2022 NHL Draft tracker — Round 1: Slafkovský and beyond

Wright, Slafkovsky, Cooley 2022 NHL Draft
Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images

Some years, it’s painfully obvious who will be picked first overall in an NHL Draft. Heading into the first night of the 2022 NHL Draft, there was instead plenty of intrigue. In the end, the Montreal Canadiens selected Juraj Slafkovský overall to kick off the 2022 NHL Draft.

Of course, “Who goes No. 1?” wasn’t the only reason why there was intrigue heading into Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft. Hockey fans also feasted on trade rumors, and actual trades on Thursday.

The splashiest pre-draft trade featured the Senators landing Alex DeBrincat, sending the Blackhawks three picks, including No. 7 in 2022.

While the defending champion Avalanche might not be so focused on Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft, they also made a trade, acquiring goalie Alexandar Georgiev from the Rangers. There was also a key signing, as the Penguins locked down Kris Letang.

So, it’s already been a fascinating start to 2022 NHL Draft week(end). Stay tuned at PHT as the fun continues.

On that note, keep track of each pick from Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft with PHT’s tracker. This post will be updated as picks roll in on Thursday.

1. Montreal Canadiens: Juraj Slafkovský, LW, TPS (Liiga)

In PHT’s Mock Draft, Brock Otten of McKeen’s Hockey wrote this about Slafkovský, the first Slovakia native to go No. 1 overall:

Slaf is the draft’s most NHL-ready prospect thanks to his size, speed, and skill combination. What he has been able to do playing against high caliber competition at the Olympics and at the World Championships is mighty impressive.

Slafkovský brings size and skill to the Canadiens. He’s basically as big as the pressure he’ll face if Shane Wright and other potential top 2022 NHL Draft picks end up being consistent high-level players.

It’s a fascinating move, and could have interesting ripple effects on other picks.

2. New Jersey Devils:  Šimon Nemec, D, HK Nitra (Svk)

Slafkovský ended up the first prospect from Slovakia to go first overall. Šimon Nemec went second, which happens to be the second-highest a prospect from Slovakia has ever gone (Marian Gaborik held the previous mark, third overall in 2000).

On plenty of draft lists, Nemec ranked as the top defenseman in the 2022 NHL Draft. Some, however, might prefer David Jiříček. However that debate plays out, the Devils address a serious need on defense.

3. Arizona Coyotes: Logan Cooley, C, USN U18 (USNTDP)

Will Scouch of McKeen’s Hockey connected Cooley with the Coyotes in PHT’s Mock Draft. This is some extremely glowing praise of a player who could very well create some excitement for a franchise that sorely needs it:

Cooley has an excellent combination of skill, creativity, dynamic pace and impressive offense tools and if Arizona can draft other skilled, high pace players who can finish and chip in defensively a bit on Cooley’s wing, he could be one of the most productive players in the draft. One of the most efficient offensive transition players I’ve tracked with a heck of a playmaking mind, Cooley is a great building block to get the Coyotes pointed in the right direction with an exciting streak to his game putting bums in seats.

4. Seattle Kraken: Shane Wright, C, Kingston (OHL)

For a long time, Shane Wright topped boards as the expected No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. As the draft week approached, intrigue bubbled up. Between Wright and Matty Beniers, the Kraken’s two top prospects both have been described as “two-way centers.”

Via Sam McGilligan of McKeen’s Hockey:

 … There’s a reason he was deemed the potential first overall for the years leading up to this draft and it’s because of his impeccable understanding of the game, killer release and the most pro-ready playstyle of the entire draft. There’s a level of safety and projectability in every one of his strengths and while weaknesses do exist, they aren’t anything significant enough to reasonably predict Wright struggling in the NHL. The floor here is a low level second line center, and some may wince reading that knowing this is a first overall pick who is supposed to alter a franchise …

5. Philadelphia Flyers: Cutter Gauthier, LW/C, USN U18 (USNTDP)

See that LW/C designation? Depending upon whom you ask, there’s a belief that Cutter Gauthier could move to center, instead of playing wing. Some believe that development pushed him up the 2022 NHL Draft ranks.

