Earlier this week, we published the inaugural Sound Of Hockey Big Board. Give it a read. It compiles player information, statistics, and public draft rankings from reporters and scouting services for 675 prospects in the 2022 NHL Draft.
Today, we return with a breakdown of 60 prospects that caught our eye on the Big Board, listed in board order. At the end, we’ve thrown in a bonus breakdown of one particular player you may know, and also identified a few more players that could be available and interesting in the last couple rounds.
The prospects contained in this post were initially selected based on an analysis of each player’s scoring production and tracked micro-statistics. Also considered were analytics-driven rankings by:
Together with my own rudimentary NHLe calculations, I compiled these rankings in a personal “analytics board” that I compared against the scouting-driven Big Board in search of potential value picks.
That said, I only included a player in the final list if there was also a scouting reason to believe in the player. An overaged, undersized junior forward may look good on paper, but unless there is a scouting reason for buy in, the prospects for success are fairly poor.
With that introduction, just a few final notes before we dive in:
1. In the early stages of this list, the players discussed account for the draft position of the Seattle Kraken. For example, I’m quite high on a few mid-first-round picks, including Isaac Howard of the US National Team Development Program, but I did not include those players here because it seems unlikely the Kraken will be in range to select them. (Beyond Howard, I also like the value that may be provided by mid-to-late first-round projections Rutger McGroarty, Jagger Firkus, and Filip Mesar.)
2. In the later stages, particularly as you get beyond the fourth-round prospects, this list is not intended to be exhaustive. There are certainly other prospects with scoring profiles similar to those of the players highlighted here that were not included.
3. Personally, I am higher on some of these players than others. Throughout this list, my favorite potential value selections are identified by an asterisk.
First-round prospects (Seattle pick: 4)
No. 3 Logan Cooley, C, USNTDP (USHL)*
Age: 18 | Height: 5’10.5″ | Weight: 180 lbs | Left shot | 27 goals, 48 assists, 51 games played
The very last player added to this list (and only added because of this), we have long thought that Cooley would be out of reach for the Kraken at No. 4 due to a strong consensus that he will be selected in the top three picks of the draft, along with Shane Wright and Juraj Slafkovsky. And the Big Board agrees, situating Cooley at No. 3 overall, only fractions of a point behind No. 2 overall Slafkovsky. We continue to doubt Cooley will be available at No. 4, but if he were, he should receive strong consideration. Cooley receives very good-to-elite grades for his skating, passing, puck handling, and on-ice intelligence from virtually every source we have consulted. His shot and physicality may trail his other traits, but even those skills project at average or better. His highlights are blur, attacking opponents in transition or off takeaways with speed or puck handling through traffic. Scouts would fault Cooley only when he tried to do too much with his handle and would skate into turnovers. Cooley has below average size, but it has not limited him, and he is probable to stick at center in a top-six role. His rank on my personal analytics board matches his Big Board rank: No. 3 overall.
No. 4 Simon Nemec, RD, HK Nitra (Slovakia)*
Age: 18 | Height: 6’1″ | Weight: 192 lbs | Right shot | 1 goal, 25 assists, 39 games played
Notes: Scouts and analysts have debated David Jiricek versus Simon Nemec as the best defenseman in this draft class since the end of the season. The final version of big board gives the slightest edge to Nemec (after Jiricek held the slightest edge for most of the process). Nemec is the player most commonly mocked to Seattle at No. 4. Nemec is widely praised in analytics circles, particularly when factoring in his five goals and 12 assists in 19 postseason games. He put together an unprecedented scoring season for a draft-eligible defenseman in the top league in Slovakia. His production places him second overall in my analytics-driven ranking, barely behind Shane Wright. While he brings only average size and skating to the table, scouts credit Nemec as an intuitive offensive playmaker. He navigates the neutral zone and can get his team established on offense. And his offensive zone passing and playmaking vision are elite in the eyes of most scouts. He easily projects as a top-four offensive defenseman and first unit power play quarterback. Combined with his right-handed shot, it is easy to see the fit with the Seattle Kraken. On the defensive end he projects well above average, but perhaps not elite. Physically, he does not stand out on the ice but is both creative and sound with puck, particularly for an 18-year-old. Some predict a first line, “rover”-capable defenseman. Other scouts are less optimistic because they do not see any elite physical tools. All agree that Nemec has a high floor and should be at least an average second-line defenseman, but can he hit that upside? I think the Kraken will need conviction that he can in order to make him the pick at No. 4.
No. 5 David Jiricek, RD, HC Plzen (Czechia)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’3″ | Weight: 190 lbs | Right shot | 5 goals, 6 assists, 29 games played
Notes: Compared with Nemec, many scouts see the higher upside in Jiricek given his size, shooting touch, and shutdown defensive potential. And Jiricek supported those scouting reports with strong point production against older players in Czechia’s top league, one of the very finest in the world. Indeed, Jiricek checks in at No. 4 overall in my analytics-driven list, behind only Shane Wright, Nemec, and Cooley. All taken together, Elite Prospects ranked him as the second overall prospect in the draft, behind only Wright. While others disagree, it is worth noting that Elite Prospects ranked Matty Beniers as their top overall prospect in the draft last year even as others viewed Beniers as a borderline top-10 prospect. If Seattle’s scouts are again on the same page with the Elite Prospects team, perhaps Jiricek is the pick at No. 4. The question with Jiricek is whether he will skate well enough to be a top-level defenseman. Some scouts had questions before Jiricek was sidelined with a knee injury this season. And since his return, virtually all agree he has not yet recovered even his pre-injury form.
