Top 2022 NHL Draft Eligibles of the month for January
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 December 2021, alphabetically listed.
David Goyette, C, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)
FCHockey Rank: 42
January Stat Line: 15GP – 10 G, 6A, 16PTS
If David Goyette isn’t on your radar yet you might not be paying close enough attention. The Sudbury Wolves forward just had a monster month, highlighted by a big four-goal performance on January 14. His 16-point month raised him to second among all rookies in the league in scoring with 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists) in 38 games. Yes, you’re reading that right. Goyette nearly doubled his point total through his January effort. A big reason for this raise in goals is thanks to his ability to get the puck on the net, firing off a massive 54 shots through his 10 games. A riser on FCHockey’s Midseason ranking for the 2022 draft, Goyette looks poised for a big finish to his season.
“Goyette is a flashy and smooth-skating forward who shows confidence with the puck and high-end playmaking vision,” Ontario scout Joseph Aleong said. “He has elite speed and a powerful stride, showing great length in his strides and the foot speed to accelerate to top speed very quickly. He has great agility and lateral mobility thanks to his low stride, making him very deceptive when carrying the puck through the neutral zone. He is a creative and confident puckhandler, making defenders miss with dekes in all three zones and creating space for his linemates with patience and subtle fakes.”
Rieger Lorenz, C, Okotoks Oilers (AJHL)
FCHockey Rank: 38
January Stat Line: 12GP – 9G, 8A, 17PTS
Rieger Lorenz joins Matthew Savoie as the only draft-eligibles this season to make this list three times. Lorenz led all draft eligibles in points, again, through January. This brings his totals up to an eye-popping 74 points (33 goals, 41 assists) in 48 games. He saw a 16-game point streak come to an end at the end of the month, but did have points in 11 of his 12 January games. In five of those games, he had at least two points. The University of Denver commit isn’t getting the attention he deserves in the AJHL, yet he’s doing everything he can to show scouts why they shouldn’t sleep on the standout.
“Lorenz is one of the most versatile and well-rounded forwards in this draft, and he often looks too good for the league he plays in,” head Western Canada scout Derek Neumeier explained. “He is the undisputed MVP for Okotoks, frequently logging more than 20 minutes of ice per game for the team, including top duties on both sides of special teams. He is an advanced skater who blends power, long strides, and good footwork to move well around the ice. He is at his best on the forecheck, applying furious pressure on defenders trying to exit their zone. Lorenz also shows superb understanding of how to help his centers win faceoffs, pouncing on opposing players who end up with the puck after the draw.”
Frank Nazar, C/RW, USNTDP (USHL)
FCHockey Rank: 9
January Stat Line: 4GP – 4G, 6A, 10PTS
A new face in FCHockey’s top-10, Frank Nazar continues to be unreal. He led all 2022 draft-eligibles in points-per-game in January at a clip of 2.5. He seems to be getting better as the season rolls on, bringing his season totals to 42 points (16 goals, 26 assists) in 35 games. Nazar has a point in every game he played in throughout January, capping off his month with a goal and three assists for a four-point night. He continues to turn the heads of FCHockey’s scouts and looks like he could be gearing up for a massive finish to his draft-eligible campaign.
“Nazar is an excellent two-way center who can succeed in a variety of roles due to his skating. He can use his mobility in so many different ways,” Crossover scout Josh Frojelin reported. “He can drive deep into the offensive zone to score on the rush or set up possession for his team. He uses his strong strides to close down on opponents in any of the three zones to create turnovers. While in the offensive zone, Nazar is incredibly active in trying to find open pockets of space to start offense. Otherwise, his best offensive skill is his shot, which he uses frequently. Not particularly powerful, but the shot has a decently quick release that can beat goaltenders.”
Simon Nemec, D, HK Nitra (Slovakia)
FCHockey Rank: 3
January Stat Line: 10GP – 1G, 9A, 10PTS
Few would argue that Simon Nemec is the top defender in the class, and he continues his excellent season playing in Slovakia’s top pro league. Not only did he collect his first goal of the season this month, but he set the new all-time points record for U20 defenders in the league. He’s just 17. Nemec is now up to 23 points (one goal, 22 assists) in 32 games and is now getting set to participate for Slovakia at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. While David Jiricek is in the conversation as the best blueliner in this class, a strong performance from Nemec on the Olympic stage could set him a level apart.
“Nemec is a two-way defenseman who impacts the game in all three zones and impresses especially on the offensive blue line and with his poise on the puck,” European scout Miroslav Simurka said. “His poise and confidence on the puck are amazing. There is no panic in Nemec’s game. Thanks to his edgework, smartness, puck control and absolute confidence, he is driving forecheckers crazy when they try to strip him off the puck. Nemec makes moves, spins and changes direction to create space, drawing the forecheckers towards him, he opens passing lanes and then makes a breakout pass, often to the weak side.”
Gleb Trikozov, RW, Omskie Yastreby (MHL)
FCHockey Rank: 17
January Stat Line: 6GP – 7G, 5A, 12PTS
Gleb Trikozov, the No. 2 ranked Russian for the 2022 draft, continues to have a very strong year — especially in the MHL where he’ up to 26 points (15 goals, 11 assists) in 21 games. After not collecting a point in his first game of the month, he went on a five-game point streak to end the month, including two three-point performances. He also racked up 29 shots in his just six games. Trikozov has been a riser all season long for FCHockey and looks like he could be in top-10 contention before the season’s out.
“Trikozov continues to impress as a solid offensive-leaning winger,” Russian video scout Jake Janso explained. “His elite hockey IQ and skating ability allow him to be a consistent offensive threat with the puck while maintaining a responsible defensive game. His skating and game-processing are elite, this is especially noticeable off of faceoffs, where he uses both to turn losses into potential chances by quickly jumping on loose pucks and pushing play. Without the puck, he’s constantly scanning the ice and reading the flow of play well.”