NHL Power Rankings: Where Every Team Stands After the Draft

Lyle Fitzsimmons@@fitzbitzFeatured Columnist IIIJuly 11, 2022

NHL Power Rankings: Where Every Team Stands After the Draft

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    AP Photo/Martin Meissner

    One significant NHL offseason hurdle has been cleared.

    But many remain between now and the arrival of the regular season in October.

    Each of the league's 32 teams took steps toward their respective futures in Montreal with two days of selections at the annual entry draft.

    More than 200 players heard their names called at the Bell Centre, and they'll work their way into the new organizations as executives and coaches prep for the next task at hand, the onset of free agency on Wednesday.

    The B/R hockey team got together again to assess where each team stands now that the picks are made and the countdown toward next season has begun in earnest.

    The teams were ranked from No. 32 to No. 1, combining results from last season with noteworthy additions, subtractions and changes made in the meantime.

    Scroll through to see what we came up with and feel free to drop a comment or two to let us know your thoughts.

Nos. 32-26: Blackhawks, Coyotes, Kraken, Canadiens, Senators, Sharks, Flyers

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    AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, file

    32. Chicago Blackhawks

    GM Kyle Davidson arrived with no first-round picks and walked away with three, but eyebrows were raised by the price paid—namely 41-goal forward Alex DeBrincat (to Ottawa) and recent No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach (to Montreal). Blue-chip prospects or not, it’s going to be tough in the meantime for hockey fans in Chicago.

    31. Arizona Coyotes

    The Coyotes picked third and had a chance to grab the longtime favorite to go first overall, Shane Wright, but they passed and instead grabbed Logan Cooley, who’d been ranked second to Wright by NHL Central Scouting. Maveric Lamoureux and Conor Geekie came later in the first, and Arizona added future draft capital by taking on Edmonton tough guy Zack Kassian in an Oilers salary dump.

    30. Seattle Kraken

    When Wright was passed over by Montreal, New Jersey and Arizona, he dropped into the laps of the happy Kraken, who immediately added him to last year’s No. 2 pick, Matty Beniers, to form an impressive one-two punch at center. Jagger Firkus was another noteworthy pick early in the second round, and GM Ron Francis has more than $22 million in cap room to work with.

    29. Montreal Canadiens

    Wright responded with a cold stare toward the Montreal table after he was not selected at No. 1, but the Canadiens seemed quite pleased with Slovakian teen Juraj Slafkovsky, a 6’4” forward who may be ready to make an immediate NHL impact. The acquisition of Dach from the Blackhawks is a worthwhile risk, and the subsequent picks of Filip Mesar, Lane Hutson and Owen Beck may pay big future benefits.

    28. Ottawa Senators

    Arriving in Montreal without DeBrincat and leaving with him is nothing but a win for GM Pierre Dorion. The prolific 24-year-old has a single year left on a deal paying him $6.4 million before he becomes a restricted free agent, but he’ll blend nicely in the meantime with Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle and Josh Norris, who combined for 87 goals in 2021-22. Expect a step toward relevance in Ottawa.

    27. San Jose Sharks

    The biggest draft-week news for the Sharks was the hiring of Mike Grier as the first Black GM in league history. He was only on the job for a few days before picking center Filip Bystedt at No. 27 and grabbing Cameron Lund and Mattias Havelid in Round 2. Now, it’s time for Grier to hire a coach to replace Bob Boughner and decide upon the eight restricted free agents on the roster.

    26. Philadelphia Flyers

    Winger Cutter Gauthier was ranked fifth among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, and the Flyers got him at fifth overall. He had 65 points in 54 games in the U.S. national development program, and he got a new teammate on Friday when Philadelphia sent a fourth-round pick and two future picks to Carolina for controversial defenseman Tony DeAngelo.

Nos. 25-21: Sabres, Devils, Ducks, Blue Jackets, Red Wings

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    AP Photo/Paul Sancya

    25. Buffalo Sabres

    The wave of optimism continued unabated through Western New York thanks to Buffalo’s haul of forwards Matt Savoie, Jiri Kulich and Noah Ostlund in the first round after defensemen Owen Power and Rasmus Dahlin arrived first overall in 2021 and 2018. Goaltender remains a long-term need, and the Sabres took a chance with Finnish prospect Topias Leinonen at No. 41 overall.

    24. New Jersey Devils

    The Devils addressed a need when they got defenseman Simon Nemec at No. 2 overall and added additional blue-line help with Seamus Casey at No. 46. The Nemec pick won’t age well if Wright and/or Cooley turn out to be superstars, but GM Tom Fitzgerald was already sitting on a bevy of young forwards from past drafts. Grabbing goalie Vitek Vanecek from Washington for a pair of picks also helps.

