SC Backstory: Exception to the rule
Shane Wright has long been regarded the crown jewel of this year’s prospect class, but teams looking for help up front have plenty of intriguing players to monitor this season.
The Kingston Frontenacs centre continues to be the clear leader of what is shaping up to be a forward-heavy top 10 in the November edition of Craig’s List ahead of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
Wright has six goals and 18 points through the first 14 games of the Ontario Hockey League season and remains hockey’s the best all-around prospect.
“Precision is the word that comes to mind when I watch Wright play,” said TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button. “He has all the tools to be a Patrice Bergeron-type at the next level.”
Logan Cooley of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team, another centre known for his play at both ends of the ice, sits second on the November list.
“Cooley is a terrific two-way centre who combines high-end skill with a high motor,” Button said of the Notre Dame commit.
Finnish right wing Joakim Kemell has jumped up to third in our rankings (up from No. 7 in September) after rocketing out of the gate with 12 goals and 18 points in the first 16 games of JYP’s SM Liiga season.
“He was off to the kind of start you just don’t see from a 17-year-old player in that league,” Button said. “He was leading the scoring race before he got injured. He’ll be out for a few weeks, but he is a dynamic offensive winger.”
Hulking Slovakian centre Juraj Slafkovsky (6-foot-4, 216 pounds) sits fourth, while diminutive Winnipeg Ice forward Matt Savoie (5-foot-9, 177 pounds) is up to fifth after sitting at No. 8 in September.
“Slafkovsky is an imposing centre with skill and will who is only getting better,” Button said.
Savoie has been unstoppable early this season, tied for the scoring lead in the Western Hockey League with 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists) in 18 games for a Winnipeg team that is 17-1-0.
“He’s just so dynamic offensively,” Button said of Savoie. “He continues to progress in a lot of areas of the game where his impact and contributions are becoming greater.”
The first defenceman on the board is No. 6 Simon Nemec, a 6-foot-1, 192-pound right-shot blueliner who plays for HK Nitra of the Slovak Extraliga. He’s followed by a pair of Russian wingers – No. 7 Danila Yurov, a right wing for Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk of the MHL, and No. 8 Ivan Miroshnichenko, a left wing who is playing for Omskie Krylia in Russia’s VHL.
Rounding out Button’s top 10 are Swedish right wing Jonathan Lekkerimaki of Djurgårdens IF J20 (No. 9) and Canadian defenceman Ty Nelson of the North Bay Battalion (No. 10).
One highly touted player absent from the top group is Finnish right wing Brad Lambert, who was fourth in the first edition of Craig’s List but has dropped to No. 17. Lambert, the son of Canadian former minor-league player Ross Lambert, was the youngest member of Finland’s entry at last year’s World Juniors.
Button attributes the drop of the JYP forward to this being a more comprehensive scouting year after COVID-19 impacted so many leagues around the globe last season.
“This cohort and the potential of the individual players in this class was unknown to a large extent because of the pandemic,” Button said. “What is clear to me is that there are a lot of players with greater potential than Brad that we were previously unaware of.”
Craig's List (For stats and more go to TSN.ca)
1 Shane Wright Kingston (OHL)
2 Logan Cooley USA U-18 (USHL)
3 Joakim Kemell JYP (SM Liiga)
4 Juraj Slafkovsky TPS (SM Liiga Jr.)
5 Matt Savoie Winnipeg (WHL)
6 Simon Nemec Nitra (SVK)
7 Danila Yurov Magnitogorsk (KHL)
8 Ivan Miroshnichenko Omsk (VHL)
9 Jonathan Lekkerimaki Djurgardens (SWE J-20)
10 Ty Nelson North Bay (OHL)
11 Conor Geekie Winnipeg (WHL)
12 Liam Öhgren Djurgardens (SWE J-20)
13 David Jiricek Plzen (CZE)
14 Frank Nazar USA U-18 (USHL)
15 Alexander Perevalov Yaroslavl (MHL)
16 Jimmy Snuggerud USA U-18 (USHL)
17 Brad Lambert JYP (SM Liiga)
18 Rutger McGroarty USA U-18 (USHL)
19 Nathan Gaucher Quebec (QMJHL)
20 Filip Mesar Poprad (SVK)
21 Cutter Gauthier USA U-18 (USHL)
22 Arseni Koromyslov St. Petersburg (MHL)
23 Calle Odelius Djurgardens (SWE J-20)
24 Bryce McConnell-Barker Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
25 Danny Zhilkin Guelph (OHL)
26 Aleksanteri Kaskimaki HIFK (SM Liiga Jr.)
27 Kevin Korchinski Seattle (WHL)
28 Isaac Howard USA U-18 (USHL)
29 Marco Kasper Rögle (SHL)
30 Matthew Poitras Guelph (OHL)
31 Simon Forsmark Orebro (SWE J-20)
32 Jack Hughes Northeastern (NCAA)
33 Rieger Lorenz Okotoks (AJHL)
34 Gleb Trikozov Omsk (MHL)
35 Jiří Kulich Karlovy (CZE)
36 Jani Nyman Ilves (SM Liiga Jr.)
37 Alexander Suzdalev HV 71 (SWE J-20)
38 Lane Hutson USA U-18 (USHL)
39 Jordan Gustafson Seattle (WHL)
40 Seamus Casey USA U-18 (USHL)
41 Paul Ludwinski Kingston (OHL)
42 Artyom Duda Moskva (MHL)
43 Tristan Luneau Gatineau (QMJHL)
44 Ryan Chesley USA U-18 (USHL)
45 Antonin Verreault Gatineau (QMJHL)
46 Hunter Haight Barrie (OHL)
47 Elias Salomonsson Skellefteå (SWE J-20)
48 Filip Bystedt Linköping (SWE J-20)
49 Maverick Lamoreux Drummondville (QMJHL)
50 Ruslan Gazizov London (OHL)
51 Mats Lindgren Kamloops (WHL)
52 Colton Smith London (OHL)
53 Luca Del Bel Belluz Mississauga (OHL)
54 Julian Lutz München (DEL)
55 Jorian Donovan Hamilton (OHL)
56 Jake Karabela Guelph (OHL)
57 Devin Kaplan USA U-18 (USHL)
58 Brandon Lisowsky Saskatoon (WHL)
59 David Goyette Sudbury (OHL)
60 Mathew Ward Swift Current (WHL)
61 Denton Mateychuk Moose Jaw (WHL)
62 Spencer Sova Erie (OHL)
63 Tyler Brennan Prince George (WHL)
64 Owen Beck Mississauga (OHL)