Which 2022 NHL Draft prospects would make the best superteam? Our experts make their picks

We decided to try a new idea, a 40-pick “superteam” draft between our two NHL prospect writers. The idea was to build the best starting lineup of 12 forwards, with four centers, six defensemen and two goalies, all from the player pool of 2022 NHL Draft eligibles. Yes, this idea was lifted right from ESPN’s NFL coveragebut The Athletic’s Chris Sprow was the initial inventor when he was at ESPN, so we consider that fair game!

Following a coin flip, Scott Wheeler picked first and Corey Pronman picked second.


1. Shane Wright, C, Kingston Frontenacs

Wright may not become the highest-scoring player in this draft, but he’s a winning player at a premium position. I’m excited to begin to build my team around his well-rounded offensive game and detail-oriented defensive one. —Wheeler

2. Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, TPS

It was nice of Scott to leave arguably the best player in the draft in Slafkovsky for me. He’s an elite athlete with tremendous skill who should be the driving force of my offense. “Pronman

3. Logan Cooley, C, U.S. NTDP

We’re building this team through the middle of the ice, as all great teams are built, and that starts with the two best centres in the draft. Wright and Cooley bring different elements and form an interchangeable, formidable 1-2 punch. —Wheeler

4. Simon Nemec, RHD, Nitra

I’m all about Slovakia on my team. I have the best puck-moving defenseman in the draft now in Nemec to get the puck up to Slafkovsky. “Pronman

5. David Jiricek, RHD, Plzen

The Czech blueliner has all of the tools required to become an NHL stalwart who can play an aggressive game on both sides of the puck. I’m not going to let Corey take the draft’s two best defensemen the way he let me take the draft’s two best centres. —Wheeler

6. Joakim Kemell, RW, JYP

Kemell did very well versus pros this season and I’m looking forward to him being a top-line right-winger opposite Slafkovsky. “Pronman

7. Matthew Savoie, C, Winnipeg Ice

Savoie’s high-skill, high-speed, tenacious game complements Cooley’s to give my head coach (to be named later) either enviable depth down the middle or a right winger who can play at the very top of my lineup alongside either Wright or Cooley. —Wheeler

8. Jonathan Lekkerimaki, RW, Djurgarden

Between Kemell, Slafkovsky and now Lekkerimaki my team is going to score a ton of goals. “Pronman

9. Danila Yurov, RW, Metallurg Magnitogorsk

We’re not afraid of taking risks here at Team Wheeler and as general manager I’m prepared to take one on Yurov, who I believe to be the best player available and a perfect fit alongside Cooley. —Wheeler

10. Cutter Gauthier, C, U.S. NTDP

By putting him down the middle, Gauthier rounds out my top line. He brings a lot of assets between his frame, speed, skill, shot and two-way ability. “Pronman

11. Brad Lambert, C/RW, Pelicans

This team is going to be built on speed and skill. Lambert’s got plenty of both, and I’m confident that he’s going to bounce back from an up-and-down year to retain his top-prospect status. —Wheeler

12. Denton Mateychuk, LHD, Moose Jaw Warriors

We don’t have much size on my blue line yet but my defensemen are going to put up points and be active in transition. “Pronman

13. Kevin Korchinski, LHD, Seattle Thunderbirds

Speaking of defencemen who can put up points and produce offence! I’m thrilled to add Korchinski’s length, playmaking and vision opposite Jiricek on the top pairing. —Wheeler

14. Marco Kasper, C, Rogle

I get a top-10 talent in this draft at 14, neat! Kasper is a well-rounded center who competes at a high level and will provide some skill, too. “Pronman

15. Frank Nazar, C, U.S. NTDP

This team’s just going to keep coming at you. I love the idea of two of the fastest — if not the fastest — players in the draft playing alongside one another. Good luck keeping up with Nazar and Lambert when they’re out there against soft matchups. —Wheeler

16. Rutger McGroarty, LW, U.S. NTDP

Lining McGroarty up with Kasper is going to make that line both a scoring threat and bring a ton of sandpaper. “Pronman

17. Lane Hutson, LHD, U.S. NTDP

Game-breaking D are in short supply in every draft and I want Hutson on my team. He has the right skills to play behind the length of my first pairing. —Wheeler

18. Conor Geekie, C, Winnipeg Ice

I’ve got three centers now with size and legit skill. My smallest center is bigger than my opponent’s largest! “Pronman

19. Liam Ohgren, LW, Djurgarden

Ohgren adds a well-rounded, physically mature, power-finesse scorer to the top of my lineup. —Wheeler

20. Jiri Kulich, LW, Karlovy Vary

Kulich brings NHL speed, skill and scoring ability while being a solid two-way forward on my third line. “Pronman

21. Isaac Howard, LW, U.S. NTDP

Howard was BPA on my board a few picks ago, but I had a sneaking suspicion I’d be able to wait on him. I’m not prepared to wait any longer. His skill-scoring game rounds out my top six beautifully. —Wheeler

22. Pavel Mintyukov, LHD, Saginaw Spirit

I’ll draft a defenseman who can kill penalties eventually, but all my defensemen, so far, can skate and move pucks like NHLers. “Pronman

