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2022 NHL Draft: Brad Lambert is toolsy

The Finnish forward has some of the best skills in the draft.

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Germany v Finland: Preliminary Round Group A - 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Welcome to Hockey Wilderness’ coverage of the 2022 NHL Draft. We will not act like experts, nor will we act like we have watched hours of footage of these players. So instead, we have opted to rely on the opinion of people who have, and have compiled plenty of information from different publications regarding these prospects. Note: This is not a ranking, but just going down a list of interesting draft-eligible dudes without any order in mind.

Drafting is always a battle of philosophy. Do you take the best player available? The player with the highest ceiling? Do you draft for size — something that can’t be developed — or do you draft for need?

If you believe in taking the players with the best complement of skills to succeed in the NHL, regardless of the red flags in their play, Finnish forward Brad Lambert may pique your interest.

Lambert possesses some of the best puck skills in the draft and they blend seamlessly with his fantastic skating ability to produce a captivating package. His skills make him elite at zone entry, able to bring the puck through opposing blue lines at will. He can make tough plays flying at top speed and is gifted with high-end offensive zone creativity.

Here comes the signature negative but part of the write-up.

But, Lambert has been criticized for his lack of effort. Perhaps this is something that can be attributed to being an 18-year-old or just a general lack of motor, but scouts have criticized Lambert for taking shifts off. A very ephemeral criticism, but one that is present enough to have draft experts wary of Lambert and has caused some to suggest that he will fall in the draft.

Pre-Draft Rankings

#10 (EU skaters) by NHL Central Scouting

#11 by McKenzie/TSN (midseason)

#28 by Dobber Prospects

#8 by Wheeler/The Athletic

#14 by EliteProspects

What Scouts Are Saying

...Lambert is undeniably one of the most gifted players in this class. When he’s feeling good, he’s fearless with the puck, makes a ton of plays in control, and looks to dictate in possession. He also has both the hands and the skating to create (each of which grade out at the top of the draft). He’s got excellent control of his outside edges which allow him to carve up coverage on cutbacks and carries. — Scott Wheeler, The Athletic

He can be a frustrating watch when it comes to making plays and getting himself into scoring position off-puck, but holy crap there is so much to like. Nobody has ever been as successful as Lambert transporting the puck up the ice in the Liiga at this age, and the signs are immeasurably bright that the puzzle is very close to being put together. I’ve seen him look off clear playmaking opportunities in the offensive zone, but I feel like these situations can be fixed in the next few years. — Will Scouch, Scouching

Would They Fit In With The Wild?

His offensive talent and skating ability mean that a player like Lambert should fit into any squad, but as long as Dean Evason is coach and Bill Guerin is general manager of the Minnesota Wild, I can’t see him fitting in with the effort criticisms on his record.

Can The Wild Get Them?

No. Regardless of the theory that Lambert will drop in the draft — Cam Robinson from Elite Prospects thinks it would be a mistake to select him in the top 20 — a team will select him in that range no doubt. Any team that sees his set of tools and believes their organization can develop a better motor in Lambert, will jump at the opportunity to grab him.

A Minnesota Relation

Setting the bar low, what we’ve got here is the top-end version of Nico Sturm. Lambert’s got wheels and has already developed better offensive skills than Sturm ever did. But he’s offensively-creative, has speed and is perhaps what we all dreamed Sturm could be if he put it all together.

2022 NHL Draft Board

  1. Shane Wright — C, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
  2. Logan Cooley — C, U.S. National U18 Team (USDP)
  3. Juraj Slafkovsky — LW, TPS (Liiga)
  4. Matthew Savoie — C, Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
  5. Simon Nemec — D, HK Nitra (Slovakia)
  6. David Jiříček — D, HC Plzeň (Czechia)
  7. Ivan Miroshnichenko — LW, Omskie Krylia (VHL)
  8. Brad Lambert — C/RW, Lahden Pelicans (Liiga)