UFFS Scouts Release Midseason Rankings With Wright Remaining On Top
Updated: Mar 22, 2022
A lot has changed since November but not Shane Wright’s status as the consensus top prospect for this year’s NHL Draft, among UFFS scouts and the hockey world as a whole.
Heading into tomorrow’s CHL Top Prospects Game, Wright remained No. 1 for all six contributors to our UFFS midseason rankings, as he attempts to go wire-to-wire atop everyone’s list en route to becoming the first overall pick in July. Some challengers have emerged and entered the conversation — closing the gap, to some degree, from the start of the draft year — but Wright would certainly be the first name called if the draft was today. And also the first player selected in the UFHL Entry Auction — without much debate, nor suspense.
Wright won’t always “wow” onlookers and may not be the biggest standout in this week’s showcase but his overall body of work to date has scouts confident that his skill-set will translate to the NHL, anticipating a smooth transition to pro and expecting an impactful all-around player. He doesn’t dominate with flash and dash, but Wright is a polished product with a real effectiveness to his game — drawing favourable comparisons to Patrice Bergeron and Jonathan Toews. I see some John Tavares in him too.
The rest of the Top 10 continues to be shuffled and is far from solidified as this class embarks on their stretch run. UFFS has five consensus Top 10 prospects, with four of them ranked in the Top 7 by all six scouts. That includes power forward Juraj Slafkovsky, coming off his Olympic MVP performance; fellow Slovak Simon Nemec, now the consensus top defender; and American centre Logan Cooley, an offensive driver with an attention to detail. Matthew Savoie, who will surprisingly be teammates with Wright rather than the opposing captain for the CHL Top Prospects Game, is the fifth member of that Top 10 club as a catalyst with a high ceiling. Savoie was ranked as low as 10th, while Finnish finisher Joakim Kemell slipped to 11th as his low mark despite still rounding out our Top 5 overall, just ahead of Savoie.
Looking back on our UFFS preliminary rankings from November, Nemec and Cooley are the biggest risers within the Top 10 — both up six spots — while Savoie and Brad Lambert are both down four spots despite staying in the Top 10 for these midseason rankings. Russian forward Ivan Miroshnichenko, who was No. 3 on our preliminary list, has been omitted this time around for health reasons, with uncertainty surrounding his hockey-playing future. That opened the door for Frank Nazar to rise into our Top 10 — up four spots from 13 to 9 — but Miroshnichenko is still considered a Top 10 talent with a clean bill of health. The only other newcomer to our Top 10 was Czechia defender David Jiricek, who has been sidelined by injury but bumped out big two-way centre Conor Geekie in a swap of the 10-11 spots.
Enough spoilers but a few more stats to share before revealing the rankings. There were 105 different prospects ranked in the Top 64 at least once across the six lists — down from 138 over seven lists in November. There were 17 consensus first-rounders, appearing in the Top 32 on each of the six lists — up from 15 in the preliminary rankings. And there were 35 prospects who cracked the Top 64 on all six lists — up from 24 in November, with those increases indicative of a growing consensus among our UFFS scouts.
As for the contributors who formed this consensus, we received rankings from the following scouts/agencies: Craig Button, president of High Level Scouting in UFFS and TSN’s director of scouting (Craig’s List from Jan. 12, updated version also published this week on TSN); UFFS partner EliteProspects/EP Rinkside, courtesy of J.D. Burke & Co. (recently released Top 64); UFFS partner Fantalytica, via their director of scouting Ed Palumbo; In The Trenches Management (ITTM), through the combined efforts of Gabe Foley, Marcus Borkowsky and Erin Jones/Alex Leblanc; Wild West Scouting, with Nick Uttley making his rankings debut for UFFS; and yours truly, Larry Fisher as UFFS director of scouting, with my personal Top 128 (four rounds) revealed below the consensus. Also be sure to check out the latest rankings from Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino — also of SaLu Scouting with Peter Loubardias in UFFS — who published his Top 32 for March.
Without further ado, here are the UFFS Consensus Midseason Rankings for the 2022 NHL Draft:
1) Shane Wright (RC, Canada, Kingston OHL)
2) Simon Nemec (RD, Slovakia, Nitra)
3) Logan Cooley (LC, USA, NTDP U18)
4) Juraj Slafkovsky (LW, Slovakia, TPS Liiga)
5) Joakim Kemell (RW, Finland, JYP Liiga)
6) Matthew Savoie (RC, Canada, Winnipeg WHL)
7) Danila Yurov (RW, Russia, Metallurg Magnitogorsk KHL)
8) Brad Lambert (RC/RW, Finland/Canada, JYP Liiga)
9) Frank Nazar (RW, USA, NTDP U18)
10) David Jiricek (RD, Czechia, Plzen)
11) Conor Geekie (LC, Canada, Winnipeg WHL)
12) Jonathan Lekkerimaki (RC, Sweden, Djurgardens SHL)
13) Pavel Mintyukov (LD, Russia, Saginaw OHL)
14) Liam Ohgren (LW, Sweden, Djurgardens SHL)
15) Filip Mesar (RC/RW, Slovakia, Poprad)
16) Cutter Gauthier (LW, USA, NTDP U18)
17) Denton Mateychuk (LD, Canada, Moose Jaw WHL)
18) Rutger McGroarty (LC, USA/Canada, NTDP U18)
19) Marco Kasper (LC, Austria, Rogle SHL)
20) Ty Nelson (RD, Canada, North Bay OHL)
21) Seamus Casey (RD, USA, NTDP U18)
22) Isaac Howard (LW, USA, NTDP U18)
23) Kevin Korchinski (LD, Canada, Seattle WHL)
24) Gleb Trikozov (LW, Russia, Omskie Krylia VHL)
25) Alexander Perevalov (LW, Russia, Loko Yaroslavl MHL)
26) Nathan Gaucher (RC, Canada, Quebec QMJHL)
27) Jimmy Snuggerud (RW, USA, NTDP U18)
28) Owen Pickering (LD, Canada, Swift Current WHL)
29) Tristan Luneau (RD, Canada, Gatineau QMJHL)
30) Jiri Kulich (LW, Czechia, Energie Karlovy Vary Czech)