Wright 'tuning out the noise' that comes with being the projected No. 1 pick
Kingston Frontenacs centre Shane Wright remains the top-ranked prospect for TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button with the Montreal Canadiens having won the Draft Lottery.
Wright finished the 2021-22 regular season with 32 goals and 94 points in 63 games, but Button said there’s a lot more than offence to his game, comparing the Frontenacs captain to current Boston Bruin Patrice Bergeron.
“I continuously come back to Shane Wright as the clear-cut guy because I just see such a thoroughness in his play,” said Button. “There’s not a situation in the game that I wouldn’t throw Shane Wright into and not feel confident that he can excel. And that’s Bergeron.”
Remaining at No. 2 is centre Logan Cooley from USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team. The University of Minnesota commit had 27 goals and 75 points in 51 games this season and had three goals and 10 points at the U18 championship in a silver-medal effort for the United States.
Button has Wright and Cooley as the best centres in the draft.
“They’re really good centremen but very different,” said Button. “And when I do the comparables, Bergeron and Sebastian Aho, I think that’s how Logan plays the game, more like Sebastian Aho. Shane Wright plays it like Bergeron.”
Next up on Craig’s List is a pair of SM Liiga wingers in Joakim Kemell (No. 3) followed by Juraj Slafkovsky at No. 4.
Kemell had 12 goals and 18 points in 16 games to start the season, but a shoulder injury in November and cold streak in the second half of the season had him end the year with 15 goals and 23 points in 39 games. At the U18s, he had six goals and eight points in five games as Finland won bronze.
“I think Kemell has a more dynamic offensive upside,” said Button. “He’s dynamic, he’s fast. When I compare him to Filip Forsberg, he’s got that hunger, that drive offensively to score, make plays.”
Slafkovsky had five goals and 10 points in 31 games with TPS this season, but his shining moment came at the 2022 Winter Olympics. He had seven goals in seven games in Beijing, leading Slovakia to a bronze medal and took home MVP honours. Button compares Slafkovsky to Winnipeg Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois.
“Big, weighty, hard players to play against, but not elite offensive players. That’s the separator for me with Kemell and Slafkovsky,” said Button.
At No. 5 and 6 are the top two defencemen in the draft in Simon Nemec and David Jiricek.
Nemec had one goal and 26 points in 39 games in the Slovak league this season and won bronze at the Olympics with Slovakia. Jiricek had five goals and 11 points in 29 games in the Czech league this season but has not played since January due to a knee injury suffered at the World Juniors.
“Two very different types of defencemen,” said Button. “You’re looking at abilities and types of players, I gotta put a number beside one or the other and they could easily be switched.
“I compare Jiricek to [Detroit Red Wings rookie] Mo Seider and Simon Nemec to [New York Islanders defenceman] Noah Dobson, who had 51 points. Both difference makers in their own right, and I think that’s a good distinction.”
A player who has had a meteoric rise up the list is Czech left wing Jiri Kulich, who is fresh off an MVP winning performance at the U18s where he had nine goals and 11 points as Czechia’s captain. He jumps from No. 32 on the January edition of Craig’s List to No. 14.
“The bottom line is I hadn’t seen him enough and I like him a lot,” said Button of Kulich's rise. “I compared him to [Winnipeg Jets forward] Kyle Connor and [Pittsburgh Penguins’] Jake Guentzel. He’s fast, he’s quick, he’s competitive. He’s a playmaker, he can score. He’s got a lot of really, really good elements in his game.”
While USNTDP centre Frank Nazar has dropped on Craig’s List from No. 13 at midterm to No. 24, Button sees a fascinating player who can be an impactful player in the NHL.
“I think if Frankie’s going to be a really good two-way player, he’ll be more like Bergeron,” said Button. “I think if he’s going to be an offensive player, he can be more like [Brayden] Point.
“I think he’s got a really good understanding of his game and I love that about him. He’s another guy that I prefer on the wing if he’s going to be an offensive guy. But if he’s going to be a two-way player, I have no problem with him in the middle of the ice. I think he’s a fascinating player because he has such a range of abilities.”
Nazar had 28 goals and 70 points in 56 games with the USNTDP this season and had three goals and nine points in six games for the Americans at the U18s.
Russian winger Ivan Miroshnichenko comes in at No. 15 despite his current battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He is currently receiving medical treatment in Germany. When projecting his abilities as a talented goal-scorer, Button still has him as a top-15 player in the draft.
