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JURAJ SLAFKOVSKY, 16TH BEST PROSPECT AVAILABLE IN THE 2022 NHL DRAFT?

JUN 26, 2022  (0H24)      JEFF DROUIN
The first round of the NHL draft at the Bell Centre on July 7th is fast approaching and it is still unknown who will be the Habs' first pick.

Opinions have been fairly divided for the past few weeks and in all likelihood, the very first pick will be between Shane Wright, Logan Cooley and Juraj Slafkovsky. However, as reported by Simon Jolicoeur of Marqueur.com, an intriguing list does not see Slaffy being among the first three players selected.

The site Hockey Prospecting, created by Byron Bader, offers an analytical model with the goal of defining a player's chances of becoming an NHL star. Bader just recently shared the results of his model and the big surprise is undoubtedly his conclusions about the Slovak forward.

According to his model, Slafkovsky is only the 16th most likely prospect in the 2022 draft to become an NHL star.

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Bader therefore ranks Slafkovsky as the 16th best prospect available and compares him to Valeri Nichushkin and Jesse Puljujarvi, two European players who were drafted early but did not become NHL stars. Although for Nichushkin, this is not so true anymore, but he is now 27 years old.

It's no surprise that Shane Wright is at the top of the list but, surprisingly, at number two is Slafkovsky's compatriot, defenseman Simon Nemec. Cooley is third on the list.

Unfortunately, no QMJHL player is on this list.

Of course, this is only an analytical list, but it is still interesting to see how Slafkovsky compares to Nichushkin. After a slow start to his career, the Colorado Avalanche forward had his best season in the NHL and at 27 years old, he has finally found his place in the NHL.

Could this ranking have an influence on the Habs' management and tip the balance towards Shane Wright? Remember that Kent Hughes and Jeff Gorton have openly admitted that they want to use advanced statistics.

Could Slafkovsky surprise us all and slip into the next draft? It's highly unlikely, if it happens, we should expect to see teams trying to make trades to talk earlier in the first round.

We'll know the answer on July 7th.

To see Byron Bader's full list on Hockey Prospecting, click below.

Hockey Prospecting 2022
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