Either way, he brings obvious perks that appeal to the Flyers: size and snarl to go with his skill.

More from Brock Otten:

His game is tailored to having a long and impactful NHL career thanks to a well-rounded skill set. He is one of the better goal scorers available this year and his off-puck play is strong. The jury is still out on whether he can play down the middle, but if you are drafting him this early, you envision that.

6. Columbus Blue Jackets (from CHI): David Jiříček, D, HC Plzeň (Cze)

Some believe that David Jiříček is the most promising defenseman in the 2022 NHL Draft, not Nemec. Otten opined that Jiříček “may offer the largest boom potential of any defender available this year.”

7. Chicago Blackhawks (from OTT) – Kevin Korchinski, D, Seattle (WHL)

Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson emphasized that Korchinski was the player he had in mind when making the DeBrincat trade.

From Otten:

One of the draft’s biggest risers over the course of the year, Korchinski is a terrific puck mover and powerplay quarterback. There are some concerns over his decision making and defensive play, but his improvement over the course of the season was encouraging. Plus, it is rare to get a high-end puck mover with his size and athleticism.

8. Detroit Red Wings – Marco Kasper, C, Rögle BK (SHL)

The Red Wings added Kasper to their already-deep prospect pool. Plenty of scouts covet his competitive style.

9. Buffalo Sabres – Matthew Savoie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)

Scouch believed that the Sabres would pick Savoie at ninth overall. While Scouch noted concerns about Savoie’s speed, he noted underrated defense, and plenty of pluses.

He’s one of the most agile and daring players available in the draft, showing me an ability to create plays as well as generate chances for himself over the season. He’s exciting, could play center or wing, and would provide a great offensive boost to the Sabres’ future to complement the more well-rounded forwards they drafted in 2021.

10. Anaheim Ducks – Pavel Mintyukov, D, Saginaw (OHL)

Otten acknowledges that Mintyukov needs to refine his defensive game, but “his offensive upside is through the roof due to his creativity and playmaking abilities.”

11. Arizona Coyotes (via SJS) – Conor Geekie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)

The Coyotes traded up for a center prospect who created some debate among different scouting staffs. Sam McGilligan described the range of possibilities for Geekie as “a fringe bottom six physical presence on one end and a polished top six monster with skill and size on the other.

12. Columbus Blue Jackets – Denton Mateychuk, D, Moose Jaw (WHL)

Denton Mateychuk could be an even bigger mystery. He’s one of the most polarizing prospects of the 2022 NHL Draft. Otten explains it succinctly.

It comes down to whether you think he can defend at the NHL level, because there is no question that his offensive abilities should translate well.

13. Chicago Blackhawks (from MTL) – Frank Nazar, C, USN U18 (USNTDP)

Yet another player who inspires some real debate in scouting communities. Will Scouch captures some of the push-and-pull about Frank Nazar:

Nazar is a great straight-line skater, one of the fastest blueline to blueline that I tracked of high end talents this year, with excellent individual chance generation offensively. I’d like to see a bit more intensity and physical strength away from the puck, but Nazar plays a strong offensive grinder’s game and with crossover/agility improvements, you could unlock a ton of potential from Nazar over time.

14. Winnipeg Jets – Rutger McGroarty, LW, USN U18 (USNTDP)

If nothing else, the Jets added a top-flight name to their mix. Otten described Rutger McGroarty as a “true power forward who can play in any situation” and become a fan favorite.

15. Vancouver Canucks – Jonathan Lekkerimäki, RW, Djurgårdens (SWE J20)

Habs Eyes on the Prize’s Jared Book put together a “consensus” mock draft for the 2022 NHL Draft, collecting 15 lists. Lekkerimäki averaged out as a possible ninth pick, and was in that 9-12 range in general.

Rob Howard showered Lekkerimäki with praise:

He is young, just turning 18 in July, and needs to add strength but has not shied away from traffic in the Swedish men’s league. He brings the unteachable instincts of a goal scorer, along with the best shot in the draft.

16. Buffalo Sabres (from VGK) – Noah Östlund, C, Djurgardens (SWE J20)

Howard describes a player who brings a lot to the table, if he can overcome size limitations.

