August 12, 2022

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5:23 PM ET MONTREAL — The 2022 NHL draft is within the books, as 225...

5:23 PM ET

MONTREAL — The 2022 NHL draft is within the books, as 225 gamers have been chosen over the course of seven rounds and two days.

Earlier than attending to the annual listing of draft winners and draft losers, let’s give attention to the occasion’s largest chief: holding the draft in person once more, and in Montreal.

This was the primary time since 2019 in Vancouver that the NHL held a correct draft, with executives at tables in the midst of an enviornment, media working the interview scrums and followers submitting in to rejoice their groups’ futures. To have it in Montreal made the return to some semblance of normalcy even grander, and never simply because NHL commissioner Gary Bettman delighted in egging on these followers who booed him each time he stepped to the rostrum.

The amped-up crowd throughout Thursday night time’s first spherical roared for the Canadiens, mocked the Toronto Maple Leafs and reacted to each unpredictable choice.

That included the house staff’s personal decide at No. 1 total, as winger Juraj Slafkovsky was taken over middle Shane Wright, who had been anticipated to go first total for years.

The noise the Montreal crowd made was half cheer, half jeer, half gasp and half “what?!”

“I do not assume I even heard my identify known as,” Slafkovsky mentioned of the second. “I simply heard ‘Slovakian’ after which I used to be like shocked after which I did not even hear anymore. I used to be like shaking and I had goosebumps. Yeah, unbelievable second for me.”

There have been different goosebump-worthy moments through the 2022 NHL draft — in addition to choices that have been much less awe-inspiring. Listed below are some winners and losers for this 12 months’s draft:

(Potential) franchise facilities are laborious to search out. Seattle acquired fortunate when one landed in its lap.

When Montreal chosen Juraj Slafkovsky at No. 1, it set off a series response permitting Shane Wright — the beforehand presumptive high decide on this draft — to achieve the Kraken at No. 4. It was an unbelievable end result for Seattle to land one other elite middle after it drafted final 12 months’s top-ranked pivot Matty Beniers at No. 2.

Kraken common supervisor Ron Francis mentioned all alongside he was going to construct the franchise up by way of the draft and never through splashy trades or elaborate free-agent signings. Now Francis has two backbones who can become anchors of Seattle’s high six for years to come back.

Wright particularly will come to the Kraken with a chip on his shoulder, which was apparent even earlier than he outright admitted it. When Wright took the stage on Thursday after the Kraken name, he shook commissioner Bettman’s hand whereas scanning Bell Centre with a smile — till his gaze went over to the Montreal Canadiens draft desk, and that smile become a stare down. No chill.

Extra importantly although, Wright bears better NHL-readiness than the typical No. Four decide. He is additionally a dynamic, thrilling participant who will invigorate a Kraken fan base that, whereas understanding the necessity for persistence, might use just a little one thing extra to cheer about after Seattle was one of many league’s bottom-dwellers in 2021-22.

Francis continued to inventory the cupboards with different prospects, making 11 picks whole within the 2022 draft. However none might be extra well-received or swiftly impactful as Wright. Maybe we will not give Francis all the credit score for getting Wright, however his slide undoubtedly bodes properly for Seattle’s future. — Shilton

What is going on on within the Windy Metropolis? As a result of it is not abundantly clear, after the previous two days anyway, what common supervisor Kyle Davidson’s plan is.

First, there was the Alex DeBrincat commerce Thursday that despatched Chicago’s dynamic scoring winger to Ottawa for … three draft picks? When DeBrincat is a 24-year-old with two 40-plus objective seasons already below his belt and a burgeoning two-way sport? That was the return for a commerce that did not even actually should occur?

Credit score to the Senators for making a daring transfer to seize DeBrincat — who’s a restricted free agent after this season — however what was the profit for Chicago?

It stays a looming query mark. Except the Blackhawks are aiming to be even worse than final season, it would not make a lot sense.