Craig's List - May 10
|1||Shane Wright||Kingston (OHL)||C||6'0||185||63||32||94|
|2||Logan Cooley||USA U-18 (USHL)||C||5'10||174||51||27||75|
|3||Joakim Kemell||JYP (SM Liiga)||RW||5'11 ¾||171||39||15||23|
|4||Juraj Slafkovsky||TPS (SM Liiga Jr.)||LW/C||6'3 ½||218||31||5||10|
|5||Simon Nemec||Nitra (SVK)||D||6'0||190||39||1||26|
|6||David Jiricek||Plzen (CZE)||D||6'3||189||29||5||11|
|7||Cutter Gauthier||USA U-18 (USHL)||LW/C||6'2||189||54||34||65|
|8||Jimmy Snuggerud||USA U-18 (USHL)||RW||6'1 ¼||186||59||24||63|
|9||Jonathan Lakkerimaki||Djurgardens (SWE J-20)||RW||5'10 ½||165||26||20||35|
|10||Pavel Mintyukov||Saginaw (OHL)||D||6'1 ½||192||67||17||62|
|11||Danila Yurov||Magnitogorsk (KHL)||RW||6'1||178||23||13||36|
|12||Kevin Korchinski||Seattle (WHL)||D||6'1 ¼||185||67||4||65|
|13||Owen Pickering||Swift Current||D||6'3 ½||179||62||9||33|
|14||Jiří Kulich||Karlovy (CZE)||C||5'11 ½||172||49||9||14|
|15||Ivan Miroshnichenko||Omsk (VHL)||LW||6'1||185||31||10||16|
|16||Alexander Perevalov||Yaroslavl (MHL)||LW||6'0||191||42||25||50|
|17||Matt Savoie||Winnipeg (WHL)||C||5'9||179||65||35||90|
|18||Jagger Firkus||Moose Jaw (WHL)||RW||5'10||153||66||36||80|
|19||David Goyette||Sudbury (OHL)||C||5'10 ½||172||66||33||73|
|20||Liam Öhgren||Djurgardens (SWE J-20)||LW||6'0||187||30||33||58|
|21||Reid Schaefer||Seattle (WHL)||LW||6'3||215||66||32||58|
|22||Denton Mateychuk||Moose Jaw (WHL)||D||5'11||188||65||13||64|
|23||Isaac Howard||USA U-18 (USHL)||LW||5'9 ¾||182||60||33||82|
|24||Frank Nazar||USA U-18 (USHL)||C||5'9 ¾||175||56||28||70|
|25||Calle Odelius||Djurgardens (SWE J-20)||D||5'11 ¼||185||43||7||30|
|26||Mattias Havelid||Linkoping (SWE J-20)||D||5'9||165||29||10||19|
|27||Marco Kasper||Rögle (SHL)||C||6'1||183||46||7||11|
|28||Luca Del Bel Belluz||Mississauga (OHL)||C||6'0 ½||178||68||30||76|
|29||Rutger McGroarty||USA U-18 (USHL)||C/LW||6'0 ¾||203||54||35||69|
|30||Tristan Luneau||Gatineau (QMJHL)||D||6'1 ½||175||63||12||43|
|31||Conor Geekie||Winnipeg (WHL)||C||6'3||193||63||24||70|
|32||Ty Nelson||North Bay (OHL)||D||5'9 ½||195||66||9||51|
|33||Gleb Trikozov||Omsk (MHL)||RW||6'1||185||35||23||45|
|34||Julian Lutz||München (DEL)||LW||6'1 ¾||185||14||1||3|
|35||Brad Lambert||JYP (SM Liiga)||RW||6'0 ½||175||49||4||10|
|36||Christian Kyrou||Erie (OHL)||D||5'10 ¼||182||68||18||60|
|37||Noah Warren||Gatineau (QMJHL)||D||6'4 ¾||214||62||5||24|
|38||Sam Rinzel||Chaska High (USHS)||D||6'4 ¼||177||27||9||38|
|39||Lane Hutson||USA U-18 (USHL)||D||5'8||148||60||10||63|
|40||Seamus Casey||USA U-18 (USHL)||D||5'9 ¾||162||48||10||33|
|41||Noah Östlund||Djurgarden (SWE J-20)||C||5'11||163||32||9||42|
|42||Rieger Lorenz||Okotoks (AJHL)||LW||6'1 ½||184||60||38||85|
|43||Elias Salomonsson||Skellefteå (SWE J-20)||D||6'0||172||35||11||22|
|44||Tomas Hamara||Tappara (SM Liiga Jr.)||D||6'0||185||32||6||25|
|45||Danny Zhilkin||Guelph (OHL)||C/LW||6'0 ½||183||66||23||55|
|46||Owen Beck||Mississauga (OHL)||C||5'11||190||68||21||51|
|47||Hunter Haight||Barrie (OHL)||C/RW||5'10 ½||173||63||22||41|
|48||Matyas Sapovaliv||Saginaw (OHL)||C||6'3||178||68||18||52|
|49||Filip Bystedt||Linköping (SWE J-20)||C||6'2 ½||187||40||16||49|