No. 6 Joakim Kemell, RW, JYP (Liiga)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’9.5″ | Weight: 185 lbs | Right shot | 15 goals, 8 assists, 39 games played
Notes: Kemell is a scoring-focused, top-of-the-lineup right winger. Put on any highlight reel, and you’ll see a litany of skilled goals. Even more impressive is that this production came against players significantly older and more experienced than him in the top professional league in Finland, Liiga. He began his season scoring at a blistering, virtually unprecedented pace for a draft-eligible Liiga prospect. He wore the gold helmet (indicating the team’s top scorer) for a long run of the season. But midway through the year he was derailed by injury, and after he returned, he never quite found his game again. Even so, the early-season scoring binge makes him a clear NHLe favorite; his raw statistics push him up to No. 5 on my analytics board. On the downside, Kemell won’t bring high-level defense and may not be a top-tier playmaker. And, perhaps more troubling, some analysts do not see elite scoring upside in the NHL due to Kemell’s below-average size and average skating skill. For example, Corey Pronman of The Athletic did not list him anywhere within his top 31 of highest upside prospects. While that may not be a widely shared opinion, it tempers thoughts on what Kemell could be. As a teammate of 2021 draft pick Ville Ottavainen on JYP, the Kraken have surely seen plenty of Kemell. Enough to take him at No. 4 over the two right-handed defensemen above?
Second-round prospects (Seattle picks: 35, 49, 58, 61)
No. 33 Gleb Trikozov, RW, Omskie Yastreby (MHL)*
Age: 17 | Height: 6’1″ | Weight: 185 lbs | Right shot | 23 goals, 22 assists, 35 games played
Notes: Ranked at No. 33, the Big Board says Trikozov should be gone before Seattle’s first second-round pick (No. 35), but he is worthy of note here. Elite Prospects says “[t]here was no more contentious 2022 NHL Draft prospect” than Trikozov with scouting reports widely varying from game-to-game and scout-to-scout. Despite his hot-and-cold reviews, overall scouts pegged his skating, playmaking, and shooting as all above average. And he delivered strong production, propelling him to No. 12 on my composite analytics ranking. One factor that regrettably works against his draft status (and his potential real-world prospect status) is that Trikozov is Russian. It is not entirely clear what the future looks like for young Russian players in the NHL, so there is a lot of risk in this profile. But, given his top line potential, he would seem worthy of a gamble at No. 35, particularly if the next two players on this list are unavailable.
No. 34 Lane Hutson, LD, USNTDP (USHL)*
Age: 18 | Height: 5’8.25″ | Weight: 159 lbs | Left shot | 10 goals, 53 assists, 60 games played
Notes: Hutson’s deep offensive skill set manifested in stellar point production. In his highlights he can dominate possession and set up his teammates in the offensive zone as a Cale Makar-style rover. And his defense held up well against junior competition. The issue is the projection to the NHL. There are simply very few successful NHL defensemen at his (lack of) size. It’s possible he could grow a couple inches and/or add significant bulk. Unless he’s going to break through as a unicorn, his development hinges on that. But that uncertainty is the only reason he might still be available in the second round. He is No. 14 on my composite analytics rankings, the highest ranking for any player not named Nemec, Cooley, Jiricek, Kemell, or Trikozov discussed in this post.
No. 35 Seamus Casey, RD, USNTDP (USHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’9.5″ | Weight: 173 lbs | Right shot | 10 goals, 23 assists, 48 games played
Notes: As with Trikozov, the board says Casey should be selected before Seattle gets on the clock at No. 35. And with defensemen squarely in their sights at No. 4, it is easy to question whether the team would return to that position early in the second round. But Casey is a prospect worthy of note, ranked within striking distance of the top of the second round. Scouts tab him as a quality skating defenseman with good-to-very-good puck handling and passing skills. This gives him a natural tool kit to succeed in transition and as a power play quarterback. His defense lags behind his offense, but most scouts still credited him as a stout defender with enough skill to play at the NHL level despite his size limitations. His all-around package is appealing even if the offensive upside trails his teammate Lane Hutson, the previous player on this list. He is No. 23 on my analytics board.
No. 38 Luca Del Bel Belluz, C, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’0.5″ | Weight: 179 lbs | Left shot | 30 goals, 46 assists, 68 games played
Notes: Del Bel Belluz received strong scouting reports for his playmaking and delivered strong production at the OHL level, checking in at No. 35 in my analytics ranking. But scouts are concerned that his skating will not translate to the NHL, and that scares me off a bit. I prefer the next prospect on this list if betting on a high-upside junior hockey center in the early second round. I also prefer the upside of Nathan Gaucher (No. 30) if he drops. Bel Belluz’s teammate Owen Beck (No. 36) is another potential fit for Seattle in this range. Beck receives strong marks as perhaps the best defensive center in the draft. I could potentially be talked into Beck as a preferred target too. All of that said, Del Bel Belluz is a good player, with a good statistical profile who could be a fit for a team that needs to build its organizational depth chart at the center position.
No. 39 David Goyette, C, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’10.25″ | Weight: 175 lbs | Left shot | 33 goals, 40 assists, 66 games played
Notes: Goyette could be a prime target for Seattle at No. 35 overall. He earns strong grades for his playmaking from the center position and projects to be at least NHL average with his shot and skating. Reports and micro-stats tracked by Elite Prospects indicate his defense needs to come along, though the skill set may be there. He checks in at No. 33 in my analytics ranking.
No. 42 Alexander Perevalov, LW, Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’0″ | Weight: 192 lbs | Right shot | 25 goals, 25 assists, 42 games played
Notes: Perevalov was critiqued by some scouts as a bit of one-trick pony, single-mindedly focused on goal scoring from the wing position, without much effort given or value provided in his defense or in creating offense for his teammates. Elite Prospects in particular criticized his hockey sense. He may be too much of a gamble at No. 35, but if he’s available later in the round, his talent may be too much to ignore. One of the most productive goal scorers in this draft, he checks in at No. 30 on my analytics ranking.
No. 44 Adam Sykora, RW/LW, HK Nitra (Slovakia)*
Age: 17 | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 172 lbs | Left shot | 10 goals, 7 assists, 46 games played
Notes: Sykora is one of the youngest players in the draft, but he has received significant playing time at the professional level in Slovakia (as Simon Nemec’s teammate). Sykora’s statistics don’t overwhelm, but he has plenty of development runway left, and the leap he’ll need to make to become an NHL regular is relatively smaller than the jump facing junior prospects. He receives plaudits for his smarts, defense, and energy level, which seems like a strong baseline for him. There’s a lot left to project here, so he is certainly an “upside” pick, but there also seems to be a relatively high floor. That’s a good second-round pick. He ranks No. 26 on my analytics board.
