The two buried gems of the 2022 draft

Very often in recent years we have seen players drafted in the second half of the first round (and even further!) become pillars for the team that drafted them.

We need only think of the cases of David Pastrnak, Thomas Hertl and Teuvo Teravainen, for example.

During their weekly segment at “JiC”, journalists Nicolas Cloutier and Anthony Martineau had fun revealing the player who, according to them, could constitute the “wild card” of the 2022 auction.

Cloutier was the first to go. He stopped his choice on a skater full of talent, who is however far from unanimous: Brad Lambert.

« A ‘wild card’ is for me the definition of a guy you talk about five years later asking yourself: ‘how did he get out so late in his draft?’

“For me, that player in 2022 is Brad Lambert. His skating style is poetry on ice. Even if he is ranked 10th on the Central European list, I think he has all the tools to become a spectacular top 6 forward. He is probably the guy with the best skating in the draft.

The journalist then continued by addressing a point that often comes up when it comes to Brad Lambert’s true potential: his weak offensive production.

“We can talk about points. No problem with that. Four goals and ten points in 49 games in the Liiga this season. It’s not enough, we agree on that. But I would still like to put a downside. This circuit is really not offensive. The top scorer has presented a record of 26 goals in 55 games this season. That’s 38 in an 82-game season.

“Meanwhile, in the NHL, 19 players have scored 38+ goals this season! So I think we can give the benefit of the doubt to Lambert, who has very sporadic playing time, just as we can also give the benefit of the doubt to Slafkovsky.

The “Phillip Danault” of 2022?

Anthony Martineau, for his part, chose to go for an Austrian center player whose game on 200 feet is very close to being flawless: Marco Kasper.

“In Montreal, we were able to see how vital the presence of a player like Phillip Danault was to the success of a team. I think Kasper looks a lot like him. We talk about him far too little in my opinion, although a little more in recent days because of his good performance at the World Championship.

“This guy excels in all three areas. He skates well, wins face-offs, gets involved and is always the first to fall back. He’s also excellent when chasing the puck carrier: he creates a lot of turnovers and has a very active stick.

Martineau went on to bring to the table the quality of Kasper that he considers to be the most important.

“His greatest quality, and the one that I think brings him the closest to Danault, is his work ethic. When you arrive in the NHL at 17-18 years old, all the guys are good, all the guys have talent. So how do you manage to distinguish yourself in this jungle? By working harder than others. And this is precisely the trademark of Marco Kasper. This guy, I’m not afraid to put it forward, has the potential to become a second luxury center in the NHL.

A little later, the two journalists answered Jean-Charles Lajoie’s question, whether the players presented were going to be drafted in the first round.

“In the case of Kasper, between 14th and 30th. In Lambert’s case, he’s just too talented to pass up in the first round. It’s simply a must,” replied Martineau.

“Lambert will not go to the second first-round pick of the Canadiens, chained Cloutier. But Kasper, him, maybe.

Watch the full segment in the main video.

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