Draft day is here! The 2022 NHL Draft kicks off tonight in Montreal, the first round starting at 7 p.m. ET, and rounds two through seven taking place tomorrow starting at 11 a.m. ET.
The Calgary Flames don’t currently hold a pick in the first round. They’ll head into the draft with three selections, 59th, 155th, and 219th overall, with the chance to acquire more draft picks via trade.
Over the past month or so, many scouts and experts have ranked the draft eligibles and made predictions on who will get taken where. We tabulated draft boards from several sources including Dobber Prospects, The Hockey Writers, Scott Wheeler, Corey Pronman, Smaht Scouting, Bob McKenzie, Craig Button, and Future Considerations. According to their predictions and rankings, here is who the Flames are predicted to select.
|Matthew Poitras||C||Guelph Storm||OHL||Mar 10, 2004||5’11”||176||R||68||21||29||50||58|
Dobber Prospects has Matthew Poitras ranked 59th on their final draft board. Here’s what they had to say about Bichsel:
Poitras is a hard-working, offensively skilled forward who utilizes his quick hands and vision on both sides of the puck. He has all the requisite offensive tools; a strong release on his wrist shot, good vision and passing ability, and quick hands in traffic, but it’s the pro-level habits already present in his game that will help him excel at the next level.
He protects the puck well on the cycle, takes great angles in pursuit, and consistently comes away with contested pucks. Poitras has a habit of baiting opposing players into poor decisions and jumping lanes at the perfect time, routinely capitalizing on mistakes by the other team. He makes strong reads off the puck and competes hard, laying out to block a shot or taking a hit to make a play.
He may never put up huge point totals but Poitras does a lot of things well to create chances and drive play for his team. I think he has a pretty safe floor as a top-nine NHL forward and there is potential for him to become more than that.Nick Richard
Peter Baracchini of The Hockey Writers has Jani Nyman ranked 59th on his final draft board. We reviewed Nyman as a second round forward target for the Flames:
Nyman is another pure offence, typical second round prospect. He excels on the offensive game with an arsenal of many types of shots, all powerful and accurate. His release is deceptive and quick, and Nyman is adept at finding soft spots in the defense to take passes and rip shots passed goaltenders.
His soft hands also help Nyman on the playmaking side of the game. He’s able to finesse passes to his teammates all over the ice and is particularly good at making plays on the rush, whether it be as the passer or the shooter. This is a great skill that a lot of great players don’t have; it’s hard to make plays at high speed and Nyman has this tool in his belt.
The other side of Nyman’s game that is extremely advanced is his skating. He has an excellent stride and can hit very solid top-end speed with good acceleration, too. He is excellent at creating separation on defenders and has the agility to lose his check and get into dangerous areas of the ice. His size helps him do this, but he doesn’t use his frame as well as he could. Nyman doesn’t forecheck particularly well or grind out puck battles along the boards.
Nyman’s current weakness is the defensive end. He’s pure offense right now, and can look completely uninterested and disengaged when he doesn’t have the puck. He doesn’t backcheck and when he’s stuck playing defense it doesn’t generally go very well for him or his team. He finished with a -13 rating this season in the Mestis for a reason.Karim Kurji
|Tomas Hamara||D||Tappara U20||U20 SM-sarja||09-Mar-04||6’0″||185||L||32||6||19||25||16|
Scott Wheeler of The Athletic has Tomas Hamara ranked 59th on his final draft board.
Hamara is a subtly impactful three-zone defenceman who can play the offensive defenceman role when that’s what’s needed or settle things down and play a simpler game where required. His game is all about execution. He executes his outlet and neutral-zone passes at a really reliable rate. He executes little exits with his feet, pushing through sticks into a short skate. He’s patient under pressure.
I love his ability in distribution at the top of the umbrella on the power play. When he’s at his best, he looks like a general directing play back there, even if he’s not flying around the ice looking dynamic. He was Czechia’s No. 1 D at U18 worlds and also played on a top Liiga team this year, a testament to the respect he has garnered across levels. He can get beat one-on-one against really talented players, where it can almost look like he’s too comfortable with who he is and not ready, but that’s really my only nitpick. If Hamara stays on the path he’s on, I think he’s capable of becoming a solid third-pairing D.Scott Wheeler
|Isaiah George||D||London Knights||OHL||15-Feb-04||6’1″||194||L||67||6||17||23||32|
Smaht Scouting has Isaiah George ranked 59th on their final draft board. For a full breakdown on George, check out their full scouting report on him.
