UFFS Scouts Release Final Rankings for 2022 NHL Draft, Wright Remains No. 1 Wire to Wire
Updated: Jul 6, 2022
The draft is now a week away. The Memorial Cup wrapped up yesterday, bringing an official end to the draft year. And today, the UFFS scouts are unveiling our consensus final rankings — a consolidated list featuring 102 prospects from seven contributors submitting their Top 64 — along with scouting director Larry Fisher’s Top 225 for the 2022 NHL Draft.
This is the culmination of a year-long process that saw UFFS publish preliminary rankings on Nov. 11 following the first month of the CHL season and midseason rankings on March 22 prior to the CHL Top Prospects Game. Now armed with insights from that showcase as well as the best-on-best competition at the under-18 tournament, playoffs around the hockey world, and the off-ice combine, the UFFS scouts settled on their rankings that will have to stand the test of time when reflecting back on this 2022 class in the years to come.
Starting at the top, it’s no longer unanimous but still a strong consensus for Shane Wright at No. 1 — topping the list for 6 of the 7 contributors, with the outlier ranking Wright at No. 3 behind Logan Cooley and Simon Nemec. Wright had previously been No. 1 for everyone — both in November and again in March — and, barring a surprise in Montreal from the host Canadiens with the first overall pick, this will go down as the Shane Wright Draft.
TSN’s Craig Button, who also serves as President for High Level Scouting in UFFS, was adamant that he “never considered anyone else for No. 1” but the scouting community at large has contemplated Cooley and Juraj Slafkovsky as legitimate contenders in recent months, with most still settling on Wright as was the case at UFFS. We won’t reveal that outlier — keeping these rankings confidential, aside from Fisher’s list to follow — but we would like to thank the following contributors in addition to Button and Fisher: UFFS partner EliteProspects with special thanks to Peter Sibner, Rob Love and Ed Palumbo; Ash Glover of Fantalytica within UFFS and the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers; Gabe Foley from In The Trenches Management (ITTM) within UFFS and Recruit Scouting as well as Modern Hockey; George Bachul of the Regal Sports Group; and Gur Dultak of Dultak Scouting Service. Without their efforts, this consensus project wouldn’t be possible. And remember, this isn’t a mock draft, these are rankings projecting future NHL impact, not draft position or selection order. That is always important to clarify and often a source a confusion.
Getting into the numbers, there were 102 different prospects ranked in the Top 64 — and, shockingly, one of them remains available on the Open Market! Equally as shocking, there were five consensus Top 10 prospects but Slafkovsky wasn’t one of them — Wright, Cooley, Nemec, David Jiricek and Joakim Kemell were in the Top 10 for all seven contributors. Interestingly, there were 19 consensus first-rounders — Top 32 for all seven scouts — and 36 prospects among the consensus Top 64 appearing on all seven lists. Comparatively, as you would expect, the consensus has grown over the course of the draft year.
That said, expect the unexpected when it comes to this year’s draft — with Dan Marr, the director of NHL Central Scouting, saying “this will be the most unpredictable draft we’ve seen in some time.” Chaos is always fun and it could start at the top — if not at No. 1 with someone other than Wright, then perhaps at No. 3 with Arizona on the clock. If we’re assuming Wright and Slafkovsky go 1-2, then could the Coyotes go off the board to take Cutter Gauthier over his NTDP teammate Cooley?
Gauthier is this year’s Kirby Dach as a big centre on the rise — Dach went third to Chicago in 2019 — and Gauthier is from Arizona, with the Coyotes apparently fixated on adding forwards with size, so it could be a good fit. Gauthier was 6-foot-2.5 and 200 pounds at the combine, while Cooley was closer to Clayton Keller’s size at 5-foot-10.5 and 180 pounds, so perhaps he could be viewed as redundant in the desert. But the Coyotes did get somewhat burned by reaching for Barrett Hayton at fifth overall in 2018, at least based on the early returns there. So does Arizona envision a future with Gauthier and Hayton down the middle or would they prefer the Cooley and Keller combo?
Time will tell, and there will be plenty of speculation and suspense for next Thursday night, but today we’ll keep the spotlight on our rankings. Maybe we’ll try a mock draft another day or another year.
Without further ado, here are the UFFS Consensus Final Rankings for the 2022 NHL Draft, with breakdowns for the prospects and the scouts before concluding with Fisher’s Top 225:
1) Shane Wright (RC, Canada, Kingston OHL)
2) Logan Cooley (LC, USA, NTDP U18)
3) Juraj Slafkovsky (LW, Slovakia, TPS Liiga)
4) Simon Nemec (RD, Slovakia, Nitra)
5) David Jiricek (RD, Czechia, Plzen)
6) Joakim Kemell (RW, Finland, JYP Liiga)
7) Matthew Savoie (RC, Canada, Winnipeg WHL)
8) Jonathan Lekkerimaki (RC, Sweden, Djurgardens SHL)
9) Cutter Gauthier (LC/LW, USA, NTDP U18)
10) Pavel Mintyukov (LD, Russia, Saginaw OHL)
11) Danila Yurov (RW, Russia, Metallurg Magnitogorsk KHL)
12) Frank Nazar (RW, USA, NTDP U18)
13) Kevin Korchinski (LD, Canada, Seattle WHL)
14) Denton Mateychuk (LD, Canada, Moose Jaw WHL)
15) Brad Lambert (RC/RW, Finland/Canada, JYP Liiga)
16) Marco Kasper (LC, Austria, Rogle SHL)
17) Conor Geekie (LC, Canada, Winnipeg WHL)
18) Liam Ohgren (LW, Sweden, Djurgardens SHL)
19) Owen Pickering (LD, Canada, Swift Current WHL)
20) Jiri Kulich (LW, Czechia, Energie Karlovy Vary Czech)
21) Jagger Firkus (RW, Canada, Moose Jaw WHL)
22) Jimmy Snuggerud (RW, USA, NTDP U18)
23) Noah Ostlund (LC, Sweden, Djurgardens SHL)
24) Ivan Miroshnichenko (LW, Russia, Omskie Krylia VHL)
25) Rutger McGroarty (LC, USA/Canada, NTDP U18)
26) Gleb Trikozov (LW, Russia, Omskie Krylia VHL)
27) Isaac Howard (LW, USA, NTDP U18)
28) Filip Mesar (RW/RC, Slovakia, Poprad)
29) Owen Beck (RC, Canada, Mississauga OHL)
30) Lane Hutson (LD, USA, NTDP U18)
31) Ryan Chesley (RD, USA, NTDP U18)
32) Mattias Havelid (RD, Sweden, Linkoping SHL)
33) Calle Odelius (LD, Sweden Djurgardens SHL)
34) Seamus Casey (RD, USA, NTDP U18)
35) Nathan Gaucher (RC, Canada, Quebec QMJHL)
36) Lian Bichsel (LD, Switzerland, Leksands SHL)
37) David Goyette (LC, Canada, Sudbury OHL)
38) Alexander Perevalov (LW, Russia, Loko Yaroslavl MHL)
39) Elias Salomonsson (RD, Sweden, Skelleftea J20)
40) Luca Del Bel Belluz (LC, Canada, Mississauga OHL)
41) Tristan Luneau (RD, Canada, Gatineau QMJHL)
42) Filip Bystedt (LC, Sweden, Linkoping SHL)
43) Julian Lutz (LW, Germany, Munchen DEL)
44) Sam Rinzel (RD, USA, Chaska High USHS)