2022 NHL Draft’s 10 Fast Fallers

We recently looked at the big risers of the 2022 NHL Draft. Now it’s time to look at the opposite end of the spectrum. When so many players rapidly rise, just as many fall fast.

Related: 2022 NHL Draft’s 10 Big Risers

Whether it’s due to injury or performance, many players who had a hot start cooled off in the second half of the season and were clearly passed in the eyes of Central Scouting. Some players fell more dramatically than others.

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In the same way we looked at risers, we are not going to call out those that fell the most number of spots. We are going to focus on the top of the draft on players that significantly fell from the midterm ranking to their final ranking. Many of these players will hear their name called. The question now becomes when will they hear their name called?

In this space, we will list 10 players who fell and try to pinpoint some reasons why. In many cases, prospects falling too far could become draft day values and steals. This exercise does shed some light into what scouts are thinking when evaluating a prospect. Here is our list. You can view Central Scouting’s Final Rankings here.

Tristan Luneau – Gatineau Olympiques

  • Midterm rank: 10th (North American)
  • Final rank: 24th (North American)

Analysis: Once thought of as a slam dunk first-round pick, Luneau drops 14 spots on the final rankings primarily because some skating and defensive consistency concerns. The former first-overall pick of the QMJHL Draft is highly skilled and can do a lot with the puck. He also overcame a knee injury to start his season. But in the eyes of some scouts, more was expected to this point and there are questions about what he will become at the next level.

Tristan Luneau Gatineau Olympiques
Tristan Luneau will be sought after but does have scouts asking questions. (Dominic Charette/Gatineau Olympiques)

Jack Hughes – Northeastern Huskies

  • Midterm rank: 7th (North American)
  • Final rank: 26th (North American)

Analysis: Jack Hughes (no not that one) did have a big hand in helping Northeastern win the Hockey East regular season title. He is the son of Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes. But like Luneau, questions about being able to keep up with the pace at the next level follow Hughes. This is enough in the eyes of scouts to limit his upside despite being one of the more skilled players available in this draft.

Adam Ingram – Youngstown Phantoms

  • Midterm rank: 14th (North American)
  • Final rank: 27th (North American)

Analysis: Are you sensing a theme yet? Like Luneau and Hughes before him, skating and speed is a question for Ingram. While he is great with the puck on his stick, scouts wonder if he can keep up in the NHL. At least so far, the fastest fallers all have skating concerns in common.

Matthew Poitras – Guelph Storm

  • Midterm rank: 23rd (North American)
  • Final rank: 45th (North American)

Analysis: Indeed the beat goes on. Some scouts early on saw Poitras as a potential first-round pick. Now some wonder if he’ll even crack the top-64. While he is one of the most skilled and competitive players available, he is undersized and has legitimate skating concerns. A fall of 22 spots is a reflection of the questions scouts have.

Matthew Poitras Guelph Storm
Matthew Poitras’ skating has some scouts wondering what his upside actually is. (Gar Fitzgerald / Guelph Storm)

Paul Ludwinski – Kingston Frontenacs

  • Midterm rank: 29th (North American)
  • Final rank: 49th (North American)

Analysis: We’ve finally reached a point where someone’s skating isn’t the biggest concern. Ludwinski does a lot of things well and is an important part of what the Frontenacs do along with Shane Wright. The question here is what can he become at the next level given his smaller frame (5-foot-11) and not having something elite in his toolkit to fall back on. A drop of 20 spots reflects those future role questions.

Spencer Sova – Erie Otters

  • Midterm rank: 38th (North American)
  • Final rank: 80th (North American)

Analysis: Sova is one of the better skaters available in this draft and is good on the rush. There are times where he shows some offensive pop as a result of being able to get open. The questions with him are with the other aspects of his game. He’s a work in progress on defense and does leave some plays on the ice offensively. Scouts wonder what his true role will be at the next level.

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Jorian Donovan – Hamilton Bulldogs

  • Midterm rank: 39th (North American)
  • Final rank: 81st (North American)

Analysis: Donovan and his Hamilton Bulldogs are hoping to complete a historic run through the OHL. Entering the OHL Finals the Bulldogs were a perfect 12-0. Because of how strong their team is overall, Donovan’s role became reduced as evidence by just six playoff appearances in 12 games. That coupled with questions about what his role truly is has led to this drop of 42 spots from midterm. He’s best on the rush but does need to show that more consistently.

Jorian Donovan Hamilton Bulldogs
Jorian Donovan’s role being reduced was a big factor in the rankings drop. (Image courtesy of Hamilton Bulldogs)

Brad Lambert – Lahti Pelicans

  • Midterm rank: 5th (European)
  • Final rank: 10th (European)

Analysis: Lambert can be both incredible and frustrating at the same time. One minute he is the most explosive player on the ice. The next minute you wouldn’t even know he’s out there. His tendency to take shifts and games off contributed to this drop in ranking. With teams looking for high character players and those who always compete, it will be interesting to see who can see past the red flags and take the high-upside talent he is.

Axel Mangbo – Sioux City Musketeers

  • Midterm rank: 9th (North American goalies)
  • Final rank: 26th (North American goalies)

Analysis: Dropping this far out of the top-10 is certainly noticeable. For Mangbo, it was due to both an injury and then lack of playing time after returning. Mangbo missed two months due to a lower-body injury he suffered in February. Sioux City went on to win the Clark Cup. But it was Alex Tracy who led the Musketeers to a championship with an 8-2 record and was by far the best goalie in the USHL playoffs.

Ian Blomquist – Vasteras Jr.

  • Midterm rank: 2nd (European goalies)
  • Final rank: 8th (European goalies)

Analysis: Despite being an overage goalie, Blomquist was off to a good enough start to be ranked second for European goalies at midterm. But he dropped six spots after not being able to maintain his start. He finished with a 15-14 overall record with Vasteras. He has things to like such as his 6-foot-2 frame. But consistency was an issue at different points. He did just sign on for two seasons with the men’s team in Sweden so he will have plenty of opportunity to work on his game.

That’s our list of 10 fast fallers. What is the main takeaway from this list? These prospects have serious questions about an important aspect of their game. With that said, if they fall too far, smart teams will see value and take these players knowing they have plenty of time to develop.

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