No. 46 Ty Nelson, RD, North Bay Battalion (OHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 196 lbs | Right shot | 9 goals, 42 assists, 66 games played
Notes: Scouting reports vary on Nelson, some portraying him as on offensive defenseman, whose size limits his defensive upside. Others credit a tenacious defensive game that exceeds his stature and fault unimaginative offense. If the defense can hold up, and the balance of scouting reports I’ve seen suggest it should, his juniors offensive point production portends a defenseman that can contribute at both ends of the ice. He is No. 27 on my analytics board.
No. 50 Jani Nyman, LW, Ilves (Liiga) / KOOVEE (Mestis)
Age: 17 | Height: 6’3″ | Weight: 216 lbs | Left shot | 18 goals, 17 assists, 34 games played
Notes: Strong point production in Mestis in Finland, coupled with power-forward size and an above-average NHL shot blend into an appealing overall package. But scouts relay concern that his skating will prevent him from succeeding at NHL pace. Given the red flag, he too may be a gamble at No. 35, but a worthy lottery ticket later in the second round. He ranks No. 37 on the analytics board.
No. 52 Reid Schaefer, LW, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’3″ | Weight: 214 lbs | Left shot | 32 goals, 26 assists, 66 games played
Notes: Drafting Schaefer would be a fun story for the young Kraken franchise, but it would also be defensible on the merits. A true power forward, Shaefer projects to skate well enough to get by at the NHL level. And he displays enough scoring touch to project as a double-digit goal scorer. He is not much of a playmaker or a transition game player, so he’s likely best situated as an auxiliary piece with two more talented line mates in the top six or as tone setter in the bottom six. He is also extremely old to be a first time draft eligible player. Even so it’s easy to see an NHL future for him. While it would be a good storyline, I prefer a few of the prospects that follow on this list as candidates toward the bottom of the second round. He is No. 52 on the analytics board.
No. 53 Mats Lindgren, LD, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Age: 17 | Height: 6’0″ | Weight: 172 lbs | Left shot | 5 goals, 39 assists, 44 games played
Notes: Scouts report that Lindgren brings a strong breakout and transition game, but some question whether this key aspect of his game can make the leap to the next level. That said he is a very young draft eligible player, and the statistical profile is strong already: he’s No. 43 on the analytics board. With more developmental runway left than most, he’s a decent gamble at a point in the draft where the “sure thing” prospect no longer exists.
No. 54 Adam Ingram, C, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)*
Age: 18 | Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 174 lbs | Left shot | 26 goals, 29 assists, 54 games played
Notes: Clearly the best player on a poor Youngstown team, Ingram broke out as a dynamic producer, particularly in creating offense for his teammates in the early going. His production slowed as he seemed to press for point production late, but it is easy enough to excuse his efforts to “do too much” given his supporting cast. He is very old for a first-time draft-eligible player so he has less development runway than most, but the toolkit is intriguing. Scouts credit his overall athleticism but do not favor his skating right now. That is one area that will need improvement to reach the NHL. He is No. 41 on my analytics board.
No. 59 Cameron Lund, C, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 192 lbs | Right shot | 25 goals, 25 assists, 62 games played
Notes: Mentioned by Corey Pronman and Chris Peters as possessing high upside, Lund also checks many threshold boxes as a big, right handed shooting, two-way center. His production was just adequate to fall in this range of the draft (his analytics rank is 59), but the abundance of translatable tools gives reason for optimism that he could be more than that. Scouts credited an above average shot and a willingness to play in the difficult areas of the ice to create points. Scouts also saw improved puck handling and play making as Lund’s draft year progressed. Development in this area of the game could be the difference between a bottom-six/depth role and something more. Scouts see a below average but passable skater. [Profile added on July 3, 2022]
No. 60 Vladimir Grunidin, LD, Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (MHL)*
Age: 18 | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 172 lbs | Left shot | 2 goals, 11 assists, 18 games played
Notes: A dynamic skater, he receives high marks for his speed and agility. His defense also receives strong reviews, hampered only by his lack of size. With a skill set that seems to match the trend of how NHL teams are using defensemen and a strong analytical profile (he ranks No. 36 on my list), this is one of my favorite late-second-round targets. That said, the caveat applicable to all Russian players applies here.
No. 62 Christian Kyrou, RD, Erie Otters (OHL)*
Age: 18 | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 172 lbs | Right shot | 18 goals, 42 assists, 68 games played
Notes: Like Ingram, he’s an older, first-time draft-eligible player, and an undersized one at that, but Kyrou’s offensive skill set as a play driver, combined with strong passing and shooting production (No. 40 on my analytics board), make him impossible to discount. Kyrou’s defensive zone play needs a lot of work and he will likely need to be covered by a stronger defensive linemate should he make it to the NHL. But the transition and offensive zone traits are enticing. An upside comparison could be that he develops as a Torey Krug-type who delivers plenty of power play production.
No. 65 Fraser Minten, C, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’1″ | Weight: 194 lbs | Left shot | 20 goals, 35 assists, 67 games played
Notes: Minten is on the younger end, but still displayed a quality two-way, power forward game. And as his draft season progressed, his point production started to tick up. Projected with NHL caliber tools across the board, he seems like a pretty good bet to see NHL time as a bottom-six forward. Scouts suggest that further development of his offensive playmaking and passing will determine if he can become more than that. Even without development his analytical profile checks in around this range, at No. 67 on my analytics-driven board.
Third-round prospects (Seattle pick: 68)
No. 66 Jordan Gustafson, C, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 179 lbs | Left shot | 23 goals, 29 assists, 58 games played
Notes: Like Schaefer, Gustafson is not a sentimental pick; he makes this list on merit (ranking No. 56 on my analytics board). Scouts credit his hockey sense, detailed game, and defensive chops. Combine that with scoring production that is not out of place at this point in the draft, and the potential to stick at center, and a team could do worse than tabbing the Thunderbird at the end of the second round if searching for a solid, though perhaps not dynamic, forward. Gustafson has a decent shot at hitting a ceiling on or around a third line in the NHL.
