Five risers in FCHockey’s Spring ranking for the 2022 NHL Draft
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 Spring ranking for the 2022 NHL Draft.
Kevin Korchinski, D, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Midseason rank: 14
Spring rank: 7
In the last edition of this article, we mentioned how Kevin Korchinski was quietly putting together a solid season. Well, it’s not so quiet anymore and the Seattle Thunderbirds’ defender just continues to impress. Shooting up into the top-10, the rearguard now sits at 58 points (four goals, 54 assists) in 63 games. We’re impressed.
“Korchinski has taken huge strides forward this season, and he is showing no signs of slowing down,” Western head scout Derek Neumeier said. “His skating has been elite for a while now, but where he is making gains are his puck skill, his confidence and his creativity. He has become a real menace at the offensive blue line, opening up opposing defenses with ease, and the points just keep piling up as a result.
“His decision-making needs improvement, mostly without the puck, but when it comes to physical tools his toolbox is overflowing. If Korchinski can continue developing at this rate he could be a true top-pair defender in the NHL one day.”
Owen Beck, C, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Midseason rank: 48
Spring rank: 31
Owen Beck has been a bit quieter in his season, but his consistency and competitiveness have FCHockey’s scouts hooked. The Mississauga Steelheads forward has 51 points (21 goals, 30 assists) in 65 games in his rookie season after losing the entire 2020-21 campaign completely because of concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. The package he brings is absolutely one that NHL teams covet.
“Beck has consistently been a force at both ends of the ice for Mississauga this season, already proving his mettle as one of the premier defensive centers and faceoff men in the entire OHL,” Ontario-based FCHockey scout Joseph Aleong said. “Since the calendar turned over, he’s settled into a top-six center role for the Steelheads and shown some more aggressiveness and consistency driving offense and producing for a playoff-bound team.”
Noah Warren, D, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
Midseason rank: 100
Spring rank: 68
Noah Warren stood out in the CHL Top Prospects Game combine testing, winning the 30M forward skate and coming in fifth in the 30M forward skate with the puck. The Gatineau Olympiques defender doesn’t have eye-popping numbers with just 19 points (four goals, 15 assists) in 50 games, but his consistent progression through the season has caught the eyes of scouts.
“Warren is an extremely raw, physical, defensive blueliner who has continued to jump up our board throughout the season thanks to his high-level play and constant progression,” QMJHL scout Andy Lehoux said. “The 6-foot-5 prospect is finding his groove as one of the best lockdown defenders in the QMJHL, and, he’s even starting to show more offensive flashes — which has always been the biggest knock on his game.”
Dmitri Buchelnikov, RW, SKA-1946 St. Petersburg (MHL)
Midseason rank: NR
Spring rank: 69
An overager by nine days, Dmitri Buchelnikov was passed over in the 2021 NHL Draft and it doesn’t appear to have sat well with the 18-year-old who has put up 75 points (41 goals, 34 assists) in 56 games with SKA-1946 St. Petersburg. With a deadly shot and a knack for finding open ice, he’s making it hard for NHL teams to pass on him again this year.
“The main reason for Buchelnikov’s rise is the evolution his offensive game has undertaken this season,” FCHockey crossover scout Jake Janso explained. “His puck skills and elusiveness have both taken major steps forward and compliment his already great shot.”
Topias Leinonen, G, JYP U20 (U20 SM-sarja)
Midseason rank: NR
Spring rank: 76
This draft class lacks that elite goaltender that could crack the first round, meaning the battle for the top goalie in this class is still wide open. Enter, Topias Leinonen. The JYP U20 netminder stands at a hulking 6-foot-5 and 216 pounds. He can move that mass with fluid motions, too. His numbers won’t wow you with a .916 save percentage in the U20 SM-sarja, where he’s 9-10-0, nor will an 0-1-2 record and .825 save percentage in Liiga, but this goaltender has a number of attributes that make him a candidate to be the first goalie off the board in 2022.