The NHL Draft will not take place until Thursday, July 7th (first round) and Friday, July 8th (second and third rounds). The Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin on Monday, May 2nd. The NHL Draft Lottery date is unknown at this current time.
Most NHL teams have already been eliminated from playoff contention. What are the current projected top five picks in the upcoming 2022 NHL Draft without the current lottery system as of right now?
1.Arizona Coyotes- Shane Wright, C, Kingston (OHL)
The Arizona Coyotes have the worst record in the NHL and they are going to have tons of picks in this draft and the next draft to rebuild this roster. Shane Wright would be a very nice start for this Arizona franchise. He is going to be more of a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM) like player in the NHL. Wright in 63 games in the OHL so far this season has scored 32 goals and has recorded 62 assists, along with a plus/minus rating of 23.
2. Montreal Canadiens- Juraj Slafkovsky, C/LW, TPS Turku (SM-liiga)
The Montreal Canadiens haven’t had this high of a draft pick in several years. Montreal was just in the Stanley Cup Finals a year ago against the Tampa Bay Lightning and are now rebuilding. The Canadiens need someone to start the rebuild and Slafkovsky has the potential to be an elite goal scorer in the NHL.
In 31 games in the SM-liiga league, he only scored five goals and recorded five assists, along with a plus/minus rating of 1. In 13 postseason games, Juraj Slafkovsky scored one goal and recorded four assists. He appeared in seven games for team Slovakia in the 2022 Olympics and scored seven goals for them.
3. Seattle Kraken- Simon Nemec, D, Nitra MHC (Slovak)
The Seattle Kraken will have a top-five pick most likely for the second consecutive season. Seattle drafted Matty Beniers second overall out of the University of Michigan last season. He is a cornerstone piece moving forward and Nemec would be also. Nemec is a puck-moving defenseman and the Kraken are going to need one long-term.
In 39 games so far this season for Nitra MHC, he only scored one goal but recorded 25 assists. His plus/minus rating was 13. In 13 postseason games, Simon Nemec scored four goals and recorded six assists for Nitra MHC in the Slovak league.
4. Philadelphia Flyers- Logan Cooley, C, USTNDP
The Philadelphia Flyers have a long way to go in their rebuilding process. Logan Cooley would be a nice player to start with. He is an excellent two-way player who is strong with the puck. Cooley played in 24 games this year with the USTNDP. He scored 13 goals and recorded 23 assists, along with a plus/minus rating of 19.
5. New Jersey Devils- David Jiricek, D, Plzen HC (Czech)
The New Jersey Devils have a plethora of young talent on the roster and within their farm system. They will eventually not be drafting in the top five anymore. New Jersey has Jack Hughes, Luke Hughes, Dawson Mercer, Nico Hischier, Ty Smith, Alexander Holtz, Ty Smith, and others. David Jiricek would be another great selection for the Devils here because they need more help on the backend.
The blue line isn’t exactly the greatest strength on this hockey team. New Jersey will also be a playoff team sooner rather than later if they can get a goalie. David Jiricek has the potential to be a top-two defensive pairing on the Devils. In 29 games this past season with the Plzen HC in the Czech league, he scored five goals and recorded six assists, along with a plus/minus rating of even. His team did not qualify for the playoffs.