NHL Central Scouting releases final rankings for 2022 Draft: Here’s who could fall to the Flames
Photo credit:Jerome Miron/USA Today Sports
By Ryan Pike1 year ago
The National Hockey League’s Central Scouting Service released their final rankings for the upcoming 2022 NHL Draft earlier this week, typically a good barometer for where prospects will be selected at the annual entry draft. While the Calgary Flames don’t have a first-rounder this year, the Central Scouting rankings can give a glimpse into what player the Flames might nab in the second round.
The Flames won’t select until near the end of the second round, likely somewhere between 57th and 64th overall depending on playoff performance. If we assume between eight and 10 European prospects will be selected before the Flames pick, here are a handful of players that could be available when they do.
(Also, and we can already hear Kent Wilson and Ryan Pinder shouting: we’re assuming the Flames won’t take a goaltender early on given their organizational depth and needs at other positions.)
RW Gavin Hayes [51st, North American skaters]
A product of Westland, Michigan, Hayes is a right shot winger plying his trade with the Ontario Hockey League’s Flint Firebirds. Listed at 6’1″ and 180 pounds, Hayes had 19 goals and 49 points in 65 games this season, which was his first in the OHL. His lack of major junior experience may hamper his draft chances a bit – he lacks a clear sample size at the OHL level to track progression – but considering the pandemic wiped out the 2020-21 season for many junior-aged kids, that’s something teams will have to live with. Regardless, Hayes has been adaptable and productive as an OHL rookie and he fills an obvious hole for the Flames: a right shot forward.
D Michael Fisher [52nd, North American skaters]
He’s big (6’3″, 194)! He’s a right shot! He’s an American defender from New England! He’s probably not terrible academically, considering where he’s going to school next season! Committed to Princeton for 2022-23, Fisher ticks a lot of boxes for the Flames (and undoubtedly other teams). He put up big offensive numbers in high school, with 50 points in 28 games for St. Mark’s. Aside from questions about quality of competition and development time, there’s not a lot to dislike about Fisher.
D Isaiah George [53rd, North American skaters]
Another OHL kid, George is an Oakville product who played this season with the London Knights (who have become one of the most trusted developers of NHL talent in the entire circuit). A left shot blueliner, George is listed at 6’1″ and 194 pounds. He had 23 points in 67 games this past season after losing the entire 2020-21 season to the OHL’s pandemic shutdown.
D Jake Livanavage [54th, North American skaters]
Livanavage is an Arizona kid and left-shot defender and played this past season for the Chicago Steel of the USHL, the same team that produced 2021 first-rounder Matt Coronato – they were teammates in 2020-21. Livanavage is not a big body, listed at 5’10” and 161 pounds, but he’s Andrew Mangiapane-sized and he had 45 points in 61 games this past season. He’s a good distributor, but not a great shooter: he had 3 goals and 42 assists, and his USHL production is skewed well towards assists.
D David Spacek [55th, North American skaters]
A Czech import playing for the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix, Spacek is a right shot blueliner listed at 6’0″ and 180 pounds, and the son of longtime NHLer Jaroslav Spacek. He had 12 goals and 50 points in his introduction to North American hockey, and he’s already amassed a good amount of high-end international experience playing for his country at three different major events.
D Jace Weir [56th, North American skaters]
Originally from B.C., Weir is a right shot blueliner listed at 6’2″ and 185 pounds. He had 25 points in 64 games for the Red Deer Rebels this season, and he seems like the type of defender who might not blow anybody’s doors off during his draft year, but seems like a smart, safe, logical pick. He’s got the size and he was fairly productive in his first full WHL season.
D Elias Salomonsson [12th, International skaters]
Probably the player I’m most skeptical about still being available when the Flames pick is Salomonsson, and for some pretty obvious reasons. He’s a right shot Swedish blueliner who has played pro games already, represented Sweden at many international events, and has been a standout in Swedish junior as an offensive-minded blueliner for several seasons. He feels very Flamesy, but he’s also somebody that’s quite unlikely to fall to them.
C Jiri Kulich [13th, International skaters]
A left shot forward from Czechia, Kulich is listed at 6’0″, 176 and has spent much of the past two seasons (as a teenager) playing pro hockey in his home country. He was a really good junior player who’s transitioned into a pretty productive young pro – he had 14 points in 49 games in the top Czech league this season – and boasts a really impressive international resume with experience at many major events. He captained Czechia’s entries at the Under-18 Worlds and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
The 2022 NHL Draft is July 7-8 in scenic Montreal.
Which of these potential picks do you like the most? What type of player would you like the Flames to pick in the 2022 NHL Draft? Let us know in the comments!
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