As we know, the Vancouver Canucks are presently selecting 15th-overall in the NHL Draft first-round on July 7th. Marco D’Amico of Montreal Hockey Now put together this mock draft a month ahead of the event. We have abridged some of the thoughts for certain clubs.
By the way, the Vancouver Canucks do not have a 2nd rounder, but for now will be selecting in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th rounds on July 8th.
VHN has only included the picks from the Montreal Canadiens through to the Vancouver Canucks for this article.
1. Montreal Canadiens – (C) Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs, OHL)
The probable 1st overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, Shane Wright, has been talked about for years now as a potential No.1 Center in the NHL. Wright is sound in all three zones, can be used in all situations and has great vision with a devastating wrist shot (that he should use far more often than he currently is). He already plays an NHL game, and his qualities will translate without much worry to the NHL level.
2. New Jersey Devils – (LW) Juraj Slafkovsky (TPS Turku, Finnish Liiga)
This is a pick the Vancouver Canucks have apparently expressed an interest in. Slafkovsky is a big boy standing at 6’4 and 225 lbs, but also possesses the skill, speed and hockey IQ necessary to be a prime power forward in the NHL. He plays an extremely fun possession game, using his large frame to protect the puck and allows him to be effective in any cycle game a coach wants to impose. He’s one of the most unique players in the NHL Draft this year and has some scouts considering him for the top spot.
With a logjam at center in New Jersey due to former 1st overall picks Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes, it’s easy to see why New Jersey would choose Slafkovsky to add some much-needed size and skill to their wings.
3. Arizona, Coyotes – (C) Logan Cooley (USA National Team Development Program)
The Arizona Coyotes end up selecting an equally exciting prospect in Logan Cooley. The speedy and dynamic center is precisely what Arizona is lacking in their prospect pool moving forward; elite offensive skill and a mature two-way game that will solidify their top-6 for years to come.
4. Seattle Kraken – (D) Simon Nemec (Nitra MHC, Slovak League)
Simon Nemec is one of the more explosive defencemen in the NHL Draft. He can patrol the offensive blue-line quite effectively, often walking the line with the puck in such confidence and showing great patience before making the smart pass to an open player once he’s found the passing lane. Further to that, Nemec isn’t shy about pinching in the offensive zone, and is very calculated in doing so.
5. Philadelphia Flyers – (C/LW) Cutter Gauthier (USA NTDP)
The Philadelphia Flyers will look to add some size and skill to their top-6, and Gauthier could be exactly what they need in their retool. He projects to be a top-6 power forward capable of owning the boards, generating a ton of scoring chances and being very effective in front of the net. USA NTDP product.
6. Columbus Blue Jackets (via Chicago) – (C/RW) Matthew Savoie (Winnipeg Ice, WHL)
The Columbus Blue Jackets debate for a while over who to take next, but ultimately settle on the more dynamic and electric player in Matthew Savoie. The youngster possesses the speed, skill and shooting ability needed to thrive, be it at center or right-wing, in the NHL. He plays a very gritty game for a 5’9 forward and isn’t shy about getting his nose dirty when it matters most.
7. Ottawa Senators – (D) David Jiricek (Pizen HC, Czech League)
David Jiricek’s knee injury is behind him, and he looks to have come back better than ever. He possesses the dynamic skill and physical attributes to be an all-around defenceman capable of playing top minutes in all situations, and he still has room to grow. His long reach, impressive size, great mobility and cannon of a shot make him a very attractive player at this junction of the NHL Draft.
8. Detroit Red Wings – (C) Frank Nazar (USA Hockey NTDP)
Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings have settled their defence over the last few years and now ensure their future at the center position by drafting hometown boy Frank Nazar. Nazar plays a 200-ft game predicated on top speed and excellent anticipation.
9. Buffalo Sabres – (RW/C) Jonathan Lekkerimäki (Djurgardens, Swedish Juniors)
The Buffalo Sabres continue adding dynamic forwards to the fold with their selection of Swedish standout Jonathan Lekkerimäki. The gifted forward plays a very intelligent game predicated on sound decision-making and elite puck protection. He helps a line to generate offence on a consistent basis, and his high Hockey IQ helps him make those around him better.
10. Anaheim Ducks – (RW) Joakim Kemell (JyP HT Jyvaskyla, Finnish Liiga)
Joakim Kemell is one of the purest goal-scorers in the 2022 NHL Draft and would help the Anaheim Ducks round out their forward core, giving franchise centerman Trevor Zegras a triggerman to finish his plays.
11. San Jose Sharks – (C) Marco Kasper (Rogle BK, Swedish Juniors)
Marco Kasper has vaulted up the rankings after an impressive season in the Swedish Hockey League and a strong showing at the World Championships for Austria. He plays a strong game in all three zones, making him quite the underrated puck carrier. On top of his puck protection abilities, Kasper does not shy away from going to the danger areas and is quite effective at deflecting shots or corralling loose pucks in-tight in order to bring them to the net. He likes to create havoc in front of the net and likes to drive the puck there, making him a handful for defenders.
12. Columbus Blue Jackets – (D) Kevin Korchinski (Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL)
The Columbus Blue Jackets continue their haul at the 2022 NHL Draft, as there is likely no defenceman available at this rank that would be more electric and impactful than Kevin Korchinski. The Seattle Thunderbirds’ rearguard has exploded up the ranks due to his rapid growth and ability to impact the play in all three zones.
13. NY Islanders – (C/RW) Brad Lambert (Pelicans, Finnish Liiga)
Lambert’s game is all about speed and skill, as he’s capable of making plays at top speed without breaking stride or form. He is a very dangerous playmaker that can play both center and wing; which could provide the Islanders with many options down the line as their young forward corps continue to grow.
14. Winnipeg Jets – (C) Conor Geekie (Winnipeg Ice, WHL)
Geekie has the best overall potential at this rank and could truly emerge as a top-6 C for the Jets if he is able to continue improving his skating over the next few years. Playing in the Jet’s backyard for the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice, Geekie plays a heavy and skilled game that resembles the style the Jets tend to look for in their top players.
15. Vancouver Canucks – (D) Pavel Mintyukov (Saginaw Spirit, OHL)
The Vancouver Canucks have a glut of top-end forwards that have made their way into the lineup, but continue to have difficulty building out a consistent defensive corps outside of Quinn Hughes and the emerging Jack Rathbone. Mintyukov could bring some of that dynamic offensive and transition ability to help take a load off Hughes moving forward.
Capable of playing both left and right, Mintyukov has a penchant for transition, as he loves to bring the pucks up the ice himself or initiate the quick breakout with ease. He loves to jump into the rush and carry the puck into the offensive zone himself. Despite not having elite speed, he moves up the ice so effortlessly that it’s fun to see him move around on the ice. He would certainly fit into what the Vancouver Canucks are trying to build.
Mintyukov tallied 62 points in 67 Ontario Hockey League games this past season for the Saginaw (Michigan) Spirit.