    23. Anaheim Ducks

    Whether they’ll reach star level is a question for the future, but the players headed to Anaheim following GM Pat Verbeek’s two days in Montreal should fill holes. Defenseman Pavel Mintyukov came to the Ducks at No. 10 overall after producing 62 points in 67 games in the Ontario Hockey League. His skating and offensive instinct help fill a hole created by the Hampus Lindholm trade.

    22. Columbus Blue Jackets

    The Blue Jackets landed two of the first 12 players chosen in the forms of highly touted defensemen David Jiricek and Denton Mateychuk and then followed up with forward Luca Del Bel Belluz in the second round at No. 44. Del Bel Belluz, in fact, was the eighth-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting after scoring 30 goals and 76 points with Mississauga of the OHL last season.

    21. Detroit Red Wings

    Center Marco Kasper arrived as the eighth overall pick for GM Steve Yzerman following stints with Austria at both the world junior championship and world championship tournaments. Winger Dylan James came in the second round after a stellar rookie year in the USHL, and perhaps Yzerman’s biggest move was trading a third-round pick to St. Louis for prospective starting goalie Ville Husso.

Nos. 20-16: Islanders, Jets, Canucks, Predators, Capitals

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    AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

    20. New York Islanders

    The Islanders traded out of the No. 13 position to grab starting defenseman Alex Romanov from Montreal in a deal that ultimately let the Canadiens move ahead with the Dach trade. Two more defensemen, Calle Odelius and Isaiah George, came in the second round, but it’ll ultimately be about Romanov, who was picked 38th overall in 2018 and has 133 NHL games under his belt.

    19. Winnipeg Jets

    Finnish center Brad Lambert was the 10th-ranked European skater as the draft got started, so the Jets getting him at 30th overall could be a coup down the road. Sixteen picks earlier, they’d grabbed high-motor winger Rutger McGroarty on the heels of an eight-goal output in six games while winning silver with the U.S. at the under-18 world championship tournament.

    18. Vancouver Canucks

    The Canucks’ draft class was highlighted by Swedish winger Jonathan Lekkerimaki, whom they got at No. 15 after he’d been ranked sixth among international skaters. He was the high scorer at the under-18 world championships and went on to score seven goals in 26 games in the top Swedish pro league. Now, the focus turns to whether Bruce Boudreau can maintain the magic created after he arrived last season.

    17. Nashville Predators

    Playmaking winger Joakim Kemell played above his age in the Liiga, the top league in his native Finland, and the Predators are excited about him in spite of his smallish 5’9”, 185-pound frame. But they made even bigger news with a current player, re-signing would-be unrestricted free agent Filip Forsberg to an eight-year, $68 million deal after he posted career bests in goals and assists with 42 apiece.

    16. Washington Capitals

    When it comes to the Capitals’ class of 2022, the future will be the ultimate arbiter. Washington grabbed power winger Ivan Miroshnichenko at No. 20 just five months after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. He’d been a top-five prospect on many lists prior to his illness. Later, the Capitals got defenseman Ryan Chesley at No. 37 after he’d arrived ranked 18th among North American skaters.

Nos. 15-11: Stars, Bruins, Golden Knights, Penguins, Oilers

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    AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

    15. Dallas Stars

    It was all about the blue line for the Stars, who picked defensemen with each of their first four picks in Montreal. Lian Bichsel was their first pick at No. 18, and the 6’5”, 225-pounder will be a huge (literally) weapon when he develops to NHL-caliber play. Whether the team retains the services of free agency-bound veteran John Klingberg will have quite a bit to do with how the defense looks in 2022-23.

    14. Boston Bruins

    The Bruins were on the sidelines for the first round after sending that pick to Anaheim in March in exchange for Hampus Lindholm. So 54th overall selection Matthew Poitras slides in as Boston’s de facto first-rounder for 2022 coming off an OHL season in which he had 21 goals and 50 points in 68 games. Elsewhere, the team is awaiting word from 36-year-old center Patrice Bergeron on his future plans.

    13. Vegas Golden Knights

    Like the Bruins before them, the Golden Knights were also without a first-round pick in 2022 after sending it to Buffalo in the Jack Eichel deal last season. They wound up with Czech forward Matyas Sapovaliv at No. 48 after he’d produced 52 points in 68 games with Saginaw and was ranked 23rd among North American skaters. Vegas is also strapped for cash space with seven possible free agents.

    12. Pittsburgh Penguins

    Defenseman Owen Pickering came to the Penguins at No. 21 overall, marking the team’s first first-round pick since 2019. Consensus suggests he’ll return to juniors this season and perhaps rise to the AHL the following year, which means he won’t be in an NHL uniform for a few seasons. In the meantime, GM Ron Hextall re-signed veteran Kris Letang to buoy the blue line for six years, $36.6 million.

