2nd Pick – Arizona Coyotes
Matt Savoie (C)
5’9″, 179 lbs
The only sure thing in this draft is that Wright will go first overall. Anything can happen from there. With the second pick, the Arizona Coyotes would be wise to draft Matt Savoie.
He is in the middle of an impressive season for the Winnipeg Ice in the Western Hockey League (WHL). The center is the league leader in points, having already recorded 19 goals and 35 assists in 36 games. Last season, while playing for the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the United States Hockey League (USHL), he recorded 38 points in 34 games on 21 goals and 17 assists.
Bob McKenzie with TSN noted, “Savoie isn’t big, at 5-foot-9 and 179 pounds, but don’t let his size fool you. The scouts say he has above average hockey sense and skill, and the ability to make things happen offensively, he can also play a hard, edgy and agitating game that keeps opponents off balance.” With the NHL leaning towards skill over size, his frame shouldn’t hold him back from fast-tracking into the NHL.
3rd Pick – Ottawa Senators
Joakim Kemell (C, RW)
5’11”, 176 lbs
The Ottawa Senators will be looking to find some scoring depth to their club.
Adding Central Scouting’s top ranked European skater, Joakim Kemell could do just that. The Finish right-winger is a sniper and if he’s still available with the third pick, the Senators should be ecstatic. Although, the truth is that with such an impressive talent pool this year, it will be hard to miss in this position.
In the most recent tournament Kemell played, the U18 2021 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, he scored 5 goals and had an assist in five games. He plays with both speed and finesse, with an impressive set of hands.
4th Pick – Seattle Kraken
Logan Cooley (C)
5’10”, 174 lbs
Logan Cooley’s skill is undeniable. He projects to play high in an NHL lineup. At 5’10”, 174 lbs, NHL Central Scouting ranks him as their second best North American skater.
There was talk in the fall about some holes in his game, most notably, playing without the puck. When I was scouting the OHL, I recall writing the same in my notepad about John Tavares back in his days with the Oshawa Generals. That’s to say, Cooley could clean up this part of his game, and it appears that he has already begun to do so. Cooley is playing with USA Hockey National Team Development Program (USNTDP) in the USHL where Coach Adam Nightingale, who was an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings for three years, has been helping him become NHL ready.
Cooley has committed to play for Notre Dame in the NCAA next season. There is always some risk to drafting players headed to the NCAA. They could potentially take the same route as former Toronto Maple Leafs winger, Jimmy Vesey and current Toronto Maple Leafs center/winger Alex Kerfoot.
Both players chose not to sign with the team that drafted them. Instead, they played in the NCAA for Harvard University and allowed their draft rights to expire. That gave the forwards the freedom to sign with any team in the NHL. That said, if the Seattle Kraken drafts Cooley high in the draft, they expect that they’ll be able to retain his rights and have him eventually playing for the franchise.
5th Pick – New Jersey Devils
Brad Lambert (C)
6’0″, 179 lbs
Brad Lambert is the second Finish player to be drafted in the top-five. In fact, both he and Kemell play for the JyP HT Jyvaskyla organization.
Some believe that Lambert, a center, may actually be a higher pick than Kemell. For example, Sam Cosentino sees Lambert as the second-overall pick in the draft. With his quickness and hockey sense, playing at a premium position, it isn’t hard to see why Cosentino and many others are so complimentary of Lambert.