23. Noah Ostlund, C, Djurgarden

Ostlund gives my fourth line the skating and skill that is present throughout the lineup, while also adding some versatility and all-situations utility. Don’t let the 5-foot-10 frame fool you, he’s a strong two-way player who is good in the faceoff circle. —Wheeler

24. Ivan Miroshnichenko, RW, Omsk Krylia

Miroshnichenko, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma earlier in the year, is a top-five talent in the draft, providing a high-end combination of power, skill, speed and scoring ability. “Pronman

25. Ryan Chesley, RHD, U.S. NTDP

I’m keeping the U.S. NTDP’s top pairing together and using them as my second pairing to complete a top four that has something of everything. —Wheeler

26. Jimmy Snuggerud, RW, US NTDP

Snuggy will provide size and compete to my fourth line while also being a highly skilled goal scorer. “Pronman

27. Nathan Gaucher, C, Quebec Remparts

There are a couple of forwards I like better here on my board, but as I round out the bottom of my roster I want to make sure I’ve got a fifth player who can play center and I like Gaucher as a big, strong, powerful player who gives my roster a bit of a different dimension on the fourth line. —Wheeler

28. Luca Del Bel Belluz, C, Mississauga-OHL

Gaucher was my preference here but I’m fine settling for DBB as my fourth-line center. He can kill penalties and provide scoring ability too. “Pronman

29. Hugo Havelid, G, Linkoping

I’m feeling really good about filling out my remaining two spots at forward and on defence with the guys I’ve got my eye on, so I’m making sure I get the netminder I believe is the best in this class. Havelid (who is 5-foot-10) will follow after Dustin Wolf and Devon Levi to do little goalies proud. —Wheeler

30. Lian Bichsel, LHD, Leksand

Bichsel will complement all the defensemen I’ve picked so far by being able to shut down top forwards and take hard defensive minutes. “Pronman

31. David Goyette, C/LW, Sudbury Wolves

You knew it was coming. Goyette completes the fastest third line in the history of fast third lines. —Wheeler

32. Topias Leinonen, G, JYP

Leinonen for my money is the best goalie in the draft so I’m excited to get him at the 32-spot to guard my net. “Pronman

33. Seamus Casey, RHD, U.S. NTDP

I zeroed in on Casey as a sheltered third-pairing puck mover at the start of this exercise and I’m glad he’s still around. The three top D prospects at the program this year all get to stick together with Team Wheeler. —Wheeler

34. Owen Pickering, LHD, Swift Current Broncos

I’m excited to add a 6-foot-4, mobile defenseman who can move the puck at the 34-slot to my third pair. “Pronman

35. Tyler Brennan, G, Prince George Cougars

There’s a chance Brennan is the first goalie selected in Montreal and I’m happy to make him the third goalie picked here and my backup. —Wheeler

36. Reid Schaefer, LW, Seattle Thunderbirds

Schaefer is a 6-foot-3 winger who plays hard and provides some skill and scoring. Hutson better keep his head up when Schaefer is on the ice. “Pronman

37. Calle Odelius, LHD, Djurgarden

I thought about taking lefty Mats Lindgren for my final spot on the left side, but Odelius’ more mature/polished game complements Seamus Casey perfectly. I love the makeup of each of my three pairings with Odelius as the last piece. —Wheeler

38. Maveric Lamoureux, RHD, Drummondville Voltigeurs

Lamoureux is a mobile, 6-foot-7 defenseman who will PK and take a lot of D-zone draws for my team. —Pronman

39. Filip Mesar, C / LW / RW, Poprad

Mesar’s a right-handed shot but he has spent time at all three forward positions at the professional level and capped off his draft year playing left wing in the playoffs. I like that versatility for my 12th forward spot. —Wheeler

40. Dylan Silverstein, G, U.S. NTDP

I’m happy with Silverstein as my backup, he may be the most athletic goalie in the draft. “Pronman

Team Pronman

LW

C

RW

Juraj Slafkovsky

Cutter Gauthier

Joakim Kemell

Rutger McGroarty

Marco Kasper

Jonathan Lekkerimaki

Jiri Kulich

Conor Geekie

Ivan Miroshnichenko

Reid Schaefer

Luca Del Belbelluz

Jimmy Snuggerud

LD

RD

Denton Mateychuk

Simon Nemec

Pavel Mintyukov

Lian Bichsel

Owen Pickering

Maveric Lamoureux

G

Topias Leinonen

Dylan Silverstein

Team Wheeler

LW

C

RW

Liam Ohgren

Shane Wright

Matthew Savoie

Isaac Howard

Logan Cooley

Danila Yurov

David Goyette

Frank Nazar

Brad Lambert

Filip Mesar

Noah Ostlund

Nathan Gaucher

LD

RD

Kevin Korchinski

David Jiricek

Lane Hutson

Ryan Chesley

Calle Odelius

Seamus Casey

G

Hugo Havelid

Tyler Brennan

(Illustration: Wes McCabe / The Athletic; photos: Terry Wilson / OHL Images; Xavier Laine / Getty Images)

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