27th Pick – Pittsburgh Penguins
Nathan Gaucher (C)
6’3″, 207 lbs
Nathan Gaucher is one of the older prospects in the pool as a 2003 born player. He is already well into his third season in the QMJHL, playing for the Québec Remparts under the guidance of his coach, Patrick Roy.
Gaucher is a big body two-way center who has garnered significant attention thanks to being his team’s top scorer last season, collecting better than a point per game. He had 31 points in 30 games. This year, in the same number of contests, Gaucher has 15 goals and 11 assists. As a right-shooting center, he could have tremendous value once he makes an NHL roster.
Andy Lehoux of FCHockey described the forward’s game. “Gaucher is a versatile, dynamic power forward who specially emerged as a constant menace on the counterattack.
His strong, powerful strides and crossovers allowed him to push the pace, both as an outlet and with the puck, consequently getting in on multiple odd man rushes. Gaucher possesses dual threat capabilities, showcasing a powerful wrist shot as well as fantastic vision, creativity and passing.”
28th Pick – New York Rangers
Kevin Korchinski (D)
6’2″, 185 lbs
Kevin Korchinski made his way to the Seattle Thunderbirds when they drafted him 10th overall in the WHL Bantam Draft.
This left hand shooting rearguard’s puck moving and hockey IQ have been on display for scouts. Matthew Soma of SMAHT Scouting wrote that Korchinski “blends size and strong edges with great puck skills, making him one of the more intriguing defensemen to come out of the WHL this season. Give him space and he’ll explore his options and seek to create offense with it. It’s a modern style of play, putting speed and puck moving over a ‘traditional’ stay at home style.”
29th Pick – Arizona Coyotes
Noah Östlund (C)
5’11”, 163 lbs
The Coyotes continue to collect talent in this draft. This time in the form of Noah Östlund. This left-shooting Swedish center for Djurgårdens has already been promoted to the SHL. He has 10 professional games under his belt.
Though he has yet to record a point, we know he has the skills. With the organization’s J20 team, he put 30 points on the board in 23 games with 6 goals and 24 assists. EPRinkside wrote that Östlund “plays with intensity and is always on the move. He is equal parts creativity with a high-end work rate.”
30th Pick – Tampa Bay Lightning
Alexander Perevalov (LW)
6’0″, 192 lbs
The Tampa Bay Lightning have the opportunity to add a winger they can put on the ice in any situation by drafting Perevalov. Pronman wrote, “[Perevalov] is a very skilled winger who can create with his hands and playmaking.
He is also a shot threat who can finish from mid-range. Off the puck, he shows good effort to win battles and play decent defense.” Perevalov, who plays on his off wing, has played five games in the KHL. In the MHL, with Loko Yaroslavl, he has 20 goals and 21 assists, for a total of 41 points in 34 games.
31st Pick – Arizona Coyotes
Jimmy Snuggerud (RW)
6’2″, 185 lbs
If there’s any winner in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, it’s the USNTDP. Jimmy Snuggerud is the seventh player from their program to be selected in the first round of the draft. Snuggerud is a third generation player. His grandfather, James Westby, played in the NCAA, and his dad, Dave Snuggerud, played four seasons in the NHL.
Snuggerud has committed to the University of Minnesota where he can continue to showcase his impressive shot. In the USHL, through 13 games, he has scored 2 goals and 10 assists. With the U.S. National U18 Team, Snuggerud has collected 40 points. In 36 games, he recorded 16 goals and 24 assists.
32nd Pick – Buffalo Sabres
Luca Del Bel Belluz (C)
6’1″, 185 lbs
I love this pick for the Sabres at the end of the round. Luca Del Bel Belluz is a player who impressed me when watching him play his minor hockey for the Toronto Red Wings, but in all honesty, back then, there’s no way I would have predicted he become an NHL first round selection.
Things have changed and Del Bel Belluz has blossomed in the OHL, playing with the Mississauga Steelheads. The 6’1″ center has 47 point in 35 games. He’s scored 20 goals and 27 assists this season with no signs of slowing down.
This is a loaded draft class without any certainty on a selection order. No matter what happens, the future of the sport looks bright.