Today, we’re going to try something new. This will be a two-round mock for the 2022 NHL Draft — however, I will not be the only one making picks. We are bringing in an anonymous hockey ops source from an NHL team with knowledge of the player pool to provide a unique and distinct perspective. They’ll be making every second pick.
The goal was to predict what we think will actually happen on draft day, not who we personally would select at a given spot.
In terms of the ground rules for this draft, no trades were allowed and no discussions about who we were going to pick next were allowed between the two selectors. After a coin flip, the team source got the first pick of the draft, but we decided I would get the first pick of the second round so we could pick for some different teams.
1. Montreal (Pick by NHL Source): Shane Wright, C, Kingston-OHL
This isn’t an easy decision but positional value wins out and building through the middle is a tried and true NHL blueprint. Wright is an advanced two-way center with scoring and playmaking ability, and is NHL-ready. He’s handled the public spotlight well up to this point and seems equipped to handle the pressure that will come with this pick.
2. New Jersey (Pick by Corey Pronman): Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, TPS-Liiga
New Jersey gets a huge winger with NHL speed and skill who can score and is arguably the best player in the draft. He will be a force next to Jack Hughes or Nico Hischier for the next decade.
3. Arizona (Pick by NHL Source): Logan Cooley, C, U.S. NTDP-USHL
Positional value is a heavily weighed factor in these top picks so expect a run on centers and defensemen high in this draft. Cooley’s fast-paced offense is unparalleled in this class and he should be NHL-ready by spring 2023.
4. Seattle (Pick by Pronman): Simon Nemec, RHD, Nitra-Slovakia
Nemec is a potential top-pair defenseman who can play at both ends of the rink, immediately becoming a cornerstone for the expansion-franchise Kraken to build around alongside potential first-line center Matty Beniers.
5. Philadelphia (Pick by NHL Source): David Jiricek, RHD, Plzen-Czechia
Jiricek is arguably the best defenseman in this class. He’s close to an NHL-ready right-shot defenseman with size, a bomb of a shot and big hit ability.
6. Columbus (Pick by Pronman): Cutter Gauthier, LW/C, U.S. NTDP-USHL
Columbus goes from having little young center depth a few years ago to acquiring Cole Sillinger, Kent Johnson and now the highly talented Gauthier in a span of two years.
7. Ottawa: (Pick by NHL Source): Marco Kasper, C, Rögle-SHL
Kasper is a talented and highly competitive center who saw his stock surge in the SHL playoffs and against men in international play for Austria.
8. Detroit (Pick by Pronman): Joakim Kemell, RW, JYP-Liiga
Detroit is devastated with two centers in Gauthier and Kasper getting picked back to back. Their consolation prize is arguably the best pure goal scorer in the draft.
9. Buffalo (Pick by NHL Source): Kevin Korchinski, LHD, Seattle-WHL
Korchinski’s size, speed, puck play, and offense give him a very high ceiling.
10. Anaheim (Pick by Pronman): Pavel Mintyukov, LHD, Saginaw-OHL
Anaheim loves big, mobile defensemen who can move the puck and that describes Mintyukov in a nutshell. He’s the first Russian off the board, but teams don’t expect him to be dinged too much by his passport.
11. San Jose (Pick by NHL Source): Conor Geekie, C, Winnipeg-WHL
Geekie is the big, skilled playmaking center we are all chasing after.
12. Columbus (Pick by Pronman): Lian Bichsel, LHD, Leksands-SHL
Columbus, after adding several top-end forward prospects, pick Bichsel to strengthen their blue line after an early run on defensemen in the top 10. Bichsel is a huge, mobile, physical defenseman who can provide secondary offense.
13. New York Islanders (Pick by NHL Source): Matthew Savoie, C/RW, Winnipeg-WHL
What Savoie lacks in size he makes up for with talent, production and intangibles.
