Are you a fan of lottery balls whipping around a plastic receptacle? Do you like watching the NHL’s Deputy Commissioner awkwardly hold up placards with team logos on them? Then the NHL Draft Lottery is for you.
The 2022 version of the NHL Draft Lottery takes place Tuesday night at 3:30 Pacific and will be televised on ESPN. Admittedly, it’s not the most enthralling television, but it will let us all know what pick the Seattle Kraken will end up with for July’s NHL Draft. Thanks to Seattle’s third-period collapse in Winnipeg in the season’s last game, the Kraken ended up with the third worst record meaning they have a 11.5 percent chance of landing the top pick and will select no later than fifth.
No matter where Seattle ends up, general manager Ron Francis has a shot at landing a quality player and maybe even a guy who will report straight to Kraken Community Iceplex and play in year one.
But who are these guys and who should the Kraken pick at each possible spot?
Here is a look at five potential new Kraken prospects.
With the first overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, the Kraken select…
Shane Wright, F, Kingston Frontenacs – OHL
6-foot-1, 185 pounds
This is a no-brainer. Wright will be the first pick taken overall. Every now and then an article pops up asking if Logan Cooley or some other prospect is ‘closing the gap,’ but those articles are trying to make the race seem interesting. The race is over, and if Seattle wins Tuesday’s lotto, Wright will be playing for the Kraken this fall.
Wright applied for and was granted exceptional status to play in the Ontario Hockey League as a 15-year-old due to his advanced skill. He scored 39 goals as a rookie in 2019-20 while turning 16 in January of that season. He proved worthy of the exceptional status and this past season scored 32 goals but added 28 more assists than that rookie campaign, as he’s now a more complete player.
Last spring, at 16 years old, he was with Team Canada at the IIHF U18 World Championship. With COVID canceling seasons, the tournament was loaded with older draft prospects, and Wright scored nine times and had 14 points in five games. He is NHL ready.
With the second overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, the Kraken select…
Logan Cooley, F, USNTDP
5-foot-10, 174 pounds
Speed and skill are the highlights of Cooley’s game, and the Kraken will jump at the Pittsburgh product if they land the second overall pick. Committed to play at the University of Minnesota next season, Cooley is a dynamic offensive player who can be a game changer.
Playing with the U.S. National Team Development Program, he’s scored 40 goals and 71 assists in 75 games. He played for the U.S. at the recently completed U18’s and rang up 10 points in six games. Cooley has the speed and skill to draw defenders in, allowing him to find wide-open teammates.
Can he play in the NHL right away? He’s not the biggest player in the world so it may depend on how much strength he adds this summer and how he performs at a prospect camp in July. By comparison, Montreal’s Cole Caufield is listed at 5-foot-7 and 166 pounds which is shorter and lighter than Cooley. Caufield just completed his first full NHL season and scored 23 goals.
With the third overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, the Kraken select…
Juraj Slafkovsky, F, TPS (Finland)
6-foot-4, 218 pounds
Slafkovsky raised eyebrows when he scored seven goals for the Slovakian team at the Bejing Winter Olympics. That performance has skyrocketed him up the draft ranks, and he is generally considered a top-five prospect.
He has size and a diverse set of skills that makes him a threat on nearly every shift. He can shoot and has a nose for the goal but also has shown that he can distribute the puck. His big frame could allow him to play right away, and he has spent most of this season playing in the pro Liiga in Finland for TPS. He has five goals and ten points with TPS which doesn’t jump off the page, but this is a contending team with older, veteran players. Will his abilities translate to the NHL?
With the fourth overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, the Kraken select…
Matthew Savoie, F, Winnipeg ICE – WHL
5-foot-9, 178 pounds
Savoie had a spectacular season for the ICE who are currently tearing their way into the Eastern Conference finals in the WHL playoffs. Savoie’s arrival has been much anticipated and while COVID forced him to play in the USHL last year, he has not disappointed this year. He piled up 90 points on 35 goals and 55 assists in 65 games during the regular season.
He can do a little bit of everything and do it well. He can skate, pass, and shoot which keeps opposing defenses on their heels. Savoie is on the smaller side, making it unclear if he’s ready for the NHL in year one. Skill-wise he’s there, and he has shown that he can play a bigger game with some high-end savvy, so he could have a shot.
With the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, the Kraken select…
Simon Nemec, D, Nitra – Slovakia
6-foot-1, 192 pounds
Widely considered the top defenseman in this year’s draft, if he’s there at five, Seattle should take him. He has 16 assists this season with Nitra in the Slovakian league and passing the puck is considered his strongest asset.
Scouts don’t consider him a guy who will dazzle with end-to-end rushes up the ice, but he sees the ice well and can distribute the puck. He’s most likely not NHL ready in year one and would either play another year overseas or would need some development time playing the North American game.