2022 NHL Draft’s Most Divisive Prospects

We took a look at the biggest risers. We also looked at the fastest fallers. It’s time to turn our attention to the most divisive prospects of the 2022 NHL Draft.

Related: 2022 NHL Draft’s Biggest Risers

Every year, several prospects tend to cause disagreement amongst the scouting world. Whether it’s a specific rank, a specific skill set or what their upside is, there can be several reasons a prospect can have a wide variety of outcomes.

This is easily identified and reflected in various rankings published. We are going to define divisive prospect for the purpose of this exercise as someone who has a wide range of possible outcomes based on their ranking compared to where they could be drafted. Although there is some debate as to who could go number one between Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky and Logan Cooley, most everyone agrees that’s your top-three in some order.

We are going to focus on prospects in which there is disagreement about what round they belong to. In some cases, we will focus on a prospect where the disagreement lies in which part of the round they should go in.

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We will present you with 15 prospects that meet our above definition of divisive prospect. Along with the prospect, we will indicate the variance in rankings and then give a brief explanation of what the disagreement is all about.

What is our goal here? The goal is to give you different perspectives from various sources indicating where the questions and pressure points are. It will also serve as a reminder that while the mainstream rankings get a lot of attention, they could be vastly different than what some final lists look like. Yegor Chinakhov anyone?

Here are 15 divisive prospects for the 2022 NHL Draft. They are listed in alphabetical order.

15 Divisive Prospects

Owen Beck

Highest rank: 10th (Central Scouting North American Final Rankings)

Lowest rank: 46th (TSN’s Craig Button)

The lowdown: While a vast majority of the scouting world has Beck as a solid second rounder, there is some belief that he could be a late first rounder. Central scouting even thinks he could be a lottery pick. Two questions come to mind with Beck. First is his size. He measured at the Combine at 5-foot-11.25 and 187 pounds. The other question is his overall skill set. While he’s a good skater and does a lot of things well, he does not have that one elite thing that stands out. Those that rank him outside round one do not believe he’s a top-six NHL forward. Others believe his skating and overall skill set puts him in the top-six conversation.

Lian Bichsel

Highest ranks: 9th (Central Scouting European Final Rankings), 25th (Future Considerations)

Lowest ranks: 64th (TSN’s Craig Button), 59th (Dobber Prospects)

The lowdown: Bichsel is a defensive defenseman who already has NHL size at 6-foot-5.5 and 225 pounds. The question with him is his offensive game and overall hockey sense. Those that rank him in the first round believe his offensive game is coming and will be a dependable top-four, two-way defenseman. The rest believe he is too one-dimensional to garner a high ranking.

Luca Del Bel Belluz

Highest ranks: 8th (Central Scouting North American Final Rankings), 28th (TSN’s Craig Button)

Lowest ranks: 75th (Elite Prospects)

The lowdown: The question with Del Bel Belluz is twofold, his skating and his upside. While the skill with the puck is evident both as a shooter and a playmaker, those down on him do not think he has the speed to keep up in the NHL. Some also wonder what his role will be. As evidenced by his final Central Scouting ranking of 8th, they believe he will be a top-six center. Don’t be surprised if he’s off the board in round one despite where some places have him ranked.

Conor Geekie

Highest ranks: 5th (Central Scouting North American Final Rankings), 10th (TSN’s Bob McKenzie), 10th (Sportsnet)

Lowest ranks: 31st (TSN’s Craig Button), 30th (Smaht Scouting), 29th (Dobber Prospects)

The lowdown: The consensus believes Geekie will go in the first round. Where the disagreement comes in is how high in the first round will he go. On the surface, a 6-foot-3 center with skill will get a ton of attention. Several early mock drafts have seen him go inside the top-10. But those who have some doubts question his skating and ability to keep pace. They also wonder if he can be a true, number-one center.

David Goyette

Highest ranks: 13th (Central Scouting North American Final Rankings), 19th (TSN’s Craig Button)

Lowest ranks: 53rd (Elite Prospects), 49th (Recruit Scouting, Draft Prospects Hockey)

The lowdown: The biggest question with Goyette is his consistency. On good days, he is one of the most skilled players on the ice with the puck and his skating. On bad days, you have a hard time finding him. The variance in rankings reflects which version of Goyette you get in any given game. Those that believe in him see his skill on full display.

Isaac Howard

Highest ranks: 9th (Central Scouting North American Final Rankings), 15th (TSN’s Bob McKenzie), 18th (Dobber Prospects)

Lowest ranks: 41st (Recruit Scouting), 39th (Elite Prospects), 38th (Future Considerations)

The lowdown: Howard is one of the best puck handlers in the entire draft. The skill is evident every time you watch him. However size and speed have some question what his upside is. Those that rank him higher believe he can make it as a top-six winger.

