October 3, 2022

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Winners and losers of the 2022 NHL draft

MONTREAL — The 2022 NHL draft is within the books, as 225 gamers have been chosen over the course of seven rounds and two days.

Earlier than attending to the annual record of draft winners and draft losers, let’s give attention to the occasion’s greatest chief: holding the draft in individual once more, and in Montreal.

This was the primary time since 2019 in Vancouver that the NHL held a correct draft, with executives at tables in the course of an area, media working the interview scrums and followers submitting in to rejoice their groups’ futures. To have it in Montreal made the return to some semblance of normalcy even grander, and never simply because NHL commissioner Gary Bettman delighted in egging on these followers who booed him each time he stepped to the rostrum.

The amped-up crowd throughout Thursday evening’s first spherical roared for the Canadiens, mocked the Toronto Maple Leafs and reacted to each unpredictable choice.

That included the house staff’s personal choose at No. 1 general, as winger Juraj Slafkovsky was taken over middle Shane Wright, who had been anticipated to go first general for years.

The noise the Montreal crowd made was half cheer, half jeer, half gasp and half “what?!”

“I don’t assume I even heard my title referred to as,” Slafkovsky stated of the second. “I simply heard ‘Slovakian’ after which I used to be like shocked after which I didn’t even pay attention anymore. I used to be like shaking and I had goosebumps. Yeah, unbelievable second for me.”

There have been different goosebump-worthy moments in the course of the 2022 NHL draft — in addition to selections that have been much less awe-inspiring. Listed here are some winners and losers for this 12 months’s draft:

(Potential) franchise facilities are arduous to seek out. Seattle bought fortunate when one landed in its lap.

When Montreal chosen Juraj Slafkovsky at No. 1, it set off a sequence response permitting Shane Wright — the beforehand presumptive prime choose on this draft — to succeed in the Kraken at No. 4. It was an unimaginable end result for Seattle to land one other elite middle after it drafted final 12 months’s top-ranked pivot Matty Beniers at No. 2.

Kraken normal supervisor Ron Francis stated all alongside he was going to construct the franchise up by way of the draft and never by way of splashy trades or elaborate free-agent signings. Now Francis has two backbones who can grow to be anchors of Seattle’s prime six for years to come back.

Wright particularly will come to the Kraken with a chip on his shoulder, which was apparent even earlier than he outright admitted it. When Wright took the stage on Thursday after the Kraken name, he shook commissioner Bettman’s hand whereas scanning Bell Centre with a smile — till his gaze went over to the Montreal Canadiens draft desk, and that smile became a stare down. No chill.

Extra importantly although, Wright bears better NHL-readiness than the common No. 4 choose. He’s additionally a dynamic, thrilling participant who will invigorate a Kraken fan base that, whereas understanding the necessity for persistence, may use a little bit one thing extra to cheer about after Seattle was one of many league’s bottom-dwellers in 2021-22.

Francis continued to inventory the cupboards with different prospects, making 11 picks whole within the 2022 draft. However none will probably be extra well-received or swiftly impactful as Wright. Maybe we will’t give Francis all the credit score for getting Wright, however his slide undoubtedly bodes nicely for Seattle’s future. — Shilton


What’s happening within the Windy Metropolis? As a result of it’s not abundantly clear, after the previous two days anyway, what normal supervisor Kyle Davidson’s plan is.

First, there was the Alex DeBrincat commerce Thursday that despatched Chicago’s dynamic scoring winger to Ottawa for … three draft picks? When DeBrincat is a 24-year-old with two 40-plus aim seasons already underneath his belt and a burgeoning two-way recreation? That was the return for a commerce that didn’t even actually should occur?

Credit score to the Senators for making a daring transfer to seize DeBrincat — who’s a restricted free agent after this season — however what was the profit for Chicago?

It stays a looming query mark. Until the Blackhawks are aiming to be even worse than final season, it doesn’t make a lot sense.

