Prospect Ramblings: Every NHL Team’s Match Made in Heaven for the 2022 NHL Draft

Hadi Kalakeche

2022-06-21

Welcome to my ramblings, where I’ll be writing down my thoughts on NHL and draft-eligible prospects once a week. I’ll be using the ramblings to keep you posted on the week’s events, or let you in on some questions I ask myself often regarding prospects, amateur scouting and player development.

This week, I wanted to keep it a bit low-key with what’s more of a fun exercise than anything else. Every year, there are one or two players that I watch and think “this guy would look great in those colors”, or “that guy would fit greatly with the way this team plays”. So I thought, why not make a list of the most perfect fit in the 2022 NHL Draft for each of the 32 NHL teams?

This exercise will be a mix of realistic picks based on draft position, stylistic fit, team needs and pure gut feeling. Again, this is just for fun — obviously the best draft philosophy is BPA, as needs can change drastically during the time it takes for a prospect to develop. We’ll keep it short, sweet, and easily digestible. No fancy stats or in-depth scouting reports — just vibes.

Anaheim: Lian Bichsel, LD, Leksands (SHL)

For Anaheim, I simply thought “who would be the best D partner for Jamie Drysdale down the line?” and Bichsel fits that mould to a T. A left-handed defenseman with shutdown abilities will allow for Drysdale to have more freedom to go on his little Hobbit-like adventures up the ice.

Arizona: Logan Cooley, C, USNTDP (USHL)

Cooley to Arizona just makes sense. Someone’s got to sell tickets in the desert, right? Might as well bring in a kid that’ll get the full capacity of 40 in the ASU arena out of their seats. The possibility of him and Clayton Keller developing chemistry has me excited.

Boston: Reid Schaefer, LW, Seattle (WHL)

The 6-foot-3, 214-pound power forward has Boston written all over him. He’s projected to be a third-rounder, but don’t be surprised if the Bruins pull the trigger early on him.

Buffalo: Simon Nemec, RD, HK Nitra (Slovakia)

Nemec and Rasmus Dahlin together on a pairing would honestly be unfair. The amount of brain on that blue line would make Nancy Reag— you know what, nevermind. They’re smart. That’s all I’m going to say.

Calgary: Rieger Lorenz, C, Okotoks (AJHL)

He’s in their backyard, he plays center, and has decent size at 6-2 and 185 pounds. Lorenz should be available for the Flames when they first select at 59th overall.

Carolina: Tomas Hamara, LD, Tappara (Liiga)

Former DobberProspects top gun and current Canes scout Jokke Nevalainen will proably love Hamara’s style and put a big word in for him. The Canes’ pool of left-shot defense prospects isn’t the best and they could use some of Hamara’s offensive upside when they pick for the first time at 60.

Chicago: Tristan Luneau, RD, Gatineau (QMJHL)

The Hawks might look at Luneau’s 6-foot-2 frame and high floor, and combine that with their drought of RHD prospects to think of this pick as a no-brainer at 38th overall. They traded away their sixth-overall selection in this year’s draft along with Adam Boqvist to acquire Seth Jones, which looks like a mistake so far, and they’ll probably want to back him up in their lineup to take some weight off the 27-year-old’s shoulders on the right side.

Colorado: Jiri Kulich, C, HC Energie Karlovy Vary (Czechia)

This has nothing to do with likelihood or team needs, as the Avalanche don’t pick in the first two rounds this year and Kulich is almost guaranteed to go in the first. This is purely based on playing style. If they get ahold of Kulich and his combination of goal-scoring and defensive prowess, it’s over for all of us. They’ll turn him into an expected goals God.

Columbus: Gleb Trikozov, C, Omsk, MHL/VHL

Trikozov seems like exactly the type of player that Jarmo Kekäläinen would blow everyone’s socks off with by selecting 12th overall. He’s insanely smart, and has dual-threat offensive abilities. He’d fit right in, whether at center or wing.

Dallas: Denton Mateychuk, LD, Moose Jaw (WHL)

The Stars always seem to end up with the best CHL talent, despite regularly picking in the middle of the pack. After Mavrik Bourque, Wyatt Johnston and Logan Stankoven, they’ll probably benefit from teams’ doubts about size once more to select the 5-foot-11 offensive defenseman later than he should go.

Detroit: Frank Nazar, C/RW, USNTDP (USHL)

Nazar has Detroit written all over him. His dad used to work in the parking lot at the Joe Louis Arena, and he’s severely underrated this year for seemingly no reason. Steve Yzerman loves pure skill and compete, and he could very well be available by the eighth-overall pick.

Edmonton: Jagger Firkus, C/RW, Moose Jaw (WHL)

You know what would be utterly unfair? Draisaitl-McDavid-Firkus. Sheeeeeeesh. They don’t pick before 29th, though, so a man can probably only dream.

