The 2022 NHL Draft is set to take place on Thursday, July 7, with the first round and then the rest of the draft on Friday, July 8, at Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. The hometown Montreal Canadiens have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft after winning the lottery a year after making it to the Stanley Cup Final. We’ll go over a little bit of what they should do with the first pick on Thursday.
2022 NHL Draft first pick: Montreal Canadiens
The Habs have the first selection and are looking more at a rebuild than a retool for a team who just made it to the Cup Final in 2020-21. Montreal really needs help down the middle at center and it makes all the sense in the world to go with Shane Wright out of Kingston. He’s a center with good size who has upside to be a solid 1-2C in the NHL. He’s the safest pick. That’s why people are overthinking this draft overall.
The other option is Slovakian wing Juraj Slafkovsky, who has climbed up draft boards after international play. He projects to be a risky power wing who has a ton of skill and ability, but teams have seen what has happened with Patrik Laine more recently and are scared a bit. Slafkovsky’s comps are a Rick Nash prototype, someone who can score 30-40 goals a season. That could be something the Habs covet or let pass to the New Jersey Devils or another team.
Wright is the heavy favorite at -265 as of Tuesday, July 5 on DraftKings Sportsbook. Slafkovsky is +115 to go first overall to the Habs.
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