No. 68 Devin Kaplan, RW USNTDP (USHL)*
Age: 18 | Height: 6’3″ | Weight: 198 lbs | Right shot | 13 goals, 25 assists, 53 games played
Notes: Scouts praised Kaplan for playing a heady, two-way game, effective at driving transition and in zone passing. He possesses a strong frame and projects to hold up well at the NHL level. He has decent transition speed but his overall skating skill is the key question. That said, some scouts liked how he accounts for below-average skating by using his passing and physicality. Kaplan ranks highly on the analytics board, at No. 39 overall. He is one of my favorite late-second- or early-third-round targets, potentially a bit overlooked on a deep USNTDP team.
No. 70 Vinzez Rohrer, RW, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Age: 17 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 168 lbs | Right shot | 25 goals, 23 assists, 64 games played
Notes: The youngest ranked player on the Big Board, he is just days away from being too young for this draft. He is nearly a full year younger than Adam Ingram, one of my favorites detailed above. I mention this because he will have more development runway than any other player on this list. While his production was good but not great, it needs to be balanced by his age. And the scouting reports indicate that he already plays a physical game despite his smaller frame and younger age. Though he does not register in any significant way on the analytics board, there is a lot to project here. By including him here (and ignoring the premise of this post), I’m betting his analytics will look a lot better by next year.
No. 74 Ryan Greene, C, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 179 lbs | Right shot | 19 goals, 32 assists, 59 games played
Notes: On the older end for a first-time draft-eligible player, Greene is still very interesting as an upside play. He is a highly skilled offensive player whose production was depressed on a poor USHL team. And the physical package intrigues too; he is a right-handed center with a good frame, even if he does not always use it yet, and NHL average skating. Scouts were most complimentary of his puck handling skill and ability to set up teammates for opportunities. The point production was good, not great, and his defense lagged behind. Greene is No. 69 on the analytics board.
No. 76 Ludwig Persson, LW, Forlunda (J20 Nationell)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’0″ | Weight: 179 lbs | Left shot | 25 goals, 36 assists, 41 games played
Notes: Fast and productive on the wing in his Swedish junior league, some scouts question whether he has the physicality and mentality to succeed in the more physical NHL game. He may be lower on some boards than is justified because he failed to meet lofty prospect expectations heaped onto him before this season. Ludwig presents as a strong value play in this range of the draft, ranking No. 55 on the analytics board.
No. 77 Dylan James, LW, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’0″ | Weight: 176 lbs | Left shot | 28 goals, 33 assists, 62 games played
Notes: Scouts see a physical winger with a high likelihood of developing into a fourth line checking forward. But his average analytical profile for this draft position (he ranks No. 74 on my analytics board) hints that there could be a bit more power forward upside in his game. Scouts credit a simple approach, strong along the boards and at the net front on offense and defense. Scouts don’t project him as much of a puck handler or transition player at the next level, suggesting that his production would come off catch-and-release shots, rebounds, or tips. The play style should be translatable but he is very old for a first time draft eligible player which raises questions about whether he can find the same success against professional competition, where he won’t be the oldest and strongest. [Profile added on July 3, 2022]
No. 78 Jordan Dumais, RW, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’9″ | Weight: 165 lbs | Right shot | 39 goals, 70 assists, 68 games played
Notes: Dumais’s production on the right wing has been elite, but scouts question whether it can translate to the NHL because his size, speed, quickness, and shot all project below average. Scouts credit his smarts on the ice and see an above-average NHL passer. Can he hold up against size and speed in the NHL? It’s a dice roll that may be too risky in the late-second or early-third round. But his production leads to a strong analytics ranking that demands attention here: No. 47 overall.
No. 79 Artyom Duda, LD, Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (MHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’1″ | Weight: 181 lbs | Left shot | 14 goals, 27 assists, 52 games played
Notes: An active and productive scorer in the MHL, some scouts see a potential offensive defenseman on par with several listed above. Others did not see him as draftable, citing average tools and a go-it-alone style that may not translate. He ranks No. 34 on the analytics board. His point production alone demands attention if he drops any further.
No. 81 Matthew Seminoff, RW, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 183 lbs | Right shot | 26 goals, 31 assists, 64 games played
Notes: The question with Seminoff is his skating game because scouts seem to agree that the rest of his game projects well. But his skating checks in at below average even at the junior level, and with just average size, he does not have any built-in excuses. If a player is to have only one deficiency, skating is the last one I’d choose. But at this point in the draft, Seminoff’s overall profile may be worth the bet that he can overhaul his skating and get closer to NHL average. If he can do that, scouts like his chances. He ranks No. 54 on the analytics board.
No. 82 Nicholas Moldenhauer, C/RW, Chicago Steel (USHL)*
Age: 18 | Height: 5’10.25″ | Weight: 170 lbs | Right shot | 18 goals, 25 assists, 41 games played
Notes: Moldenhauer plays at a high pace and is particularly threatening to opponents in transition. McKeen’s says Moldenhuaer “is a very strong skater in every facet, showing an ability to blow by defenders with a great top gear, but also great edgework that allows him to work East/West or cut on a dime.” His defense gets average-or-better reviews. His scoring production picked up after a slow start. Despite those early struggles, he still checks in at No. 45 overall on my analytics board. If he’s still on the board at the end of the second round, he’s one of my favorite targets.
No. 83 Cruz Lucius, RW, USNTDP (USHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’0.75″ | Weight: 184 lbs | Right shot | 9 goals, 9 assists, 23 games played
Notes: Well regarded for his playmaking ability in driving scoring chances for his teammates, Lucius receives lower marks for his skating. He was also buried on a stacked USNTDP team and the volume of evaluation opportunities just do not match other prospects in this range or higher in the draft. There is risk in this profile, but also the makings of a capable NHL winger. He is No. 62 in the analytics ranking.
No. 84 Michael Buchinger, LD, Guelph Storm (OHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’11.5″ | Weight: 187 lbs | Left shot | 5 goals, 39 assists, 63 games played
Notes: Scouts note solid across-the-board offensive skills and flashes of high-end play in transition and when activating in the offensive zone. On defense scouts saw an average performer but liked his tools to improve. Concerns were often tied to his vision and playmaking, but this may have been related to his team’s scheme. His point production was decent particularly given that he was not able to breakthrough onto the power play units. He ranks No. 81 on my analytics board and profiles as a depth defenseman with the potential for more if the offensive skills coalesce.
