Matty Beniers was the first to go when the Seattle Kraken had their first shot.
He was second overall in 2021. This season, they'll pick high again, but will have to wait a few extra minutes.
The Kraken will pick fourth overall in the 2022 National Hockey League Entry Draft, scheduled for Jul. 7-8 at Bell Centre in Montreal, announced on Tuesday with NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in a televised event associated with the draft lottery.
With 11 percent odds of landing the first overall pick, which will likely land phenom forward Shane Wright, the Kraken were actually slotted precisely where they held the highest odds – a 40.7 percent chance of landing the fourth overall selection.
Who the Kraken take is still a murky picture, one that general manager Ron Francis painted with a work-in-progress update on finishing draft prospect lists.
"We still have the World Championships coming up starting on the 13th then we have our meetings the first part of June,” said Francis.
“We’ll pick what we feel is the best player for the franchise at number four.”
Beyond Wright, there is forward Juraj Slafkovsky of TPS in Finland (the top European ranked skater listed by NHL Central Scouting), center Logan Cooley of Team USA’s national development program, Simon Nemec (Slovakia) and David Jiricek (Czech Republic) – the latter two as right shot defensemen.
Francis admitted it is early to determine if an immediate NHL-ready pick will be available at fourth overall but said there are “seven to eight players” in consideration.
“There are players who are available to step in and play this year, but it really depends on the three picks before us and who we get at four – whether we think they’re ready to step in or not,” said Francis.
“We feel comfortable we can get guys in the top five or six that can step in, next couple of years.”
The Kraken, along with 16 teams that missed the postseason, were entered in the lottery which determined the two teams to make the first two selections. The remaining 14 teams were slotted in reverse order of point totals in the year’s standings.
Toward the end of their expansion season where they finished 27-49-6 (60 points) and ahead of Arizona and Montreal, the Kraken debuted Beniers who burst onto the NHL scene at age 19, with a strong nine points in ten games.
Montreal, who will host the draft, became the first NHL team in 37 years to host the event and hold the first overall selection. Toronto, who picked first in 1985 as host city, selected future legendary forward Wendel Clark, whose number now hangs in the rafters of Scotiabank Arena. New Jersey will select second overall.
The Kraken hold five draft picks in the first two rounds this year.
NOTABLE NHL DRAFT SELECTIONS, FOURTH OVERALL:
- (D) Cale Makar - Colorado Avalanche (2017)
- (F) Mitch Marner - Toronto Maple Leafs (2015)
- (D) Seth Jones - Nashville Predators (2013)
- (C) Nicklas Backstrom - Washington Capitals (2006)
- (LW) Paul Kariya - Anaheim Ducks (1993)
- (C) Steve Yzerman - Detroit Red Wings (1983)
- (C) Ron Francis - Hartford Whalers (1981)