There is not a generational talent for this draft. Holder of the first choice for the first time since 1980, the Canadian will analyze three candidates in Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky and Logan Cooley.
“This is not the ideal year to speak in the front row since there is not a young phenomenon, recalled a recruiter from the East to the Journal. The Canadian will be under pressure. You can't go wrong on number one. Despite a wind of criticism and doubts in recent months, I would still bet on Wright. He's a smart, responsible center and he'll be playing in the NHL for a long time. »
This prediction comes from the mouth of a single recruiter. To build its simulated draft, Le Journal surveyed nine (four from the East and five from the West). Of the nine spies, seven agreed to get wet predicting the top 32 picks in the first round.
Wright received three of six votes for the top, as did Cooley, a center from Pittsburgh. Only one bet on the big winger in Slafkovsky.
“Cooley is the most creative and spectacular guy in the draft,” said a West scout. When he takes the puck, you look at him. He has an awesome competitive spirit. There is not a single bad day with him. »
CH also holds the 26th pick in the first round.
This simulated draft will serve as a starter kit to better follow the amateur auction that will take place at the Bell Center on Thursday (first round) and Friday (second to seventh rounds).
1. Montreal Canadiens
Center, Canadian, Kingston (OHL)
We choose caution before the circuit. Three of our spies kept Wright at the top, portraying him as a good future center in the NHL without having the spectacular appearance there. "He's responsible and cerebral, qualities for a long NHL career," said a Western scout.
2. New Jersey Devils
Left winger, Slovak, TPS Turku (Finland)
The Devils already have Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier at center. Winners of the second lottery, the Devils dreamed of adding a winger who could score several goals. They have their man in Slafkovsky, in addition to getting a big 6'4", 229lb winger.
3. Arizona Coyotes
Center, American, USA (under 18)
There are recruiters who placed him at the top of the class in Montreal. But Cooley will eventually land in the Arizona desert. The Coyotes will be happy to add a dynamic and spectacular center capable of keeping the future 5,000 fans in Tempe on their toes!
4. Crack the Seattle
Simon the German
Defender, Slovak, Nitra (Slovakia)
In his first season, the Kraken drafted center Matty Beniers with the second overall pick. A year later, Ron Francis continues to build his young team by turning to the best defenseman in this draft with Simon Nemec. "He's mobile, smart and has great potential," said a Western scout.
5. Philadelphia Flyers
Right winger, Finns, JYP (Finland)
For the first time since the disappointment of Nolan Patrick in 2017, the Flyers have a top-5 pick. They will trust a winger with Kemell. “He's not just a good scorer, he's got a great competitive spirit and he's looking to make a difference,” said a West scout.
6. Blue Jackets de Columbus (1)
Defender, Czech, Plzen (Czech Republic)
The Blue Jackets received this pick from the Blackhawks in the trade for Seth Jones. A year later, they will find a right-handed defender to fill part of the void. At 6'3", Jiricek has the physique for the job as well as a good sense of the game.
7. Ottawa Senators
Right Winger, Sweden, Djurgarden (Sweden)
Pierre Dorion has already said that he was listening to offers for this choice. Last year, the Senators caused an upset with winger Tyler Boucher in 10th place. They will go with a more logical choice this summer with one of the good scorers in this draft in Lekkerimaki.
8. Red Wings de detroit
Left winger, American, USA (U18)
Steve Yzerman and the Wings have a flair for talent. They wouldn't be disappointed to open the doors of "Hockey Town" to Gauthier, a power winger who can also play center. “He has dog, he skates well and he has a good shot,” said a Western scout.
9. Buffalo Sabers
Center, Canadian, Winnipeg (WHL)
The Sabers technically have three picks in the first round. Savoie isn't the biggest at 5'9" and 175lbs, but he's very creative and smart. “There are doubts about his physical strength, but he plays fast and he has really interesting skills,” mentioned an Eastern pundit.
10. Ducks d'Anaheim
Defenseman, Canadian, Seattle (WHL)
The Ducks have Jamie Drysdale on the right side at the blue line and they would find a good partner in Korchinski, a southpaw. He's had 65 points in 67 games this season with the Seattle Thunderbirds and has had a very strong streak.
11. San Jose Sharks
center, Canadian, Winnipeg (WHL)
There are recruiters who see him in their soup and others who blame him for poor skating. But the Sharks will be betting on the potential of the big center at 6'4", who had 70 points in 63 games in Winnipeg.
12. Blue Jackets de Columbus
Center, Austrian, Rögle (Sweden)
"He can come out, five, six or seven and I don't fall out of my chair," predicted a Western scout. He does everything on the ice, he has great potential. Kasper, an Austrian, moved to Sweden at the age of 16 to continue his development in a better environment.
13. Islanders de New York
Defender, Russian, Saginaw (OHL)
The Islanders have not spoken in the first round in 2020 and 2021. Lou Lamoriello's team will be looking for reinforcements on the blue line with Mintyukov. The Muscovite produced at a high pace with a formation where the system of play was nothing conventional.
