The top 2022 NHL Draft eligible performances for the month for March
FCHockey’s scouts can be found in all corners of the globe, watching players at the professional level, right down to junior.
They see a countless number of players in action, but there are always those that shine.
Through the 2021-22 hockey season, our team will collect the names of those prospects that have caught their eyes. From standing out in their leagues to impressing at tournaments, from making history to accomplishing remarkable feats for their age, we’ll take a look at the 2022 NHL Draft-eligibles making waves in the hockey world each month.
Here are FCHockey’s top-five draft-eligible prospects for March 2022, alphabetically listed.
Pavel Mintyukov, D, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
FCHockey rank: 20
March stat line: 13GP – 5G, 9A, 14PTS
Pavel Mintyukov has been a controversial prospect in FCHockeys discussions all season. However, we’re at a point where the ceiling of the Russian defender simply can’t be ignored. The Saginaw Spirit rearguard is a rare talent that dictates the pace of play from the back end a big reason he pushed up to No. 20 in FCHockey’s recent Spring ranking for the 2022 NHL Draft.
Mintyukov has racked up 57 points (17 goals, 40 assists) in 64 games this season, an impressive feat for a player that lost his entire 2020-21 season due to the OHL shutting down and playing his first season in North America. It’s very likely that he climbs FCHockey’s ranking in the final edition.
“Mintyukov is a high-energy defender who is aggressive at both ends and can use his skating ability to create rush chances as well as contribute inside the offensive zone,” Ontario-based FCHockey scout Joseph Aleong said. “His mobility in all directions is impressive, with quick feet and acceleration as well as strong edges that allow him to maintain tight gaps when defending the rush. His skating allows him to be aggressive jumping into the offense, showing off good straight-line speed and confidence handling the puck at high speed.”
Simon Nemec, D, HK Nitra (Slovakia)
FCHockey rank: 3
March stat line: 10GP – 1G, 6A, 7PTS
If we haven’t talked about it enough this season, Simon Nemec is very good. Playing in the top men’s pro league in Slovakia, the defender concluded his regular season with 26 points (1 goal, 25 assists) in 39 games — the third-most points for a U18 player in the league all-time behind Marian Hossa and Marian Gaborik. Heard of them?
Into the playoffs, Nemec has continued his strong draft year, with six points (two goals, four assists) just in the first round. The right-shot blueliner has been challenged by a couple of other draft-eligible defenders throughout the season, but he’s done everything in his power to maintain that title.
“Nemec is a very intelligent two-way defenseman who has to ability to impact the game all over the ice,” Europe-based FCHockey scout Miroslav Simurka reported. “He is a very good skater who moves with ease on the ice. He has the ability to beat forecheckers with his skating or to catch players in transition from offense to defense, and thanks to his great stamina and work ethic he can do this not only right after jumping on the ice but as well at the end of a heavy shift skating all over the ice.”
Liam Ohgren, LW Djurgardens J20 (J20 Nationell)
FCHockey rank: 30
March stat line: 9GP – 8G, 5A, 13PTS
Swedish forward Liam Ohgren has found himself on this list twice already this season, making this the hat-trick appearance. The winger finished the season with 58 points (33 goals, 25 assists) in just 30 games, finishing fifth in the league in points but first in points-per-game (1.93).
He also finished the regular season with the best plus/minus (+41), most goals, and most points from a U18 player. It was a good campaign. Like Nemec, Ohgren has continued his impressive performance into the postseason with six points in five J20 Nationell games and another nine points in four J18 Nationell games.
“Ohgren is a forward that has so many different layers to his game,” Sweden-based FCHockey scout Fredrik Haak said. “He could be the puck distributor that sets up his teammates with crisp passes, but he could also execute and score himself. He plays a key role on the power play from the circles or behind the net. Ohgren has a phenomenal way of changing tempo and takes advantage of it when he challenges a defender in the offensive zone. He continuously keeps his feet going and with playmaking and smooth puckhandling he could create a chance every shift.”
Matthew Savoie, C, Winnipeg ICE (WHL)
FCHockey rank: 5
March stat line: 12GP – 7G, 8A, 15PTS
For a fourth time this season, Matthew Savoie won’t let our scouts take their eyes off him and makes this list. On top of his continued dominance in the WHL, Savoie participated in the CHL Top Prospects Game and the combine testing that goes with it. He was named the overall champion of the testing after winning the 30M Forward Skate with the Puck, Weave Agility with Puck, Transition Agility, and Reaction with Puck. He also finished top-five in Weave Agility and the 30M Forward Skate.
Savoie is up to 84 points (32 goals, 52 assists) in 61 games this season, sitting tied for sixth in the league. Among U18 players, he’s second only to generational talent Connor Bedard – and only five points behind at that. Savoie may be a player that slightly slides in the draft due to his size — think Marco Rossi in 2020 — making him a potential early draft-day steal to keep an eye on in the 5-10 range.
“There are few prospects in the 2022 draft whose first few steps are as explosive as Savoie’s are,” FCHockey’s head Western scout Derek Neumeier said. “Not only does he have the feet to burst quickly, he has the intensity and the drive to apply himself in that area frequently. He’s so competitive and focused, always looking for more ways to get the puck and drive the play. His pacing and motor are among the best in this entire draft class, and he plays that way consistently.”
Shane Wright, C, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
FCHockey rank: 1
March stat line: 13GP – 7G, 14A, 21PTS
Like Ohgren, Shane Wright joins this list for the third time this season and for the second straight month. The projected top pick for the 2022 NHL Draft led all draft eligibles from around the globe in scoring through March, with his 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in 13 games. This performance has helped push him to 87 points (30 goals, 57 assists) in 59 games this season.
He did start the season slower than expected but he’s made up for it in a big way, currently sitting tied for seventh in the OHL in points. He leads all U18 players and has a 16-point lead over No. 2 on the list, David Goyette. Wright also participated in the CHL Top Prospects Game in March, was named one of two Players of the Game with one goal, and won the Weave Agility and Transition Agility with Puck.
“Wright is a two-way center who plays with pace and has a high understanding of the game. His on-ice awareness, vision and shot (stand) out,” Ontario-based FCHockey scout Mat Sheridan reported. “Wright consistently (moves) around the offensive zone, looking for open ice and (shows) his ability to find teammates through traffic with a quick pass. He’s hard on the forecheck, pressuring opponents to make plays under pressure. He has elite shooting mechanics, generating a ton of torque in his shot and he can shoot it off of both feet and in stride. He’s able to use his strong skating base to create separation between himself and others and takes direct routes to the puck.”