No. 85 Viktor Neuchev, LW, Avto Yekaterinburg (MHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 165 lbs | Left shot | 40 goals, 27 assists, 61 games played
Notes: This is a goal-scoring-first winger. He is on the older end of the spectrum for a first-time draft eligible, but the production met (and surpassed) the expectations that come with that. His puck handling is strong in the MHL, but some scouts put doubtful projections on his ability to transition that strength into the NHL, citing concerns about his skating and hockey sense. Some have attached a “selfish” label to his game. But his offensive skill has me intrigued. He checks in at No. 66 on the analytics board.
No. 86 Topias Leinonen, G, JYP U20 (U20 SM-sarja)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’5″ | Weight: 234 lbs | Left glove | 2.29 GAA, .916 S%, 21 games played
Notes: Leinonen is one of two goalies often mentioned as the top of a weak class of goaltenders (the other being Tyler Brennan, who checks in at No. 77 on the big board). The time horizon for goaltenders arriving at the NHL level is typically very long (five-to-eight years in most cases), so there is ample reason for the team to start trying to build the pipeline with an eye on the future. Leinonen gets strong marks for his size and athleticism, but there are fundamental issues, particularly rebound control, that plague him and render his play wildly inconsistent. This is not atypical at this stage, but it holds him back from being a top prospect. Including him in this list is more or less as a stand-in for the goaltender position generally. The Kraken may look to draft one and with three picks in rapid succession at the end of the second round and top of the third round, this may be a good area to snag one of the top two candidates.
No. 93 Alexander Suzdalev, LW, HV71 J20 (J20 Nationell)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’1.75″ | Weight: 177 lbs | Left shot | 15 goals, 36 assists, 45 games played
Notes: Scouts saw a quality puck handler with the ability to set up his teammates at the junior levels in Sweden, but had some reservations on his ability to translate those skills at the NHL level against faster competition where his lower play speed could be exposed. He was productive (his analytics rank is 92) but he is a longer term projection to be able to reach the NHL. [Profile added on July 3, 2022]
No. 94 Beau Jelsma, LW, Barrie Colts (OHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 174 lbs | Left shot | 27 goals, 20 assists, 68 games played
Notes: Receiving high marks for his motor and skating, as well as his playing strength, Jelsma is a tenacious forechecker and has a high floor as a depth forward at the AHL level or in the bottom-six at the NHL level. His juniors production has been adequate to receive consideration at this point in the draft, ranking at No. 86 overall on the analytics board. Reading his scouting reports, I kept thinking of Yanni Gourde, which is an unfair comparison to put on any player, but I will be pulling for Jelsma to make it, wherever he gets selected.
No. 95 Otto Salin, RD, HIFK U20 (U20 SM-sarja)*
Age: 18 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 192 lbs | Right shot | 4 goals, 8 assists, 11 games played
Notes: A highly touted prospect coming into the season, Salin delivered strong production early until his season was derailed by injury. Though he returned to the ice after missing a few months, he did not get back to the same level. Perhaps underexposed as a prospect, it is possible he could prove to be a value pick in this range. A shorter but stout defenseman, scouts credit his play strength and tools on defense, but it is his skating game and well-rounded offensive skill set that keep scouts pointing to his top-four defenseman upside. He is No. 42 on my analytics board.
No. 96 Brandon Lisowski, LW, Saskatoon Blades (WHL)*
Age: 18 | Height: 5’9″ | Weight: 172 lbs | Right shot | 33 goals, 25 assists, 68 games played
Notes: A goal-scoring forward, Lisowski plays at high speed and finds success by living in the physical areas in the middle of the ice. Scouts view his shot as potentially above average, and otherwise credit solid-to-average skills across the board. Lisowski is not much of a playmaker at this stage, but scouts suggest the passing skill is there. Lisowski’s defensive game is below average. He ranks No. 58 on the analytics list.
Fourth-round prospects (Seattle picks: 100, 117, 123)
No. 100 Kirill Dolzhenkov, LW, Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (MHL)*
Age: 18 | Height: 6’6″ | Weight: 236 lbs | Left shot | 14 goals, 14 assists, 33 games played
Notes: Dolzhenkov is a swing-for-the-fences pick. A towering player at 6’6″, he plays a heavy power forward game and has produced well at the MHL level. As might be expected of a player his size, skating is not a strength, but he has been able to offset that at the lower level with his physical play and skill. The question is whether he can carry that over at the highest level. He does not need to be an average skater, but he does need significant improvement to ever see the ice in the NHL. He is No. 51 on my analytics board. If he drops into this range, it would likely be difficult to resist his potential upside as top-nine power forward.
No. 103 Michael La Starza, LW, Waterloo Black Hawks/Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 185 lbs | Left shot | 16 goals, 28 assists, 57 games played
Notes: A strong offensive playmaker and an above-average skater, scouts view the offensive profile as projectable to the NHL level. Scouts also credit his non-stop motor and quality play along the boards. He may not have elite traits or upside, but his well-rounded profile has many scouts projecting a third-line role for La Starza. His production was slightly below par (No. 110 in my analytics ranking), but he was traded midseason from one poor USHL team to another, so he played in one of the least favorable situations of any player on this list.
No. 104 Cole Knuble, RW, Fargo Force (USHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 174 lbs | Right shot | 20 goals, 29 assists, 62 games played
Notes: An average straight-line skater but with a relatively slight frame, Knuble’s overall mobility leaves a bit to be desired in the eyes of some scouts. Otherwise, he has projectable, solid-average skills across the board. Scouts see limited upside, so he likely projects best as a checking forward, but he will need to add play strength to make it in that role. He checks in at No. 88 in my analytics ranking.
No. 105 Michael Milne, LW, Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
Age: 19 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 185 lbs | Left shot | 38 goals, 43 assists, 68 games played
Notes: “Mikey” Milne is the highest ranked re-entry candidate on the Big Board. He carries a reputation as one of the finest defenders from the forward position in this draft. His point production has been good, but must be tempered by the fact that he is a re-entry candidate (and an old one at that). Furthermore, scouts are not high on his offensive profile, putting an “average” ceiling on most of his tools. But many scouts like his floor as a depth checking forward. If he is available at the top of the fourth round, he brings a higher likelihood of delivering serviceable depth than many alternatives.
