Will the Canadian opt for Wright?

Games are made.

Will the Canadian opt for Wright?

Games are made. It is the Canadian who will select first in the NHL draft on July 7, in front of his supporters at the Bell Center. If everything suggests that Shane Wright will be the first elected, nothing is more certain. Could Logan Cooley or Juraj Slafkovsky beat him to the finish line? The Journal has tried to predict the first 16 choices of an auction that promises to be anything but predictable.

• Read also: NHL draft: the Canadian wins the lottery

• Read also: NHL Draft: Shane Wright, not a unanimous choice

• Read also: “I deserve to be the first player selected” – Shane Wright

1. Montreal Canadiens

No, Shane Wright is not unanimous. No, he does not excite all NHL scouts. No, he probably doesn't deserve all the beating about him in Montreal right now and, no, he's not Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby. On the other hand, Wright has skills that appeal to formations of the Bettman circuit. Will a team have the courage not to take him first overall and risk seeing him explode elsewhere? We strongly doubt it. The Canadian has the safest choice here. Despite all the talk, Wright will make his new team better. A Suzuki-Wright duo in the center, not so bad.

2. New Jersey Devils

At 6'4" and 218lbs, Juraj Slafkovsky is already a man. His performance at the Beijing Olympics, where he helped Slovakia win the bronze medal by scoring seven goals in seven games in the tournament, made many eyes widen. However, his production in Liiga this season (10 pts in 31 games) is well below other former hopefuls who were considered top-3. Slafkovsky will have the opportunity to demonstrate his skills again from Friday when he represents Slovakia at the World Championship in Finland. A perfect player to complement Jack Hughes.

3. Arizona Coyotes

Logan Cooley was the offensive point guard in the U.S. National Under-18 Program and many scouts see him as having better offensive potential than Shane Wright. The 5'11", 179 lb center stands out for his dynamism on the skates and he is the kind of player who, if he reaches his full potential, is tailor-made for the current NHL. So this really isn't a bad consolation prize here for the Coyotes who dropped a lottery rank.

4. Crack the Seattle

The 2022 vintage is not one of defenders since very few defenders have a real chance of being drafted into the top 5 or even the top 10. However, that does not seem to be a question in the case of Nemec, or the Czech David Jiricek. The debate rages on which of the two will come out first. Nemec--- had a thunderous end to the season in the Slovakian league, and his 17 points, including five goals, in 19 playoff games confirmed his status as a top prospect. Like Slafkovsky, he will represent Slovakia at the next World Cup. An interesting piece to build around at the blue line for the Kraken.

5. Philadelphia Flyers

The tall, 6'3", 190 lb Czech defenseman has several attributes that have NHL scouts salivating. In addition to his size, he has a keen sense of the game and a powerful throw from the blue line. He missed a good part of the season after suffering a knee injury during the World Junior Hockey Championship last winter, but has been back in action for a few weeks and will represent the Czechs at the World Championship. This will be a good way to compare Nemec and Jiricek.

6. Blue Jackets* de Columbus 

Gauthier has certainly been one of the players whose rating has increased the most during the campaign, and since scouts place a lot of importance on the progression curve, it would not be surprising to see him become a very high choice. July 7. The 6'3", 189 lb colossus played an important role with the national under-18 program last season, to the left of Cooley in the first unit on offense. Gauthier is big, strong and capable of scoring goals as evidenced by his 53 goals in 76 games this season. The Blue Jackets acquired this pick from the Blackhawks in the Seth Jones trade.

7. Ottawa Senators

We tell you: we would not like to be in the position of the first six teams to be drafted and have to make the decision to look up at Matthew Savoie. The electrifying Winnipeg Ice center has been considered one of the best players in his age group since he was 14 or 15 years old. He had 90 points in 65 games this season and fans got to see him in action in the CHL's Top Prospects Game, where he was one of the only bright spots for the side. Red team. The problem ? He's 5'9" and while he plays center at the junior level, many scouts don't see him as a big league center. But the talent is there.

