Prediction: With The 22nd Overall Pick, The Anaheim Ducks Will Select…

Photo: NHL

By Thomas Harrington

After drafting Jonathan Lekkerimaki 10th overall, Anaheim will step back up to the podium with the 22nd overall pick. They acquired it from Boston, along with Urho Vaakanainen, John Moore, a 2023 second round pick, and a 2024 second round pick, when they traded Hampus Lindholm and Kodie Curran to the Bruins.

The Ducks have a number of options with the 22nd pick. First, they can package it with something else to try and move up in the draft. It’s usually easier to trade up in the first round if the other team can still keep a first round pick. Second, if the Ducks think there will be enough quality prospects a little later in the draft, they could trade down and try and pick up another second rounder or two this year. They used this strategy to great effect in 2011 when they traded the 22nd pick to Toronto for the 30th and 39th overall picks. The Maple Leafs selected Tyler Biggs, who never made it to the NHL, while the Ducks took Rickard Rakell and John Gibson with their new picks. Finally, the Ducks could choose to keep the pick and make their second selection of the first round. For this post, I’ll be assuming that they keep the pick.

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Just as I did for the 10th pick, I have examined several mock drafts and read over scouting reports of players likely to be available when the Ducks pick again. Unsurprisingly, the 22nd pick of the draft is much harder to predict than the 10th. In a normal year, by the time we get towards the end of the first round, there will inevitably be some players available who some people thought were locks to go earlier. There are also a large number of players who could be considered good enough to go at the end of the first round or beginning of the second. However, this is not a normal year and it’s a pretty wide open draft once it moves beyond the top five or six players. Initially, I had over 30 players that various lists had going either at 22nd overall selection or just before or after, including 15 players who I had already reviewed as possible options for Anaheim’s first pick in the draft. All of which means I’m about to take a shot in the dark here.

I’ve narrowed my list down to seven players who I think will likely still be available at 22nd overall and who I think Anaheim would be interested in. Some of these players will be gone, but if they are, they will likely be picked shortly before Anaheim steps up to the podium. The players that I have identified are winger Liam Ohgren, winger Brad Lambert, winger Rutger McGroarty, defenseman Owen Pickering, winger Isaac Howard, winger Jimmy Snuggerud, and center Jiri Kulich.

Of these seven, I think that Howard is the most likely to be taken before Anaheim makes their second first round pick. If a player like Frank Nazar, Marco Kasper, or Conor Geekie are still available, then that’s who Anaheim should pick. Another possible selection is Danila Yurov. As I said previously, he’s a top 10 talent but some teams are wary of drafting Russian players right now. Many seem to think that a team with multiple first round picks will most likely be the one to select the Russian winger. If he’s still there at 22 overall, Anaheim will need to think long and hard if they want to draft him.

Ohgren is a very mature and highly skilled player who scores a ton of goals. His biggest weakness is his skating. Lambert has spent the past two years playing against professional competition in the Liiga. He’s an excellent skater but his overall game didn’t progress in his draft year as much as many would have hoped, and his points fell from 15 to 10. McGroarty is a very competitive goal scorer who played in both the USDP and USHL this past season. He’s another prospect who needs to work on his skating. Pickering is a big kid and a very good skater for his size. He’s got a ton of skill but doesn’t produce as much as expected given how good he is. Howard is another player who played in the USDP and USHL last season. He’s one of the best scorers in the draft, racking up a combined 119 points in 87 games between the USDP and USHL, but his size is a concern. Snuggerud also played in both the USDP and USHL last season as well. He’s a hard working, well-rounded player with a good shot but his skating is a clear weakness. Kulich is another well-rounded player who has a great one-time shot and can play both center and wing. Kulich is one of those safe picks who does everything well but probably won’t turn into a future star. He reminds me a bit of Isac Lundestrom in that regard.

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With the 22nd overall pick, I predict the Ducks will select left winger Rutger McGroarty. After taking a right winger with the 10th pick, the Ducks will further add to their wings, this time on the left side. His skating needs some work, but he’s such a competitor, it hopefully won’t hold him back going forward. He knows how to score and it’s exciting to think of him lining up next to Trevor Zegras or Mason McTavish in the years to come. He’s committed to the University of Michigan for next season, and he’ll likely spend a year or two at a very good program before looking to turn pro.

After making these first two picks, the Ducks will have six more picks in rounds two through six; they currently do not have a seventh round pick. They have two picks in both the second and fifth rounds. After grabbing a couple of wingers on day one, the Ducks will likely target at least one defenseman with one of their second round picks. Hopefully the Ducks will be able to find some late round gems like Troy Terry, Josh Manson, or Ondrej Kase, though that’s something we probably won’t know for a number of years.

Related Article:

With the 10th overall pick, Anaheim selects…

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July 2nd, 2022


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