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Draft: the future in a choice

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

• Read also: The Canadian active in the draft?

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

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

Kent Hughes and the CH leaders hid their game well as the decisive day approached. The general manager repeated more than once that he had not yet made his choice of him.

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

After a miserable season in which the team went from the finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning to 32And and lastly, the Habs will dictate much of its future with a single selection.

“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 first draw from the vast player pool, but there are years when things get complicated. In 2022 there is no hockey genius, a gifted person who is beyond doubt. “

“My feeling is that I don’t know who will come out on top,” added a Western scout. There is Wright, the one we have long seen as the lucky one. There is the great exterior of Slovakia [Slafkovsky] and the creative and dynamic center of Cooley. The CH is examining the three options. “

A debate

Another Western recruiter interviewed by The newspaper hesitates for a few seconds when asked a very simple question, which is who the Canadian with the first choice will turn to.

“Yes, there is clearly a debate for the first choice, 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. But he’s not the franchise guy. Shane is smart, is responsible in both directions of the ice, has good shooting and good offensive skills. But he doesn’t hold you in suspense. I would think of others. Slafkovsky has a rare element in the game of him, that of a natural scorer. And on top of that he is very impressive at 6’4 “. Cooley, meanwhile, is probably the one with the highest potential.”

It’s not just the unpredictability based on three candidates, there’s also the fact that the Canadiens will come to 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 chose winger Kaapo Kakko with the second overall pick after Jack Hughes with the Devils.

Three years later, Kakko still hasn’t taken off in Manhattan.

“I don’t know if he can become a factor, but Kakko is a great winger in Slafkovsky’s mold, a recruiter from the East pointed out. Gorton may still be put off by this fairly recent choice. ”

Tons of choices

The CH will have excellent ammunition for this repechage which will take place on Thursday (1uh shift) and Friday (2And ride up to 7And tower) with 14 choices.

On paper, the Canadian currently holds the 1uh26And33And62And66And75Andninety twoAnd and 98And choice. It is therefore eight selections from the top 100.

Hughes and Gorton could easily consider swapping a few choices to move up a few ranks.

“I imagine a scenario where Hughes trades the 26And choices and other choices to get closer to 15And ranking in the first round, predicted a Western scout. 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 complete 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 lbs.
  • 94 stitches (32 g, 62 p) in 63 mo
  • 1uh hope in north america

Two years ago, a year ago and even six months ago, Shane Wright held the first class tag for the 2022 draft. Not so strong sparkles.

Wright’s name still remains at the top for several NHL teams, but other teams have also surpassed him Juraj Slafkovsky and Logan Cooley.

“When you look at a guy for three years, you eventually find flaws in him,” recalled one recruiter from the East. His story reminds me of Sean Couturier’s. In its draft year in 2011, Sean had dropped to 8th 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 remains an excellent hockey player. “

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

While he is recognized as an intelligent and responsible center, Wright is not unanimous in his hard work.

“I came out of 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 Skill: 4.5
  • Size / caliber …: 3.5

“Wright has what it takes to be a number one. He hasn’t had a great season, but we mustn’t forget his 15-year-old season in the OHL and his excellent Under 18 World Cup in the summer of 2021.

– A recruiter from the east

“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 centerpiece in Nico Hischier’s mold. He will play in the first two lines, he has good skills and talent. “

– A recruiter from the east

Giant wing and natural marker

JURAJ SLAFKOVSKY


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

Photographic archive, AFP

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

  • Left wing | left handed | Slovak | Date of birth: March 30, 2004 | GST (Finland)
  • 6 feet 4 ” | 229 lbs.
  • 10 points (5 g, 5 p) in 31 pj
  • 1uh hope in Europe

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

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

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

Slafkovsky has two crucial cards in his game, that of the natural marker and that of the outside potential.

“Juraj is a big guy, he knows how to dominate with his physicality, he finds space in the attacking zone, he protects the puck and he has a natural instinct as a scorer. He doesn’t teach a player how to score goals. It has to be natural and that’s the case with him. One day he will score 40 NHL goals. “

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 winger, on the other hand, presented more modest numbers with TPS Turku in the Finnish Elite League.

“There are doubts about his consistency, but he didn’t have much time playing for the TPS,” said an eastern scout.

RECRUITER CARD

  • Meaning of the game: 4.0
  • Speed: 4.0
  • Character / competitor: 3.5
  • Disc Skill: 4.5
  • Size / caliber …: 4.5

“Score goals and that’s a rarity in the NHL. He has this scoring instinct, he gets there in different ways. Juraj has a large structure and finds space when there is none. But he will need a good cross to use his shot. “

– A recruiter from the east

“He has had notable international tournaments with the Olympic Games and the World Cup. He dominated against men. But I didn’t like his consistency, we’ve never seen the same winger in Finland. “

– A Western recruiter

Denis Savard in 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 lbs.
  • 75 stitches (27 g, 48 p) in 51 mo
  • 2And hope in north america

There is the specter of 1980. That year, the Canadiens were speaking first in the draft. The CH had chosen Doug Wickenheiser, center of the Regina Pats, before the defender Dave Babych, but above all before the center Denis Savard, who played with the Montreal Junior.

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

Cooley, a Pittsburgh center, is described as a far more dynamic and creative striker than Wright. But he doesn’t have a massive physique at 5’10 ”and 180lbs.

“He has more flashes in his game than Wright, he is also a tougher center,” one eastern scout pointed out. If he was 6’2 “tall, there would probably be no debate as to his selection rank. He reminds me of Jack Hughes, but a tick.”

If he doesn’t play in the NHL at age 18 this 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 Skill: 4.5
  • Size / caliber …: 3.0

“For me, Cooley is the best prospect in this draft. He has more character and is very dynamic. He finds a way to make games through his intelligence. “

– A Western recruiter

“Logan has great offensive potential. He often turns into an ice wizard, he has this spectacular side. He skates well, works and is competitive even if he is not the greatest. “

– A Western recruiter

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