Six more picks are on the board, as we close in on the end of the first round in the 2022 Mock Draft. The Penguins take a chance on a player who missed the end of last season due to illness, while the Ducks exit the round with a forward and defender.
Here are the next six picks:
20. Washington Capitals — Denton Mateychuk
From Japers’ Rink:
I spent years telling the Caps to stop drafting left handed defensemen but if Denton is still there when the Caps pick I’ll be screaming for them to take this left handed defensemen. Denton is a smallish defensemen at 5’11” but has good weight at 192lbs. Don’t let his size scare you, Denton is scrappy and has no problem playing the rough stuff. He’s a high end skater with great vision, hands, and shot. He’s a masetro with the puck in the offensive zone, creating offense from nothing. The best part about his offensive game is his willingness to jump into the play; he’s like a fourth forward out there. Most smallish offensive defensemen usually come with the caveat that they are poor defensively, but Denton is anything but. The same brain he uses to problem solve in the offensive zone is the same he uses to ready plays and end up them before they start in the neutral and defensive zone. He’s reliable all over the ice. There’s very little to not like him his game. If he was two inches taller he’s be in the top 10, maybe higher. What’s most intriguing about Denton though is that he’s one of the youngest players in the draft, meaning we might not even know what his ceiling could be. He’s getting Roman Josi type comparable. There’s a top three defensemen there, but truly has the ability to be a top pairing defensemen.
21. Pittsburgh Penguins — Ivan Miroshinichenko
Miroshnichenko is considered the biggest question mark or wild card in the draft for just exactly where he will be picked. You can tell from above with rankings all over the place with the experts figuring out just exactly where he best fits and where value versus question marks slot him.
Earlier in the season, Miroshnichenko was considered a top prospect and potential top-5 draft pick. But that took a turn in January, Miroshnichenko’s season abruptly ended with a shocking Hodgkin’s disease diagnosis and getting treatments. Earlier this month, he was cleared to resume practicing and presumably is anticipating being able to start the 2022-23 season in Russia with things on the upswing in that scary development.
22. Anaheim Ducks (from Boston Bruins) — Rutger McGroarty
From Anaheim Calling:
Again, how can you not like the name? But on the ice, McGroarty can play in all three zones. The USNTDP harps on playing a strong defensive game, and McGroarty can add a ton of offense, as well. He is a power forward who is willing to go to the dirty areas of the ice to screen goaltenders, but also has excellent vision to find his teammates. He would add size down the middle for the Ducks, and has the ability to play up and down the line-up if needed. McGroarty can play in all situations, easing the pressure on Trevor Zegras and Mason McTavish.
If the Ducks are running out Zegras, McTavish and McGroarty down the middle, that will rival any team in the Pacific Division, on top of adding Kevin Korchinski to make the best defense. This has the makings of a contending team. McGroarty projects to be an elite 3C who can play in the top-6 if needed. His development at the University of Michigan will help him work on the flaws in his skating mechanics and be more consistent on a nightly basis.
23. St. Louis Blues — Jiri Kulich
From St. Louis Game Time:
Of course, all of this begs the question: why Kulich? The Blues are set at center, with Robert Thomas’ emergence blending beautifully with Ryan O’Reilly and Brayden Schenn. But the latter two options are aging quickly. Kulich is, roughly, three years from confidently jumping into an NHL roster, which would see him joining in O’Reilly’s 34-year-old season and Schenn’s 33-year-old season.
If the Blues still have Berube around when that happens, they’ll be scouring for hard-nosed centers to fill the void that these two will inevitably leave. Kulich is the perfect man for the job, embodying many of the traits that Berube has tried to force out of the Blues in his years here.
It’s worth noting, though, that none of the sources close to GameTime expect Kulich to be available when the Blues make their pick. He’s simply too highly-regarded by NHL teams right now. If he isn’t there, the Blues have been closely linked to Nathan Gaucher of the QMJHL and Filip Bystedt of the SHL: two more hard-nosed centers, although both of them have the size to back it up.
24. Minnesota Wild — Gleb Trikozov
From Hockey Wilderness:
And with the 24th selection in the draft, we at Hockey Wilderness decided to take a sort of dark horse first-rounder and nab Russian forward Gleb Trikozov. It might be your first time reading his name, or the hundredth, but Trikozov is beloved by a wide array of online scouts that pour over footage like it is their day job without being their day job. Maybe it’s a pick made to just look smarter than we actually are about prospects, but whatever.
The similarity between a certain Kirill Kaprizov in his draft year, seven years ago, is a little jarring. They are both forwards that have not been given the credit by national media as a potential first-rounder, but others seem to think that if everything hits right, they can be a star. It was the same thing with Kaprizov in 2015 — some wanted their team to draft him in the first round, but he dropped all the way to the fifth.
25. Toronto Maple Leafs — Noah Östlund
From Pension Plan Puppets:
In a lot of ways, Östlund seems like the prototypical Kyle Dubas draft pick. He’s a bit smaller, but he oozes skill. In the last two seasons he’s put up 64 points in 47 games at the U20 level between regular season and playoffs. He was a dominant force for Sweden at the World U18 Championships this year, to the tune of 4 goals and 6 assists in just 6 games.
But he isn’t necessarily the flashiest offensive player, considering his point totals. He gets his results by being very quick and agile, and by being smart and able to anticipate play. We know that the latter trait is something the Leafs have really looked for in their draft picks in the recent past, and Östlund seems to have it in spades.