The 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be held July 7-8 at the Bell Center in Montreal. Round 1 will be July 7 (7:00 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS) and Rounds 2-7 will be July 8 (11:00 a.m. ET; NHLN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS) instead of. NHL.com counts down to the draft with in-depth profiles of top prospects, podcasts and other features. Today’s look at some of the best skaters in the Ontario Hockey League. For NHL.com’s full draft coverage, click here here.
Shane Wright with Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League has emerged not only as the top forward in the OHL, but also perhaps as the #1 pick in the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft.
The center right-shot (6ft, 199lbs) was No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting Ranking of North American Skaters all seasons.
“When I look at Shane, he’s an elite skater, an elite hockey talent, an elite hockey IQ, he’s a leader, he’s the captain of his team and he’s been on the scene a long time and always has delivered,” NHL’s Joey Tenute told Central Scouting. “I think whoever gets Shane Wright is going to sleep like a baby on draft night. I think he’s a great prospect and I think he’s going to have a great career.”
Wright is one of four OHL players in the top 10 North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings. defender Pavel Mintyukov (6-1, 194) of Saginaw is No. 6, center Luca Del BelBelluz (6-0, 179) of Mississauga is No. 8 and middle Owen Beck (5-11, 187) of Mississauga is No. 10.
The OHL, one of the top suppliers of talent to the NHL draft, returned in 2021-22 after canceling last season due to coronavirus concerns.
Two players from the OHL were among the top 10 picks of the 2021 NHL draft: Peterborough forwards Mason McTavish (No. 3, Anaheim Ducks) and Barrie defensemen Brand Clarke (No. 8, Los Angeles Kings).
The OHL had 63 players recognized in Central Scouting’s final rankings. To break it down, here are five questions with Tenute:
Wright has been talked about and questioned since he was 15 years old. You’ve followed him closely for the last three years. Isn’t that decision on #1 as clear cut as we think?
“Since I’ve been doing this, Shane has been the most touted prospect I’ve scouted. Look at his career: he said goodbye to an exceptional talent, Canadian Hockey League Rookie of the Year, then COVID-19 hits and after that he even plays hockey all season and snatches the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Championship .Shane’s a stellar prospect, and I don’t think it’s as much as “let’s critique Shane’s season” versus “I do.” is. I think it’s more like other people getting involved in the conversation. It’s very easy to call a summer pre-season draft, but remember this was a fully scouted season, after a crazy COVID-19 year in which most of the scouting happened on video. I think it’s very easy to focus on any type of negative that you can find on any player, but there are players who have obviously had elite seasons and really put themselves into it. I know the Montreal Canadiens are in the Moment number 1, bu Whoever picks from this high caliber group of guys gets an incredible perspective on their franchise. You all have the potential for a great NHL career.”
Del Bel Belluz seems to be stepping into so many different positions on mock design boards. Why did NHL Central Scouting rank him the #8 North American Skater and what are his perks?
“I feel like he has a very high ceiling. Part of my mentality this season was we’re really going to see the kids who’ve been working and doing the right things on the spare time and COVID-19 and we’re going to see the kids who maybe have let up. I think Luca probably made an effort to get the season going and improved without even having a hockey season. That’s impressive. I just think Luca has exceptional offensive ability. He’s a “A player who creates himself, makes his teammates better and has an underrated two-way game and habits. I think he’s more of an all-around player than just a number-putting guy. It has the next level top 6, long runway and high ceiling. He’s a very exciting prospect.
Beck seems like an attractive prospect, but we’re still wondering what type of player he’ll become at the next level. He was a key face-off player and has shown consistency, but what did you see and like about him?
“I think Owen has a lot of pro potential. He’s so strong on his feet, plays a safe game and is just a well-rounded player. He doesn’t overcomplicate things, he’s responsible, he does his job and I think he’s a ‘guy that his coach has really relied on in so many situations. For a newcomer to come in, it’s very impressive, really seeing that To earn trust from his coach and his team to be used in those situations and really excel in that. He’s been on offense so he’s a player that a team will welcome into their organization and will play an important role. Owen is the guy who will help guide teams deep into the season.”
Sudbury center David Goyette made a big jump in the final North American rankings from 35th at halftime to 13th. What did you see in his game that allowed Central to take him that high?
“I think we were very well prepared this year to give children some time. And there are a lot of kids in OHL this year that needed time. We saw the high-end talent in David very early on; it was recognized immediately. He’s an exceptional skater, has a pull away gear and I think he’s just starting to feel comfortable and has been put in a heavy role on a young team at Sudbury. He really took on that role very well. He was a top line guy, power play, penalty kick, and played heavy minutes against other teams and against top pair defenders, closing lines night after night. He was still showing numbers and showing performance. He can do things with the puck at high speeds and in tight and tight situations. He has very good hands and instincts. He’s not just a one-dimensional player either, he has a well-rounded game.”
Are there a few other OHL players that you think should be on our radar for their potential?
“Defender Michael books (#30; Guelph) and (middle) Vincent Rohrer (No. 42; Ottawa) are two guys who have had really, really good rookie seasons. I think it’s two players who have improved at a high level all season and both players have long runways. I think there’s a lot more to come for these two. Dealing with those two in the Combine, they seem like really good kids, and I think it was a nice way of putting a face and a personality on a few kids like that. I think they will be excellent prospects with great futures.”
Photo: Charles Warburton, Mississauga (OHL)
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