Welcome back to another season of Scouching Reports! To celebrate the launch of this season of videos, I've released a set of rankings for April. This season's draft class has been a tough one. I have struggled a bit getting really excited about a large group of players in the class, but there are many interesting projects with strong traits in some areas of the game that I think could develop into solid play driving NHL athletes. It may not be the best year to be a lottery team, but I do think it's a good year to have a lot of picks and get creative. Of course, if you have any questions about players I haven't written a blurb on, feel free to ask on any Scouching Live, every Thursday at 8pm EST on YouTube!
Of course, there is the question of how to manage Russian/Belarusian players, and let me be unequivocal that what is going on in Ukraine is a tragic catastrophe that has changed the world perpetuated by the Russian government. Scouching has made a donation to the Canadian Red Cross relief fund for Ukrainians affected by the war. I also believe that there is tremendous uncertainty with where Russia is going to be as a nation come draft time. On one hand, they could make it illegal for citizens to leave the country, thereby making prospects arguably worthless in the eyes of NHL teams, but on the other, the coming economic strife in Russia could create an environment for North American clubs to help young athletes and their families find a better life and extend an olive branch to kids who may just want to follow their dreams as best they can. As such, I'm evaluating high end Russians as if nothing were any different. They're hockey players first and foremost, and we'll have to see what the effects of these global changes will be to see the consequences. Outside of the top level Russian players I firmly believe in this year however, there are many who are part of a massive group of players down the board that I just can't see using a pick on, considering everything going on either. There are just far fewer question marks with those players, so if I'm not comfortable drafting them, picking up the phone, and trying to get them over to North America immediately, it's way tougher for me to get behind them in my view.
If you're a Patron of the project, you can view my rankings as they change over the year, with the full list unlocked at the $25 tier along with my full data sheet of >700 skaters and goaltenders' data.
If you're new here, I generally tend to think of my rankings in "Tiers", which attempts to group players into a pool from which I feel the order could be interchangeable, with the numbers ordering the players as how I might push for them in a draft discussion. I find that it creates much more balanced and nuanced discussion, especially considering these players are so young and may have wildly different potential trajectories that may differ reasonably depending on which NHL organization picks them up.
The data I am including is partially derived from pick224.com, operated by the great Dave MacPherson. Without him, my work would be far less complete and valuable, so give him a follow. If you're unfamiliar, here is a breakdown of the metrics included:
Tier 1 - Athos, Porthos and Aramis
Tier 2 - Four Other Really Good Players
Tier 3 - Please Don't Make Me Order Them.
Tier 4 - Mid-Lineup Candidates
Tier 5 - Just a Big Ol' Whack of Interesting Players
Tier 6 - Curiosities and Strong Thinkers
Tier 7 - Potential Guys!
There you have it. The penultimate 2022 NHL Draft Rankings from Scouching. Like I said, there are a lot of question marks in this draft, and my strategy would be to give myself as many darts for the dartboard as I can find. At the top, there are about 15-20 legitimately interesting and exciting players as they are today, and beyond that, there's a pile of about 50 players that I think bring various desirable traits to the table that could turn into something interesting. Time will tell, but at worst, this draft could be a very interesting learning experience for myself to see how development can affect these players over the years and what traits to pay closer attention to.
Thanks to all of you for reading and perusing, and if you'd like to support my work, click below and check out my Patreon.