When there is no consensus, can’t miss prospect at the top of the NHL draft there is always the potential for chaos.
We got that on Thursday night.
It all started when the Montreal Canadiens selected winger Juraj Slafkovský with the No. 1 overall pick, passing on top center Shane Wright. Wright had been considered the top prospect in this class for most of the past two years, but Slafkovský’s strong performance at the Olympics and World Championships was apparently enough to push him in Montreal’s favor.
He is the first Slovakian-born player to go No. 1 overall in the NHL draft.
The drama did not stop there.
The New Jersey Devils followed up that mildly surprising pick with an absolute stunner by taking defenseman Šimon Nemec.
Nemec is also from Slovakia, making it an absolutely incredible night for Slovakian hockey with the top two picks in the draft.
The Devils’ organizational strength is at center with Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes, and Dawson Mercer on their roster, so they seemingly opted to go with a position of greater need as opposed to the best available player.
With the No. 3 overall pick, the Arizona Coyotes selected Logan Cooley from the US National Development team.
Even though there was no consensus top pick or can’t miss megastar, Wright still seemed like a safe bet to go at the top of the draft. At worst in the top-two. But he ended up falling out of the top-three entirely.