Jiri Kulich

Highest ranks: 14th (TSN’s Craig Button), 15th (McKeen’s Hockey, Smaht Scouting)

Lowest ranks: 62nd (The Puck Authority), 41st (Dobber Prospects), 40th (TSN’s Bob McKenzie)

The lowdown: Kulich introduced himself on the world stage when he was named MVP of the U18 World Championship. He led the tournament in goals showing off his ability to finish. The question with him is size and eventual role. His compete and his leadership will garner a lot of first-round attention.

Brad Lambert

Highest ranks: 5th (Smaht Scouting), 8th (Future Considerations, McKeen’s Hockey, Sportsnet, Recruit Scouting)

Lowest ranks: 35th (TSN’s Craig Button), 28th (Dobber Prospects)

The lowdown: Remember when Lambert was in the conversation for first overall? That feels like ages ago. While his stock has taken a hit, most believe he will go in the first round simply because he has one of the highest skill sets in the draft. But some believe Lambert is too inconsistent and takes too many nights off to deserve a higher ranking. He will be one of the most fascinating prospects to follow on draft night.

Brad Lambert, JYP
Many believe Brad Lambert will go in the first round, but the question will be where. (Mandatory Credit: Jiri Halttunen)

Rutger McGroarty

Highest ranks: 12th (Future Considerations), 14th (Draft Prospects), 17th (Recruit Scouting)

Lowest ranks: 40th (Elite Prospects), 36th (McKeen’s Hockey)

The lowdown: The biggest question asked about McGroarty is his skating. While he’s not the slowest skater, his mechanics have been questioned. The higher ranks of him show their belief in his overall skill set and that he can keep up with the pace of play. His U18 performance also helped his ranking with some scouts.

Filip Mesar

Highest ranks: 11th (Smaht Scouting), 15th (Dobber Prospects)

Lowest ranks: 52nd (TSN’s Craig Button)

The lowdown: Most in the industry believe that Mesar is a first rounder based on his speed and skill alone. He is one of the best skaters available in this draft. He measured at just 5-foot-9.5 at the Combine and this does have some wondering how he’d fare in the NHL.

Calle Odelius

Highest ranks: 14th (Elite Prospects), 17th (Smaht Scouting)

Lowest ranks: 61st (The Puck Authority), 45th (Recruit Scouting), 38th (TSN’s Bob McKenzie)

The lowdown: Questions with Odelius start with his future role and if he’s good enough overall as a shutdown defender. His skating is his strength and has shown some good moments with the puck. On a good note, he did measure over 6-feet at the Combine and seems to have some momentum going into the draft as a result.

Owen Pickering

Highest ranks: 13th (TSN’s Craig Button), 15th (Sportsnet, Elite Prospects)

Lowest ranks: 44th (Draft Prospects), 37th (McKeen’s Hockey), 36th (TSN’s Bob McKenzie)

The lowdown: It’s easy to see why there is a lot of excitement for Pickering. He’s a 6-foot-4 defenseman who can skate well for his size and is good with the puck on his stick. The question with him is how his game will translate since he is still raw in a lot of areas. His upside will depend on how his offensive game develops.

Owen Pickering Swift Current Broncos
Owen Pickering has questions surrounding him but no shortage of interest. (Candice Ward / Swift Current Broncos)

Elias Salomonsson

Highest ranks: 15th (The Puck Authority), 26th (Future Considerations)

Lowest ranks: 56th (McKeen’s Hockey), 46th (Dobber Prospects)

The lowdown: The first thing that pops with Salomonsson is his shot. It’s not often a defender can beat a goalie clean from distance. He couples that with his skating to be an effective defender. Questions come in with his overall game and what he’ll be in the NHL. Most seem to believe he’s a bottom pair defenseman.

Jimmy Snuggerud

Highest ranks: 8th (TSN’s Craig Button), 16th (Sportsnet)

Lowest ranks: 42nd (Smaht Scouting), 41st (Future Considerations)

The lowdown: The big question with Snuggerud is his skating and ability to keep up. The rest of his game is strong especially his shot. The higher rankings suggest he can become an impact top-six forward.

Gleb Trikozov

Highest ranks: 8th (Smaht Scouting), 15th (Future Considerations)

Lowest ranks: 69th (Draft Prospects), 64th (TSN’s Bob McKenzie)

The lowdown: You know a prospect is divisive when some have them as a lottery pick and others have them outside the second round. Why such a high disparity? He’s a classic case of great shooter, less than average skater who is great some nights and nowhere to be found other nights. When he’s on, he’s electric. When he’s not, it’s frustrating to watch. The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle but like Lambert, Trikozov will be interesting to watch.

Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide

That is our list of 15 divisive prospects for the 2022 NHL Draft. What did you think of this list? Which prospects are divisive for you? Leave a comment or express yourself on Twitter with your thoughts.

What is the main takeaway from this exercise? Outside of the top-three players, the rest of the draft appears to be wide open. Some prospects who were thought to go in the lottery could go in the second round while others could slip into the first round. If there’s a disparity amongst scouts, you can count on lists lists being different. It truly makes for an exciting and unpredictable draft. That’s the way we like it. Bring on the chaos.

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