Project: the future in an election

Project: the future in an election

Shane Wright, Juraj Slavkovsky or Logan Cooley. If there was a consensus pick a few months ago, there are now three contenders to become top of the class in the 2022 draft.

• Read also: The Canadian active in the draft?

• Read also: 10 first-round picks that haven’t aged well

For the first time since 1980 with Doug Wickenheiser, the Canadian will speak from the front row. And to add a little magic, the Bell Center will be the setting for this draft.

Kent Hughes and the HC leaders played their game well as the decisive day approached. The CEO repeated more than once that he had not yet made his choice.

“But it’s always good to have first choice because we decide our own destiny,” the rookie GM said more than once.

After a miserable season in which the team went from reaching the Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning to 32me and last place, the Habs will dictate much of their future with a single pick.

“When you speak in the front row, you have no right to be wrong, recalled a recruiter from the West. It may seem very easy since you draw first from the great pool of players, but there are years in which it gets complicated. In 2022, there is no hockey genius, no gifted person who is beyond question. »

“My feeling is that I don’t know who will come out on top,” added a Western scout. There’s Wright, who we saw for a long time as the lucky one. There is the great side of Slovakia [Slafkovsky] and the creative and dynamic center in Cooley. The CH is seeing all three options. »

A debate

Another Western recruiter surveyed by The newspaper he hesitates for several seconds when asked a very simple question, namely who the Canadian will go to with the first choice.

“Yes, clearly there is a debate for the first option,” he replied after a pause of about five seconds. Wright will become a good center in the NHL. I describe him as a good player, there is no doubt about that. But he’s not a franchise guy. Shane is smart, he’s responsible for both sides of the ice, he has a good shot and good offensive skills. But he doesn’t keep you on the edge of your seat. I would think of others. Slafkovsky has a rare element in his game, that of a natural scorer. And on top of that, he’s very imposing at 6’4″. Cooley, for his part, is probably the one with the most potential.”

It’s not just the unpredictability based on three candidates, there’s also the fact that the Canadiens will come into this draft with new hockey faces. We will live the post Trevor Timmins era with Bobrov and Lapointe.

Before coming to Montreal, Gorton and Bobrov worked with the New York Rangers. In 2019, they drafted winger Kaapo Kakko with the second overall pick after Jack Hughes with the Devils.

Three years later, Kakko has yet to take off in Manhattan.

“I don’t know if he can become a factor, but Kakko is a great winger in the mold of Slafkovsky, an Eastern recruiter stressed. Gorton could still be bummed out by this fairly recent election. »

Tons of options

The CH will have very good ammunition for this playoff that will take place on Thursday (1Ahem shift) and Friday (2me round until 7me tower) with 14 options.

On paper, the Canadian currently holds the 1Ahem26me33me62me66me75me92me and 98me option. We are therefore talking about eight selections among the top 100.

Hughes and Gorton could easily consider trading some picks to move up a few ranks.

“I imagine a scenario in which Hughes exchanges the 26me elections and other elections to approach the 15me rank in the first round, a Western scout predicted. The Canadian has recruited several players in the past, but there is a limit of 50 contracts. They will have no choice but to prioritize quality over quantity. »

the whole center

SHANE WRIGHT


Shane Wright in the colors of the Kingston Frontenacs.

Photo courtesy of OHL, Terry Wilson

Shane Wright in the colors of the Kingston Frontenacs.

  • Center | right handed | Canadian | Date of birth: January 5, 2004 | Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
  • 6 feet | 199 pounds
  • 94 sts (32 g, 62 sts) in 63 gm
  • 1Ahem hope in north america

Two years ago, a year ago and even six months ago, Shane Wright was sporting the best-in-class tag for the 2022 draft. He doesn’t shine that bright.

Wright’s name still remains at the top of several NHL teams, but he has also been surpassed by Juraj Slafkovsky and Logan Cooley by other teams.

“When you look at a guy for three years, eventually you find fault with him,” one Eastern recruiter recalled. His story reminds me of Sean Couturier’s. By his draft year in 2011, Sean had dropped to eighth place. But the Flyers have never regretted this choice. I feel a similar shortness of breath with Shane. There have been expectations for a long time. However, he is still a very good hockey player. »

Wright had followed in the footsteps of John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid by making the jump to the OHL at age 15. In his rookie season with the Kingston Frontenacs, he scored 39 goals and had 66 points in 59 games. Captain of the Frontenacs this season, he scored 32 goals and accumulated 94 points in 63 games.

Recognized as a smart and responsible center, Wright is not unanimous for his hard work.

“I left Kingston disappointed more than once,” said a Western scout.