Then, there was Chicago’s acquisition of Petr Mrazek. The Blackhawks had no goalies signed for subsequent season, and clearly that needed to be addressed. However the deal for Mrazek was curious. Everybody knew Toronto needed to shed the ultimate two years of Mrazek’s contract for cap-space causes, and Mrazek is coming off his worst season in years. All Chicago requested for to alleviate the Leafs’ downside was taking Toronto’s No. 25 total decide in 2022 and giving up the No. 38 decide.

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That is a 13-spot distinction. Would not seem to be a lot. Granted, Mrazek might return to type and have a terrific season for Chicago. In the meanwhile, although, the Blackhawks may need been fleeced.

The Blackhawks’ solely actual win of the week? Duncan Keith presumably retiring. Chicago traded Keith to the Edmonton Oilers final July, pondering it was shedding the ultimate two years of Keith’s contract value $5.5 million per season. When Keith hangs up his skates, it should generate a cap recapture penalty, including again $5,538,462 in 2022-23 and $1,938,456 in 2023-24. That helps Chicago get to the wage flooring. Small victories. — Shilton

Winners: Prospects with persona

Isaac Howard made fairly a primary impression.

Oh, excuse me. It is “Ice Man.”

When the Tampa Bay Lightning chosen the U.S. nationwide staff improvement program product at No. 31 it was apparent from his outfit — crisp white go well with, blue turtleneck, American flag belt buckle and gold chain — that Howard was no wallflower.

If there was any doubt on that entrance, Howard squashed it in a rush.

“I am the best-looking guy right here,” he informed Sportsnet in a post-draft interview. “So I figured I would be the best-dressed one, too.”

Hockey gamers missing for persona? The following era ain’t right here for it.

Howard acquired the “Ice Man” moniker from his dad, as a result of he would not ever get off the ice as a child. That paid apparent dividends — and planted seeds of confidence — given the place Howard has ended up.

It is a refreshing shift to have incoming prospects embracing their individuality. Ty Nelson — a Seattle Kraken choice — donned a sensible blue fedora (with feather!) on Friday. Anaheim Ducks decide Nathan Gaucher had a go well with jacket stitched inside with scenes of Montreal and the draft.

There’s at all times a time and place for the classics. However on the most important night time of those prospects’ younger careers, it was good to see them having enjoyable. — Shilton

Loser: 31 NHL groups’ vogue sense

The Arizona Coyotes confirmed as much as Montreal on a mission. They wished to make use of their many, many draft picks to construct up their prospect pool, which they did with a strong class that included No. three total decide Logan Cooley. Additionally they wished to be the best-dressed entrance workplace within the NHL. Once more, mission completed.

The Coyotes may need been the primary NHL staff to synchronize their fashion for the draft. When GM Invoice Armstrong, staff president Xavier Gutierrez and Arizona’s entrance workplace took the stage to announce first-round picks, they have been all sporting matching vibrant blue fits with pink ties.

“I do not like when everyone wears totally different colours,” Armstrong mentioned. “So if anybody has complaints, it is [on] me. We’re a staff. We must always seem like one.”

Inside the liner of these jackets? Arizona Coyotes logos, in fact.

As is custom, followers on social media mocked the Coyotes. (We particularly appreciated those that questioned if the entrance workplace would all attend a screening of “Minions: The Rise of Gru” after the draft.) However Armstrong believes the Coyotes are going to be trendsetters.

“Bear in mind in Carolina after they did the postgame celebrations?” Armstrong mentioned, referencing the Storm Surge. “All people made enjoyable of them. Now it is tradition. It is enjoyable. The NHL’s going to purchase into it. Even the liner.” — Wyshynski

Winner: Slovakia

Slovakian hockey is having a second. It began on the 2022 Beijing Video games, when the boys’s nationwide staff captured bronze for the nation’s first-ever Olympic medal. It continued on the draft when two gamers from that staff have been taken first and second total: Winger Slafkovsky at No. 1 to the Montreal Canadiens and defenseman Simon Nemec to the New Jersey Devils at No. 2.