A very intelligent playmaker and offensive creator, there are not many players with as solid a skill set, combining elite vision with clever stickhandling, precise passing and a gift for finding opportunities. Size registers as a concern, and his ability to handle the physical game at a higher level, but the home run potential at this stage of the draft is just too tempting to pass up.

Consider Östlund another key part of the Jack Eichel trade alongside Peyton Krebs and Alex Tuch.

17. Nashville Predators – Joakim Kemell, RW, JYP (Liiga)

At different times, Joakim Kemell seemed primed to go quite a bit higher than No. 17. Book’s aggregated consensus averaged him out to sixth.

Most of the nitpicking seems to revolve around Joakim Kemell as a higher pick. In this spot, seems like promising value for the Predators.

18. Dallas Stars – Lian Bichsel, D, Leksands (SHL)

While Kemell slipped, Bischel might have climbed a little higher than expected?

19. Minnesota (from LAK) – Liam Öhgren, LW, Djurgårdens (SWE J20)

In the PHT Mock Draft that tabbed Öhgren to the Wild at 19, Sam McGilligan of McKeen’s Hockey wrote the following:

Öhgren is a real 5v5 phenom that contenders want in their top six, and he’s one of the easiest picks you can make in this range with a smile on your face.

20. Washington Capitals — Ivan Miroshnichenko, LW, Omskie Krylya (VHL)

Brock Otten called Miroshnichenko “the ultimate” wild card in the 2022 NHL Draft. Otten explained why:

You have the Russian factor. You have his cancer diagnosis (which looks incredibly encouraging, thankfully). You have his mysterious VISA issues in regard to entering the United States and Canada. However, you also have a big, power, goal scoring winger with good wheels who is a top ten talent this year.

21. Pittsburgh Penguins – Owen Pickering, D, Swift Current (WHL)

A few days ago, The Athletic’s Corey Pronman wrote that Owen Pickering “projects as a second or third pair defenseman depending on how much the offense translates.”

22. Anaheim Ducks (from BOS) – Nathan Gaucher, C, Québec (QMJHL)

Brock Otten described Nathan Gaucher as “ideal pro player for today’s playoffs” and possibly a “perfect lockdown third-line center.”

23. St. Louis Blues – Jimmy Snuggerud, RW, USN U18 (USNTDP)

Another wonderfully named player, Jimmy Snuggerud is someone Otten pegs as a possible “middle-six fixture in the future.”

24. Minnesota Wild – Danila Yurov, RW, Stalnye Lisy (MHL)

Brock Otten viewed Danila Yurov as “a top five talent this year when you eliminate politics” and that was if it was at No. 14. So, the Wild grabbing Yurov here at 24 looks like impressive work.

25. Chicago Blackhawks (from TOR) — Sam Rinzel, D, Chaska (HIGH-MN)

An interesting call by the Blackhawks after receiving a pick to take on Petr Mrazek‘s contract in a trade with the Maple Leafs.

26. Montreal Canadiens (from CGY) – Filip Mešár, C, HK Poprad (Svk)

The Slovakia – Montreal Canadiens connection continues with Filip Mešár. Brock Otten described him this way:

The Slovak winger loves to push the pace of play and is a skilled transitional attacker. How the rest of his game comes together remains to be seen.

27. Sharks (multiple teams, last from Coyotes) — Filip Bystedt, C, Linkoping (SWEDEN)

Look out, it’s a run on Filips. Anyway, Bystedt didn’t make the top 32 in the PHT Mock Draft, but averaged to 43 by Habs Eyes on The Prize’s consensus. Some ratings put Bystedt even lower:

28. Buffalo Sabres (from FLA) – Jiří Kulich, C, Karlovy Vary (Cze)

Rob Howard broke down what he brings to the table:

He is tenacious and aggressive and plays with pace, hustling for loose pucks, working along the boards and can be difficult to separate from the puck. He can play center or wing and is solidly built and makes for a projectable pick with a reasonable floor, but also the ability to find the back of the net.

29. Coyotes (from EDM) — Maveric Lamoureux, D, Drummondville (QMJHL)

The Coyotes fixated on size with Maveric Lamoureux.

