Broussard, Quebec – The Montreal Canadiens are still hesitant about who they will pick with the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NHL Upper Deck Draft, but the decision will rest with more than the person with the most skill on the ice.
Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes confirmed that the three big predictions are being considered: attackers Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky and Logan Cooley. Montreal picks first place for the first time since 1980, when it picked striker Doug Wekenheiser.
“It may be almost as difficult as being the first overall pick in Montreal,” Hughes said on Monday. “So as part of our assessment, we’re not just evaluating the hockey players, we’re evaluating the character. We try to assess their ability to handle that kind of pressure on a consistent basis.”
Wright (6ft, 199lbs) was the No. 1 finalist of the NHL Central Scouting North American skaters despite missing out on an entire season of competitive hockey. They finished eighth in the Ontario Hockey League with 94 points (32 goals, 62 assists) in 63 games for Kingston this season after the league canceled its 2020-21 season due to coronavirus concerns.
Vincent Le Cavalier, who was appointed special hockey operations advisor to Canadians on February 18, spoke to Wright on the phone recently and discussed, among other things, how he dealt with the pressure of his final season with Rimouski of the Major League Hockey League in Quebec before he became. She was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning with the #1 pick in the 1998 NHL Draft.
“It’s been three years now that he’s been talked about in this situation,” Le Cavalier said. “It was more about figuring out how I’ve managed this season. I started the conversation by talking about how I felt in this situation during my last season at Rimouski. There was pressure every day, everyone asking would you be selected No. 1 – so it was more about talking to the youngster to see how He managed it this year, and we talked a little bit about his game. It was a good conversation. I learned a lot about him. He is a good person and it is clear that she has high standards.”
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Slavkowski (6-4, 229), the left winger with TPS in the Finnish Pro League, was No. 1 in the final ranking of international skaters. He had 10 points (five goals and five assists) in 31 regular season games and seven points (two goals and five assists) in 18 play-offs. He was also voted as the best player at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, when he scored seven goals to help Slovakia win the bronze medal.
Cooley (5-10, 180) was ranked second in the final ranking of North American skaters. He placed second in the US hockey team’s development program with 75 points (27 goals and 48 assists) in 51 games. He also had 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in six games to help the United States finish second in the 2022 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.
Cooley is committed to playing for the University of Minnesota next season.
“We’re trying to assess how the player is planning, right, so we can look at the hockey player and say that’s what it is as a hockey player at this moment in time and where he’s playing,” Hughes said. “The players were playing in different leagues at different levels of hockey. We try to look at them and say, ‘This guy is capable of doing it at that level.'” Can he do it at the next level, too? There’s a hockey component too, right? There’s a positional component. There’s all of these things that we’re evaluating. Can you play in that position on the next level? The other part, and I think part of the reason Vinny has this is a conversation with Shane and likely To have conversations with others, too, is to understand that it’s hard to be seventeen and be under a microscope as Shin and the others before him have done.”
Project 2022 will be held July 7-8 at the Bell Center in Montreal. Round 1 will be July 7 (7 PM ET; ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS), and Rounds 2-7 on July 8 (11 AM ET; NHLN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS).