2022 NHL Draft Value Bets and Predictions

Juraj Slafkovsky hockey player
Slovakia’s forward Juraj Slafkovsky shoots against Finland during their 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships quarterfinal match. Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP

The NHL Draft will be held on Thursday, July 7th, and Friday, July 8th at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

The Canadiens will be the first team in history hosting the draft and picking first-overall. But who will they select and what other value props are there in this year’s draft? OddsTrader takes a look at betting odds for the 2022 NHL Draft.

Who Will Go No. 1 Overall?

The following betting odds for the NHL Draft are courtesy of FanDuel.

  1. Shane Wright: -310
  2. Juraj Slafkovsky: +140
  3. Logan Cooley: +2100
  4. Simon Nemec: +10,000
  5. Joakim Kemell: +10,000
  6. Matthew Savoie: +10,000

Kingston center Shane Wright is the safest choice at the top spot. However, safer is not always necessarily better and this year’s draft is not loaded with eye-popping talent as in years past but it is much deeper than usual.

We should also note that there is expected to be a blizzard of trading activity as teams move up and down the board.

Montreal picks first and needs many things to patch their plethora of roster weaknesses. And although these draft picks may not manifest into NHL talent for years to come. The Canadiens must be cognizant that more draft picks, particularly first-rounders in future drafts, could pay greater dividends than selecting either Wright or Slafkovsky in this year’s draft.

But then we need to ask ourselves if there is a team that would swap a No. 1 this year, next year, and perhaps the year after to get a crack at a promising talent like Wright or Slafkovsky even if they lack some of the jaw-dropping flash of previous No. 1’s?

Is Wright an A+ Prospect?

TSN’s Bob McKenzie said this about Wright, “He’s not an elite skater but he is a strong skater. His shot is excellent, and while some scouts believe he’ll have more goals than assists in any given NHL season, he’s also a very good playmaker who makes everyone he plays with better. He’s smart but he’s also got some grit in his game. He leads by example. Outstanding work ethic and character is viewed as A+.”

But we are here to talk about value and, is Wright such a sure thing that it would be worth laying -310? Well, no value bettor in the world consistently lays north of -300 and think it’s good value.

Yet, if another player on the board at much more tempting odds, like Logan Cooley at +2100, is the proverbial “value” play and doesn’t get chosen first, then where’s the value in ripping up a ticket? And so goes the age-old gambling adage – there is no value in losing.

The Logical Choice

Ultimately, Wright seems to be the logical choice because he has been linked as the No. 1 overall pick in this draft class since he received an exemption as a 15-year-old to play in the OHL and was drafted first by the Kingston Frontenacs. All the kid did was average over a point a game in his 55 games before the season was terminated due to the global pandemic.

Although he might not have as many highlight reels as one might expect of a top pick, he has no holes in his game and transitions seamlessly from offense to defense, patterning his game after Boston’s future Hall of Famer, Patrice Bergeron.

However, with all of that said, the value in this play clearly rests with the fast-rising Slovakian-born, Juraj Slafkovsky who dominated at the Winter Olympics in Beijing. He has the size at 6’4” and speed that makes NHL teams salivate so let’s grab the plus money the oddsmakers are giving us and cash a ticket.

NHL Draft Pick: Juraj Slafkovsky to be Picked First (+140) at FanDuel

First 3 Picks Exact Order

  • 1 – S. Wright / 2 – J. Slafkovsky / 3 – L. Cooley: -105
  • 1 – J. Slafkovsky / 2 – S. Wright / 3 – L. Cooley: +230
  • 1 – S. Wright / 2 – D. Jiricek / 3 – J. Slafkovksy: +650
  • 1 – S. Wright / 2 – J. Slafkovsky / 3 – S. Nemec: +700
  • 1 – J. Slafkovsky / 2 – S. Wright / 3 – S. Nemec: +1100
  • 1 – J. Slafkovsky / 2 – D. Jiricek / 3 – S. Wright: +1200

Because we don’t have a crystal ball and are not aware of any trades that would preclude the Canadiens, Devils, and Coyotes from trading out, we have to assume these teams will stand pat and pick in their assigned spots.

Let’s maintain our position that Juraj Slafkovsky goes No. 1 to the Canadiens. If you are still on the fence, consider what The Athletic’s Corey Pronman said about Slafkovsky.

“Trying to pin down what Montreal will do with the No. 1 pick has been a challenge. There are quite a few people in the league who believe this pick will be Shane Wright.

“However, based on discussions with people in the league over the last few weeks, the winds seem to be blowing in the direction of Slafkovsky—to the point that I think this is the slightly more likely scenario at the No. 1 slot.”

Prop Betting Pick

Therefore, let’s agree Slafkovsky goes No. 1 which means the Devils will stand pat and take Shane Wright at No. 2 and be happy he fell to them.

Next on the clock, the Coyotes have been rumored to be high on filling their defensive voids which means they will likely tap the top two-way defenseman in the draft, Simon Nemec, another 18-year-old Slovakian stud that the Coyotes would be delighted to land at No.3

NHL Draft Pick: 1 – J. Slafkovsky / 2 – S. Wright / 3 – S. Nemec (+1100) at FanDuel

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