2022 NHL Draft: The ‘highest risk, highest reward’ candidates for the Penguins

As a part of the meandering sequence of NHL draft previews in Pensburgh, here is some previous work to get you in control on the upcoming entry draft:

The legendary NHL draft class of 2003
Analyzing potential US Nationwide Staff merchandise for Pittsburgh at decide 21
Logan Cooley is elevating the bar for Western PA hockey gamers
Ron Hextall’s Historic First-Spherical Draft Traits

In the present day, our focus shifts to an thrilling angle: gamers who may very well be obtainable at or across the twenty first decide for the Penguins who’ve lots of potential and will outperform for worth. Often at this stage groups may discover a David Pastrnak (twenty fifth general in 2014) or a Brock Boeser (twenty third general in 2015) or a Robert Thomas (twentieth general in 2017) or a Shea Theodore (twenty sixth general in 2013).

The problem is that it is exhausting to know why to draft Pastrnak over, say, Conner Bleackley (drafted two earlier at 23, zero profession NHL video games) or to know who would be the “Pastrnak” and who would be the Nikita. . Scherbak (chosen one decide after Pasta) on the time of the draft.

A type of methods can be to swing a house run on a participant who tasks to have a top-line benefit however has too many warts to be a high 10 or 15 decide on draft day. That appears nice when a staff just a few years later has a Brandon Saad-type participant who went down of their draft yr … However not a lot once they drafted a participant who went all the way down to them like Angelo Esposito who by no means put collectively for a motive. or one other that would not be foreseen on the day of the draft. (In Esposito’s case, future knee accidents.)

Nonetheless, being aggressive and on the lookout for essentially the most benefit and ability is an efficient technique. Positive, the Pens might nab a perceived “protected” prospect who has an incredible probability of changing into a third-row ahead or bottom-line defender, however what would actually make an affect is dashing to the fences and making it, whether or not success comes from luck or good exploration.

Listed below are some candidates in 2022.

brad lambert

United States v Finland: Semifinals - 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship

Photograph by Codie McLachlan/Getty Photographs

elite prospects rating tracker:

There is a good probability Lambert will likely be knocked off the board within the first 20 picks. He was thought of as excessive as a possible high 3 or high 5 decide within the pre-draft course of, however has plummeted down the rankings after a disappointing draft season. His manufacturing fell in 2021-22 within the Finnish league from a extremely sensational 2020-21 season with 17 years competing in opposition to skilled gamers.

Lambert is taken into account top-of-the-line athletes within the draft. He’s an elite skater with lots of offensive means. Why would he be shut at 21? The reply is that Lambert has been branded with one of the vital damning scarlet letters a hockey participant can purchase: The NHL scouting world is questioning his stage of effort. At finest, he had an inconsistent season. As a extra damning prospect, he floated and did not at all times apply himself on the ice.

like corey Pronouncer of Atletico summed it up, β€œHe is stuffed with potential, although I’ve seen him take lots of nights off. I believe he will likely be a top-six winger within the NHL, however he can frustrate coaches.”

Since draft day has been one of many uncommon occasions that Hextall is lively in making trades, if Lambert drops to 16, 17, 18, possibly the Penguins will make a deal to maneuver up just a few spots in the event that they’re .

Ivan Miroshnichenko

Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games - Day 13

Photograph by RvS.Media/Robert Hradil/Getty Photographs

elite prospects tracker:

It stays to be seen how NHL groups will deal with the collection of Russian-trained gamers within the draft. A handful of groups are anticipated to fully take away all gamers from their board. Most will likely be no less than drained. Miroshnichenko cannot management the place he is from, and he has a fair larger concern anyway: his well being. In January he was recognized with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Indications are that his well being is enhancing with him not too long ago finishing remedies and being cleared to apply once more. However any NHL staff on the lookout for an excuse to not use a excessive decide on him has an apparent approach out. Nevertheless, overcoming drawback areas is a participant who may very well be top-of-the-line gamers on the ice, as seen in TSN’s Bob McKenzie rating No. 6 mid-season earlier than his sickness and the Russian issue set in. turn into extra worrying.

Pronman’s glowing evaluation of Miroshnichenko included:

Miroshnichenko is a participant with all of the attributes you need in a high finish within the NHL. He has good dimension and power. He’s a robust skater. He’s very expert. He could make performs and may be very aggressive. His shot is a bullet and it may be a flank weapon in knowledgeable energy play. He can beat defenders with velocity, he can move pucks via the legs, he may even create with pressure and on the facility play. He has a cumbersome body and may play a robust sport type.