No. 106 Servac Petrovsky, C, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)*
Age: 17 | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 181 lbs | Left shot | 28 goals, 26 assists, 65 games played
Notes: Petrovsky is here not just because his name is similar to one of Sound Of Hockey’s preferred Anchor Alliance locations (Petoskey’s), though that doesn’t hurt. He delivered strong goal and point production (he ranked top-five in the OHL in points per game for a ’04-born player) and a strong overall analytics profile (he is No. 70 on my board) as one of the very youngest draft-eligible players. Combine that with a scouting report that credits Petrovsky’s motor, willingness to play in the difficult areas, and lacking any red flags, and there is a ton to like at this draft ranking. Some scouts suggest his handle and skating will limit him from becoming a top-of-lineup player, but there is at least bottom-six potential to dream on here. One of my favorites.
No. 110 Cedrick Guindon, C, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)*
Age: 18 | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 170 lbs | Left shot | 30 goals, 29 assists, 68 games played
Notes: Guindon’s point production escalated as the season continued. Scouts credit him as an intelligent player, moving off the puck to get to dangerous areas and creating opportunities for others when on the puck. His intelligence and hockey sense make him an above average defensive player as well. He projects as a depth forward, with upside as a skilled third-line player. He ranks No. 49 on the analytics board.
No. 112 Jake Livanavage, LD, Chicago Steel (USHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 161 lbs | Left shot | 3 goals, 42 assists, 61 games played
Notes: Livanavage is another “modern” defenseman with potential to provide playmaking, puck handling, and passing from the blue line and as a power play quarterback. Scouts criticized his passive defense, both in the neutral zone and in the defensive zone. Micro-stats indicate that Livanavage rarely created shots on goal himself. He has skills that warrant further development as a dart throw at this point in the draft. He ranks No. 92 on the analytics board.
No. 114 Tyson Jugnauth, LD, West Kelowna Warriors (BCHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’0″ | Weight: 161 lbs | Left shot | 9 goals, 41 assists, 52 games played
Notes: A lower level defenseman, scouts credited his passing and vision to create offense for his teammates. He will need to add size and physicality to hold up at the NHL level, particularly given his average skill level on that end. He also wasn’t tested in the same way his CHL cohort was, so there is a lot of projection here. But there is also potential for an offensive defenseman who can help on the power play if it all comes together for him. He is No. 83 on my analytics board.
No. 116 Tyler Duke, LD, USNTDP (USHL)
Age: 17 | Height: 5’9″ | Weight: 179 lbs | Left shot | 3 goals, 15 assists, 54 games played
Notes: Very highly ranked performer on the micro-statistics lists (his overall analytics rank is 57), Duke is another skilled but relatively undersized U.S. National Team Development Program defender. Duke drove breakouts and possession in transition and in the offensive zone at a high rate from his blue line position. Scouts credit his willingness to play as a modern rover defenseman but expressed some concern about his overall skating skill moving forward. Scouts also saw a lack of physicality. He is a skilled, relatively-young player worth serious consideration at this stage of the draft, but scouts are concerned his game may not translate above the college level. [Profile added on July 3, 2022]
No. 118 Matthew Ward, C/LW, Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’8″ | Weight: 157 lbs | Left shot | 22 goals, 35 assists, 64 games played
Notes: Ward is undersized but also a heady and productive offensive player. Some scouts question his ability to make an impact against elite competition, so his upside may be as a bottom-of-the-lineup player. He will need to add significant strength to his game to survive in that role. He may project best as a depth forward who makes occasional NHL impacts. He checks in at No. 87 on the analytics board.
No. 124 Alexander Pelevin, LD, Chaika Nizhny Novgorod (MHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 172 lbs | Left shot | 3 goals, 5 assists, 29 games played
Notes: A defensive defenseman projection, scouts credited both his technical and physical play in his own zone. Pelevin also registered as a productive player (his analytics rank is 75), even if he wasn’t scoring at a high rate in the MHL. Pelevin may not have elite upside, but looks like a solid projection to a bottom pair in the NHL. His above average skating does hint there could be a bit more upside there if it all comes together. [Profile added on July 3, 2022]
No. 131 Kirill Kudryavtsev, LD, Soo Greyhounds (OHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 201 lbs | Left shot | 5 goals, 34 assists, 68 games played
Notes: A high profile prospect, Kudryavtsev fell down the draft boards for some scouts after a season of middling production in the OHL. Other scouts still see a high upside projection as an offensive defenseman. Scouts credit his puck handling, vision, and passing in the offensive zone to create offense. On the other hand, some scouts see a player a step slow in processing or anticipating, particularly on defense. His analytical profile still rates marginally higher than this consensus draft slot; he’s No. 120 on the analytics board. Since it seems there may be a scouting reason to believe there is upside unrealized in his point production, he is an interesting prospect to consider in the middle rounds. [Profile added on July 4, 2022]
Fifth-round prospects (Seattle pick: 132)
No. 134 Daniil Ivanov, LD, MHK Spartak Moskva (MHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’4″ | Weight: 209 lbs | Left shot | 9 goals, 21 assists, 47 games played
Notes: A potentially underexposed draft-eligible player, some scouts liked the raw tools on display while other excellent services like Elite Prospects and McKeen’s did not even have him on their radar, despite lengthy draft boards. Ivanov is certainly a raw developmental project, but at this position in the draft, particularly for a team with an abundance of draft picks, there is appeal in that package. The scouts that ranked him liked that he combined excellent NHL size with NHL average mobility, but also noted his muted game impacts. Despite these production concerns, he ranked No. 82 on my analytics board. There may be a strong value play here.
No. 138 Brayden Schuurman, C, Victoria Royals (WHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’9″ | Weight: 192 lbs | Right shot | 29 goals, 25 assists, 68 games played
Notes: A goal-scoring forward, Schuurman’s shot receives average-to-above-average NHL grades from scouts. The rest of his game trails that skill, particularly his playmaking. His skating received differing grades from various scouts; where that shakes out could determine his future. Schuurman is physical and does not shy away from puck battles, which, combined with a decent shot, could facilitate a bottom-six role down the road if everything works in his development. He is No. 90 on the analytics board.