Then again, maybe they’re counting on the entertainment value of his parents?

30. Winnipeg Jets (from NYR) – Brad Lambert, C, JYP-Pelicans (Liiga)

One of the most dramatic drops in Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft, this side of Shane Wright.

Will Scouch vouched for Brad Lambert, opining that “nobody combines skill and speed better, and nobody had as unlucky and mystifying a season as Lambert.”

Could be interesting to see how Lambert turns out.

31. Tampa Bay Lightning – Isaac Howard, LW, USN U18 (USDP)

The Lightning only get so many first-rounders, but it’s possible they really made it count. Isaac Howard carries some heavy “steal” potential.

No, this isn’t just because of his outfit.

32. Oilers (from Coyotes via COL) — Reid Schaefer, Seattle (WHL)

Finally, the Oilers closed out Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft with Reid Schaefer. It seems like he wasn’t expected to go in the first round:

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    Flyers chairman Scott to retire; Hilferty becomes successor

    Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

    PHILADELPHIA — Dave Scott will retire as chairman of the Philadelphia Flyers’ parent company Comcast Spectacor and be replaced by Dan Hilferty.

    Hilferty, who was recently named CEO of Comcast Spectacor, will succeed Scott as chairman of the company on April 17 and as the team’s governor on July 1.

    Scott joined Comcast Spectacor in December 2013 and the Flyers have struggled under his reign. They will miss the playoffs for a third straight season and haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1975.

    “Our number one goal for the Flyers will be to consistently compete for the Stanley Cup,” Hilferty said. “It is going to be a process that will take time to get on that path, but I’m confident we are headed in the right direction with Danny Briere as interim GM, Coach Tortorella, and our hiring of a President of Hockey Operations soon. Our leadership team will be fully focused to deliver on this for our fans while also continuing to make the sports complex the best location for sports and entertainment in the nation.”

    As Chairman and CEO of Comcast Spectacor, Hilferty will lead the company’s entire portfolio, including the Philadelphia Flyers. Spectacor Sports and Entertainment CEO Valerie Camillo will continue to work directly with Hilferty, overseeing the Wells Fargo Center, including its continued transformation, and lead the Flyers’ business operations.

    Pastrnak scores twice, Bruins top Hurricanes 4-3 in shootout

    bruins hurricanes
    James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports

    RALEIGH, N.C. — David Pastrnak’s milestone performance with the Boston Bruins came with additional responsibility.

    Minus a couple of key players, Pastrnak moved to the forefront and eclipsed the 50-goal mark by scoring twice and the Bruins won their seventh game in a row by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in a shootout Sunday.

    Forwards Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand didn’t make the trip with the NHL-leading Bruins, so Pastrnak boosted his contributions.

    “I’ve been learning from those guys,” Pastrnak said. “You recognize when they’re not here that you have to take a step forward.”

    Pastrnak posted the 12th 50-goal season in Bruins history.

    “With Bergeron and Marchand back at home, you can see his leadership skills really come out,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “I think he put the team on his back and played the right way.”

    Charlie Coyle and Jake DeBrusk scored in the shootout in a matchup of Eastern Conference division leaders.

    Jakub Lauko also scored for the Bruins, who earned their 57th victory and are five wins shy of matching the all-time NHL record with nine regular-season games to play. Charlie McAvoy had two assists and Jeremy Swayman made 34 saves.

    “We’ve had a lot of character wins in a lot of different fashions,” Montgomery said.

    Boston tied the franchise record for wins in a season. That’s special in Montgomery’s opinion.

    “Especially when you think about all the great Bruins teams,” he said.

    Jack Drury, Brady Skjei and Sebastian Aho scored for the Hurricanes, who won three of their previous four games. Brett Pesce had two assists and Frederik Andersen stopped 35 shots.

    Carolina wiped out a two-goal deficit to secure a team point.

    “It wasn’t our best game, but I thought the third period we certainly came on,” Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “It’s one of those games where you say it’s probably a good point to get considering how it was looking.”