Then, there was Chicago’s acquisition of Petr Mrazek. The Blackhawks had no goalies signed for subsequent season, and clearly that needed to be addressed. However the deal for Mrazek was curious. Everybody knew Toronto needed to shed the ultimate two years of Mrazek’s contract for cap-space causes, and Mrazek is coming off his worst season in years. All Chicago requested for to alleviate the Leafs’ drawback was taking Toronto’s No. 25 general choose in 2022 and giving up the No. 38 choose.

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That’s a 13-spot distinction. Doesn’t look like a lot. Granted, Mrazek may return to kind and have a terrific season for Chicago. In the intervening time, although, the Blackhawks may need been fleeced.

The Blackhawks’ solely actual win of the week? Duncan Keith probably retiring. Chicago traded Keith to the Edmonton Oilers final July, pondering it was shedding the ultimate two years of Keith’s contract price $5.5 million per season. When Keith hangs up his skates, it’ll generate a cap recapture penalty, including again $5,538,462 in 2022-23 and $1,938,456 in 2023-24. That helps Chicago get to the wage ground. Small victories. — Shilton


Winners: Prospects with character

Isaac Howard made fairly a primary impression.

Oh, excuse me. It’s “Ice Man.”

When the Tampa Bay Lightning chosen the U.S. nationwide staff improvement program product at No. 31 it was apparent from his outfit — crisp white go well with, blue turtleneck, American flag belt buckle and gold chain — that Howard was no wallflower.

If there was any doubt on that entrance, Howard squashed it in a rush.

“I’m the best-looking man right here,” he informed Sportsnet in a post-draft interview. “So I figured I’d be the best-dressed one, too.”

Hockey gamers missing for character? The subsequent technology ain’t right here for it.

Howard bought the “Ice Man” moniker from his dad, as a result of he wouldn’t ever get off the ice as a child. That paid apparent dividends — and planted seeds of confidence — given the place Howard has ended up.

It’s a refreshing shift to have incoming prospects embracing their individuality. Ty Nelson — a Seattle Kraken choice — donned a sensible blue fedora (with feather!) on Friday. Anaheim Geese choose Nathan Gaucher had a go well with jacket stitched inside with scenes of Montreal and the draft.

There’s all the time a time and place for the classics. However on the most important evening of those prospects’ younger careers, it was good to see them having enjoyable. — Shilton


Loser: 31 NHL groups’ style sense

The Arizona Coyotes confirmed as much as Montreal on a mission. They needed to make use of their many, many draft picks to construct up their prospect pool, which they did with a strong class that included No. 3 general choose Logan Cooley. In addition they needed to be the best-dressed entrance workplace within the NHL. Once more, mission completed.

The Coyotes may need been the primary NHL staff to synchronize their style for the draft. When GM Invoice Armstrong, staff president Xavier Gutierrez and Arizona’s entrance workplace took the stage to announce first-round picks, they have been all carrying matching vibrant blue fits with pink ties.

“I don’t like when all people wears completely different colours,” Armstrong stated. “So if anybody has complaints, it’s [on] me. We’re a staff. We must always appear like one.”

Inside the liner of these jackets? Arizona Coyotes logos, in fact.

As is custom, followers on social media mocked the Coyotes. (We particularly appreciated those that puzzled if the entrance workplace would all attend a screening of “Minions: The Rise of Gru” after the draft.) However Armstrong believes the Coyotes are going to be trendsetters.

“Bear in mind in Carolina once they did the postgame celebrations?” Armstrong stated, referencing the Storm Surge. “All people made enjoyable of them. Now it’s tradition. It’s enjoyable. The NHL’s going to purchase into it. Even the liner.” — Wyshynski


Winner: Slovakia

Slovakian hockey is having a second. It began on the 2022 Beijing Video games, when the lads’s nationwide staff captured bronze for the nation’s first-ever Olympic medal. It continued on the draft when two gamers from that staff have been taken first and second general: Winger Slafkovsky at No. 1 to the Montreal Canadiens and defenseman Simon Nemec to the New Jersey Devils at No. 2.