14. Winnipeg Jets
Defenseman, Canadian, Moose Jaw (WHL)
There are stories that are written well. Hailing from Winnipeg, Mateychuk could wear the colors of his childhood team with the Jets. “He represents the new generation of defensemen, he moves the puck really well and he is fast,” described a West scout.
15. Vancouver Canucks
Frank Evil Eye
Center, American, USA (U-18)
“Nazar is one of the good skaters in this draft, he has good offensive skills, but he's not big,” said a Western scout. The Canucks have always prioritized draft talent over physicality in recent years.
16. Buffalo Sabers (2)
Right Winger, American, USA (U18)
For some scouts, he is described as a scorer with good game sense and a good hockey head. For others, he will become an energy winger and he could slip towards the end of the first round.
17. Predators de Nashville
Right Winger, American, USA (U18)
A captain with the USA Under-18 team, McGroarty is a big winger with character and a flair for the opposing net. It fits the mold of Nashville.
18. Dallas Stars
Centre/winger, Czech, Karlovy (Czech Republic)
He finished top scorer at the Under-18 World Cup in Germany with nine goals in six games for the Czech Republic. “He also works, he is disturbing on ice,” said an Eastern scout.
19. Wild du Minnesota (3)
Center, Swedish, Djurgarden (Sweden)
The Wild acquired this pick from the Kings for Kevin Fiala. After Marco Rossi in 2020, Bill Guerin will add another short, but talented and fast center youngster in Ostlund.
20. Capitals de Washington
Right winger, Russian, Magnitogorsk (KHL)
There is the scary Russian passport. But historically, the Capitals have always liked to draw from the land of Alexander Ovechkin. Without the war in Ukraine, Yurov would be a contender for the top 10.
21. Pittsburgh Penguins
Defender, Switzerland, Leksand (Sweden)
A big 6'5", 225lb right-handed defenseman who likes the tough game. The Penguins need to replenish their bank of prospects on the blue line. Bichsel, a Swiss, has played in Sweden this season.
22. Anaheim Ducks (4)
Center, Canadiens, Quebec (QMJHL)
Martin Madden Jr. and the Ducks have a thing for big forwards. Gaucher is a smart young man who will do anything to help his team at the NHL level, no matter what role he is given. Character.
23. St. Louis Blues
Left winger, American, USA (U18)
He had a strong World Under-18 with 11 points in six games for Team USA. Originally from Wisconsin, he would descend south to St. Louis.
24. Wild du Minnesota
Center, Finnish, Lahti (Finland)
Two spies predict that he will meet his fate near the 10th rank. Another believed he would start in 32nd place. Lambert, who has changed teams this season in Finland, is not unanimous, but he has an intriguing profile.
25. Maple Leafs de Toronto
Center, Canadian, Mississauga (OHL)
Since Mitchell Marner in 2015, the Leafs have not drawn in the OHL court in the first round. They will break this scarcity with Beck, a reliable and efficient center without being spectacular.
26. Montreal Canadiens (5)
Right-winger, Canadian, Moose Jaw (WHL)
Kent Hughes talks about playing fast, adding talent and character. Firkus better hide rocks in his pockets when he jumps on a scale (153lbs), but he's a very productive winger with 80 points in 66 games.
27. Arizona Coyotes (6)
Defenseman, Canadian, Swift Current (WHL)
Three of our spies imagine him going out before 23rd place, but three ruled him out of the first lap. At 6'4", Pickering is a good skater who should play big minutes in the NHL.
28. Buffalo Sabers (7)
Defenseman, Canadian, Drummondville (LHJMQ)
The Sabers have three picks in the first round and they can go big. With Lamoureux, they make room for a giant right-handed defenseman at 6'7", but also a good skater and a smart young man.
29. Oilers d’Edmonton
Left Winger, Sweden, Djurgarden (Sweden)
The Oilers need help on the wing. In juniors, Ohgren had very good numbers with 58 points in 30 games. It is described as a good marker.
30. Winnipeg Jets (8)
Right winger, Slovak, Poprad (Slovakia)
Four of our scouts placed him in the first round and three bet on the Jets. “He has skill, character and he works hard,” noted an Eastern specialist.
31. Lightning de Tampa bay
Defenseman, Canadian, Gatineau (LHJMQ)
Former top of the class in the 2020 QMJHL draft, the right-handed defenseman would fit perfectly with the Lightning, a team that likes smart players.
32. Arizona Coyotes (9)
Left winger, Russian, Omsk Krylia (Russia-2)
His nationality is a hindrance, as is his medical record. He is recovering from Hodgkin's lymphoma cancer. Without this misfortune, he would have known his fate much more quickly.
(1) Chicago Pick
(2) Choice of Vegas
(3) Los Angeles Choix
(4) Boston pick
(5) Calgary Pick
(6) Choice of Montreal and Caroline
(7) Florida pick
(8) Rangers Pick
(9) Colorado Pick