In relation to excessive danger with the potential for top reward, Miroshnichenko is an interesting case examine. In a hypothetical world the place the 2022 NHL draft befell in January as an alternative of July, he nearly definitely would have been a high 10 decide (as you may see within the screenshot above for the rankings, all very excessive rankings are pre-season or mid-season earlier than his sickness was recognized).

However within the actuality of what has occurred since then, he might truly be drafted fifteenth or thirty fifth, or wherever in between. Some groups with a number of high picks could also be in a greater place to take a flyer on him, but when he is obtainable at No. With #21, the Pens would absolutely must have no less than a danger/reward dialogue in regards to the feasibility of drafting him.

Maybe greater than another participant chosen within the second half of this yr’s first spherical, Miroshnichenko may very well be one thing of the subsequent David Pastrnak (productive NHL front-row ahead), however he may be the subsequent Angelo Esposito (nil profession video games within the NHL). ). And within the fog of draft day, it is inconceivable to inform which approach he’ll find yourself.

danila yurov

2021 IIHF Ice Hockey U-18 World Championship - Final

Photograph by Tom Pennington/Getty Photographs

(The one picture within the Getty picture base, sorry Danila!)

elite prospects tracker:

Yurov can be a participant who in a extra “regular” second would most likely be chosen within the high half of the primary spherical. He performed for Magnitogorsk final season, the well-known hometown membership of Evgeni Malkin. He additionally had an especially restricted quantity of ice time and an nearly non-existent position at about 4 minutes per sport.

Winged Wheel Podcast wrote:

Yurov is a double menace who will get to good spots when taking pictures and finds teammates everywhere in the offensive zone. When given room to run, he can typically be a handful. He performs with physicality and ability, a mixture that appeals to NHL groups. How far will it fall because of the dysfunction in Russia’s politics? That’s an important query on the subject of Yurov’s analysis. He’s a first-round expertise who might find yourself being a superb worth for a staff prepared to take the danger.

Pronman additionally cited Yurov as “top-of-the-line handlers within the draft” and having a excessive stage of competitors at each ends of the ground. He may as properly have gone within the high 20 picks (particularly with a staff like Washington selecting in 20 with no scarcity of taking probabilities on proficient Russians within the first spherical), but when he was nonetheless on the board for the Pens, he’d do it once more. have an fascinating dialogue. Simply as a participant, there most likely aren’t 21 high picks eligible for the draft. Miroshnichenko might need a barely larger ceiling, however his well being questions would make Yurov a “safer” selection as he’s extra prone to turn into a top-six within the NHL.

Pavel Mintyukov

2022 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Photograph by Chris Tanouye/Getty Photographs

elite prospects tracker:

Although born in Russia, Mintyukov performed within the OHL final season and would not have the KHL contract entanglement worrying about him.

If there is a rush for defenses within the first spherical, as typically appears to be the case, he may as properly be off the board for No. 21. Nevertheless, if he will get previous the Penguins, that is one other participant who ought to catch your eye as one with the potential to be a second-string (and even larger) defenseman who couldn’t solely be a participant on an NHL staff, however make an affect. in video games together with his means.

Winged Wheel positioned him twenty first, proper within the candy spot, however even admits within the evaluation that this may very well be a participant who goes larger or outperforms his draft place:

As an attacking participant, the Russian defender is a depraved playmaker. He dipsy doodled all day on the blue line, embarrassing opponents together with his fast arms and toes. His means to move him is fairly spectacular and since he is at all times urgent deep down the offensive zone, he will get high quality pictures from finish areas. There’s going to must be lots of refinement, but when he can work out the kinks, wow, I’ll seem like an fool for holding it that low.

Mintyukov’s drawback in the meanwhile is that he’s too lively leaping on performs and desires extra construction and defensive improvement in his sport. However he definitely has lots of ability and is an aggressive participant. Is it higher to wager on reigning in a proficient and lively participant than to attempt to hope {that a} much less expert however extra stable participant finally ends up being higher? That will likely be a query groups must reply on draft day on the subject of Mintyukov.


Selecting within the 20s is not with out danger, however groups can nonetheless discover NHL gamers at this level. In the event that they’re prepared to take an opportunity or gamble on improvement, typically that gamble pays off with a participant who in just a few years finally ends up being top-of-the-line gamers within the draft. Pittsburgh probably will get a shot at no less than one of many above names, the query simply shifts to how a lot “is the juice value squeezing” in these instances.

That is the toughest query on draft day, with so many unknown future components at play, but additionally a few of the enjoyable in attempting to unearth what might turn into an affect participant for years to return.

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