14. Winnipeg (Pick by Pronman): Frank Nazar, C, U.S. NTDP-USHL
Nazar lacks size but has great speed, work ethic and a high skill level. He projects to play down the middle at higher levels and bolsters the Jets’ center depth.
15. Vancouver (Pick by NHL Source): Jonathan Lekkerimaki, RW, Djurgarden-SHL
Lekkerimaki is perhaps the best goal scorer and one of the most skilled players in this draft.
16. Buffalo (Pick by Pronman): Brad Lambert, RW, Pelicans-Liiga
With their second pick, the Sabres take a swing on one of the best skill/speed combo players in the draft. He had a disappointing season in Finland, but if he turns his game around he could be a legitimate scorer and transition asset.
17. Nashville (Pick by NHL Source): Danila Yurov, RW, Magnitogorsk-KHL
In terms of ability and resume, he could be a steal at this point.
18. Dallas (Pick by Pronman): Owen Pickering, LHD, Swift Current-WHL
Pickering joins Miro Heiskanen and Thomas Harley as another young blueliner in the Dallas system, bringing NHL size, mobility and first-pass offense.
19. Los Angeles (Pick by NHL Source): Ivan Miroshnichenko, LW, Avangard-VHL
He’s one of the best players in this draft period and is worth any passport/health risk at this point. Powerful player and an electric goal scorer.
20. Washington (Pick by Pronman): Nathan Gaucher, C, Quebec-QMJHL
Gaucher is a big center who competes hard and has enough offense to be a top-three line NHL player. He instantly helps Washington’s center depth and can be a complement to forwards Hendrix Lapierre and Connor McMichael.
21. Pittsburgh (Pick by NHL Source): Rutger McGroarty, LW, U.S. NTDP-USHL
McGroarty could be a goal-scoring winger who complements Pittsburgh’s star centers on his ELC.
22. Anaheim (Pick by Pronman): Jiri Kulich, LW/C, Karlovy Vary-Czechia
Kulich is a well-rounded forward prospect who can play the middle or wing. He provides quality skill, compete and goal scoring, allowing Anaheim to plug him on a line with different players like Trevor Zegras or Mason McTavish.
23. St. Louis (Pick by NHL Source): Ryan Chesley, RHD, U.S. NTDP-USHL
Ryan’s regarded as a safe pick and pretty close to NHL-ready because of his skating and defending.
24. Minnesota (Pick by Pronman): Denton Mateychuk, LHD, Moose Jaw-WHL
Minnesota saw as much of Mateychuk as anyone, with prospect Daemon Hunt his teammate on Moose Jaw. They’ve drafted a lot of defensemen recently, but you can never have too many, especially when they are high-end skaters who can make plays like he can, even though he lacks size.
25. Toronto (Pick by NHL Source): Noah Ostlund, C, Djurgarden-Sweden Jr.
Ostlund is a natural center with a lot of skill and hockey sense who saw his stock elevate late with a strong J20 playoff and world U-18s.
26. Montreal (Pick by Pronman): Liam Ohgren, LW, Djurgarden-Sweden Jr.
Ohgren is a skilled player who also competes well and can play around the net. He complements the skill and playmaking of Suzuki and Wright and can score a lot of hard-area goals.
27. Arizona (Pick by NHL Source): Maveric Lamoureux, RHD, Drummondville-QMJHL
Lamoureux is a 6-foot-7, right-shot defenseman with good feet and enough puck play and physicality to dream on.
28. Buffalo (Pick by Pronman): Luca Del Bel Belluz, C, Mississauga-OHL
Del Bel Belluz is a highly skilled and intelligent center who scored at a high rate this season. Buffalo has young centers in the organization, but post-Jack Eichel they could always use more.
29. Edmonton (Pick by NHL Source): Filip Bystedt, C, Linkoping-Sweden Jr.
Bystedt is a big-bodied, good skating forward who could potentially develop into an offensive centerman.
