We can never forget the tragedy of war, the loss of human life, the displacement of families, and the cruelty of battle. This can be witnessed in real time with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Hockey will always fall short when compared to what’s going on in that region right now. We’ll try to keep track of what’s going on in hockey as the NHL progresses and we’ll do our best to tie it into what’s going on. This information has been sourced from https://www.ibetnetwork.com/

There have been several previous instances when NHL teams refused to pick Russian players early in the draft. Some organizations are concerned that a player may not want to play in North America, or that they may attempt their luck playing on the other side of the world and then decide to leave.

There’s also the issue of players wanting to get big money back rather than developing in the AHL. Furthermore, some players are concerned about what will happen if they leave their home nation to chase their aspirations in the world’s top league.


NHL Draft Prospects: March Update

Before we get to that, we wish Ivan Miroshnichenko the best of luck in his fight against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. From a talent standpoint, he is an appropriate top 10 pick in this draft class. The uncertainty over his health has turned him into a questionable first-round pick.

Here are just a few of the many concerns that need to be addressed in terms of Russian players’ futures as it pertains to the draft: Will there be issues with visas in Canada or the United States? Will organizations be wary of fan backlash if they pick Russian players? Will the players be comfortable traveling to North America on their own?

With that in mind, we would anticipate Russian players to fall in this draft class. This month’s ranking, which does not include Miroshnichenko, features two Russian players where we believe they should be based on ability. This list does not represent a mock draft, where we’re considering what teams might do on draft day.


2022 Olympic MVP

On the other hand, Juraj Slafkovsky has emerged as favorite to challenge Shane Wright for the projected first overall selection. What was already a highly regarded talent increased in status after his Olympics MVP performance. There have been several changes in the top 10 this month, and defencemen are once again becoming prominent. We have a lot of smaller, talented forwards and the emergence of larger defenders to muddy the waters in basic terms.


1. Shane Wright, C, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL): The gap between Wright and the rest of the group has continued to shrink, but he is still the top-rated prospect in this draft.


2. Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, TPS Turku (Liiga):At age 17, he won the Olympic MVP after a goal every game performance.


3. Matthew Savoie, C, Winnipeg Ice (WHL): With 10 points in his past nine games, he was heating up once again before a minor injury halted him.


4. Logan Cooley, C, USNTDP:A fast skater with exceptional acceleration who can create a gap. He is highly trainable and applies instruction right away to his game.


5. Simon Nemec, D, HK Nitra (Slovakia): With David Jiricek out for the year with a knee injury and Nemec taking home a bronze medal at the Olympics, he appears to be the first D taken in this draft.


6. Joakim Kemell, LW, JYP (Liiga):Competes at a high level in all aspects of the game in the first half of the Liiga season. Since returning from a shoulder problem, his lack of production is an issue.


7. Brad Lambert, C, Pelicans (Liiga):His speed, playmaking abilities, and creativity all have a lot to like about them from a pure play standpoint.


8. Danila Yurov, RW, Magnitogorsk (KHL):He’s not quite ready for prime-time action in the KHL, but he handles the puck with speed, power, and the capacity to get to open ice against his peers.


9. David Jiricek, D, HC Plzen (Extraliiga):Although several defenders have emerged as first-round selections, Jiricek remains at the top of nearly every list.


10. Jonathan Lekkerimaki, RW, Djurgarden (SWE U20): A player who is capable of driving the game with high-level finishing ability.