2022 NHL Draft Betting Analysis Which Picks Will Play for their Teams in their Rookie Season

2022 NHL Draft Betting Analysis: Which Picks Will Play for their Teams in their Rookie Season

The start of the NHL preseason is officially less than one month away. As the teams return to training camp and begin season preparations, here are a few of the biggest stories we’re keeping an eye on around the league. Let’s get right to it so you can keep planning your bets against the NHL Odds.

Which 2022 NHL Draft Picks Will Make the Roster?

Traditionally, only a small handful of first-round picks in a given draft class will play for their NHL club the season after they are drafted. While it’s too early to know for certain, a few players merit consideration here. 

The Montreal Canadiens selected Juraj Slafkovský with the first overall pick after a dominant performance at the Olympics with seven goals in seven games. Slafkovský added six goals and 12 assists in 11 games with the Finnish U20 side TPS. The 18-year-old Slovakian already measures in at 6’4” and 229 lbs., and the brute force style with which he plays was a big factor in the first overall selection. 

Players taken first overall usually play at least a few games in the NHL their first year, but Slafkovský’s production while with Liiga team TPS (the professional side as opposed to the U20 club) saw five goals and five assists in 31 games. Another season in Europe wouldn’t be unprecedented and could help his development. Still, with holes in the roster, we expect Slafkovský to see significant ice time in Montreal this year. 

Shane Wright should also make the NHL roster out of camp, jumping right in line with the Seattle Kraken. Wright was the favorite to be the #1 overall pick until about a week or so before the draft, and after a 94-point campaign in the OHL last season, he’s clearly ready for the next level. 

Other players will likely be called up closer to the end of the season after another year of juniors, European professional play, or collegiate hockey. While we’d only expect Slafkovský and Wright to make the show from the start, a few others could get there as well, including Conor Geekie, Rutger McGroarty, Joakim Kemell, and Kevin Korchinski.

Will Vegas Make a Goaltending Change?

The Golden Knights will be without Robin Lehner for the entirety of the 2022-23 season after the 31-year-old underwent hip surgery. Lehner played in 44 games last season while backups Laurent Brossoit and Logan Thompson covered the remainder of the workload. 

Brossoit finished the year with a 10-9-3 record, a 2.90 GAA, and a .895 save percentage. He’s in line to be the starter, assuming Vegas doesn’t make any other moves, though those numbers don’t inspire much confidence. Thompson did put up better numbers, but with just 20 NHL games under his belt, he may not be ready for significant starting time.

If the Golden Knights look to the free agent market for help, the options are rather slim at this point. Braden Holtby is the best available in terms of overall talent but could be headed towards retirement after dealing with a lower body injury. If he’s healthy, there’s a slim chance Vegas could be interested, but the Golden Knights are up against the salary cap. 

A trade is also possible but unlikely at this point. Few teams are dealing with a three-headed goaltending tandem leaving an odd man out. It’s worth monitoring, but for now, expect Vegas to run with Brossoit and Thompson. 

Which Team Will Fare the Best With a New Coach?

An impressive ten teams made coaching hires since the end of last season. The Boston Bruins fired Bruce Cassidy (who has since gone to Vegas), bringing in Jim Montgomery to be the new bench boss. After resigning from the Jets in December, Paul Maurice has signed on with the Florida Panthers, leaving Rick Bowness to take the reins in Winnipeg. 

The Philadelphia Flyers and Dallas Stars went the retread route, hiring John Tortorella and Peter DeBoer, respectively. Conversely, four clubs went with first-time NHL head coaches; the Chicago Blackhawks (Luke Richardson), Detroit Red Wings (Derek Lalonde), New York Islanders (Lane Lambert), and San Jose Sharks (David Quinn) will all hope to make a successful head coaching debuts.

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