Marco D’Amico of Montreal Hockey Now, known for his draft analysis, predicts the Detroit Red Wings will select Michigan native Frank Nazar with the No. 8 pick.
D’Amico’s mock draft factors in a simulation of tonight’s draft lottery. In the D’Amico simulation, the Seattle Kraken win the lottery and the right to pick No. 1. The Montreal Canadiens pick No. 2. As a result, the Red Wing would stay at No. 8. The NHL Draft Lottery will be held tonight (6:30 p.m., ESPN). The Red Wings have a 54.4% chance of staying at No. 8, and an 84.4% chance of drafting either No. 8 or No. 9. The 2022 NHL draft is July 7-8 in Montreal.
Nazar is a Steve Yzerman-sized center for the U.S. National Team Development Program. He’s a fast and gifted player headed to the University of Michigan.
“He uses his high Hockey IQ to read plays and make the opposition pay dearly for their mistakes,” D’Amico writes. “… Nazar will continue to grow and learn the rigors of the center position before making the jump to the NHL, much like Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin did many years ago.
Geekie to Verbeek?
D’Amico’s mock draft has 6-foot-4 center Conor Geekie of the Winnipeg Ice going to the Buffalo Sabres in the pick after Detroit’s selection. In theory, Geekie could be the replacement for Jack Eichel. The rub on Geekie is his skating needs improvement.
“Geekie has the best overall potential at this rank,” D’Amico writes, “and could truly emerge as a top C if he is able to continue improving his skating over the next few years.
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The mock draft predicts Swedish dynamic standout Jonathan Lekkerimaki going at No. 10 to Pat Verbeek’s Anaheim Ducks.
“Anaheim would solidify the forward position for a long while, giving franchise centerman Trevor Zegras a running man to create havoc in the offensive zone with for years to come,” D’Amico writes.
The Red Wings are connected to Geekie and Lekkerimaki because they project to go in the vicinity of the No. 8 pick.