At the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, 50 Americans were selected, with Minnesota leading the way, seeing six players drafted from the State of Hockey, according to NHL Records. The draft also saw eight Americans taken in the first round, with two coming in the top five. The 2022 NHL Entry Draft will feature some American prospects who could become difference-makers for some NHL teams in need.
Logan Cooley, at points, was threatening Canadian Shane Wright for the first-overall ranking, while Cutter Gauthier has been climbing up scout’s radars. However, there are highly ranked American prospects who are flying under the radar due to these big names. Americans have dished out no less than 50 prospects every year over the past 10 years, and there’s little reason to think it’ll change now. With that tidbit, let’s dive into the top-10 American Prospects in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
10) Adam Ingram – Forward
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 27th (NA Skaters)
Adam Ingram has, among others, two attributes that will attract a number of NHL general managers: size and skill. He brings a good shot to the table, and is able to overpower opponents, while also possessing a high hockey IQ. However, needs to hone his defensive game to become a more complete player. Otherwise, it could limit his overall potential.
He played this season with the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Youngstown Phantoms, his first in the league. He scored 26 goals and 55 points in 54 games before contributing a lone goal in two playoff games. He’ll have time to work on his defensive game as he’s committed to St. Cloud State University for the 2022-23 season.
9) Jimmy Snuggerud – Right Wing
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 11th (NA Skaters)
Jimmy Snuggerud is another big winger who brings a two-way game to the ice. At the moment, he’s more a scorer than a playmaker, but with as good a shot as he possesses, NHL teams will likely take that tradeoff. His defensive awareness also helps offset current the lack of playmaking ability.
Related: THW’s FREE 2022 NHL Draft Guide
He scored 63 points in 59 games with the United States Development Program (USDP), and 26 points in 26 games playing for the program in the USHL. He also added seven points in six games at the 2022 U18 World Championship (U18 Worlds). Interestingly, he followed in both his father and grandfather’s footsteps as they both played for Team USA, and he’s committed to become a University of Minnesota Golden Gopher for the 2022-23 season, just like them.
8) Seamus Casey – Defenseman
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 29th (NA Skaters)
Seamus Casey is on the smaller side, but is a great skater, especially in transition. Even from the backend, he can lead a controlled exit himself and has the vision to send a breakout pass to one of his teammates if he needs. He has the ability to quarterback a power play, and has a better shot than people realize. Being a bit smaller, he definitely needs to add some strength and size in order to improve his net-front defensive game.
He scored 33 points in 48 games at the USDP, and 13 points in 17 games in the USHL. At the U18 Worlds, he totaled six points, split evenly between goals and assists in six games. He’ll be attending the University of Michigan for the 2022-23 season. It was a slim margin that separated him and the next player on this list from switching spots. To be honest, I had to sleep on it.
7) Lane Hutson – Defenseman
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 25th (NA Skaters)
What Lane Hutson lacks in size, at just 5-foot-8 and 148 pounds, he makes up for in… just about everything else. To start, elite skating and hockey IQ. His skating makes him elusive, which can help in moments when he gets into trouble, but adding on muscle as he continues to develop will be imperative for his growth. Really, his only weaknesses are size and strength. He’s a great passer, good in transition and plays a two-way game. He’s creative and a hard worker on the blue line.
He may get overlooked because of his size, but probably shouldn’t be, as he could make 31 NHL franchises pay when he’s ready to jump to the NHL. He tallied 53 assists and 63 points in 60 games with the USDP, and 26 assists and 32 points for them in 27 USHL games. He then added eight points, all assists, at the 2022 U18 Worlds. He’ll play at Boston University starting in the 2023-24 season.
6) Isaac Howard – Left Wing
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 9th (NA Skaters)
Isaac Howard is a superb offensive player. He’s drawn comparisons to Cole Caufield, and has shown ability to score at every level, from the USDP to USHL to international play. He’s smaller, at 5-foot-10, but still gets himself into the dirty areas. He’s a strong skater and is also responsible defensively, though he doesn’t always make the smartest passes and could probably lead rushes a bit more.
He scored 33 goals and 82 points in 60 games at the USDP, leading the team, and added 26 assists and 37 points in 27 games at the USHL. He also contributed six goals and 11 points in six 2022 U18 Worlds games. He’s committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for the 2022-23 season.
