Here are my rankings of the players from 22 to 32 in the 2022 NHL Draft as of March.
Related: 2022 NHL DRAFT RANKINGS: #11-21
22. Liam Ohgren, Djurgarden (SWE J20)
Liam Ohgren is a dynamic, play-driving winger with a nose for scoring areas and refined off-puck habits. Ohgren is a dual-threat offensive player who can generate offense off the rush with a refined give-and-go game, or work into open space to make himself available for dangerous opportunities in the offensive zone. I think he is a stronger skater than some other scouts I’ve spoken with and believe he has the ability to impact the game in transition, carrying the puck through neutral ice and pushing the defenders back to create space. Without the puck, he drives the middle and has a nose for scoring areas where he is able to utilize his quick release to beat goaltenders with well-placed shots. Although Ohgren might not have star potential, he certainly has the skill and ability to be a top 6 forward at the next level.
23. Seamus Casey, D, USNTDP
Seamus Casey is a gifted, offensively-minded defender who shows excellent confidence whenever he hits the ice. The first thing that you will notice about Casey when you watch him is his excellent skating ability. With his speed, quick first step, and very sharp edgework, Casey is undoubtedly one of the best skaters in this draft, possibly the best. Seamus is an extremely dangerous and two-way defenseman and has the poise and confidence to be an impactful producer on the blueline. He displays excellent puck-moving skills and has the speed to be extremely effective in transition. Despite being an undersized defenseman, he is capable of playing a hard-nosed defensive game and forces players into puck battles along the boards, using his low center of gravity to wrestle pucks away from them. He shows an ability to read the developing play well and uses his quick first step to jump in to intercept the puck or use his stick to disrupt the attacking move. Seamus Casey is already an elite, puck-moving defenseman, if he can add size and strength to his frame, he has all the tools to be a modern-day puck-moving defenseman at the NHL level.
24. Ryan Chesley, D, USNTDP
Ryan Chesley is a mobile right-handed shooting defenseman who is adept at starting the breakout with his passing or skating ability. Standing at 6-0 and weighing 187 pounds, Chesley brings a sturdy frame and good size to the table, looking comfortable in his body. He has good speed, uses his edges well, and does a good job to force players to the outside when he is a step too slow. While he shows a knack for the offensive side of the game, he doesn’t show any glaring deficiencies on defense. He positions himself well while using his stick to maintain gaps and fights hard along the boards to tie up opponents and is not afraid to use his body to block a shot or to throw a big hit. Chesley also has a heavy one-timer from the point and possesses a decent offensive upside and has a solid floor defensively, making him a potential top-four defenseman at the NHL level.
25. Pavel Mateychuk, D, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Denton Mateychuk is a well-rounded blueliner with good instincts at both ends of the ice. He is a smooth skater who can shake off opposing forecheckers before skating the puck up ice in offensive transition. He moves the puck quickly but rarely forces it, instead opting to use his mobility to retreat and regroup to create a more advantageous situation. Mateychuk is poised walking the offensive blue line and knows when to activate into space to make himself available or draw pressure away from a puck-carrying teammate. When his team doesn’t have possession of the puck, he utilizes shoulder checks to scan the ice around him and identify potential threats. Mateychuk isn’t the biggest player but he is strong on his feet and takes intelligent routes to cut players off along the boards and slow down the cycle game. He establishes good body positioning in defensive zone coverage and has excellent timing when tying up opposing sticks to disrupt passes into dangerous areas. Denton needs to play with a bit more quickness and assertiveness in his decision making but he has the tools to be a top 4 defenseman in the NHL someday.
26. Rutger McGroarty, LW/C, USNTDP
McGroarty is one of the most complete prospects in the 2022 draft class. He has good size, skates fairly well, competes hard and has plenty of offensive skill. He blends a power game with finesse, able to take the puck to the net and finish with his soft hands. His shot is heavy and comes off of his stick quickly, making him a scoring threat on the inside as well as from the perimeter. McGroarty is an extremely intelligent player with great competitiveness and has been known for his ability to score goals and rack up points and he’s continued to do that with the National Team Development Program. Rutger is a well-rounded forward with slick hands and a heavy shot and has good size and competes hard. McGroarty has the potential top-six scorer at the NHL level and is a 1st round pick in the 2022 Draft.