It was simply the second time in NHL historical past {that a} nation exterior of Canada or america produced the primary two picks within the draft — the one different time was Russia in 2004, with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin.

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“Yeah, I believe out of 5 million folks, at the least like 4 are up and they’re cheering for us,” Slafkovsky mentioned when requested about what the second meant again residence in Slovakia. “On the finish of the day, that is vital. We’re from Slovakia, and we symbolize the nation, and I am simply completely happy that this occurred to us.”

Like Slafkovsky mentioned, it is a small nation however one which has made its mark within the NHL over time and on this draft: 4 Slovakian gamers went within the first 63 picks, together with winger Filip Mesar at No. 26 to the Canadiens. General, there have been six Slovaks chosen.

“Yeah, small [country], however now we have actually good gamers, and now increasingly gamers might be higher like we’re,” Nemec mentioned. “All people is proud, and we’re proud, too.” — Wyshynski

Marc-Andre Fleury could be essentially the most universally beloved participant in hockey. However his new contract with the Minnesota Wild is inflicting some drama round Cam Talbot.

Minnesota introduced Thursday that Fleury, 37, had agreed on a two-year extension to stay with the staff. GM Bill Guerin beforehand lured his outdated buddy away from Chicago previous to March’s commerce deadline, and Fleury shared the crease equally with Talbot to finish the common season as they made 11 begins every.

Earlier than that, Talbot was having an excellent season in his personal proper as Minnesota’s No. 1 (25-12-1, .910 save share). That did not appear to matter a lot.

Fleury was tapped over Talbot as Minnesota’s starter for the postseason however could not backstop them out of the primary spherical towards St. Louis.

Now Fleury is again, and Talbot is a season away from unrestricted free company. Clearly, the veteran had some considerations about his standing with the membership. Talbot’s agent, George Bazos, informed TSN’s Pierre LeBrun that he met with Guerin on the draft Friday and relayed, “We each acknowledged our positions. Billy has loads to consider.”

Guerin, apparently, disagrees.

“I haven’t got s— to do,” Guerin informed reporters. “Cam Talbot’s below contract. George can say regardless of the hell he desires. My staff’s set proper now, and that is the way in which it goes. We are able to have all of the discussions we wish. Cam’s a member of our staff. We actually like Cam. All we’re attempting to do is win.”

Not precisely a feel-good message to ship — or hear, if you happen to’re Talbot. Will Guerin resolve to capitalize now on an more and more scorching goalie market and commerce Talbot? Can the Wild threat an sad netminder of their midst? Regardless, hardly an important 48-hour stretch if you happen to’re Cam Talbot. — Shilton

Winners: Late-round picks in the home

It is at all times a bet for projected later-round picks to attend the draft in person. What if their identify by no means will get known as? That needed to be on Domenic DiVincentiis’ thoughts because the seventh spherical started Friday, and he nonetheless sat ready to be claimed inside Bell Centre.

DiVincentiis would not have been the primary — or final — prospect to not attain the draft flooring. However his story had a happier ending.

It might take all the way in which till Winnipeg’s decide at No. 207 within the seventh spherical, however DiVincentiis lastly acquired his second as Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff made his choice official. The eruption of pleasure that adopted from DiVincentiis, his family and friends was such pure celebration of a long-awaited achievement.

The draft rapidly rolled on and not using a pause, however these little moments stick in your thoughts as reminder of what the two-day occasion is all about: younger folks realizing their goals with the supporters who helped make them come true.

Whether or not DiVincentiis has a profitable NHL profession or not, there is a reminiscence in Montreal he will maintain endlessly. And that was well worth the wait. — Shilton

Loser: Having to justify your trade

The Philadelphia Flyers acquired a right-handed defenseman who can quarterback an influence play and had 51 factors in 64 video games final season. They’re anticipated to signal him to a two-year contract extension. Thrilling instances! Besides when that defenseman is Tony DeAngelo, and Flyers common supervisor Chuck Fletcher has to spend the vast majority of his time explaining to the media and followers that this is not going to deliver a poisonous cloud over Philadelphia.

