10 best prospects heading in to the 2022 NHL Draft

Juraj Slafkovsky
Feb 19, 2022; Beijing, China; Team Slovakia forward Juraj Slafkovsky (20) celebrates winning the bronze medal men s ice hockey game against Sweden during the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at National Indoor Stadium. Slovakia won the game 4-0. Mandatory Credit: George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports

This year might be the most challenging year to decide on the best NHL Draft prospects 2022. With all the development issues due to the pandemic, along with the battle for who will go first overall, this draft will be full of surprising picks.

Best NHL Draft prospects 2022

The NHL Draft order in 2022 will have the Montreal Canadiens selecting first with the number one pick. The New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes will select second and third respectively. To round out the top five, we have the Seattle Kraken with the fourth pick and the Philadelphia Flyers with pick number five.

Looking at the best NHL Draft prospects 2022, there are many players who could end up going in the top 10 this year. There is a good idea as to who will be selected in the top three, but there is still some uncertainty about the order. As for the picks after number six? It gets challenging to project the rest of the top NHL prospects.

10. Brad Lambert, Finland

There is a lot of volatility when it comes to where Brad Lambert may fall in the upcoming draft.

Lambert can play both center and right-wing. The biggest unknown with Lambert is his consistency. He is capable of scoring goals, which he did throughout his 2019-2020 season in addition to the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He is also capable of long stretches without getting on the score sheet.

His top skills include his speed and quickness. Where he needs to improve is his vision and decision-making. He has all the skills to be one of the best NHL Draft class prospects for 2022, but we’ll see if any of the teams picking in the top 10 agree.

9. Cutter Gauthier, USA

A 6’3” left-winger, Cutter Gauthier looks like a forward built for the NHL level.

Gauthier brings with him a lot of potential. He is a proven goal scorer with his shoot-first mentality. He is a big presence on the ice and can power his way through to get open in front of the net.


In his 54 games with the U.S. National U18 Team in 2021-2022, Gauthier scored 34 goals and had 65 points. Some of his best attributes are his physicality, his quick release on his wrist shot, and his skating.

8. Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Sweden

Jonathan Lekkerimaki is just 17 years old yet is one of the best NHL Draft prospects 2022 has to offer.

He is a 5’11” right-winger, who has competed for Sweden in the most recent U18 World Junior Championships. In six games during the tournament, Lekkerimaki had 15 points, which included five goals and 10 assists. At the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, he scored five goals in five games.

Although he will have to work on his defensive awareness and positioning to eventually be a top-six forward, he definitely has the skills on the offensive end. Lekkerimaki loves to score goals, and with his great shooting accuracy and quick release, he should turn out to be a great player from the draft.

7. Joakim Kemell, Finland

Joakim Kemell is a 5’10” right winger from Finland. He has quick, explosive speed, and has the potential to be a top-six forward in the NHL.

With his home club JYP in Finland, Kemell had 23 points in 39 games. He did end off the season playing his best at the U18 World Junior Championships. Kemell had six goals and eight points in just five games played at the tournament in Germany.

Although he is listed here at number seven, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him drafted even earlier.

6. Matthew Savoie, Canada

An 18-year-old center from Alberta, Canada, Matthew Savoie put on a show in the WHL last season.

In 65 games last season with the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice, Savoie had 90 points in just 65 games, which included scoring 35 goals. In the playoffs, he added another 12 points in just 10 games.

What stands out the most is Savoie’s offense. His creativity, speed, and elite skill make him stand out when he is on the ice. He is all offense and has the ability to be a top-three forward for an NHL team. What Savoie lacks is his defense, as it looks like he will always be a liability on the defensive end.

5. David Jiricek, Czech Republic

Although the best goalie prospects in 2022 NHL Draft are far from the top 10, there are a couple of defensemen in the mix for the top picks. One of them is right-shot defenseman David Jiricek.

At 6’3” and 190lbs, Jiricek is a tall defenseman with a high IQ of the game. He is an active defenseman with a great two-way game. He was injured earlier in the season, which slowed down his draft hype, but has risen again after his return.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him as the number one defenseman taken in the draft. Picking him comes with little risk, as he has a high ceiling in the NHL.

4. Simon Nemec, Slovakia

If Jiricek doesn’t get selected as the first defenseman in the draft, it will be because of Simon Nemec.

Nemec is a 6’0” right-shot defenseman who is surprisingly strong. What makes him so special is his playmaking abilities. He understands the game very well, and his vision allows him to make great plays at both ends of the ice.

He will definitely be the one to make the extra pass instead of taking the shot and will be the facilitator on the power play. On the defensive end, Nemec will chase down pucks in the corners and can shut down the opposing team on the penalty kill.

3. Juraj Slafkovsky, Slovakia

One of the best NHL Draft prospects 2022 has in store, Juraj Slafkovsky could be drafted anywhere from first to third on draft night.

Slafkovsky is a 6’4” forward who has shown that he can score goals. He has been rising in the draft rankings as of late, and his Olympics performance is a big reason for that. Playing for Slovakia at the Winter Games, Slafkovsky scored seven goals in seven games, leading the team to a bronze medal.

With his size, he positions himself well at the net and is aggressive when it comes time to battle for the puck along the wall. He has a high hockey IQ and will be one of the first three names called in the 2022 draft.

2. Logan Cooley, USA

Logan Cooley is a can’t-miss prospect in this year’s draft.

Cooley is a 5’11” center who shoots left. He is from Pennsylvania, USA, and played 51 games with the U18 National Team during the 2021-2022 season. In those 51 games, Cooley scored 27 goals and had 75 points. At the U18 World Junior Championships, Cooley had 10 points in just six games for the United States.

What makes Cooley stand out among his peers is his ability to make a big play every time he steps out on the ice. He has a high IQ and a strong work ethic that will take him far in the NHL.

1. Shane Wright, Canada

As far as the best NHL Draft prospects 2022 go, Shane Wright is the one with the most potential.

Wright is a 6’1” center from Ontario, Canada. There isn’t much Wright can do wrong. He is fast, strong, works hard, and can see up the ice really well. As good as he is on the offensive end, he is just as good on the defensive end. He is an elite two-way player.

In 63 games with the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs in 2021-2022, Wright scored 32 goals and had 94 points. He can handle both the power play and penalty kill and has the potential to be one of the best centers in the NHL.

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About Justin Gincauskas 32 Articles
Justin Gincauskas is a professional writing major at Kutztown University. He is also a member of the Kutztown Men's Tennis Team. Justin has a passion for sports and hopes to turn his professional writing major into a career in the field of sports writing.

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