It was simply the second time in NHL historical past {that a} nation exterior of Canada or the USA produced the primary two picks within the draft — the one different time was Russia in 2004, with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin.

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“Yeah, I feel out of 5 million folks, at the very least like 4 are up and they’re cheering for us,” Slafkovsky stated when requested about what the second meant again residence in Slovakia. “On the finish of the day, that’s vital. We’re from Slovakia, and we characterize the nation, and I’m simply joyful that this occurred to us.”

Like Slafkovsky stated, it’s a small nation however one which has made its mark within the NHL through the years and on this draft: 4 Slovakian gamers went within the first 63 picks, together with winger Filip Mesar at No. 26 to the Canadiens. General, there have been six Slovaks chosen.

“Yeah, small [country], however we have now actually good gamers, and now an increasing number of gamers will probably be higher like we’re,” Nemec stated. “All people is proud, and we’re proud, too.” — Wyshynski


Marc-Andre Fleury could be essentially the most universally beloved participant in hockey. However his new contract with the Minnesota Wild is inflicting some drama round Cam Talbot.

Minnesota introduced Thursday that Fleury, 37, had agreed on a two-year extension to stay with the staff. GM Invoice Guerin beforehand lured his outdated pal away from Chicago previous to March’s commerce deadline, and Fleury shared the crease equally with Talbot to finish the common season as they made 11 begins every.

Earlier than that, Talbot was having a great season in his personal proper as Minnesota’s No. 1 (25-12-1, .910 save share). That didn’t appear to matter a lot.

Fleury was tapped over Talbot as Minnesota’s starter for the postseason however couldn’t backstop them out of the primary spherical towards St. Louis.

Now Fleury is again, and Talbot is a season away from unrestricted free company. Clearly, the veteran had some considerations about his standing with the membership. Talbot’s agent, George Bazos, informed TSN’s Pierre LeBrun that he met with Guerin on the draft Friday and relayed, “We each said our positions. Billy has rather a lot to consider.”

Guerin, apparently, disagrees.

“I don’t have s— to do,” Guerin informed reporters. “Cam Talbot’s underneath contract. George can say regardless of the hell he desires. My staff’s set proper now, and that’s the way in which it goes. We are able to have all of the discussions we wish. Cam’s a member of our staff. We actually like Cam. All we’re making an attempt to do is win.”

Not precisely a feel-good message to ship — or hear, if you happen to’re Talbot. Will Guerin resolve to capitalize now on an more and more sizzling goalie market and commerce Talbot? Can the Wild threat an sad netminder of their midst? Regardless, hardly an ideal 48-hour stretch if you happen to’re Cam Talbot. — Shilton


Winners: Late-round picks in the home

It’s all the time a big gamble for projected later-round picks to attend the draft in individual. What if their title by no means will get referred to as? That needed to be on Domenic DiVincentiis’ thoughts because the seventh spherical started Friday, and he nonetheless sat ready to be claimed inside Bell Centre.

DiVincentiis wouldn’t have been the primary — or final — prospect to not attain the draft ground. However his story had a happier ending.

It might take all the way in which till Winnipeg’s choose at No. 207 within the seventh spherical, however DiVincentiis lastly bought his second as Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff made his choice official. The eruption of pleasure that adopted from DiVincentiis, his family and friends was such pure celebration of a long-awaited achievement.

The draft shortly rolled on and not using a pause, however these little moments stick in your thoughts as reminder of what the two-day occasion is all about: younger folks realizing their desires with the supporters who helped make them come true.

Whether or not DiVincentiis has a profitable NHL profession or not, there’s a reminiscence in Montreal he’ll maintain ceaselessly. And that was definitely worth the wait. — Shilton


Loser: Having to justify your commerce

The Philadelphia Flyers acquired a right-handed defenseman who can quarterback an influence play and had 51 factors in 64 video games final season. They’re anticipated to signal him to a two-year contract extension. Thrilling instances! Besides when that defenseman is Tony DeAngelo, and Flyers normal supervisor Chuck Fletcher has to spend nearly all of his time explaining to the media and followers that this isn’t going to convey a poisonous cloud over Philadelphia.