    Pastrnak’s 50th goal of the season came 4:43 into the game. He received a pass from McAvoy and skated half the length of the ice on a breakaway, though lost full control of the puck and still beat Andersen.

    Pastrnak was on track for 50 goals in March 2020, but he ended up with 48 when the COVID-19 pandemic caused an early end to the regular season.

    “You never know what can happen,” Pastrnak said.

    Drury, set up in the slot, scored his second goal of the season off a pass from Jalen Chatfield at 7:44 of the second.

    Just 1:28 later, Pastrnak’s second goal came on a power play when he blasted a shot from the left side just inside the post. Lauko’s fourth goal extended the lead at 11:46 of the second.

    Carolina pulled even at 3-3 when Skjei and Aho scored in the first four minutes of the third period.

    “We knew that was coming,” Montgomery said. “There’s no need to panic. We knew they were going to come with a push.”


    Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm was scratched along with Bergeron and Marchand with what Montgomery referred to as nagging injuries. The trio has accounted for 57 goals this season.

    “It shows the depth that we have,” Swayman said. “I think all of us thrive on the energy in a building like this.”

    Carolina’s only significant lineup adjustment came with center Paul Stastny in the lineup in place of Jesse Puljuharvi, who had played in eight straight games since making his debut with the Hurricanes. Puljuharvi arrived in a trade from Edmonton in late February.

    NOTES: The Bruins won two of three meetings with the Hurricanes, securing the first victory in overtime. Carolina eliminated Boston in last spring’s playoffs in seven games. … The Hurricanes maintained their string of securing a point in all seven games across different seasons while wearing green Hartford Whalers-inspired jerseys. The franchise began as the Whalers before relocation in 1997.


    Bruins: Host Nashville on Tuesday.

    Hurricanes: Host Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

    Malkin’s late goal lifts Penguins past Ovechkin, Capitals 4-3

    penguins capitals
    Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

    PITTSBURGH — Evgeni Malkin remains a live wire. Even now, 17 seasons into a career that is likely destined for the Hall of Fame, there’s an unpredictability the Pittsburgh Penguins star plays with that can be both endearing and exasperating to teammates and coaches alike.

    The latest proof came against Washington on Saturday.

    An untimely roughing penalty in the third period helped spark a Capitals’ rally from a three-goal deficit. Malkin made up for it by burying a breakaway with 1:20 left in regulation that lifted the Penguins to a 4-3 victory.

    “His care factor and his compete level for me is off the charts and that’s what I love about him and usually when the stakes are high that’s when he’s at his best,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “He gets a huge goal for us tonight at a key time.”

    Malkin’s 25th goal of the season – a low wrist shot to the far post – helped the Penguins avoid a potentially messy collapse. Pittsburgh appeared to be ready to cruise to victory after Jake Guentzel‘s power-play goal 27 seconds into the third period made it 3-0.

    Washington instead stormed back, with Alex Ovechkin right in the middle of it. Ovechkin scored his 42nd goal of the season and 822nd of his career from his favorite spot in the left circle with 6:42 to go in regulation. Washington drew even when Dylan Strome flipped the puck into an open net with 2:44 to go in regulation.

    Yet instead of sagging, the Penguins surged. Malkin stripped Washington’s Anthony Mantha near center ice and broke in alone on Kuemper. Seconds later, the puck was in the net and Malkin was on one knee celebrating while pumping his fists, the kind of display of raw emotion that’s become one of his trademarks.

    “It’s a huge goal for me, and two points for the team,” Malkin said.

    Pittsburgh moved three points clear of Florida after the Panthers lost to the earlier Saturday. Both teams have nine regular-season games left.

    Ryan Poehling and Chad Ruhwedel scored a little over two minutes apart in the second period for Pittsburgh. Jake Guentzel added his team-high 32nd goal early in the third before Washington scrambled back. Casey DeSmith played spectacularly at times while finishing with 31 saves.

    Tom Wilson started the Capitals’ comeback with his ninth goal of the season 5:19 into the third. Kuemper stopped 36 shots, but was outplayed by DeSmith as Washington’s hopes of making a late push for a playoff berth took a serious hit. The Capitals are six points behind Pittsburgh with only eight games remaining.

