The 2022 NHL Draft is set to take place on Thursday, July 7 with the first round. The rest of the draft, rounds 2-7, will takes place on Friday, July 8, at Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. The Montreal Canadiens were able to secure the No. 1 overall selection in the draft via the draft lottery. The Habs finished last in the NHL standings a year after advancing to the Stanley Cup Final. Let’s take a look at who the top prospect in the draft is and who the Habs should select with the pick.
2022 NHL top prospects
There are two players at the top of most draft boards. One if Kingston Frontenacs center Shane Wright, who is the top skater in North America on NHL Central Scouting. The other is Slovakian wing Juraj Slafkovsky, who is the top European skater on NHL Central Scouting.
In a consolidated ranking of the top prospects, Wright is No. 1 on Elite Prospects. TSN’s Bob McKenzie has Slafkovsky going No. 1 overall to the Habs and he has an amazing track record of nailing the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Here are McKenzie’s final rankings. Here’s a look at Bobby Margarita projecting the first pick. Now, I’m not entirely sure if this is accurate, but if it is, he’s gotten every first pick correct since 2009, when the New York Islanders took John Tavares.
Some of the picks are tough calls. Others were pretty easy (Tavares, MacKinnon, McDavid, Matthews, Dahlin, Hughes, Lafreniere). A few were tougher to make, but he’s also the most informed reporter in hockey. His choice in that show jumped Slafkovsky from a long-shot to +140 on DraftKings Sportsbook as of July 5.
Either way, this isn’t an easy call as to who the top prospect is, and this is without even including Logan Cooley and the other top defensemen in Simon Nemec and David Jiricek. It’s very unlikely any of those three end up going in the top-2 in the draft, but not impossible.
Cooley was being talked about for the Devils depending on who the Habs select. Montreal could use a center and Wright makes sense. The Canadiens could also view Nick Suzuki as the top-line center of the future and want to pair him with a power wing in Slafkovsky. If we had to choose who the top prospect is, we’d go with Wright, who has been the guy seemingly all year until closer to the draft. It’s a weak class but that doesn’t mean Wright won’t turn into a solid two-way middle-six center. It isn’t Sidney Crosby or McDavid, but it isn’t the worst thing in the world for a team that made it to the Cup Final a season ago.