The 2022 NHL Upstairs Draft will be held in person for the first time in two years after it was held almost due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
There are at least nine players of color ranked by NHL Central Scouting who will be in the stands with their families in the draft or watching on TV, waiting to be heard. First round Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN +. SN, TVAS). Rounds 2-7 are Friday (11 a.m. ET; NHLN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS).
Here’s a look at the nine players:
Noah Warren, Gatineau (QMJHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 33 (North American skaters)
Warren (6ft 5ft 224lbs) scored 24 points (five goals and 19 assists) in 62 games. Gatineau coach and general manager Louis Rubitael likens the 17-year-old to build and play the New York Rangers defensive team. Kandrey Miller.
“He can skate with anyone in this league,” Ropitel said. “He’s got a long reach, and he’s really proud of shutting him down to the other team’s best players. You often see a smaller guy who can skate very well. He’s a big guy who skates well and is hard to play against.”
Isaiah George, D, London (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting: #53 (North American skaters)
George (6ft, 196) was London’s second-best scorer among defenders with 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) in 67 games. He was among the 40 nominees who entered the 2022 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects competition at Kitchener Memorial Hall in March.
London-based American scout Billy Sullivan said the 18-year-old’s offensive prowess sometimes overshadowed his defensive ability.
“His game now is he has the disc a lot, his head is up all the time, and he takes what’s given to him on the ice,” Sullivan said. “Because he has a lot of disk on his stick, people consider him an offensive defensive man, but I consider him a two-way defender and he’s a very, very good defender.”
Devin KaplanRW, NTDP
NHL Central Scouting: No. 61 (North American skaters)
Kaplan (6-3, 205) is a strong forward with 38 points (13 goals, 25 assists) in 53 games for the US Under-18 team and 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 22 US hockey games. National Team Development Program.
NTDP Under-17 coach Nick Faure said Kaplan does his best when “he’s physical, skate hard, attack the net, play hard forward, and use his massive body and speed to get into the net.”
The 18-year-old from Bridgewater, New Jersey, will play at Boston College this fall. Kaplan comes from a hockey family. His older brother, Jordan, 25, has been a striker for Adirondack, the New Jersey Devils ECHL subsidiary, this season. Their middle brother, Galen, 22, completed his first season with NCAA Division III Colby College in Waterville, Maine, in March.
Jackson DoringtonD, Des Moines (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 71 (North American skaters)
Dorrington (6-2, 192) had 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 41 games for Des Moines, and an assist in four games for the United States in the 2021 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, an international under-18 tournament.
The 18-year-old from North Reading, Massachusetts is committed to Northeastern University. His 20-year-old brother Max is a forward at Saint Lawrence University. The brothers are distant cousins to the late Art Dorrington, who became the first black player to sign an NHL contract when he joined the New York Rangers organization in 1950. He never made it to the NHL.
Damon Gardner, C, Warroad (High School-MN)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 97 (North American skaters)
A strong forward, Gardner (6-4, 200) has 83 points (45 goals, 38 assists) in 30 games after earning four points (three goals, one assist) in 14 games for Omaha and Tri City for the United States. Hockey League. The 18-year-old from Eagle Lake, Ontario is committed to Clarkson University and was one of six Indigenous players to play in Warroad this season.
“I think it helped him a lot to come back and play in high school with confidence,” Warrod coach Jay Hardwick said. “He was kind of playing in places where he might have had a limited role, or he wasn’t asked to be the man of choice. When he got back to Warroad, he had the opportunity to play in our first line and play on our strength playing and killing penalties.”
Rodwin DionysioD, Niagara (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 118 (North American skaters)
Dionisio (6-2, 207) was Niagara’s second-best scorer among defenders as a rookie with 31 points (six goals, 25 assists) in 57 games and was a finalist for the Ontario Hockey League. The 18-year-old was born in Newark, New Jersey to parents from the Dominican Republic and raised in Switzerland. He played for Switzerland at the 2021 IIHF Men’s Under-18 World Championships and the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics.
Kazimier Sobieski, D, Shattuck-St. Mary’s Middle School (High School-MN)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 130 (North American skaters)
Sobieski (6ft 181), the son of a Chinese mother from Taiwan and an American father of Polish descent, scored 31 points (four goals and 27 assists) in 38 games. The 18-year-old from South Deerfield, Massachusetts, will play for University of Massachusetts Amherst this fall.
“He’s a really strong skater, a flexible skater, he’s got a good shot and he’s a very well-trained player,” Shattuck-Stt. Said Tom Ward Mary’s prep coach to a boy. “He’s a 200-foot-tall player who can create the attack zone as a defensive man, and be the fourth and fifth striker to help keep play and balls alive.”
zacharia wisdomRW, Cedar Rapids (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: #145 (North American skaters)
Wisdom (5-11, 154) scored 22 points (10 goals and 12 assists) in 53 games with Cedar Rapids. The 18-year-old from Toronto is committed to playing for Colorado College. His 19-year-old brother, Zedd, was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the fourth round (No. 94) of the 2020 NHL Draft. All of them were channeled and received encouragement from current and former NHL Black players from Scarborough, Ontario, including Anthony Stewart, Chris Stewart, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds And potential Los Angeles Kings striker Akil Thomas.
Grayson Badger, RW, Dexter Southfield (High School-MA)
NHL Central Scouting: #165 (North American skaters)
The 18-year-old (6ft, 172) from Boston has scored 32 points (nine goals, 23 assists) in 24 games and is committed to Northeastern University. Badger said he’s a solid forward similar to Shane Doan, who scored 972 points (402 goals, 570 assists) in 1,540 games with the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes from 1995-2017.
“That description fits him,” said David Franzoza, who has trained Badger for the past five years. “He’s a pure right winger and he can also play offside. He’s a strong, good-sized kid who imposes his will on his opponents.”
Images: USA Hockey, Dominic Charette, Matt Hiscox Photography, Des Moines (USHL), Omaha (USHL), Vivid Eye Photography, Shattuck-St. Mary, Cedar Rapids (USHL), Dave Arnold Photography.