Florida: Kasper Lundell, C/LW, HIFK (U20 SM-Sarja)

I honestly didn’t think too hard about this one. The Panthers don’t pick in either of the first two rounds, and we’re talking about Anton Lundell’s brother. Just do it, Florida. You know you want to, you crazy, crazy state.

Los Angeles: Sam Rinzel, RD, Waterloo (USHL)

This one’s just pure feeling. Rinzel just has L.A. written all over him. 6-4 right-handed defensemen who can skate and connect plays offensively don’t often last too long in the draft, either.

Minnesota: Lane Hutson, LD, USNTDP (USHL)

I have a gut feeling that Minnesota is going to look past Hutson’s 5-foot-8, 150-pound frame and see a prospect whose oozing offensive skill will overcome any and all shortcomings (no pun intended).

Montreal: Shane Wright, C, Kingston (OHL)

If I’m honest, anyone who thinks the Habs aren’t going for Wright at first overall is kidding themself. This market has been begging for proper center depth since Saku Koivu retired, and finally has a shot at that with Wright and Nick Suzuki.

Nashville: Jimmy Snuggerud, RW, USNTDP (USHL)

One of the coolest names in the draft, Snuggerud’s versatility and shooting prowess would make a great fit with the Preds’ style of play. He just has a Nashville vibe to him.

New Jersey: Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, TPS Turku (Liiga)

Slafkovsky-Hughes-Holtz. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

NY Islanders: Danila Yurov, RW, Magnitogorsk (MHL/KHL)

I feel like the Isles are going to look at the pace and two-way skill Yurov brings and think about how good he’d look next to Mat Barzal or Aatu Räty down the line.

NY Rangers: Michael Fisher, RD, St. Mark’s (USHS-Prep)

With no first-round pick, the Rangers are probably going to swing for the fences. In terms of raw upside, Fisher is among the best past pick 60, and fits an organizational need as a right-handed D.

Ottawa: David Jiricek, RD, HC Plzen (Czechia)

Chabot-Jiricek for 10+ years, please and thank you.

Philadelphia: Matthew Savoie, C/RW, Winnipeg (WHL)

What better way to replace Claude Giroux? Savoie’s power-play dominance and dual-threat offensive game are exactly what the Flyers lost when they shipped him off to Florida.

Pittsburgh: Conor Geekie, C, Winnipeg (WHL)

Former teammates playing on rival NHL teams, the media would have a field day! He’d also offer a solid back-up to the aging Crosby and Malkin tandem.

San Jose: Jonathan Lekkerimäki, RW/C, Djurgårdens (SHL)

I’m honestly just trying to manifest Eklund feeding pucks to Lekkerimäki for the next 15 years or so.

Seattle: Brad Lambert, C, Lahti (Liiga)

Beniers-Lambert seems like a great center foundation to build off of for the newly-created NHL team/money laundering scheme.

St. Louis: Cutter Gauthier, LW, USNTDP (USHL)

Gauthier, stylistically, is a Blue. It’s not realistic given how high he is on rankings, but man would he fit well on that team.

Tampa Bay: Adam Ingram, LW/C, Youngstown (USHL) 

I shudder at the thought of Tampa Bay picking Ingram, fixing his inconsistency and skating, and uplifting his raw skill.

Toronto: Rutger McGroarty, C, USNTDP (USHL)

Same for Toronto with McGroarty. Barb Underhill could absolutely revolutionize this prospect by rebuilding his skating.

Vancouver: Elias Pettersson, LD, Örebro HK (SHL)

Not even going to bother explaining this one. How would the jerseys work? The utter chaos this pick would create is worth it all.

Vegas: Jack Hughes, C, Northeastern (NCAA)

Hughes just seems like the type to thrive in an environment like Vegas. Loud fans, high expectations, his composure and intelligence on the ice would suit him well.

Washington: Isaac Howard, LW, USNTDPP (USHL)

Skilled and fleet-footed, I’m mainly curious to know what Howard could do on Hendrix Lapierre or Connor McMichael‘s wing down the road.

Winnipeg: Joakim Kemell, RW, JYP (Liiga)

Kemell’s tremendous shot and hands would make him a solid add next to Cole Perfetti in a couple years’ time.


Thanks for reading — follow me on Twitter @HadiK_Scouting for all of your prospect-related needs!

LATEST PROFILE UPDATES

Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Timur Mukhanov 8.0 7.0
Alexander Pashin 7.0 2.5
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Alexander Pelevin 3 2
Tyler Tucker 5.0 6.0
Matt Kessel 4.0 7.5
Aatu Räty 8.0 7.0
Jackson Blake 6.0 6.0
Ryan Ufko 7.0 6.0

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