2022 NHL Draft: the needs of the Metropolitan Division

The 2022 NHL Draft provides an opportunity for teams to bolster positions in need with young talent.

Here’s what teams in the Metropolitan Division could be looking to do in the draft (listed alphabetically):

CAROLINA HURRICANE

Priority: Best available

First choice: No. 60

The situation: The Hurricanes made 33 picks in the last three years and went gold with the forward Seth Jarvis, who was selected with the No. 13 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. Jarvis had 40 points (17 goals, 23 assists) in 68 regular season games and eight points (three goals, five assists) in 14 Stanley Cup Playoff games as a rookie this season. Goalkeeper Piotr Kochetkova second-round pick (36th overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft, also gained valuable playoff experience due to injuries to Frederic Andersen and Antti Raanta. He could challenge for the backup position next season or take the lead role with Chicago of the American Hockey League. Without a first-round pick in the 2022 draft, Carolina’s goal will be to continue to stock up on talent in all positions.

Possible compatibilities: David SpacekD, Sherbrooke (QMJHL); Topias LeinonenG, JYP Jr. (FIN); Paul LudwinskyC, Kingston (OHL)

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

Priority: Best available

Top picks: Number 6

The situation: The Blue Jackets have several promising prospects at center Kent Johnson (No. 5, 2021 NHL Draft), right wing Kirill Marchenko (No. 49, 2018 NHL Draft) and defenseman Corson Ceulemans (#25, 2021). Goalkeeper Daniil Tarasov (No. 86, 2017 NHL Draft) is also on the verge of becoming an NHL regular after finishing with a 2.40 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in four games this season. . Columbus has seven picks in the draft, including two in the first round (also No. 12), so he has the trade bait needed to possibly upgrade the roster immediately.

Possible compatibilities: David JiricekD, Pilsen (CZE); Joakim KemelRW, JYP (END); Matthew SavoyC, Winnipeg (WHL)

NEW JERSEY DEVILS

Priority: Striker and goalkeeper

First choice: No. 2

The situation: New Jersey failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the fourth consecutive season and for the ninth time in 10 seasons since losing the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012. Although it has received contributions from many young players, including a breakout season of Jack Hughes (56 points in 49 games), the organization must resolve its goalkeeping and scoring depth problems. The focus was on defense this past offseason with the addition of Dougie Hamilton in free agency and Ryan Graves via a trade to the Colorado Avalanche, but the Devils used a team-record seven goaltenders. Hall Mackenzie Blackwood missed a lot of time last season, including 41 games with a recurring left heel injury and a save Jonathan Bernier played 10 games before missing the rest of the season with a hip injury. The Devils shouldn’t be expected to select a goaltender with the second pick, so forward support should be the priority.

Possible compatibilities: Juraj SlafkovskyLW, GST(END); Logan CooleyC, United States U-18 (NTDP); Shane WrightC, Kingston (OHL)

NEW YORK ISLANDS

Priority: range depth

First choice: No. 13

The situation: New York failed to qualify for the playoffs after reaching the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020 and the Stanley Cup Semifinals last season. They hired Lane Lambert as coach on May 16 to replace Barry Trotz, who was fired seven days earlier after four seasons in New York. The Islanders couldn’t start after injuries and COVID-19 helped unravel their early season, but they also struggled to score again, finishing tied for 22nd in the NHL with 2. 79 goals per game. The Islanders only have five picks in the draft, so they’ll likely pick the best player available. Lambert’s nephew, Brad Lambertshould be chosen in the first round.