|50||Nathan Gaucher||Quebec (QMJHL)||C/RW||6'3||208||66||31||57|
|51||Dylan James||Sioux City (USHL)||LW||6'0 ¼||181||62||28||61|
|52||Filip Mesar||Poprad (SVK)||RW||5'10||167||37||8||16|
|53||Ludwig Persson||Frolunda (SWE J-20)||LW||6'0||178||41||25||61|
|54||Tyler Brennan||Prince George (WHL)||G||6'4||180||39||3.58||.899|
|55||Jordan Gustafson||Seattle (WHL)||C/LW||5'10 ½||178||58||23||52|
|56||Ryan Chesley||USA U-18 (USHL)||D||6'0 ¼||187||59||12||29|
|57||Jani Nyman||Ilves (SM Liiga Jr.)||RW||6'2 ¾||212||34||18||35|
|58||Nick Moldenhauer||Chicago (USHL)||RW||5'10||170||41||18||43|
|59||Michael Buchinger||Guelph (OHL)||D||5'11 ¾||178||63||5||44|
|60||Aleksanteri Kaskimaki||HIFK (SM Liiga Jr.)||C||5'11 ½||181||31||19||40|
|61||Arseni Koromyslov||St. Petersburg (MHL)||D||6'3||180||42||4||19|
|62||Mats Lindgren||Kamloops (WHL)||D||5'10 ¾||173||68||5||44|
|63||Michael Fisher||St. Mark's (USHS)||D||6'2||193||28||13||50|
|64||Lian Bichsel||Leksands (SHL)||D||6'5||216||29||1||3|
|65||Kasper Kulonummi||Jokerit (SM Liiga Jr.)||D||5'11 ½||178||40||3||29|
|66||Bryce McConnell-Barker||Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)||C||6'1||187||68||23||49|
|67||Angus Booth||Shawinigan (QMJHL)||D||6'0 ¼||177||42||1||23|
|68||Maverick Lamoreux||Drummondville (QMJHL)||D||6'6 ¾||196||54||4||24|
|69||Jack Hughes||Northeastern (NCAA)||C||5'11||165||38||7||16|
|70||Adam Ingram||Youngtown (USHL)||C||6'2 ¼||165||54||26||55|
|71||Brennan Ali||Avon (USHS)||C||6'0 ¼||193||27||15||34|
|72||Alexander Suzdalev||HV 71 (SWE J-20)||LW||6'2||172||45||15||51|
|73||Tucker Robertson||Peterborough (OHL)||C||5'10 ½||190||68||41||81|
|74||Artyom Duda||Moskva (MHL)||D||6'1||180||52||14||41|
|75||Topias Leinonen||JYP (SM Liiga Jr.)||G||6'4 ¼||214||21||2.28||.916|
|76||Reid Dyck||Swift Current (WHL)||G||6'3 ¼||190||23||4.26||.884|
|77||Kyle Jackson||North Bay (OHL)||C||6'2||191||45||30||62|
|78||Brandon Lisowsky||Saskatoon (WHL)||C/LW||5'8 ¼||171||68||33||58|
|79||Lucas Edmonds||Kingston (OHL)||RW||5'11||185||68||34||113|
|80||Jake Karabela||Guelph (OHL)||C/LW||5'10 ½||165||68||12||45|
|81||Paul Ludwinski||Kingston (OHL)||LW||5'11||172||67||16||43|
|82||Daniil Ivanov||Moskva (MHL)||D||6'4||209||47||9||30|
|83||Simon Forsmark||Orebro (SWE J-20)||D||6'2||191||39||0||3|
|84||Quinn Finley||Madison (USHL)||LW||5'11 ½||168||39||12||29|
|85||Topi Ronni||Tappara (SM Liiga Jr.)||C||6'1 ½||179||30||11||29|
|86||Logan Morrison||Hamilton (OHL)||C||5'11 ¼||179||60||34||100|
|87||Cameron Lund||Green Bay (USHL)||C||6'1 ¾||185||62||25||50|
|88||Matthew Poitras||Guelph (OHL)||C||5'11||173||68||21||50|
|89||Kirill Kudryavtsev||S.S. Marie (OHL)||D||5'11 ½||200||68||5||39|
|90||Cruz Lucius||USA U-18 (USHL)||RW||6'0||177||23||9||17|
|91||Matt Seminoff||Kamloops (WHL)||RW||5'10 ¾||180||64||26||57|
|92||Josh Filmon||Swift Current (WHL)||LW/C||6'1 ¾||158||67||23||45|
|93||Kocha Delic||Sudbury (OHL)||LW/C||5'10||184||65||17||46|
|94||Fraser Minten||Kamloops (WHL)||C||6'1||185||67||20||55|
|95||Mathew Ward||Swift Current (WHL)||C||5'7 ½||156||64||22||57|
|96||Ivan Zhigalov||Sherbrooke (QMJHL)||G||6'3||165||42||2.84||.892|