“We really did a number of due diligence final summer season as properly,” Fletcher mentioned. “He is a younger man. He is performed on a number of groups now. He is any person that actually has had some incidents in his previous which have most likely gotten him into some hassle. He is paid the implications for these actions. We consider he’s realized from them.”

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“From the whole lot we will collect and talking with [Hurricanes GM] Donny Waddell, talking with a few of the Carolina gamers, talking with different folks across the league, it looks like he’s actually labored laborious the final 12 months and a half to alter his methods,” the GM continued. “He is older, he’s maturing and from all accounts he did an excellent job each on and off the ice final season.”

What would Fletcher say to followers who’re uncomfortable with a participant who was accused of utilizing a racial slur up to now, and had a struggle with a teammate?

“It’s a must to actually recognize their opinion,” Fletcher mentioned. “He is made some errors. Apologized for them. A few of the errors early in his profession, he hasn’t had any repeat offenses so to talk. He is matured and he’s working laborious to be a greater person each on and off the ice.”

What about placing DeAngelo on a staff coached by John Tortorella?

“I do know Torts is happy to work with him,” Fletcher replied. “He loves the fervour. He loves the hearth. He loves his ability set. So long as you’re employed laborious for Torts and be an excellent teammate on and off the ice, you will not have any points.”

Only a completely regular commerce. — Wyshynski

Winner: Bruce Boudreau

Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau is famend for his love {of professional} wrestling, and notably the old-school grapplers who can speak in addition to they will work. His favourite present wrestler suits that template: WWE celebrity Kevin Owens, who can take a bump in addition to he can dish an insult.

The NHL draft is, if nothing else, a spot the place goals come true. In order Boudreau was doing a success on NHL Community, host Jackie Redmond — who additionally does work for WWE — surprised the coach with a special guest: Okay.O. himself, a Montreal native.

“I used to be sitting in a field up there and I figured I am come down and say hello,” Owens mentioned.

“I am all pink,” Boudreau mentioned, slowly morphing right into a 12-year-old fan.

Boudreau instantly began asking Owens about his damage standing, whether or not WWE wrestlers know beforehand to which “model” they’re being drafted and customarily fan-boy’d out.

Should you’ve ever seen a toddler meet Mickey Mouse for the primary time at Disney World, it was very very like that on the wholesomeness scale. — Wyshynski

Losers: Groups that did not get on the goalie carousel

Final summer season, the goaltending market was sturdy. This summer season, there’s simply as a lot demand however much less provide, particularly on the free-agent market. Therefore, some groups acquired aggressive in addressing their goaltending points on the draft.

The Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche traded for Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers on the afternoon of the primary spherical. The Minnesota Wild re-signed goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for 2 years, ending hypothesis he might be headed to Toronto. The Detroit Red Wings acquired St. Louis Blues pending free agent Ville Husso, after which signed him to a three-year deal. The New Jersey Devils acquired Washington Capitals restricted free agent Vitek Vanecek to pair with incumbent Mackenzie Blackwood.

Some groups tried to get aggressive however have been rebuffed. The Buffalo Sabres tried to commerce for Ottawa Senators goalie Matt Murray, however he used his commerce safety to dam the deal.

“The fact is we labored laborious on a deal, however gamers have the power when it is of their contract to make these choices,” Sabres GM Kevyn Adams mentioned. “And we wish gamers who wish to be right here. That is the way in which we consider, so we transfer on.”

The Sabres want a goalie. So do the Edmonton Oilers. The Toronto Maple Leafs, who traded Petr Mrazek to the Chicago Blackhawks, want two. A number of different groups will search to bolster their crease.

There are some free-agent choices hitting the market subsequent week, together with Darcy Kuemper and Jack Campbell. There could be others accessible through commerce. However those that sought goalies early would possibly find yourself getting the higher offers, and in some instances higher goalies, than those that waited. — Wyshynski