Possible compatibilities: Kevin Korchinsky, D, Seattle (WHL); Brad Lambert, C, Pelicans (FIN); Conor the geekC, Winnipeg (WHL)

NEW YORK RANGERS

Priority: Front depth

First choice: No. 63

The situation: Rangers are in good shape for the foreseeable future with the left wing Alexis Lafreniere (No. 1, 2020 NHL Draft), right wing Kaapo Kakko (No. 2, 2019), defenders Adam Fox and K’Andre Miller (No. 22, 2018) and goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin (No. 118, 2014 NHL Draft) in the fold. On top of that, the left wing perspective Brennan Othmann (No. 16, 2021) finished seventh in the Ontario Hockey League with 97 points (50 goals, 47 assists) in 66 games with Flint and defenseman Braden Schneider (No. 19, 2020) had 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 43 regular season games and three assists in 20 playoff games as a rookie with the Rangers. New York has four picks in the next draft, so it could bolster its prospect pool up front from centers Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp anyone can become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

Possible compatibilities: Matyas SapovalivC, Saginaw (OHL); Devin KaplanRW, USA U-18 (NTDP); Cruz LuciusRA, USA U-18 (NTDP)

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

Priority: Defender and forward depth

First choice: #5

The situation: The Flyers finished with the fourth-worst record in the NHL (25-46-11) and missed the playoffs for the sixth time in 10 seasons. They allowed 3.59 goals per game (sixth in the NHL), 34.0 shots on goal per game (fourth) and traded their captain Claude Giroux at the Florida Panthers on March 19. Mike Yeo, who replaced Alain Vigneault as coach Dec. 6, was fired May 3 and replaced by John Tortorella, who was hired June 16. A few young players are looking to make their mark with the Flyers, including defensemen Cam York (No. 14, 2019) and Egor Zamula (free agent) and forwards Wade Allison (#52, 2016 NHL Draft), Isaac Ratcliffe (#35, 2017), and Tyson Foerster (#23, 2020). Bobby Brink (No. 34, 2019) also took a step toward a full-time NHL spot next season with four assists in 10 games after leading the University of Denver to an NCAA championship. Philadelphia has six picks in the draft, so look for general manager Chuck Fletcher to fill defenseman and forward needs.

Possible compatibilities: Logan Cooley, D, USA U-18 (NTDP); Simon Nemec, D, Nitra (SVK); David Jiricek, D, Plzen (CZE)

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Priority: Center depth

First choice: No. 21

The situation: The Penguins were eliminated in seven games by the Rangers in the Eastern Conference First Round, the fourth straight season they failed to win a playoff series. They can’t rely on centers Sidney Crosby and Yevgeny Malkin and defender Kris Letang still. Crosby, who turns 35 on August 7, is under contract until 2024-25, but Malkin, who turns 36 on July 31, and Kris Letang, 35, can each become an unrestricted free agent on July 13. Pittsburgh has drafted 15 players in the past three years, but only two centers (both selected in the 2021 draft) and one defenseman. The Penguins have five picks for the fourth straight season, so look for them to try to solidify those two positions.

Possible compatibilities: Nathan GaucherC, Quebec (QMJHL); Jiri KulichC, Karlovy Vary (CZE); Danila YurovRW, Magnitogorsk (RUS)

WASHINGTON CAPITALS

Priority: Best available

First choice: No. 20

The situation: The Capitals have qualified for the playoffs for eight consecutive seasons, but haven’t won a series since winning the Stanley Cup in 2018. The center’s future Nicklas Backstrom remains uncertain due to hip resurfacing surgery and their captaincy core Alex Ovechkin (he will be 37 on September 17), right wing TJ Oshie (he will be 36 on December 23) and defender John Carlson (turned 32 on January 10) is getting older. Washington got a glimpse of his bright future as a defender, though. Martin Fehervarywho had 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 79 games last season, and forward Connor McMichael, who had 18 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 68 games. The Capitals have made 15 picks over the past three years, and center Hendrix Lapierre (No. 22, 2020) and defender Vincent Iori (#55, 2021) are considered two of the top prospects in their respective positions. Expect the Capitals to pick the best player available from their six picks this year.

Possible compatibilities: Owen PickeringD, fast current (WHL); ty nelsonD, North Bay (OHL); Noah WarrenD, Gatineau (QMJHL)

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