February 3, 2022

5 risers in FCHockey’s Midterm ranking for the 2022 NHL Draft

We’ve hit the halfway point of the season, and how the rankings are changin’.

In the latest update to FCHockey’s rankings, there are some sizeable moves both up and down the draft board. From players climbing into first-round contention to climbing into the top-100, this set of rankings definitely shook things up.

To take a closer look at some of these changes, we’ve highlighted five players that have made notable jumps up the draft board in FCHockey’s Midseason ranking for the 2022 NHL Draft.

Kevin Korchinski, D, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

Winter rank: 32

Midseason rank: 14

Difference: +18

Kevin Korchinski has been quietly putting together a solid season and has been ramping it up as the season rolls on. The Seattle Thunderbirds’ defender has collected 35 points (four goals, 31 assists) in 38 games this season. That point total is fifth on the team, and eighth among defenders in the league — second-best if you only take into account draft eligible defenders. Korchinski’s 31 assists are tied for 11th in the WHL, too. He’s been a steady riser so far this season and could continue that trend as the draft approaches.

“Korchinski has made huge progress from the start of the season to now, and he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down,” FCHockey’s Western Head scout, Derek Neumeier said. “He has always been one of the best skaters in this entire draft class, able to move quickly and effortlessly in all directions, as well covering plenty of ice with his long strides. What’s new now is that his confidence with the puck and his ability to find offensive chances are both increasing rapidly. Korchinksi has immense long-term potential as an all-situations defender, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up even higher on our draft board by the end of the season.”

Jiri Kulich, C, HC Energie Karlovy Vary (Czechia)

Winter rank: 58

Midseason rank: 26

Difference: +32

Jiri Kulich is demanding your attention. While the Czech prospect’s point totals aren’t jumping off the page, with 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in 34 games, if you dig a little deeper those totals become more impressive. His 0.32 points per game are 15th all-time in the top Czech men’s league for U18 players. His point total is actually tied for 11th in that same group. And he’s not close to being done yet.

“Kulich has high potential as a two-way forward, he plays at a high pace and never gets his foot off of the gas pedal,” European scout Miroslav Simurka said. He plays more of a north-south game, has great hands and 1-on-1 skills. Defensively, he takes smart routes and collects tons of pucks. He was one of two offensive standouts for Czechia at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and continues to climb rankings as he develops in an important middle six-role with a team in Czech Extraliga.”

Calle Odelius, D, Djurgardens J20 (J20 Nationell)

Winter rank: 44

Midseason rank: 31

Difference: +13

Calle Odelius has entered the first-round discussion. The Swedish defender has 22 points (four goals, 18 assists) through 31 J20 Nationell games, plus has had the call up to play in seven SHL games. The top talent coming out of the Djurgardens’ system in the 2022 NHL Draft is very real, and Odelius is a big part of that. After starting the season ranked No. 87 in FCHockey’s Preliminary ranking for the 2022 draft, he’s looking like one of the biggest risers of the season so far.

“Odelius’ last month has been incredible,” said Swedish scout Fredrik Haak. “He has taken steps in every aspect of the game and matures more and more in his decision making. His hands and vision, combined with high hockey intelligence, make him a really interesting player for the first round.”

Matyas Sapovaliv, LW, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

Winter rank: 100

Midseason rank: 58

Difference: +42

Matyas Sapovaliv, the second Czech player on this list, has brought his talents to the OHL this season and hasn’t disappointed. He’s put up 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) in 37 games. The 15th overall pick in the CHL Import Draft, Sapovaliv has been turning heads this season and piquing the interest of FCHockey’s scouts. He’s a player to keep an eye on down the stretch.

“Sapovaliv is a strong two-way center with impressive playmaking abilities,” OHL scout Mat Sheridan said. “He routinely makes plays laterally, using his vision and quick hands to open up passing lanes for his teammates. He has good mobility for someone his size, using his edgework to cut back and assess the situation in the offensive zone. He makes quick reads in the defensive zone, using his stick to break up passing lanes and transition the puck up ice. Sapovaliv is a riser as he’s continually gotten better as the OHL season has gone on.”

Jeremy Langlois, D, Cape Breton Eagles (QMJHL)

Winter rank: Not ranked

Midseason rank: 79

Difference: +21

Jeremy Langlois, a new name on FCHockey’s top-100, was the biggest riser on FCHockey’s Midseason ranking that hadn’t been previously ranked. The QMJHL defender has 22 points (four goals, 18 assists) in 30 games so far this season while wearing the “A” for the Cape Breton Eagles. That total is good enough for 11th in the league among defenders. He’s very much been a bright spot on a struggling Eagles team this season.

“Langlois is a really fun player to watch and with each viewing, another layer of his game comes into focus,” QMJHL scout Shaun Richardson explained. “Right away you’re intrigued by the high-end skating but then you watch him combine that and his dexterity with the puck and you’re thinking, ‘Okay, we’ve really got something here.’ He keeps a cool head under pressure and when hemmed in by opponents he’s particularly nimble and finds a way out of it.”

Other big risers

Owen Beck, C, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) – 84 to 48 (+36)
Adam Ingram, C, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) – 87 to 59 (+28)
Vladimir Grudinin, D, CSKA Moskva (KHL) – 70 to 46 (+24)
Jordan Gustafson, C, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) – 77 to 55 (+22)
Pavel Mintyukov, D, Saginaw Spirit (OHL) – 45 to 28 (+17)

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