December 3, 2021

2022 NHL Draft Winter Rankings: 5 Risers

With FCHockey releasing our Winter rankings for the 2022 NHL Draft, that means one thing – it’s time to pour over the changes.

Some prospects moved up in big ways in this edition, which means other prospects had to fall down the board in the top-100 – or possibly out of it altogether. To take a closer look at some of the biggest changes, we’ve highlighted five players that have made notable jumps up the draft board in FCHockey’s Winter ranking for the 2022 NHL Draft.

Logan Cooley, C, USNTDP (USHL)

Preliminary Rank: 12

Winter Rank: 5

Difference: (+7)

Logan Cooley has gone from just outside the top-10 to firmly inside it, cracking the top-5 on FCHockey’s board – and he doesn’t look like he’s done rising yet. He’s leading the United States Nationals Team Development Program in points, with 28 (13 goals, 15 assists) in just 18 games. That 1.56 point-per-game pace is second on the team, behind only teammate Rutger McGroarty’s 1.60. Cooley looks to be a strong contender to continue his push up draft boards as the season goes on.

“Cooley has consistently been the best player for the USNTDP this season,” explained head American scout Austin Broad.  “He has elite skating ability and is a smart two-way player. His defensive game is mature beyond his years, but it’s his offensive progression that has him rising in the ranks. He looks the part of a top-six, two-way center, and with his offensive upside could easily be a 1C. He’s a multi-dimensional creator who can rely on his shooting and playmaking ability to generate offense.”

Jagger Firkus, RW, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

Preliminary Rank: 100

Winter Rank: 34

Difference: +66

On top of having one of the best names in the draft, Jagger Firkus has been capturing the attention of FCHockey’s Western Canada scouts. For that, the Moose Jaw Warriors forward is FCHockey’s biggest riser within the top-100, jumping up from the very last spot into first-round consideration. He’s collected 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 22 games this season, good for second on the team – tied with fellow draft-eligible Denton Mateychuk. He’s very much a player to keep an eye on as the season rolls on.

“Moose Jaw has some offensive flair and likes to play a little more wide open, and Firkus is fitting into that style really nicely,” said head Western Canada scout Derek Neumeier. “He’s a very well-rounded, offensive contributor who can both feed off of and complement other scoring forwards. He moves well, he thinks well, and he’s pretty skilled and creative with the puck. There are still some questions as to whether he can drive a line himself or if he’ll always be better suited to riding shotgun, but he finds ways to contribute and the points should keep coming at higher levels.”

Pavel Mintyukov, D, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

Preliminary Rank: Not ranked

Winter Rank: 45

Difference: +56

The third-highest jumper on FCHockey’s draft board, Pavel Mintyukov went from not being included in FCHockey’s Preliminary ranking into the top-50 of the Winter edition. The Russian defender is playing for the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit and has been impressing early on in his first season in North America. He’s racked up 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 18 games, and has stood out on his team on nearly every shift. He’s a riser in the eyes of many scouts and on many draft boards, and could be much higher by the time the season ends.

“Mintyukov’s offensive numbers as a junior-aged player in Russia didn’t inspire much confidence he’d be a premier puck-mover upon his arrival in the OHL after being tabbed with a first-round import selection in 2020,” started Ontario scout Joseph Aleong. “However, Mintyukov’s elite four-way skating, impressive poise with the puck, and surprisingly aggressive transition and offensive game have him rocketing up draft boards despite a lack of truly elite offensive production amongst a Saginaw team lacking firepower in their forward group.”

Liam Ohgren, LW, Djurgardens IF (SHL)

Preliminary Rank: 58

Winter Rank: 29

Difference: +29

Starting the season near the end of the second round on FCHockey’s draft board, Liam Ohgren has been rocketing up, entering the first round in the latest edition of the rankings. The Swedish forward has been impressing at the SHL level, collecting a goal and an assist in 16 games with limited minutes. He’s also proved too good for the J20 Nationell, adding another 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 11 games. Now firmly in the first-round discussion, Ohgren could continue to push up draft boards if he continues his impressive campaign.

“Ohgren has been a smooth skater and an offensive threat for many years but this year he has really developed and takes more responsibility on the ice,” said Swedish scout Fredrik Haak. “He has a quick and hard shot and every time he enters the zone he has a view of his surroundings that is exceptional. He has also shown that he is mature enough to play senior hockey in the SHL and is for sure one of the biggest risers so far in this year’s draft.”

Alexander Perevalov, LW, Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)

Preliminary Rank: 91

Winter Rank: 43

Difference: +48

Last but not least, Alexander Perevalov is the biggest Russian jumper, going from the end of the third round to the middle of the second. He’s been strong in the MHL this season, recording 34 points (17 goals, 17 assists) in just 24 games. He’s also had his first taste of KHL action, suiting up for two games so far. His point total and his 1.42 point-per-game pace currently lead all draft-eligibles in the MHL season so far and he shows no signs of slowing down. He’s a must-watch player for draft-enthusiasts.

“After a solid showing at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, Perevalov has been among the top scorers in Russia’s junior ranks thus far this season and, in turn, has warranted closer examination from scouts,” explained crossover scout Brandon Holmes. “Perevalov is a dangerous shot generator, constantly using his skill and creativity with the puck on his stick to find attacking and shooting lanes in the offensive zone. Perevalov’s one-on-one skill is a standout trait that adds a dynamic quality to his transition game, allowing him to attack on the rush and make an impact on a game with just one trip down the ice.”

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