30. Winnipeg (Pick by Pronman): Julian Lutz, LW, Munchen-DEL
Lutz came on strong toward the end of the year. He’s a big, fast winger who has skill and can shoot the puck.
31. Tampa Bay (Pick by NHL Source): Isaac Howard, LW, U.S. NTDP-USHL
Howard’s undersized but is one of the best scorers in this draft.
32. Arizona (Pick by Pronman): Jimmy Snuggerud, RW, U.S. NTDP-USHL
Back-to-back U.S. NTDP players result in Logan Cooley’s linemate going to Arizona. He provides some hardness and scoring touch.
33. Montreal (Pick by Pronman): Reid Schaefer, LW, Seattle-WHL
Schaefer has had an impressive playoff for Seattle. He’s a big winger who plays hard, has some skill and finishing ability and will provide some size and grit to the Habs’ core.
34. Arizona (Pick by NHL Source): Filip Mesar, RW, Poprad-Slovakia
Mesar’s a quick and creative forward who has performed well internationally and against men.
35. Seattle (Pick by Pronman): Jagger Firkus, RW, Moose Jaw-WHL
In Firkus, Seattle gets a pure goal scorer with a high skill level who has put up big numbers in the WHL over the last two seasons.
36. Arizona (Pick by NHL Source): Topias Leinonen, G, JYP-Finland Jr.
Leionen is arguably the best of a weak crop of goalies available this year.
37. New Jersey (Pick by Pronman): Tristan Luneau, RHD, Gatineau-QMJHL
Luneau is a skilled puck-mover with decent size. New Jersey’s biggest organizational needs are more quality defensemen or a goaltender, so the hope is he can be the former.
38. Chicago (Pick by NHL Source): Sam Rinzel, RHD, Chaska-U.S. High School
Rinzel is a big defenseman with good feet and has offensive upside.
39. Ottawa (Pick by Pronman): Elias Salomonsson, RHD, Skelleftea-Sweden Jr.
Salomonsson is one of the better defending and skating defensemen in this draft with a high-end shot from the point. Ottawa has some good, young defensemen coming up, but you can never have too many.
40. Detroit (Pick by NHL Source): Matyas Sapovaliv, C, Saginaw-OHL
Sapovaliv is a tall, savvy two-way center who performed well in Saginaw and internationally.
41. Buffalo (Pick by Pronman): Jack Hughes, C, Northeastern-Hockey East
Hughes is a highly-skilled center with great offensive IQ. He’s a bit of a long-term play, but if you hit on him you could get a legit scorer. Buffalo needs as much offense as they can get.
42. Anaheim (Pick by NHL Source): Mattias Havelid, RHD, Linkoping-Sweden Jr.
Havelid is an undersized D who was excellent in the J20 playoffs and at the world U-18s.
43. Arizona (Pick by Pronman): Owen Beck, C, Mississauga-OHL
Even after adding Cooley, Arizona has a pressing need for center depth in the organization. Beck provides speed, compete and secondary offense down the middle.
44. Columbus (Pick by NHL Source): Adam Sykora, LW, Nitra-Slovakia
Sykora is a high-character and high-energy player who capped off a second-half ascent with an impressive World Championships.
45. Arizona (Pick by Pronman): Tomas Hamara, LHD, Tappara-Finland Jr.
Hamara was quite good at the U18s, displaying NHL mobility and puck-moving ability. Arizona needs as many quality defensemen as they can get.
46. Washington (Pick by NHL Source): Alexander Perevalov, LW, Yaroslavl-MHL
Perevalov is a talented and powerful winger who performed well internationally and in the MHL.
47. Minnesota (Pick by Pronman): Devin Kaplan, RW, U.S. NTDP-USHL
Kaplan is a big winger with a good skill level who can play on both special teams. He will complement some of the high-end skill and IQ types the Wild have drafted in recent years.
