The EP Rinkside pre-World Juniors 2022 NHL Draft ranking
That can only mean one thing: It's time for Elite Prospects to publish its first board for the 2022 NHL Draft. We've risen to the occasion with a draft ranking that's 32 players long, the culmination of countless days and nights spent scouring rinks and game tape alike for the players who will help shape the future of the NHL.
The early impression among our scouting staff is that this year's class represents an escalation in depth and quality over last July's draft, a good sign for rebuilding and soon-to-be rebuilding franchises who have their eyes set on the future. We finished last season with 22 A-grade prospects, players we felt were first-round talents; this year, that number is sure to close on 30 if not exceed it.
Kingston Frontenacs centre Shane Wright is still at the front of the pack, a gifted two-way, dual-threat scoring centre with top-of-the-lineup potential. That's the main prize, on which the Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres of the NHL have set their sights as they trudge through another trying season one loss after the other.
The consolation prizes are hardly anything to sneeze at either. Joakim Kemell, our No. 2-ranked prospect, is stringing together one of the most productive draft-year seasons in the Finnish Liiga in recent memory. Czech defenceman David Jiříček and Slovak rearguard Šimon Nemec each represent surefire bets to hold down a top-four role at the NHL level in time with the potential for so much more.
And so it goes for much of the first round, with one player after another sharing legitimate top-of-the-lineup aspirations to varying degrees. With that, let's take a look at who forms their ranks.
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