wrist effortlessly and gives nothing away with the release. He can shoot not only while in motion, but also mid-stickhandle. This is difficult for goaltenders to read and also allows him to shoot from suboptimal postures.

    However, Lund too often tries to shoot from the circles while driving down the wing. He'd become a far bigger threat if he'd occasionally wait to shoot while carrying across the slot. It's one of the most effective shooting sequences in hockey, and he has the skill to make constant use of it.

    Lund has pretty sound hands in general. He stickhandles tight to his body and instinctively moves his hands up or down the stick shaft to change the angle for passing options. He shows good awareness for when to try to make a play by himself versus when to incorporate his linemates, but he doesn't have the high-end vision or hands to repeatedly unlock defenses.

    While he's not a defensive maestro, Lund works hard on the backcheck and forces turnovers. With his 6'2", 192-pound frame and good intentions, there is room for a good coaching staff to make more of him in the defensive zone.

    All of these traits are quite good, but they don't reach the level of great. The skating needs improvement as he lacks separation speed, and there is fine-tuning needed everywhere else. His June birthday potentially means he has more developmental runway than others, and he'll likely spend three or four years at a good hockey program in Northeastern to work everything out.

    It won't be a surprise if the Massachusetts native tops out as an AHL scorer, but there's a lot to like in his game, and Lund absolutely has a plausible road toward middle-six minutes and power-play time in the NHL.

Tristan Luneau, RD, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)

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    After entering the season as a potential top-15 pick, Luneau is now being pegged by some as a second-round talent, while others had him later in the first round.

    Despite that fall, the Quebecois often had moments reminiscent of the hype he earned after he was named QMJHL Rookie of the Year for the 2020-21 season. In small spaces, he shows cleverness in evading pressure. He's a capable stickhandler and uses misdirections to avoid pressure. When he has room, Luneau shows impressive poise with the puck, has a good sense of the options in front of him and makes a lot of smart passing decisions. He really shines on the power play, where the extra man affords him the time and space he needs at the blue line to dictate the offense like a point guard.

    At 6'2" and 189 pounds, he has decent size, although the physical game isn't really his calling card. He also displays savvy defensive reads, getting into passing lanes on odd-man rush opportunities.

    What he frustratingly lacks is the acceleration or the straight-line speed to make the most of the space he creates for himself. As good as his passing outlets out of the defensive zone are, he'd be so much more effective if he could carry the puck up ice and through the neutral zone with speed.

    That lack of mobility also hurts his ability to make himself a passing option, or force the defense to rotate by carrying the puck, in the offensive zone. It may also lead to questions at higher levels as he's forced to pivot and defend against forwards who can accelerate rapidly.

    He does not look as quick as he did last season, which could be an evaluation error or the product of an offseason knee surgery. He did play better as the season went on. Teams would love a sneak peak at what Luneau looks like in the first 10 games of next season after a full offseason of health before slotting him in this draft, but scouting is a game of making decisions with incomplete information.

    If the first half of his season was a temporary inconvenience as he recovered from injury, then the team that grabs him could end up very happy. For now, let's downgrade his upside from bona fide top-four defenseman to a No. 4-6 D-man who gets power-play looks.

Calle Odelius, LD, Djurgardens J20 (J20 Nationell)

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    Odelius is a glimpse into the current hockey generation that is increasingly accepting the premise that one does not have to be 6'4" and 220 pounds to be an effective shutdown defenseman.

    The Sweden native may not be a mammoth on the ice, but at 6'¼" and 188 pounds, Odelius is balanced on his skates and has the requisite strength to parry away questions about size. His game is built on his prominent skating ability. His crossovers are effortless, and he has adept four-way mobility. Because his skating is so effortless going backward, he can defend against the rush by playing tight gaps. He breaks up a number of plays in the neutral zone. He was called up for seven games in the SHL, although earning only limited minutes.

    Odelius infuses his mobility in his sophisticated game. He proactively scans his blind spots ahead of time when retrieving pucks in his own end, so he collects with a solid idea of what options are available to him. From there, his agility takes over. He is highly skilled at skirting contact in the corners with tight turns. He's not a masterful distributor of the puck, but he is a critical thinker and makes smart low- and medium-risk passes. He has also shown some willingness to carry the puck when passing outlets are cut off or there's space to skate into.

    His limiting factor, at least for now, is offensive output. Odelius will collect some points because of his strong fundamentals, but he's not going to be the catalyst for the creation nor finishing high-danger scoring chances. His 30 points in 43 junior games in Sweden is considered mundane production.

    Odelius is a strong shutdown defenseman, and while he may not create offense for his team, he will give more gifted teammates the offensive-zone time they need to create. He has legitimate second-pairing upside with also high fallback cushioning as a depth defenseman.

    Odelius is ranked 28th on the B/R Big Board.

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