READ ALSO : Draft 2022: The year of Shane Wright | QMJHL: Five prospects to watch for 2022
The list includes the best prospects from all minor leagues in North America and Europe. It will be updated throughout the season as scouts evaluate players.
« Shane Wright is the hottest prospect heading into the 2021-22 season and there will be other candidates looking to snatch him as the frontrunner to make the year interesting, » Central Bureau manager Dan Marr said. . Shane stands out for the way he approaches the game to compete using his exceptional skating, skill and intelligence. Perhaps the greatest compliment is the fact that he plays in a way that makes the other players around him better.
“His style of play is akin to a mix between that of Nico Hishier (New Jersey Devils) and Mathew Barzal (New York Islanders), two players who play with determination and have a direct impact on the game.”
Check out the full list of players to watch
Wright (6-foot, 185 pounds) could become the first Kingston Frontenacs player of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) to be selected first overall in an NHL draft. In its history, Kingston has seen two of its players drafted third overall – Chris Gratton, Tampa Bay Lightning in 1993, and Erik GudbransonFlorida Panthers in 2010. Wright has four points (two goals, two assists) in three games so far this season.
The 23 A-rated players on the preliminary roster are considered potential first-round picks. Players who receive a B rating are considered possible second or third round picks, while those who receive a C rating have the potential to be drafted in subsequent rounds.
Wright, a right-handed center who turns 18 on January 5, shone as a 17-year-old at the 2021 World Under-18 Championship with 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in five games as captain from Canada. He is expected to be an important part of the Canadian team at the 2022 World Junior Championship, which will be held in Edmonton and Red Deer from December 26 to January 5.
« He’s a good two-way player, he’s got good habits and he’s got a great shot with an unpredictable quickdraw that can beat goaltenders from any angle, » Central Bureau Joey Tenute said. Shane is the definition of a hockey player and will be a franchise player in the NHL in a few years. »
Wright was playing with the Don Mills Flyers in the Midget AAA when Hockey Canada gave him Outstanding Player status in March 2019. He was then selected No. Canadian Hockey League rookie of the year after scoring 66 points (39 goals, 27 assists) in 58 games in 2019-20.
Last season, Wright was only able to play in the Under-18 tournament as the OHL canceled its season due to the pandemic.
Among the top-rated players expected to be selected in the first half of the first round are strikers Ivan Miroshnichenko of Omsk in the Russian second division, Joakim Kemell and Brad Lambert, who play with JYP in the Liiga, the top Hockey League in Finland, Juraj Slafkovsky of TPS in Finland, and Logan Cooley of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP) Under-18.
Cooley is one of five NTDP players to receive an A rating. Left wingers Isaac Howard (5-10, 182) and Cutter Gauthier (6-2, 189), center Frank Nazar (5-10, 175) and defenseman Ryan Chesley (6-0, 187) are the others.
« The NTDP has a strong core of talented and dynamic prospects, » Marr said. They play fast, know how to make plays, and are fierce competitors. »
Cooley had eight points (four goals, four assists) in six games. He had two assists in five appearances for the United States at the 2021 World Under-18 Championship.
“I love everything about [Cooley], skating, puck skills,” said Craig Button, TSN director of scouting, NHL analyst and former league general manager. “He is a fluid and talented center. When he stood out at the Under-18 Worlds, he wasn’t just a team player, he was a crucial player every time he stepped on the ice. »
Kemell (5-11, 171), a 17-year-old right-winger, leads the Liiga with 15 points (10 goals, five assists) while averaging 17:03 minutes per game in 13 appearances for JYP. Lambert (6-0, 175), a right-handed center, had one assist in nine games; he missed four games due to injury.
Miroshnichenko (6-1, 185) has five points (three goals, two assists) in 14 games with Omsk in the Supreme Hockey League, the second-best league in Russia after the Continental League (KHL). He had 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 20 minor league games in 2020-21.
« Ivan is a very good skater and a great puck handler, » said Goran Stubb, director of European Central Scouting. He can create scoring chances with quick and surprising moves, he has a great work ethic and he never stops skating. »
Slafkovsky (6-3, 218), a Slovakian center playing in Finland, had one assist in eight games with TPS.
« He can play center or wing and skates surprisingly well for a big guy, » Stubb said. He has good vision and understands the game well. His strengths include skating, puck control, passing skill and shooting. »
Jack Hughes (5-11, 165) is the only NCAA player to receive an A rating. Center, who is unrelated to Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils or quinn hughes of the Vancouver Canucks, scored one goal in four games.
« Jack is a very good first-round candidate, » Marr said. He plays with a high degree of energy and is quick and tenacious. »