No. 139 Alexis Gendron, C, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 174 lbs | Left shot | 30 goals, 16 assists, 66 games played
Notes: Gendron was a primary offensive driver on a relatively poor offensive QMJHL team. Scouts credit his playmaking notwithstanding the low assist totals. His other tools, including his skating and shot, rank at average or just below. He currently carries a depth projection from most scouts, but he may be under-appreciated due to the weak offensive context in which he played. He compiled strong analytics and decent scoring production en route to a ranking at No. 96 on the analytics board. [Profile added on July 3, 2022]
No. 140 Daniil Orlov, LD, Sakhalinskiye Akuly (MHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 181 lbs | Left shot | 9 goals, 21 assists, 54 games played
Notes: Orlov is another potentially underexposed Russian player because he has not yet cracked Russia’s lineup for international play. But those that have seen him in the MHL like his physical defensive play and note that he has enough skating skill to bring value in all zones. Scouts suggest his offensive instincts need significant refinement. He is No. 80 on the analytics board. The number of unknowns keep him outside my list of most preferred targets.
No. 142 Joel Jonsson, RW, Mora IK J20 (J20 Nationell)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’9″ | Weight: 152 lbs | Left shot | 8 goals, 26 assists, 30 games played
Notes: According to scouts Jonsson “wins” with his motor and tenacity on the forecheck. His stature and physical tools all fall below average, but he seemingly willed himself into being a strong junior player and some scouts don’t bet against that continuing at the higher levels, at least to the level of a bottom-six or depth role. His analytics rank is 118. [Profile added on July 3, 2022]
No. 143 Hudson Thornton, LD, Prince George Cougars (WHL)*
Age: 18 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 181 lbs | Left shot | 14 goals, 31 assists, 65 games played
Notes: Thornton produced offense at a high level for a first-time draft eligible WHL player, leading such blueliners in goals and checking in third in total points (behind only Kevin Korchinski and Denton Mateychuk). He played heavy minutes at a young age (which facilitated this point production), including time on both the power play and the penalty kill. He activates well on offense, has the skill to finish, and vision to find teammates. Scouts also see solid defense predicated on active feet and quality play anticipation. On the downside, scouts noted a lack of discipline and mistakes in breakouts and transitions. Since these seem like issues that could be ironed out in further development, and Thornton ranks highly on my analytics board (No. 67 overall), he is one of my very favorite picks if he is available at any point in the fourth or fifth round.
No. 148 Dmitri Buchelnikov, LW, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 168 lbs | Right shot | 41 goals, 34 assists, 56 games played
Notes: Buchelnikov is a Russian re-entry candidate, but a relatively young one. He is, for example, only a couple weeks older than Reid Schaefer. Buchelnikov was extremely productive in the MHL as a goal scoring winger. Scouts credit his skating and hands, but he remains slight in frame and there needs to be significant development to reach the NHL. I can’t help but think he’d be ranked much higher if he were a late September 2003 birthday (and first time draft eligible player) instead of an early September 2003 birthday. (His 15.75 NHLe would put him solidly in the first round conversation.) He is interesting.
No. 152 Gustav Karlsson, C, Örebro HK J20 (J20 Nationell)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’1″ | Weight: 165 lbs | Left shot | 31 goals, 17 assists, 48 games played
Notes: He is on the older end of the spectrum for a first-time draft-eligible player, still has a slight frame, and played almost exclusively at the lower levels in Sweden. But his goal scoring production was strong. Scouts see an above-average shot. At the junior level he won with his skating too, but some scouts had mechanical concerns with his stride. In the end it is his (lack of) physicality that makes him a difficult projection. If he can add that element and a bit more playmaking to his goal scoring touch, he has a chance to breakout. He is No. 95 on the analytics board.
Other Notable Prospects (Seattle picks: 164, 196)
No. 162 Rodwin Dionicio, LD, Niagara IceDogs (OHL)*
Age: 18 | Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 207 lbs | Left shot | 6 goals, 25 assists, 57 games played
Notes: Intelligent and physical on the blue line, Dionicio delivers some defensive-defenseman potential, but marries that up with above-average passing skill and game vision on the offensive end to facilitate his teammates from the blue line. Put together there is a ton to like at this position in the draft. Some scouts voiced concern about his overall athleticism and movement skills on the ice. His point production was inconsistent, though it picked up later in the year. He ranks No. 107 on the analytics board. His defensive potential, without abandoning offense, make him a preferred target of mine at this point in the draft.
No. 169 Maxim Barbashev, LW, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’1″ | Weight: 183 lbs | Left shot | 15 goals, 27 assists, 59 games played
Analytics rank: The younger brother of Ivan Barbashev, Maxim Barbashev used his physicality and above-average shot to produce at the junior level. Some scouts question his skating and hockey sense, which limits his current projection in their eyes to a bottom line or depth role. He is No. 130 on the analytics board.
No. 176 Thomas Milic, G, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Age: 19 | Height: 6’0″ | Weight: 170 lbs | Left glove | 2.44 GAA, .912 S%, 47 games played
Notes: OK, after 60 analytics-driven write ups, here is a final entry that is admittedly sentimental. Have I talked myself into believing that Milic is better than many of the alternatives in the later stages of the draft? Yes, I have. On the other hand, a large number of roughly similar candidates will likely go undrafted and be available to sign as free agents. The knock on Milic is his size, as most question Milic’s reported 6’0″ stature (and even at that height, he is very small by NHL standards). Milic is a re-entry candidate after going undrafted last year. He put up good-but-not-elite numbers for Seattle as the primary goalie, but his playoff push was inspiring.