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“We really did a number of due diligence final summer time as nicely,” Fletcher stated. “He’s a younger man. He’s performed on a number of groups now. He’s someone that definitely has had some incidents in his previous which have in all probability gotten him into some hassle. He’s paid the results for these actions. We consider he’s realized from them.”

“From the whole lot we will collect and talking with [Hurricanes GM] Donny Waddell, talking with among the Carolina gamers, talking with different folks across the league, it looks like he’s actually labored arduous the final 12 months and a half to vary his methods,” the GM continued. “He’s older, he’s maturing and from all accounts he did a great job each on and off the ice final season.”

What would Fletcher say to followers who’re uncomfortable with a participant who was accused of utilizing a racial slur previously, and had a combat with a teammate?

“You must definitely recognize their opinion,” Fletcher stated. “He’s made some errors. Apologized for them. A number of the errors early in his profession, he hasn’t had any repeat offenses so to talk. He’s matured and he’s working arduous to be a greater individual each on and off the ice.”

What about placing DeAngelo on a staff coached by John Tortorella?

“I do know Torts is happy to work with him,” Fletcher replied. “He loves the eagerness. He loves the hearth. He loves his ability set. So long as you’re employed arduous for Torts and be a great teammate on and off the ice, you received’t have any points.”

Only a completely regular commerce. — Wyshynski


Winner: Bruce Boudreau

Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau is famend for his love {of professional} wrestling, and notably the old-school grapplers who can discuss in addition to they will work. His favourite present wrestler suits that template: WWE famous person Kevin Owens, who can take a bump in addition to he can dish an insult.

The NHL draft is, if nothing else, a spot the place desires come true. In order Boudreau was doing a success on NHL Community, host Jackie Redmond — who additionally does work for WWE — surprised the coach with a special guest: Okay.O. himself, a Montreal native.

“I used to be sitting in a field up there and I figured I’m come down and say hello,” Owens stated.

“I’m all pink,” Boudreau stated, slowly morphing right into a 12-year-old fan.

Boudreau instantly began asking Owens about his harm standing, whether or not WWE wrestlers know beforehand to which “model” they’re being drafted and usually fan-boy’d out.

In the event you’ve ever seen a baby meet Mickey Mouse for the primary time at Disney World, it was very very similar to that on the wholesomeness scale. — Wyshynski


Losers: Groups that didn’t get on the goalie carousel

Final summer time, the goaltending market was strong. This summer time, there’s simply as a lot demand however much less provide, particularly on the free-agent market. Therefore, some groups bought aggressive in addressing their goaltending points on the draft.

The Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche traded for Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers on the afternoon of the primary spherical. The Minnesota Wild re-signed goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for 2 years, ending hypothesis he could possibly be headed to Toronto. The Detroit Crimson Wings acquired St. Louis Blues pending free agent Ville Husso, after which signed him to a three-year deal. The New Jersey Devils acquired Washington Capitals restricted free agent Vitek Vanecek to pair with incumbent Mackenzie Blackwood.

Some groups tried to get aggressive however have been rebuffed. The Buffalo Sabres tried to commerce for Ottawa Senators goalie Matt Murray, however he used his commerce safety to dam the deal.

“The truth is we labored arduous on a deal, however gamers have the flexibility when it’s of their contract to make these selections,” Sabres GM Kevyn Adams stated. “And we wish gamers who wish to be right here. That’s the way in which we consider, so we transfer on.”

The Sabres want a goalie. So do the Edmonton Oilers. The Toronto Maple Leafs, who traded Petr Mrazek to the Chicago Blackhawks, want two. A number of different groups will search to bolster their crease.

There are some free-agent choices hitting the market subsequent week, together with Darcy Kuemper and Jack Campbell. There could be others accessible by way of commerce. However those that sought goalies early would possibly find yourself getting the higher offers, and in some instances higher goalies, than those that waited. — Wyshynski