NHL Draft 2022: 1st-Round Mock Predictions and Latest Order

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIApril 15, 2022

NHL Draft 2022: 1st-Round Mock Predictions and Latest Order

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    The 2021-22 NHL season is winding down, and the playoffs will begin on May 2. Seven teams have clinched postseason berths, which leaves nine spots up for grabs. 

    But there will be 16 teams that miss out on the postseason, and 11 have already been eliminated from playoff contention. For those franchises, it's not too early to start thinking about the future.

    All 32 teams, postseason competitors and non-contenders alike, will be preparing for the 2022 NHL draft soon enough, though. The draft is set to take place June 7-8 at the Bell Centre in Montreal. And there are some talented prospects who will soon get selected by the league's teams.

    Here's a mock for the first round of this year's draft. The order shown is courtesy of Tankathon's projections, but it will change based on game results and the draft lottery.

1st-Round Mock Draft

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    Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

    1. Arizona Coyotes: Shane Wright, C, Kingston (OHL)

    2. Montreal Canadiens: Logan Cooley, C, U.S. National Team Development Program

    3. Seattle Kraken: Simon Nemec, D, HK Nitra (SVK)

    4. Philadelphia Flyers: Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, TPS (FIN)

    5. New Jersey Devils: David Jiricek, D, HC Plzen (CZE)

    6. Columbus Blue Jackets (via Chicago Blackhawks): Joakim Kemell, C, JYP (FIN)

    7. Ottawa Senators: Brad Lambert, C/RW, Pelican (Liiga)

    8. Buffalo Sabres: Matthew Savoie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)

    9. Detroit Red Wings: Frank Nazar, RW, U.S. National Team Development Program

    10. San Jose Sharks: Conor Geekie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)

    11. Anaheim Ducks: Denton Mateychuk, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)

    12. Columbus Blue Jackets: Owen Pickering, D, Swift Current (WHL)

    13. New York Islanders: Jonathan Lekkerimaki, C/RW, Djurgardens IF J20 (SWE)

    14. Winnipeg Jets: Kevin Korchinski, D, Seattle (WHL)

    15. Vancouver Canucks: Danila Yurov, RW, Magnitogorsk (KHL)

    16. Los Angeles Kings: Pavel Mintyukov, D, Saginaw (OHL)

    17. Buffalo Sabres (via Vegas Golden Knights): Lian Bichsel, D, Leksands IF J20 (SWI)

    18. Dallas Stars: Jimmy Snuggerud, RW, U.S. National Team Development Program

    19. Nashville Predators: Cutter Gauthier, LW, U.S. National Team Development Program

    20. Edmonton Oilers: Liam Ohgren, LW, Djurgardens IF J20 (SWE)

    21. Washington Capitals: Marco Kasper, C, Rogle BK J20 (SWE)

    22. Pittsburgh Penguins: Rutger McGroarty, C, U.S. National Team Development Program

    23. Anaheim Ducks (via Boston Bruins): Luca Del Bel Belluz, C/LW, Mississauga (OHL)

    24. Tampa Bay Lightning: Sam Rinzel, D, Waterloo (USHL)

    25. St. Louis Blues: Isaac Howard, LW, U.S. National Team Development Program

    26. Minnesota Wild: Filip Mesar, C, HK Poprad (SVK)

    27. New York Rangers: Owen Beck, C, Mississauga (OHL)

    28. Toronto Maple Leafs: Calle Odelius, D, Djurgardens IF J20 (SWE)

    29. Montreal Canadiens (via Calgary Flames): Elias Salomonsson, D, Skelleftea AIK J20 (SWE)

    30. Arizona Coyotes (via Carolina Hurricanes): Seamus Casey, D, U.S. National Team Development Program

    31. Buffalo Sabres (via Florida Panthers): Ivan Miroshnichenko, LW, Omskie (MHL)

    32. Arizona Coyotes (via Colorado Avalanche): Alexander Perevalov, LW, Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)

Wright Remains Favorite to Get Taken No. 1

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    Chris Tanouye/Getty Images

    The favorites to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 draft are the Coyotes, Canadiens and Kraken. But no matter which team ends up with that selection, there's a strong chance that Shane Wright is going to be the player taken.

    Wright, an 18-year-old forward, plays for the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League, and he's had a terrific 2021-22 season. After a slow start to the campaign, he now has 32 goals and 62 assists in 61 games.

    Not only is Wright an impressive player on the ice, but he appears ready to have a team-first attitude when he gets to the NHL.

    "I'm someone who wants to win every single day," Wright said last month on the NHL Draft Class podcast. "I'm someone whose goal is to win and win championships. Whatever team drafts me, we're going to be building toward a championship. My mindset is not to win scoring titles, it's not to win MVPs, it's to win Stanley Cups."

    So don't be surprised when Wright becomes the first player taken in the 2022 draft and begins working toward that goal.

Cooley Among Talented Group of Prospects from US NTDP

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    There are more than a handful of players from the U.S. National Team Development Program who could be taken during the first round of this year's draft. The U.S. NTDP has been successful in preparing players for the NHL draft in recent years, as it had four players go in the first round in 2021.

    Logan Cooley is the top prospect coming from the U.S. NTDP this year, and he may get taken as early as No. 2, just behind Wright. Cooley, a 17-year-old center, is committed to play at the University of Minnesota, which made it to the Frozen Four this past season.

    "He's obviously a really gifted skater, but I think that he's ultra-smart, and he's competitive," U.S. NTDP under-18 coach Adam Nightingale said this month on the NHL Draft Class podcast. "When you combine all those together, those guys seem to have success."

    Cooley ranks second on the team with 63 points this season, as he has 23 goals and 40 assists in 43 games. And with his impressive skill set, he could be poised to have success at the college level, then eventually in the NHL as well.

Nemec Could Be First Defenseman to Come off Board

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    Petr David Josek/Associated Press

    While the first couple players taken in this year's draft will likely be forwards, it shouldn't take long before a defenseman gets selected. That's usually the case, as there's typically a team in the top five that is looking to add a top defensive prospect.

    The first defenseman taken in the 2022 draft could be Simon Nemec, an 18-year-old who plays for HK Nitra of the Slovak Extraliga. In 39 games this season, Nemec had one goal, 25 assists and a plus-minus rating of plus-13. He went on to tally four goals and five assists in 11 playoff games.

    "Nemec is an outstanding, two-way, puck-moving defenseman. The thing that stands out the most in regards to his play, is his poise and confidence when he’s on the ice. Every decision he makes is with conviction as he displays high-end hockey sense," Peter Baracchini of The Hockey Writers wrote in March.

    Even if Nemec doesn't get drafted as high as No. 3, he should be taken early in the draft. He's an intriguing defensive prospect to watch in the years to come.