48. Vegas (Pick by NHL Source): Rieger Lorenz, LW, Okotoks-AJHL
Lorenz is a big, skilled forward who scored a lot in the AJHL.
49. Seattle (Pick by Pronman): Seamus Casey, RHD, U.S. NTDP-USHL
Casey is an excellent skater who can move the puck very well. He adds to a defense group with Nemec and Ryker Evans in the Seattle pool — who both have those attributes.
50. Dallas (Pick by NHL Source): Jani Nyman, LW, Koovee-Mestis
Nyman is a big rig on the wing with soft hands and scoring touch. He led Koovee in scoring this season and performed well internationally.
51. Los Angeles (Pick by Pronman): Lane Hutson, LHD, U.S. NTDP-USHL
The Kings have a deep farm system at all positions so they can afford to take a swing on a guy like Hutson who has high-end skill and hockey sense, but as a 5-foot-8 defenseman, he has a long path to the NHL.
52. Detroit (Pick by NHL Source): Josh Davies, LW, Swift Current-WHL
Davies is a mean, hard-nosed 200-pounder with speed and a big shot.
53. Anaheim (Pick by Pronman): Noah Warren, RHD, Gatineau-QMJHL
Warren is a big, mobile, mean defenseman to play against, and would be a complement to all the great young puck-movers Anaheim has coming or with the team already.
54. Boston (Pick by NHL Source): Josh Filmon, LW, Swift Current-WHL
Filmon is a tall, wiry forward with a versatile, offensive game.
55. Winnipeg (Pick by Pronman): Calle Odelius, LHD, Djurgarden-Sweden Jr.
Odelius is an excellent skater who can make a good first pass. He’ll add young depth to the defense group in Winnipeg and give them highly coveted high-end mobility on the back end.
56. Minnesota (Pick by NHL Source): Ty Nelson, RHD, North Bay-OHL
Nelson is a high hockey-IQ defenseman and is good with the puck.
57. Chicago (Pick by Pronman): Dylan James, LW, Sioux City-USHL
James is a skilled, intelligent, competitive forward who was a big part of Sioux Falls winning a USHL title.
58. Seattle (Pick by NHL Source): Mats Lindgren, LHD, Kamloops-WHL
Lindgren is an offensive stick on the backend with puck-carrying and PP ability.
59. Calgary (Pick by Pronman): Simon Forsmark, LHD, Orebro-SHL
Calgary has invested several high picks recently at forward, so we’re upgrading their defense depth by adding a good-sized defender in Forsmark who can move the puck and make stops.
60. Carolina (Pick by NHL Source): David Goyette, C, Sudbury-OHL
Carolina calls timeout. Goyette is a skilled and creative centerman.
61. Seattle (Pick by Pronman): Tyler Brennan, G, Prince George-WHL
Seattle adds one of the two top-tier netminders in this draft. Brennan is a big, highly-polished and intelligent goalie.
62. Montreal (Pick by NHL Source): Ryan Greene, C, Green Bay-USHL
Greene is a balanced two-way center who was recently invited to Canada’s World Junior camp.
63. New York Rangers (Pick by Pronman): Topi Ronni, C, Tappara-Finland Jr.
Ronni is a big center with good puck skills and vision who can play at both ends of the ice. The Rangers could use more young depth down the middle and he’d be a quality add at No. 63.
64. Ottawa (Pick by NHL Source): Bryce McConnell-Barker, C, Sault Ste. Marie-OHL
McConnell-Barker is a lengthy center with deceptive speed and scoring ability. He took advantage of an increased role due to Tanner Dickinson’s injury and elevated his stock down the stretch.
65. New York Islanders (Pick by Pronman): Kasper Kulonummi, RHD, Jokerit-Finland Jr.
The Islanders have a lot of farm needs, so adding a right-shot defenseman with good mobility, puck skills and hockey sense who can defend is a good place to start on replenishing the system.
(Illustration: John Bradford / The Athletic)