This is the moment that every NHL prospect has been striving for their whole life. The NHL Central Scouting members are deep in conversation about who the best prospects are and how they might be used or obtained in the drafts.
This year there is a lot of skill and talent on display. So much so that the Stanley Cup Odds could change due to the draft outcomes.
With that said, here are five prospects that you should be keeping an eye on for the upcoming draft.
Shane Wight – Center – Kingston Frontenacs
In his 2021 to 2022 season, Wight had played in 61 games at the time of writing and scored an impressive 94 points through 32 goals and 62 assists. One of his greatest skills in the game is shooting, but he also has a great in-game real-time hockey sense. This is what makes him such a special playmaker.
The NHL Central Scouting team has stated that Wight is a clear talent and front runner in the NHL draft. They call him “a desirable package of NHL talent”, which is a massive compliment coming from this team of analysis.
Through his games so far, we can see that he is great at adapting to difficult situations, he can carry the brunt of an attack, and he is a quick thinker.
Not only is Wright a great strategist, but he is also a team player. He has proven to be amazing on defense as well as offense. This means he can be snapped up by a team and placed wherever needed. As he isn’t limited, you can expect every team to want a piece of Wight.
Logan Cooley – Center – USA Hockey National Team (Under 18)
Cooley might just be the best playmaker in the draft. In his 2021 to 2022 season, Cooley has played in 43 games and scored a spectacular 64 points through goals and assists. This puts him just a tad above the competition in terms of percentages, but we don’t always have to look at shooting when we consider Cooley.
Instead, his high speed and quick thinking allow him to move the puck wherever he pleases with multiple options at every turn. He is a dynamic skater who can switch from fast to slow or vice versa as seamlessly as he pleases.
The NHL Central Scouting team says that Cooley “makes players around him better.” This team player is all about using the space he has and figuring out the opponent’s weaknesses. With Cooley on the team, you know that speed and precision aren’t a problem.
Matt Savoie – Center – Winnipeg Ice
Matt Savoie is another player who can create space for his team. Having played in 63 games, he has earned 86 points, 52 of which came from assists. Savoie has a hidden skill of deception. He can make his opponents assume his thoughts and then quickly change tactics at the last minute. It’s these deceptive instincts that make him a stand-out player.
But we cannot ignore Savoie’s speed. Just as you realize your mistake, Savoie would have dashed around you creating space and control. His competitive nature pushes him to “be better” than his opponents. This means he will study his targets and learn how they play to best them at their own game.
Savoie clearly loves hockey, and watching him play is like watching art. We can expect Savoie to bring any team to a new level of power, just by being in the same locker room as him.
Conor Geekie – Forward – Winnipeg Ice
Geekie is a player that is hard to pin down. Despite a large frame, he is a fast mover and can easily help his team push the game forward due to his nimble abilities. In his 61 games, he has scored 68 points through 23 goals and 45 assists, and in that time has proven to be a slippery character.
Geekie can see how a decision in-game could result in multiple possibilities, which is what helps him slip out of his opponent’s grasp when the pressure is turned up. Geekie keeps his cool, sneaks past the enemy, and then re-evaluates his surroundings to create a power-forward game.
If you were a coach, you could see Geekie as a reliable asset. Even the NHL Central Scouting analysis team has said that Geekie “can be out there late in the game and be reliable” and there are “not a lot of those guys around with that skill.”
Pavel Mintyukov – Defense – Saginaw Spirit
Our last prospect for you to watch out for is Pavel Mintyukov. He is a mature player who can play in every defensive position. He can crush minutes, he can play penalty kills and he is an outstanding power player.
You don’t normally expect this level of skill and impact at the NCAA level, and yet Mintyukov is already acting like an NHL player.
In his 65 games this season, Mintyukov has scored 58 points through 17 goals and 41 assists, which shows a massive range for a defensive player.
Approaching the Draft
Each coach and general manager will be looking for different skills in their team, so any one of these 5 players could become the top pick. Seeing these amazing talents in the NHL playground will be one for the history books.
With that said, which of these players do you think will be picked first overall? And how many of these players do you think will be top five draft picks?