The 2022 NHL Draft is just around the corner, with the best players in the world prepping for their selections. There are some big names this year, but the consensus top-two picks are Shane Wright and Juraj Slafkovsky.
Wright entered last season as the consensus number-one pick, but his grip on the top spot loosened as the season progressed. Following a strong performance, Slafkovsky is more than capable of taking his place, though both players have the ability to be star players in the league.
A very good bet to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, Wright is a center with tremendous upside. Playing in the competitive OHL as a 15-year-old, he shined under the spotlight to earn OHL and CHL Rookie of the Year honors in 2019-20.
A freakish offensive threat, he put up 32 goals and 62 assists this year, putting him at a whopping 94 points in 63 games for the Kingston Frontenacs. His playoffs were tremendous, and his upside is there.
Standing at 6’1” and weighing 187 lbs, Wright has a good-enough build for the league. His shot placement is elite, and his IQ has been unmatched since his rookie year at age 15. He stacks his defenders well, makes the right passes, and controls his shot to a near-magical degree.
However, Wright’s problem is that he’s a jack of all trades but a master of none. Still, he makes the right plays, knows the ice inside and out, and will make a significant impact on the league. This guy is NHL-ready now, and that may help his stock.
For everything that Shane has now, Slafkovsky has in potential. A physical 6’4”, 220 lb left wing, the Slovakian already has the build of an NHL player. The kid’s only 17 years old, so there’s even more room to grow.
Slafkovsky is a very physical wing who has sparks of offensive flare. He plays the corners well and isn’t afraid to get physical. He’s an incredible defender and can work downhill and backward efficiently for his size.
What impresses me the most is his standout Olympic performance. His seven goals in seven games put his name on the map. Two of those goals came against Sweden to earn his team the Olympic Bronze
Slafkovsky may have some work to do, but he is the prototypical NHL prospect with a very high ceiling. He has the right mentality, has played against the highest level of competition, and is built for the big leagues.
Read why Hockey Takes’ Chris Roberts believes Juraj Slafkovsky is the best player in the 2022 NHL Draft.
Who is #1?
Both Wright and Slafkovsky are highly-touted prospects, and the Montreal Canadiens will find value in either of these picks.
Wright is ready to hit the ice right now. Although he’s the smaller of the two prospects, he plays a high-value position and is well equipped for all aspects of hockey. Slafkovsky is a physical presence on both sides of the ice, with a dog-like mentality and the ability to grow. Both players can score the puck, make the right plays, and help their team win games.
Although Slafkovsky may become the better player long-term, I have to stick with Wright at the first selection. The value of a center is incredible, as it’s essentially a quarterback on skates. He may not be as physical as Slafkovsky, and maybe he’ll get tossed around a little more. However, his technicality, precision, and intelligence put him at the top of my draft board.
Wright will make his impact on Montreal and the NHL instantly.