    11. Edmonton Oilers

    Grabbing Alberta native and power forward Reid Schaefer at No. 32 overall was nice enough for the Oilers, but the main mission for GM Ken Holland was to shed salary to allow for free-agency moves. The Zack Kassian deal helped toward that end, and Edmonton now has better than $15 million to entice Evander Kane, chase a goaltender and fund decisions on the nine others who are restricted or unrestricted.

Nos. 10-6: Blues, Wild, Kings, Flames, Panthers

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    AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu

    10. St. Louis Blues

    The Blues got forward Jimmy Snuggerud at No. 23 after he’d been ranked 11th among North American skaters. He had 63 points in 59 games in the U.S. U-18 development program and seven points during the U-18 world championship. Additionally, St. Louis handed the No. 1 goalie reins to Jordan Binnington with the Ville Husso trade and still has Vladimir Tarasenko with a year left on his deal.

    9. Minnesota Wild

    It was a strong week for GM Bill Guerin, who dealt Kevin Fiala to Los Angeles before he’d have stretched the budget on his way to free agency, got Swedish winger Liam Ohgren with the pick acquired from the Kings and added highly touted Russian winger Danila Yurov at No. 24. Along the way, they also secured Marc-Andre Fleury for two seasons at $3.5 million apiece to handle primary goaltending duties.

    8. Los Angeles Kings

    The Kings reached the playoffs a year ahead of expectations, and they’re doing all they can to stay among the contenders. Fiala came from Minnesota and was signed for seven years, and fellow forward Adrian Kempe remains in the fold for four years and $22 million after he scored 35 goals last season. Draft-wise, after sending away a pick for Fiala, the team got Jack Hughes from Northeastern at No. 51.

    7. Calgary Flames

    The Flames had sent their first-round pick to Montreal for Tyler Toffoli and their third-rounder to Boston for goaltender Dan Vladar, so second-rounder Topi Ronni at No. 59 was their first addition. But it’s all about free agency in Calgary as GM Brad Treliving tries to strike a deal with imminent UFA Johnny Gaudreau and tries to find a workable number with imminent RFA Matthew Tkachuk.

    6. Florida Panthers

    The Panthers didn’t have a selection until third-rounder Marek Alscher came at No. 93, so there’s little expectation for immediate impact. The first-rounder had been sent to Buffalo for Sam Reinhart at last season’s draft, and the second-rounder went to Calgary for Sam Bennett. Like many other teams, Florida is focusing on free agency with little cap space and decisions to make on Claude Giroux and others.

Nos. 5-1: Rangers, Maple Leafs, Hurricanes, Lightning, Avalanche

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    AP Photo/David Zalubowski

    5. New York Rangers

    The Rangers sent their first-round pick to Winnipeg to acquire Andrew Copp prior to last season’s deep playoff run, so Slovakian forward Adam Sykora became their first selection at No. 63 in the second round. He had two goals in five games at the 2021-22 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and is good on the forecheck. Copp and Ryan Strome are among the free agents that GM Chris Drury will need to decide upon.

    4. Toronto Maple Leafs

    The Maple Leafs sacrificed a first-round pick to get Chicago to take on the contract of goaltender Petr Mrazek, who had two seasons remaining at $3.8 million apiece. That meant forward Fraser Minten of the Kamloops Blazers was the top import at No. 38 overall. Meanwhile, goaltending remains a priority with Jack Campbell heading to free agency and GM Kyle Dubas discussing Matt Murray with Ottawa.

    3. Carolina Hurricanes

    The Hurricanes fared well considering they didn’t have a first-round pick, sending Tony DeAngelo to Philadelphia for additional draft capital in 2023 and 2024. Carolina grabbed a pair of Russian forwards, Gleb Trikozov and Alexander Perevalov, at Nos. 60 and 71. Given DeAngelo’s exit, GM Don Waddell figures to use some of his $19 million in cap space to pursue a smartly priced defenseman.

    2. Tampa Bay Lightning

    If nothing else, No. 31 selection Isaac Howard has the personality to be an NHL star. The Lightning grabbed the 18-year-old after he’d led the U.S. U-18 development team with 82 points in 60 games and he charmed the media with his confidence and fashion sense. On the immediate front, however, it’s up to GM Julien BriseBois to make the call on playoff sparkplug Ondrej Palat as he approaches free agency.

    1. Colorado Avalanche

    The Avalanche didn’t make much of an impact in terms of selecting players, thanks to picks at Nos. 193 and 225. But they did make a move on the current roster with a trade that brought 26-year-old goalie Alexandar Georgiev in from the Rangers. He was quickly signed to a three-year deal worth $10.2 million, meaning the end of the line for Cup-winning goalie Darcy Kuemper as he heads to free agency at age 32.

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