RECRUITER CARD

  • Meaning of the game: 4.5
  • Speed: 4.0
  • Character/Competitor: 2.5
  • Disc Skills: 4.5
  • Size/Gauge…: 3.5

“Wright has what it takes to be number one. He did not have a great season, but we must not forget his 15-year season in the OHL and his very good Under-18 World Cup in the summer of 2021.

– An Eastern recruiter

“An intelligent young man, a responsible center. He probably doesn’t have the potential to be a big star. He’s not the next Patrice Bergeron, but he looks like a center in the Nico Hischier mold. He will play in the first two lines, he has good skills and talent. »

– An Eastern recruiter

Giant-sized winger and natural goalscorer

JURAJ SLAFKOVSKY


Juraj Slafkovsky in action against Germany at the World Cup in Finland last May.

Photo archives, AFP

Juraj Slafkovsky in action against Germany at the World Cup in Finland last May.

  • Leftmost | left handed | Slovak | Date of birth: March 30, 2004 | GST (Finland)
  • 6 feet 4″ | 229 pounds
  • 10 sts (5 g, 5 sts) in 31 tog
  • 1Ahem hope in europe

Juraj Slafkovsky was never afraid to say it openly. He would dream of shuffling the cards in this playoff by first taking the stage in Montreal.

“I recently read that the Canadian was looking for a left back to play with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. I’m sitting here waiting if the Habs come looking for me! »

The 6-foot-4, nearly 230-pound Slovakian winger offered that answer to TSN colleagues.

Slafkovsky has two crucial cards in his game, the natural scorer and the potential winger.

“Juraj is a big guy, he can dominate with his physicality, he finds spaces in the offensive zone, he protects the puck and he has a natural instinct as a scorer. You don’t teach a player how to score goals. It must be natural and it is the case with him. One day he will score 40 goals in the NHL. »

On the international stage, Slafkovsky made Slovakia proud with seven goals in seven games at the Beijing Olympics to help the small country win a bronze medal. The 18-year-old left back, however, put up more modest numbers with TPS Turku in the Finnish Elite League.

“There are questions about his consistency, but he didn’t get a lot of playing time with TPS,” said an East scout.

RECRUITER CARD

  • Meaning of the game: 4.0
  • Speed: 4.0
  • Character/Competitor: 3.5
  • Disc Skills: 4.5
  • Size/Gauge…: 4.5

“He scores goals and that’s a rarity in the NHL. He has this goalscoring instinct, he gets there in different ways. Juraj has a big frame and finds space when there isn’t. But he will need a good center to take advantage of his shot. »

– An Eastern recruiter

“He had notable international tournaments with the Olympics and the World Cup. He dominated against men. But I didn’t like the consistency of him, we never saw the same winger in Finland. »

– A western recruiter

Denis Savard on the nose

Logan Cooley


A dynamic player with a strong character, Logan Cooley is an attractive candidate for the 2022 draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Hockey’s NTDP, Rena Laverty

A dynamic player with a strong character, Logan Cooley is an attractive candidate for the 2022 draft.

  • Center | left handed | American | Date of birth: May 4, 2004 | United States under 18
  • 5 feet 10 inches | 180 pounds
  • 75 sts (27 g, 48 sts) in 51 gm
  • twome hope in north america

There is the specter of 1980. That year, the Canadians were talking about first in the draft. The CH had chosen Doug Wickenheiser, center of the Regina Pats, before the defender Dave Babych, but especially before the center Denis Savard, who played in the Montreal Junior.

“When I look at this year’s draft, I’m afraid the Canadian will relive the 1980 scenario. I’m afraid I’ll see Wickenheiser in Shane Wright again and Savard in Logan Cooley,” one Eastern recruiter imagined.

Cooley, a center from Pittsburgh, is described as a much more dynamic and creative forward than Wright. But he doesn’t have an imposing physique at 5’10” and 180 lbs.

“He has more sparkles in his game than Wright, he’s also a tougher center,” an East scout noted. If he was 6’2″, there would probably be no debate about the selection range of him. He reminds me of Jack Hughes, but a tick down.”

If he doesn’t play in the NHL at age 18 in the fall, Cooley will report to the NCAA’s University of Minnesota Gophers.

RECRUITER CARD

  • Meaning of the game: 4.0
  • Speed: 4.0
  • Character/Competitor: 4.5
  • Disc Skills: 4.5
  • Size/Gauge…: 3.0

“To me, Cooley is the best prospect in this draft. He has more character and is very dynamic. He finds ways to create games through his intelligence. »

– A western recruiter

“Logan has great offensive potential. He often becomes a magician on the ice, he has this spectacular side. He skates well, works hard and is competitive even though he’s not the greatest. »

– A western recruiter


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