Free washer | Draft at CH: look back at the 2022 vintage

It is obviously too early to draw conclusions about the 2022 draft class for the Canadian.


Posted at 12:38 p.m.

But the text from colleague Guillaume Lefrançois, this morning, on contractual decisions to be taken with some of these hopefuls, even if it means parting with them, gives us the opportunity to take stock of this draft.

Kent Hughes offered a nice welcome gift to Jeff Gorton’s eternal accomplice, Nick Bobrov, for whom it was his first draft with the CH, in collegiality with Martin Lapointe. Hughes gave them two additional picks, late in the first and second rounds, by trading Tyler Toffoli and Brett Kulak. Only the Seattle Kraken, Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes held more assets in the first three rounds.

  • 1- Juraj Slafkovsky, first round (1er)
  • 2- Filip Mesar, first round (26e) (Pick obtained from the Flames for Tyler Toffoli)
  • 3- Owen Beck, second round (33e)
  • 4- Lane Hutson, second round (62e) (Pick obtained from Oilers for Brett Kulak)
  • 5- Vinzenz Rohrer, third round (75e) (Pick obtained from the Ducks for 3e tour in 2021)
  • 6- Adam Engström, third round (92e)
  • 7- Cédrick Guindon, fourth round (127e) (Additional pick obtained in the trade for Ben Chiarot)
  • 8- Jared Davidson, fifth round (130e)
  • 9- Emmett Croteau, sixth round (162e)
  • 10- Petteri Nurmi, seventh round (194e)
  • 11- Miguel Tourigny, seventh round (2016e) (Pick obtained from the Coyotes for 7e tour in 2021)

Montreal hit the nail on the head with Juraj Slafkovsky at No. 1, especially since he wasn’t a popular pick heading into the draft. This decision was made as a team. All the resources of the organization were used to make the best possible choice, not just Bobrov, Lapointe and their recruiters.

Slafkovsky had a difficult first year at 18, but his 50 points, including 20 goals, in 82 games, his size and his raw strength reassured the skeptics. This young colossus has amassed 35 points in his last 40 games.

The CH pleased Slafkovsky, even if that was not the stated objective, by drafting his compatriot and teenage friend Filip Mesar in 26e rank, a small attacker, but skillful and blessed with good vision. After a lackluster training camp, he was sent back to the American League, but he was unable to convince the Rocket to retain him.

His 52 points in 45 games in Kitchener, in the Ontario Junior League, convinced no one. Mesar turned 20 in January. At this age, you generally have to dominate in the junior ranks to hope to do the same at the professional level. The next winter will be important for him in Laval. For the moment, players chosen after him, Jiri Kulich, Filip Bystedt, Brad Lambert and especially Matthew Poitras and Tristan Luneau, are ahead in their development.

With the first pick in the second round, Montreal bet on center Owen Beck. After surprising in his first training camp with the CH two years ago, this 20-year-old obtained 81 points in 57 games in the Ontario Junior League, and he amassed 14 points in 17 games playoffs. He had 67 in 60 games the year before. He has two points in as many games so far at the Memorial Cup. Beck is an intelligent and reliable center, but he is more destined for a role at the bottom of an NHL team, given his natural skills and his production, in the junior ranks as at the World Junior Championship.

The late second round pick has obviously caused a lot of talk in recent months. After outrageously dominating in the NCAA, with 97 points in 77 games during his two seasons at Boston University, and participating in two World Junior Championships with the American team, defenseman Lane Hutson left a very favorable impression in two games with the Canadian at the end of the season. It would undoubtedly have constituted a choice in the top 15 if he had been a few inches taller. No matter, Hutson has already made Mesar and Beck forget.

The only other interesting prospect among the rest of the group remains Adam Engström. This left-handed Swedish defender has just signed his first contract with the Canadian after a successful season at Rögle. He excels in all facets of the game, is tenacious and, while not a future Norris Trophy candidate, could have a successful career in the NHL.

Austrian Vinzenz Rohrer, 19, a rather puny center, chose to play last season in the Swiss National League. It remains a long-term project. Don’t hold your breath for others.

In short, Montreal got its hands on a centerpiece of its rebuild at first place, unlike the 2012 and 2018 vintages with Alex Galchenyuk and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, both drafted at third place, and could have hit a home run with Hutson.

Mesar can say he’s happy to have been the second pick in the first round. The pressure would have been significantly greater if he had been first choice, even at 26e rank. Ryan Poehling (25e2017), Noah Juulsen (26e2015), Nikita Scherbak (26e2014), Michael McCarron (26e2013) and even Danny Kristo (56esecond round, 2008) can attest to this…

Utah wants to improve

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PHOTO RICK BOWMER, ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES

Bill Armstrong

Defunct Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong will have about $40 million under the salary cap this summer to improve his roster, now based in Salt Lake City. And his hands won’t be tied by a mean owner. We can therefore expect at least one splash from him, to generate interest in this new market, but not at any price.

“We want to improve tirelessly, but without sacrificing our future,” he explained to colleague Pierre Lebrun this week. We must make intelligent decisions to allow our group to grow, not burden ourselves with ugly contracts. »

The expiring contracts of Jakub Voracek and Bryan Little, whose offseason salaries were $13.5 million before being buried on the long-term injured list, will give Armstrong more flexibility , explains Lebrun.

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NEXT Memorial Cup: Owen Beck and the Spirit head to the final, dominating Moose Jaw 7 to 1