No. 181 Elmeri Laakso, LD, SaiPa U20 (U20 SM-sarja)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’1″ | Weight: 185 lbs | Left shot | 7 goals, 11 assists, 25 games played
Analytics rank: No. 89
No. 195 Jake Richard, RW, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
Age: 17 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 165 lbs | Right shot | 18 goals, 29 assists, 56 games played
Analytics rank: No. 105
No. 208 Benjamin King, C, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Age: 20 | Height: 6’3″ | Weight: 201 lbs | Right shot | 52 goals, 53 assists, 68 games played
Notes: Overage re-entry candidate. His 52 goals leads the draft class when setting aside U.S. high school players.
No. 212 Semyon Sinyatkin, RW, MHK Dynamo St. Petersburg (MHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 183 lbs | Left shot | 21 goals, 14 assists, 55 games played
Analytics rank: No. 117
No. 230 Lukas Gustafsson, LD, Chicago Steel (USHL)
Age: 19 | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 190 lbs | Left shot | 11 goals, 27 assists, 59 games played
Notes: Overage re-entry candidate; analytics rank: No. 112.
No. 231 Jiri Tichacek, LD, Rytiri Kladno (Czechia)
Age: 19 | Height: 5’9″ | Weight: 170 lbs | Left shot | 2 goals, 6 assists, 41 games played
Notes: Overage re-entry candidate; analytics rank: No. 94
No. 243 Raul Yakupov, F, Reaktor Nizhnekamsk (MHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’1″ | Weight: 168 lbs | Left shot | 30 goals, 16 assists, 54 games played
Analytics rank: No. 112
No. 259 Adam Bares, RW/LW, Pelicans U18 (U18 SM-sarja)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’9″ | Weight: 159 lbs | Right shot | 11 goals, 23 assists, 29 games played
Analytics rank: No. 109.
No. 260 Kenta Isogai, F, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
Age: 17 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 154 lbs | Right shot | 10 goals, 12 assists, 59 games played
Analytics rank: No. 107
No. 271 Vinny Borgesi, RD, Tri-City Storm (USHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’8″ | Weight: 172 lbs | Right shot | 5 goals, 32 assists, 57 games played
Analytics rank: No. 73
No. 284 Alex Sotek, RW, HK Poprad U20 (Slovakia U20)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’0″ | Weight: 176 lbs | Right shot | 4 goals, 10 assists, 7 games played
Analytics rank: N/A
No. 288 William Proos, LW, Almtuna IS (HockeyAllsvenskan)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’3″ | Weight: 192 lbs | Left shot | 6 goals, 5 assists, 34 games played
Analytics rank: No. 100
(Unranked) Vasili Atanasov, C, Mamonty Yugry (MHL)
Age: 19 | Height: 6’0″ | Weight: 192 lbs | Right shot | 39 goals, 28 assists, 54 games played
Notes: Overage re-entry candidate.
(Unranked) Nikita Buruyanov, RW, MHK Dynamo St. Petersburg (MHL)
Age: 19 | Height: 5’10” | Weight: 172 lbs | Left shot | 28 goals, 29 assists, 39 games played
Notes: Overage re-entry candidate
(Unranked) Theo Keilin, C/LW, Skellefteå AIK J20 (J20 Nationell)
Age: 18 | Height: 5’11” | Weight: 181 lbs | Right shot | 30 goals, 16 assists, 42 games played
Analytics rank: No. 79
(Unranked) Connor McClennon, RW, Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
Age: 20 | Height: 5’8″ | Weight: 161 lbs | Right shot | 43 goals, 38 assists, 62 games played
Notes: Overage re-entry candidate.
(Unranked) Konstantin Morozhnikov, F, Snezhnye Barsy Astana (Kazakhstan)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 198 lbs | Right shot | 5 goals, 10 assists, 32 games played
Analytics rank: No. 114
(Unranked) Jake Sloan, F, Tri-City Americans (WHL)
Age: 18 | Height: 6’4″ | Weight: 214 lbs | Right shot | 17 goals, 16 assists, 57 games played
Analytics rank: No. 99
(Unranked) Yaroslav Tsulygin, RD, Tolpar Ufa (MHL)
Age: 17 | Height: 6’0″ | Weight: 192 lbs | Right shot | 10 goals, 17 assists, 53 games played
Analytics rank: No. 77
*Updated on July 1, 2022 (1:45 pm PT) with final Big Board rankings*
*Updated on July 3, 2022 (4:15 pm PT) with updated rankings and additional profiles based on results of the final analytics board*
*Updated on July 4, 2022 (10:00 am PT) with updated rankings and an additional profile based on results of the final analytics board*
Wow! Fantastic article! As a Kraken fan who has been eating up all the Draft info I can get, this helps put it into Kraken context!
With all the picks GMRF has at his disposal, future SOH podcasts will have to devote significant time to Down On The Farm (MOOO!) segments!
Thank you, Mike. And we can only hope! Moooo!
Thanks Curtis. I really enjoy all your articles and research.
Question on Ben King. I understand he is over age (20), but leading the WHL in scoring with 52 goals seems like a good reason for a team to jump at him sooner than the 204 ranking the big board suggests. Why does being over age drop him so low? Seems like he would a good draft pick for anyone that needs scoring. At 6’3 he has the NHL frame, 52 goals shows a scoring touch and Kraken could use players in Coachella Valley.
Just looking at his stat line and size, he looks like a sure fire 1st round/2nd round pick. How does being 20 slip him to the 6th/7th round?
I agree with you. I find him interesting. So I don’t have a perfect answer, but I’ll try. Age is very important to NHL teams because the gap between junior hockey and the NHL is enormous. Drafting is all about age curves and projection. Teams do a lot of work to figure out the profiles of prospects that actually “make it.” Byron Bader does this over at Hockey Prospecting. And if you don’t score/produce early, it is very often true that you’re not going to make it in the NHL. Just based on precedent.
Now, King’s goal scoring was prodigious in the WHL. But, applying some back-of-the-napkin NHL equivalency math to King’s WHL output, he would still only be expected to score 8 or 9 goals over a full NHL season. You still need to see development if he’s going to be more than a borderline NHL/AHL player. And at his age, he may have only a little bit more upward potential left before he hits his peak in his age 22 or 23 seasons.
He’ll certainly get signed by a team eventually. I think the draft-or-not-draft question is “does he bring anything else to the table besides scoring?” I think King does so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him taken. But, if he does, it will probably be late. Unfortunately.