    “It’s a tough one,” Washington center T.J. Oshie said. “I don’t think that last play was the only thing that lost the game for us. I know that (Mantha) feels terrible about it, but we trust him with the puck. It just wasn’t a good enough 60 minutes against a good hockey team over there.”

    It felt like old times for much of the night for teams that usually enter late March battling for a spot near the top of the Metropolitan Division.

    Not this season.

    While the 35-year-old Crosby is averaging over a point a game as usual and the 37-year-old Ovechkin is steadily making inroads on Wayne Gretzky’s all-time goal record, their teams have spent most of the year skating in place.

    Pittsburgh has been wildly uneven thanks in part to goaltending that has fluctuated between solid and shaky, the main reason a 17th straight playoff appearance is hardly assured. Washington, meanwhile, appears to be pointing toward the future after injuries and a small sell-off at the trade deadline.

    Pittsburgh put itself on slightly firmer footing with DeSmith making a compelling case that he should supplant Tristan Jarry as Pittsburgh’s top goaltender down the stretch.

    DeSmith was spectacular at times, including stoning Ovechkin on a breakaway near the end of the second period in which Ovechkin deked DeSmith to his knees, only to see DeSmith extend his left leg just enough to knock the puck out of harm’s way.

    “I’m not very tall,” the 6-foot DeSmith said. “But I had that one inch that I needed.”


    Capitals: Host the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

    Penguins: Visit Detroit on Tuesday.

    Devils defeat Senators 5-3, clinch playoff berth

    devils senators
    Sarah Stier/Getty Images

    NEWARK, N.J. — Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist, Mackenzie Blackwood had 25 saves and the New Jersey Devils defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-3 and clinched a playoff berth on Saturday night.

    “It means everything to the group. I went into the dressing room after the game and just said that I was proud of the work that was put in, proud of where we got to clinch tonight to be one of three teams that have an X next to their name,” Devils coach Lindy Ruff said. “All the work that’s been put in, the adversity they face during the year. The adversity they face right at the start of the season to where we’ve got to now.”

    New Jersey could have clinched its first postseason berth since 2018 with a win, but it happened before their first intermission when the Florida Panthers lost to the New York Rangers in regulation.

    “I had a lesser role then,” said Jesper Bratt, who was a rookie for the Devils in 2017-18. “I would say at a younger age, it’s kind of like you think that just because it happened your first year that it might happen every year. And then it goes pretty fast with reality that was not the case and you got to work extremely hard for it.

    “It’s a really tough league. So this feels really good. It’s been a lot of years with struggle, not winning, and it’s just awesome coming out now playing these kinds of games and getting that.”

    Bratt, Dawson Mercer and Dougie Hamilton scored for the Devils and Tomas Tatar scored an empty netter with 42.3 seconds left to put things away.

    Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot and Mark Kastelic scored for the Senators and Dylan Ferguson had 30 saves.

    Tkachuk scored his 33rd goal of the season to give the Senators the 1-0 lead 3:14 into the first period. The Devils responded midway through the first period with Hughes’ 40th goal of the season on a breakaway, going five-hole to tie it.

    Nick Holden gave the puck away and Bratt scored his 31st goal of the season on the breakaway 2:24 into the second period to give New Jersey the 2-1 lead. Mercer’s 23rd of the season came just over a minute later.

    The Senators answered midway through the second period when Thomas Chabot scored his 11th goal of the year to cut the deficit to 3-2. They knotted things up 16:03 into the second when Kastelic scored his fifth of the season.

    “We were confident going into the third period. We felt like the game was there for our taking,” Travis Hamonic said. “They score on their chance, and that’s game.”

    Hamilton scored 3:34 into the third period to give the Devils the lead. His 19th goal breaks the franchise record for goals in a season by a defenseman, surpassing Scott Stevens – the Devils great whose number is hanging in the rafters – record of 18 in 1993-94.

    NOTES: This was the first game for the Devils backup Blackwood since Feb. 19. … Nico Hischier has a six-game point streak after recording two assists.


    Senators: Host the Florida Panthers on Monday night.

    Devils: Play at New York Islanders on Monday night.