Isaiah George has second pairing upside at the NHL level, but in order to get that point, he needs to push play more and more in the offensive zone. When pressure seems to be building up, George needs to use his mobility to buy himself separation and skate towards the slot. Sometimes he does it. Sometimes he doesn’t and instead opts to put a low danger shot on net. NHL teams are going to want more offensive creativity and he has the tools to give them the creativity that they desire. Ideally, we will see George continue to become confident in his ability to push play and run the cycle even more so in his DY+1.Josh Tessler
|Ryan Greene||C||Green Bay Gamblers||USHL||21-Oct-03||6’2″||179||R||59||19||32||51||53|
Bob McKenzie has Ryan Greene ranked 59th on his final draft board.
Greene had a tremendous draft-year season with the struggling Green Bay Gamblers, leading the squad in scoring with 51 points in 59 games and helping the team limit scoring chances against to the best of his ability. He was often the team’s best defensive forward and was utilized often on the penalty kill.
Greene’s pace of play and compete level are high-end, helping him break up opposing attack setups with his smart defensive stick. He can escape defenders one-on-one, but generally has trouble producing when forced to shoot from afar or pass from the periphery, as both of those tools are still raw. He reads plays well, however, and manages to get in-tight and in the middle of the rink for his scoring chances. Greene’s defensive game will likely be his bread-and-butter moving forward, and his 6-foot-2 frame should fill out well as he develops physically.Hadi Kalakeche
|Topias Leinonen||G||JYP U20||U20 SM-sarja||25-Jan-04||6’5″||234||L||21||2.28||0.916|
Corey Pronman of The Athletic has Topias Leinonen ranked 59th on his final draft board.
Leinonen was a good but not spectacular junior goalie in Finland this season. He was the go-to goalie for Finland’s U18 team but was often injured or unavailable around major tournaments outside the U18 worlds where he wasn’t that good.
Leinonen has a clear NHL tool kit. He measures in at-or-above 6-foot-4, and he’s anCorey Pronman
athletic goalie who can move well in the crease. Leinonen has the ability to make very tough
saves and ones that will translate to the NHL. I think he sees the game well and makes good
reads, but his consistency is an issue. He lets in too many soft goals and has occasional stretches of bad decision making. He looks like a starter but projects more as a backup for those reasons.
|Otto Salin||D||HIFK U20||U20 SM-sarja||07-Mar-04||5’11”||205||R||11||4||8||12||10|
Future Considerations has Otto Salin ranked 59th on their final draft board. Hadi Kalakeche of Dobber Prospects broke down Salin’s game nicely:
Vision, puck skills and mobility are the name of the game for Salin. His crossover use, his cutbacks, his forwards and backwards skating, all look very solid. He covers lots of ground and doesn’t waste energy, being selective in his rushes up-ice. When he joins the offense, whether in transition or in the offensive zone, he takes calculated risks and has the vision required to identify the right time and place for his incursions, although his manipulation of lanes could use some work. When he finds himself in positive ice, he has the hands, the passing ability and the shot to convert on his chances.
The issues with Salin are on the defensive side, for the most part—he can struggle to stifle opponents off the rush, and can get confused when the cycle requires a change of assignment. All in all, the offensive promise with Salin is a the shot in the third round, especially if he can be brought over to North America soon to learn from the tightness of the pro game on this side of the pond in order to grow his defensive game the right way.Hadi Kalakeche
|Michael Buchinger||D||Guelph Storm||OHL||25-Apr-04||6’0″||185||L||63||5||39||44||47|
Craig Button of TSN has Michael Buchinger ranked 59th on his final draft board. NHL Central Scouting broke down Buchinger’s game:
Consistent player that plays a solid two-way game every night. Excellent skater with speed and mobility in all directions. Competes hard and plays physical. Smart defender that uses positioning and a great stick to his advantage. Smart puck mover that is decisive and makes the right play quickly. He has playmaking ability from the back end. Used on both special teams and can be relied on in all crucial game situations. The type of defenceman you want on your team and know you are going to get a winning effort from every night.NHL Central Scouting
|Bryce McConnell-Barker||C||Soo Greyhounds||OHL||Jun 4, 2004||6’1″||194||L||68||23||26||49||14|
TWC’s consolidated rankings has Bryce McConnell-Barker ranked 59th overall. Scott Wheeler had nice words to say about McConnell-Barker.
McConnell-Barker looked better whenever I watched the Soo this year than his 54 points in 78 combined regular season and playoff games might suggest at a glance. He was a top prospect in the 2004 age group growing up and he often looks the part, with a dangerous, natural wrist shot (that he was owed a few more goals out of), above-average hands and processing, and the right instincts all over the ice. He’s also a June birthday. I expect him to break out in a more prominent role next season after the Soo lose much of their core. He feels to me like a better prospect than where I have him slotted, as weird as that is to say.Scott Wheeler
Making the right choice
With so many options to choose from but such limited picks, the Flames will want to make the most out of every one. We’ll soon learn what they end up doing on Day 2 of the NHL Draft.