Here are 6 Hidden Gems in the 2022 NHL Draft
1. Arytom Duda, D, Krasnaya Armiya Moskva (MHL)
Artyom Duda is a Russian defenseman who plays for Krasnaya Armiya Moskva in the MHL, the Russian junior league, where he had 14 goals and 41 points in 52 games this season. He added 17 points (5 goals, 12 assists) in 17 playoff games as well. The first thing that stands out about Duda is his offensive ability, which shouldn’t be a surprise given his point totals. Russian defensemen usually don’t put up gaudy scoring rates, even in juniors, but he’s the exception. Duda ranked second in scoring among defensemen in that league and 74th overall. What makes Duda’s offensive game stand out is his shooting ability; he has an impressive shot, whether it’s a wrister, slap shot, or one-timer. It’s powerful, generally accurate, and most importantly, he can get the puck through traffic. Even though Duda’s defensive game needs improvement, there’s a lot to like about his offensive upside. He’s a good passer, high-end shooter, and skates well, which helps his puck-moving ability in transition. That makes him one of the more intriguing prospects and could be taken as early as the second round.
2. Miko Matikka, RW, Jokerit U20 (U20 SM-sarja)
Miko Matikka is a very interesting prospect who does a lot of very exciting things on the ice with his 6’3” frame. He can pick up speed very quickly and is sharp on his edges.
He streaks through the neutral zone and often ends in a scoring chance at the U20 level and it will be interesting to see if he can show this much explosiveness in the NCAA next year.
Playing for Jokerit U20, Matikka scored 19 goals and 33 points in 30 games and is set to join the University of Denver on a team that is juiced full of talented players. On top of his great hands, Matikka uses his size to play a physical game. This is most noticeable on the power play as he plays a very aggressive bumper position and drives the net hard on every shot. Another good piece of his game to note is that, unlike some other Finnish draft-eligible players, Matikka doesn’t take shifts off and almost always gives 100% effort. Miko Matikka has the potential to be a top 6 power forward in the NHL and has a chance to be there in the third or fourth round of this summer’s draft.
3. Servac Petrovsky, C, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Playing with the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL, Servac Petrovsky has tallied 28 goals and 54 points in 65 regular-season games and 2 points in 2 playoff games. In international play with Slovakia, Servac tallied 11 points in 8 games and was one of the team’s best players. Servac Petrovsky is a responsible two-way center, who is solid both defensively and offensively; he has a fantastic shot, and I haven’t seen such a Slovak shooter at his age in a long time. He has gotten bigger and stronger this year, which definitely was one of his biggest weaknesses before. Any team that really needs a two-way center that can shoot really well beyond his age group is great to have and should be able to convert to playing on the wing if an NHL team has too many centers but a great luxury to have on the team. He should be taken anywhere from the 2nd to the 4th round.
4. Julian Lutz, LW, EHC Muchen (DEL)
Unfortunately for Julian Lutz, he was only able to play in 13 games this season and never really got into a groove, which will severely damage his draft stock. The big German winger was one of the best producers at the esteemed Red Bull Eishockey Akademie last season, putting up 26 points in 31 games in the Alps Hockey League, the second-most of any U20 player in the league, while his 13 goals placed him first in the same age group. Lutz’s success prompted EHC München to call him up in Nov. 2020 to the MagentaSport Cup, a German exhibition tournament, making him the youngest player to ever appear for the team. Later in August, he led the German U18 team with two goals at the 2021 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he caught several scout’s eyes with his impressive skating and agility, as well as his tenacious forechecking. The Germans were largely outmatched, but Lutz was able to generate some offensive chances for his team and was arguably the most noticeable player on the ice for Germany. Prior to his injury, Lutz was expected to be a late first-round pick, likely in the 25-30 range, but after his injury and a slow start his draft stock has plummeted
and he projects to be a solid 3rd round pick.
5. Jordan Dumais, RW, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Jordan Dumais is having a fantastic year with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL, scoring 38 goals and 104 points in 66 games. He is currently averaging over a .5 point per game more than the next highest producing draft-eligible player in the league and has emerged as one of the QMJHL’s top prospects for the 2022 NHL Draft. Dumais is a shifty offensive winger with good playmaking ability. Although he lacks size and strength, he is a dynamic player with game-breaking skills. He has good speed and is strong on his edges, allowing him to quickly alter course in tight spaces, his vision as a passer makes him a threat on the perimeter where he can pick apart coverages and funnel pucks towards the net. Dumais is dangerous in transition as well, slowing the game down when necessary and using good lateral movement to open up seams off the rush. Though he is more of a pass-first player, he has the hands to finish in close and his release is deceptively heavy for a player of his stature. Dumais is far from a finished product and needs a lot of improvement on his game before he is NHL ready, but he has very high potential. He should be a 4th or 5th round pick
in the draft this summer’s draft.
6. Elmeri Laakso, D, SaiPa (Liiga)
Elmeri Laakso has played in 4 different leagues this season; he started the year playing the U18 SM-sarja, where he put up 2 points in 3 games. He then moved on to play for U20 SM-sarja, where he tallied 18 points in 25 games. After a great stint with the U20 club, he was promoted to play Saipa’s team in Liiga, where he recorded 5 points in 17 games. He was also loaded to JoKP of Mestis league for 5 games, where he recorded a point per game. His skating looks great for a defenceman who is over six feet tall. He quickly turns on his edges and is able to shake forecheckers so that he can create breakouts. Laakso is capable of playing both sides on defense and when playing the right side, his breakout passes tend to be noticeable quicker as it may have something to do with him being able to evaluate the ice a bit quicker. When it comes to shooting, Laakso does a great job of creating shooting lanes, his high-level skating shows well in the offensive zone. He is able to jump into open-ice areas and also use his smarts to work the puck around his body for a better shot angle. The interesting thing about Laakso is that he is not really popping up on many early rankings. He currently sits as central scouting’s 65th best European skater, so he could slide to the 5th or 6th round in the draft.