27. Nathan Gaucher, C, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
Nathan Gaucher is a big two-way forward with a great scoring touch around the net. He does most of his damage from in and around the blue paint. Gaucher combines good instincts with quick hands around the net and uses his large frame to establish body position to box out opposing defenders. He cleans up more than his fair share of rebound opportunities but he also has the ability to score from the outside with a heavy and quick release. In addition to his versatility as a goal scorer, Gaucher also distributes the puck well in the offensive zone. When given time around the net, he has the ability to find seams and hit teammates with crisp passes in dangerous areas. He also has a tendency to draw traffic toward him before dishing to a teammate in the vacated space. Gaucher still needs to learn to utilize his physical tools more efficiently to fulfill his potential as a top-6 forward in the NHL, but he should be a safe bet to be picked in the first round.
28. Owen Pickering, D, Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
There just aren’t a lot of defencemen with Pickering’s combination of size, mobility, and offensive instincts. At 6’4/179, he has a long, powerful stride but is agile for such a rangy defender. Pickering’s mobility allows him to step up and smother passing options in the neutral zone with his great reach because he has the ability to recover if the play gets behind him. He also shows a willingness to push play from the back end and jump into the rush when he sees an opportunity. Pickering is still growing into his body and with added strength, he could become a strong defensive presence with the ability to generate offense at the NHL level. It might take a while to get there, but his upside is about as high as anyone who is projected outside the top-10 in the 2022 Draft.
29. Alexander Perevalov, LW, Yaroslavl (MHL)
Alexander Perevalov is an offensively-minded winger with good vision and great puck skills.
His strongest skill is his puck handling ability which is especially impressive in tight under pressure and he always seems to shake off opposing players to open up passing and shooting lanes. It’s very rare not to notice Perevalov when he is on the ice, as he always seems to be creating opportunities for his team. His defensive game needs some work, as does his play away from the puck, but he certainly has the skill to produce at the top level. Perevalov is the player who is most affected by Russia not being able to participate in the U18s, which could cause him to slide in the draft. The Russian factor is definitely going to be a factor this year, so it is possible that even a player as talented as Perevalov slides to the second round.
30. Lian Bichsel, D, Leksand (SHL)
Lian Bichsel stands at a towering 6-foot-5 and 216 pounds and he knows how to use it, with his physicality and long reach to disrupt plays. The two-way defender surprises with the amount of skill he possesses and from his long, powerful strides to his overall offensive awareness. He has really high potential down the line, but right now, his skills are still pretty raw and he is still far from an NHL-ready prospect. Bichsel could become one of the top young defensemen in the league. He has the potential to be a top 4 defenseman and picked in the first round of the 2022 draft.
31. Adam Ingram, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
Adam Ingram has produced at a high level for Youngstown in the USHL this season, ranking eighth in the league in points and first among draft eligibles by a wide margin. Ingram is a talented playmaking forward with good offensive upside. He has solid puck skills, vision, and hockey sense which help him rack up assists, but he lacks high-end skating ability and his two-way game is still a work in progress. He takes care of the puck, never forcing unnecessary plays or taking risky opportunities, which helps his point production and limits transition chances for the opposition. The majority of his production has come via the powerplay, where Ingram shows off his patience and smart puck-moving abilities. The 2003-born forward is one of the older players eligible for the draft, but his impact thus far has gotten him some potential first-round buzz. Adam Ingram is already a smart offensive forward with good size and playmaking ability, if he adds pace and improves his off-puck game, he can be a top 6 forward in the NHL.
32. Luca Del Bel Belluz, C, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Luca Del Bel Belluz has been having an impressive season so far for the Mississauga Steelheads, using his powerful shot, his high-end vision, and his slick hands to score 26 goals and 38 assists for 64 points in 51 games. This places him second on the team in goals and points, while sitting first in assists on the squad so far. Del Bel Belluz is a sharp-shooting centerman with high-end hands and distribution ability, but his skating and physical play need to be improved to maximize his chances of reaching his potential. If he improves on that, he could be a first-round pick.