5) Ryan Chesley – Defenseman
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 18th (NA Skaters)
Ryan Chesley plays a two-way defensive game with a great work ethic and hockey sense. He is good on transition out of the offensive zone, despite there not being much offensive production on his resume. While he isn’t the fastest, he brings a physical presence and active stick that further indicate that he leans toward the defensive aspect of his two-way game. He’s a right-handed shot, and in my opinion, every good offensive defenseman needs someone to guard the fort. For that, he’s very valuable.
He scored 12 goals and 29 points in 59 games for the USDP, and added 15 points playing for them in the USHL. At the 2022 U18 Worlds, he put up five points in six games as an alternate captain. He’ll get a shot at working on his offensive game at the collegiate level with the University of Minnesota for the 2022-23 season.
4) Rutger McGroarty – Right Wing
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 22nd (NA Skaters)
Rutger McGroarty is looking to join Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel in becoming the second Nebraska-born player ever drafted into the NHL. He’s off to a good start. While his skating and consistency are things he’ll look to work on, he has many strengths in his two-way game. He’s got a great work ethic, which fuels his leadership ability. He has a heavy shot and strong playmaking ability, with a dash (or more) of creativity that makes him even more dynamic.
He scored 35 goals and 69 points in 54 USDP games, then added 15 goals and 33 points in 25 USHL games. To further emphasize that he has a great shot, he scored eight goals and nine points in six U18 Worlds games as captain; though he added 27 penalty minutes (PIMs). He’ll be at the University of Michigan for the 2022-23 season.
3) Frank Nazar – Center/Right Wing
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 21st (NA Skaters)
Frank Nazar has many qualities that will catch general managers’ eyes, one being his positional versatility, as he can play both center and wing. Being sub-six feet tall, he needs to add some size. However, he has fantastic skating agility, edgework and speed to go with his two-way play. Though, he doesn’t explode to top speed as quickly as others. His ability to create offensively is due in part to great vision. Oh yea, this kid can score.
He came into the year having put up a point per game at all levels, and it didn’t stop this season. He scored 70 points in 56 USDP games, and 35 in 24 games in the USHL for the squad. At the U18 Worlds, he scored six assists and nine points in six games. He’ll be a University of Michigan Wolverine starting with the 2022-23 season.
2) Cutter Gauthier – Center/Left Wing
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 3rd (NA Skaters)
At 6-foot-3, Cutter Gauthier is a big boy. What’s something that NHL general managers love that would make them covet a big, two-way, positionally versatile forward, aside from the aforementioned traits? Explosive skating, and he’s got that, but that’s not all. He brings a great wrist shot and is a reliable special teams option. It’s no surprise that this big, explosive power forward who can drive play has shot up draft rankings over the past few months. Though, let’s not forget, there’s still some things to work on as he’s just 18 years old; notably his consistency and selecting the right shots to take.
He scored 34 goals and 65 points in 54 games at the USDP, then added 19 goals and 28 points in 22 USHL games. He was named an alternate captain for the U18 Worlds and showed his ability to distribute as he tallied six assists and nine points in six games. He’ll be a Boston College Eagle next season.
1) Logan Cooley – Center
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 2nd (NA Skaters)
Here we have the American who threatened Canadian Shane Wright for the first-overall ranking at points throughout the season — center Logan Cooley. He may be on the shorter end of the stick, but that’s about his only weakness, that he needs to add size and strength. He has a fantastic hockey IQ and work ethic, which should help turn him into a leader by example. He’s responsible in all zones, is a strong puck handler and has a good wrist shot.
Like most of the other players on this list, he performed extremely well at all levels this season. However, there’s one caveat; he made the 2022 U20 World Junior Championship team. He got into one game and registered an assist before the tournament was temporarily cancelled. He scored 48 assists and 75 points in 51 USDP games and added 23 assists and 36 points in 24 USHL games. At the U18 Worlds, he scored over an assist per game as he registered seven, to go with 10 points, in six games. He is definitely making a case for himself to be drafted at second-overall, let alone first.
The draft is on July 7 and 8, live from Montreal. It’ll be interesting to see how many Americans get taken in the first round, let alone overall, relative to past years. Be sure to stick with The Hockey Writers for more draft content, coverage of your favorite team, and more!
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Sean Raggio lives for hockey. He will be covering the Seattle Kraken, and is a co-host of “What’s Kraken” for THW. Sean gained experience in writing for television, print and radio while studying journalism at Quinnipiac University and being an active member in the student media organizations there. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out on Twitter! A link can be found at the bottom of his articles, such as this one.