8. Red Wings de Detroit 

Lekkerimäki was one of the main reasons Sweden won the World Under-18 Championship a few weeks ago. The sniper finished the competition as the top scorer with 15 points in six games, confirming his place among the best hopes for the next vintage. The 5'11", 172lb winger has split his time between Under-20 side Djurgårdens, with whom he has 20 goals and 35 points in 26 games, and the professional club with whom he does not did quite a bit despite his young age, totaling nine points including seven goals in 26 games. Another Swede in Detroit.

9. Buffalo Sabers

To say that Kemell had a two-part season is an understatement. The Finnish winger started the campaign with a bang, scoring 18 points in his first 21 games in Liiga, Finland's top league. At this point, we were even beginning to wonder if he would not become a serious candidate to dislodge Wright from the first row. On the other hand, Kemell was much less productive afterwards. In his last 18 encounters, he has hit the target just three times for five points. He remains one of the best snipers in this draft and has the potential to score a lot of NHL goals.

10. Ducks d’Anaheim 

At this time last year, Lambert was expected to be one of Wright's main rivals for the first overall pick. A year later, Lambert's star has greatly faded. No one disputes his speed and individual skill. However, his production in Liiga disappointed. The one who also has Canadian nationality even changed teams during the season, going from JYP to the Pelicans, but nothing has changed. In total, he scored 10 points in 49 games. Several scouts question his hockey IQ. The skills are too intriguing to let him slide any further, however, and the Ducks are salivating at the thought of seeing him play with Trevor Zegras.

11. San Jose Sharks

Scouts who work for an NHL club agree on one thing: Conor Geekie is an intriguing prospect with undeniable athletic qualities, but whose skating makes it impossible to really compare himself to the prospects of the top 5. One thing is certain, however, at 6'4" and 205 lbs, the Manitoban could become a force in the NHL if he improves on that shortcoming. A Savoie teammate in Winnipeg this season, Geekie has 70 points in 63 games. He is the brother of Morgan Geekie who plays for the Seattle Kraken. Geekie has the perfect style for western hockey.

12. Blue jackets de Columbus 

It's hard to predict where Yurov will end up. In fact, it's hard to predict where the Russian players will end up at all, due to the situation in Ukraine and the uncertainty about their status. Nevertheless, Yurov is considered a top 10 talent. In MHL, Russia's junior league, he had 36 points in 23 games, but that went downhill in the KHL. Honestly, difficult to criticize him: in 21 duels in the regular season, he was used on average 4 min 36 s. In series? A snoring 2 min 19 s per meeting. No need to explain to you why he did not collect any points. The Jackets will take advantage of the fact that they have two picks in the top 12 to select him.

13. Islanders of New York

The Russian defender has a very interesting potential. An attacking back, he drove at a rate of almost a point per game in his first season in North America, finishing with 62 points in 67 games, including 17 goals. Some comparisons have been drawn between his style of play and that of Mikhail Sergachev of the Tampa Bay Lightning. At this rank, in a draft that promises to be the most unpredictable, Mintyukov wants to be an excellent value for the Islanders.

14. Jets of Winnipeg

The center player of the American program has caused a lot of talk in recent weeks. In its final list, the NHL Central Scouting ranked him 21st among North American skaters, which shocked several draft analysts. One of the reasons is probably that he doesn't have the physique for the job for a center player (5 ft 10 in and 175 lbs), nor the dynamism of a guy like Savoie. Nevertheless, he is expected to be selected earlier than his rank predicted by Central and the Jets will be very happy to get him at 14th overall.

15. Vancouver Canucks

Talk about flavor of the month or a bias due to his good performance at the last U18 World Cup, it doesn't change anything for us. Every year, players see their ratings increase astronomically after this tournament, and Kulich is the 2022 version. even, his intensity and his devastating one-timer throw on the power play make him a prospect who deserves to be in the first half of the first round.

16. Buffalo Sabers

If it had been said at the start of the season that Miroshnichenko would be available in 16th place, several diligent repechage would have demanded our resignation on the spot! In terms of talent, he is a top 5. However, a lot has changed since then. In addition to the predicament of Russian players due to the invasion in Ukraine, however, Miroshnichenko was diagnosed with cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, to be more specific. The Athletic website recently revealed that the news was good in his case and that he was in remission. Buffalo already has an interesting bank of hope and can afford to take this "risk".

* via les Blackhawks

** via les Golden Knights


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