Looking at the top players to go unselected at the 2022 NHL Draft
The 2022 NHL Draft has come and gone, and while all 32 teams added a new crop of exciting young prospects to their organizations, there were a lot of players who didn’t get to hear their names called over the course of the seven-round event at Bell Centre in Montreal.
Every year there are a handful of prospects that surprisingly slip through the cracks, this year was no different.
Here are five players who didn’t hear their names called in Montreal, but remain quality prospects as either free agents or potential re-entries into the 2023 NHL Draft:
Pano Fimis, C, Niagara IceDogs (OHL), 5-10, 175
FC Final Rank: 73
NHLCS: 75 NA
Pano Fimis was once thought of as a highly-regarded prospect. He was the highest ever draft pick in Niagara IceDogs history and is considered a massive part of their future core. Niagara had a tumultuous season, on and off the ice, but Fimis put up a respectable 44 points (14 goals, 30 assists) in 54 games for a team that had virtually no offensive production last season. While Fimis isn’t a perfect player, he’s a gifted playmaker who has the makings of an offensive facilitator at the next level.
If Fimis, who was invited to development camp with the Toronto Maple Leafs, can continue to improve his strength and skating ability, he should have much better production in 2022-23 and have a stronger chance at getting drafted as an overager next summer.
Tyler Duke, D, USA U-18 (NTDP), 5-9, 179
FC Final Rank: 76
Tyler Duke has a lot of traits that NHL scouts look for in an offensive defenseman. He’s a strong skater, with good IQ and solid puck skills that will allow him to jump into the offensive play on occasion. Unfortunately for Duke, he’s an undersized blueliner who’s production was not overly impressive. He only had 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in 54 total games for the UNSTDP. It appears that the lack of high-end production and size issues really impacted his draft stock and resulted in him slipping through the cracks.
Duke, who was invited to development camp with the Maple Leafs, is committed to Ohio State and if he can find a way to translate his skillset to the scoresheet next season he could potentially hear his name called next year.
Spencer Sova, D, Erie Otters (OHL), 6-0, 185
FC Final Rank: 79
Spencer Sova was a prospect that many in the scouting community thought was worthy of a draft pick. He has solid size and good mobility that should allow him to help out a team’s offensive attack. He had respectable production for the Erie Otters with 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 64 games.
While he was undrafted he did earn an invite to the Buffalo Sabres development camp which will give him a chance to show what he can do against other high-end prospects and peers. Sova has the ability to be a strong producer from the blue line and it wouldn’t shock me to see him have a big leap in 2022-23 for the Otters.
Jake Livanavage, D, Chicago Steel (USHL), 5-10, 157
FC Final Rank: 85
Jake Livanavage had a very impressive season for the Chicago Steel, recording 45 points (three goals, 42 assists) in 61 games. He has strong skating ability, played big minutes and is a very talented playmaker from the backend. It was a big shocking to see him go undrafted, he has the skill and comes from an organization with a strong pedigree of producing NHL caliber talent.
Livanavage was definitely worth a late round pick, but should use this as motivation and end up having a monster year for the Steel before re-entering the draft in 2023. He shouldn’t be passed over again.
Ilya Kvochko, C, Magnitogorsk (MHL), 5-9, 159
FC Final Rank: 89
Ilya Kvcochko is a talented offensive prospect with a lot of skill and a lot of upside. He was effective in the MHL, scoring 49 points (17 goals, 32 assists) in 51 games. He isn’t the biggest player, so his size may have been a detriment to his draft stock but a large factor in him going undrafted, potentially, was the uncertainty of the Russian situation.
While other teams were comfortable taking that risk, we know some teams were going to be very cautious in their decisions to draft Russian prospects, especially mid-to-late round caliber guys.
There’s no denying his offensive capability and his potential made him worthy of a late round selection. Iff there was more certainty of the global situation in Russia he likely would have been taken, but alas he didn’t get to hear his name called.
These players will all be names to monitor over the course of the 2022-23 season, will they use this as motivation or will they have a down year because of the disappointment. Expect some, if not all of these names to have strong seasons and force teams to give them a shot when the 2023 draft comes around.