Oh, the 2022 NHL Draft is not yet over! Even if the broadcast of the first round took about four hours to make their way through just 32 picks, there are 193 more to be made today in rounds two through seven.
The Minnesota Wild made their mark selecting two stocky, offensively-driven wingers in Liam Ohgren and Danila Yurov in the first round, but have six more picks to make. Instead of mulling over a list of names and being lost, we decided to just plop down some prospects that you could think of and hope for Minnesota to take.
We already covered several players that are still available after the first round in our mock draft and even in our list of names that are available at 19th overall and 24th overall. So, of course, we won’t try to list any names twice — as much as we love to talk about Gleb Trikozov. Here are some other guys we haven’t mentioned.
C Luca Del Bel Belluz
Del Bel Belluz, out of the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads, has had time on his side having a November birthday and the ability to develop ahead of his peers. With that, he managed to score 30 goals and 76 points in 68 games on a pretty good CHL team. There are some scouts that doubt the projection of his professional game, and view him as just a steady producer at the junior level with mediocre tools, but others like his well-rounded approach enough to have him ranked even in the late-first round.
He seems like a safe pick that doesn’t really fit with the Wild’s strategy, but can be an option if he just keeps on dropping for some reason.
D Calle Odelius
Before the draft began, we all collectively wanted Minnesota to focus on forwards more, even if we didn’t specifically name that desire. The Wild are loaded on the blue line in their prospect pool — especially with the addition of Brock Faber in the Kevin Fiala trade — and are a little dry on top-end talent up front. But now that they checked off those boxes with very, solid and deserving picks, we can flex out a little bit and maybe Judd Brackett and his squad will be looking to solidify the prospective defensemen group even further.
In Calle Odelius, a teammate of Liam Ohgren’s at Djurgardens IF, they would get a defensively-stable left-handed blueliner that aims to break up plays before setting them up himself. Sometimes defensive ability is not the first thing you want to hear about a prospect, but in the later rounds, why not try to add a different dynamic to the system? Odelius has the making of an everyday defenseman at the top level because of it and having professional, mature attributes that are usually not developed in young players for years.
C Jack Hughes
Jack Hughes — yes, another one that is in no relation to the New Jersey Devils center but is the son of Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes — was the youngest player in college hockey this season because of his 2003 birthday. So he did have an advantage in age over his draft-eligible peers, but faced some of the toughest competition out of any North American prospect. In 39 games for Northeastern, Hughes scored 16 points, which ranked fourth among under-19 forwards.
Most scouts say to not expect any level of top-end production from Hughes or burgeoning stardom, but he is just a solid contributor that makes his linemates better with his vision, excellent stickhandling ability, and his very good shot. Just a very solid prospect to have even if it’s not the shiniest or will make your jaw drop. Every team needs a third-line center that can score every now and again, and maybe Hughes will be that.
C Danny Zhilkin
Danny Zhilkin is a personal favorite of mine entering the middle rounds of this draft. The Russian-born-but-Canadian-developed center doesn’t lack any size — he stands at 6-foot, 196 lbs — and has truly grown into the ultimate defensively-reliable center for the OHL’s Guelph Storm. He even managed to earn the trust of his coaches to play on the blue line at times.
He can win you faceoffs, board battles, and turn possession into enough scoring chances to put his own team ahead. Zhilkin also has enough speed and hands to get noticed in the offensive zone. Just an overall fun player to watch whose make-up feels destined to be in green and cream.
D Elias Salomonsson
While other players listed has had more time to develop so might have just dropped into these next rounds because of some development already happening for them, Swedish blueliner Elias Salomonsson was just a couple weeks away from being eligible for the 2023 NHL Draft instead of this year’s.
He has had the attention of national scouts for years now since putting in some impressive work as a 16 year old, so with some slight stagnation in his game, his ranking slipped and the excitement around this blueliner has grown stale. But that doesn’t mean that his game has particularly dropped or changed, but just some poor timing on his part. With some work needing to be done on his defensive reads, he is still a 6-foot-1, right-handed defender that has already played some SHL games as a teenager. He should still go in the second round, so if Minnesota wants him, they will need to act fast.
RW Devin Kaplan
The U.S. National Development Program always gets the headlines and multiple players taken in the first round — if not several — but one player that graduated from the program and is set to join Boston University next season, but isn’t ranked in the first two rounds, is winger Devin Kaplan.
He didn’t get the ice-time in the program, and was mostly on the fourth line — but still managed to score 38 points in 53 games — but sometimes, his 6-foot-3 frame stood out like a sore thumb and shone beyond the top prospects. Kaplan was a role player for this junior team, but his strong shot and ability to cycle the puck along the boards was on full display. Maybe this is a solid mid-round pick to make and hope that with more opportunity in college hockey, he can rise above where he was taken.
Happy Day 2!