Devils 2022 NHL Draft Review

The 2022 NHL Draft has come and gone. The New Jersey Devils made eight picks, mostly defensemen, including drafting Šimon Nemec at second overall. Now that the dust has settled after a wild couple of days, let’s look back on the Devils’ selections and review their haul. 

2. Šimon Nemec, Defenseman

I already wrote a longer standalone piece on Nemec after the Devils made the selection, but it doesn’t hurt to go over the pick again. It was a bit of a surprise, given Shane Wright was still available. But it’s not like the Devils went off the board and drafted someone projected to go in the middle of the first round. He was a consensus top-five prospect and was ranked fourth in Bob McKenzie’s final rankings at TSN. 

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Nemec had an impressive season for HK Nitra in the Tipos Extraliga (Slovakia), totaling 26 points in 39 games while adding five goals and 17 points in 19 playoff games. He’s a high-end puck carrier in transition who’s a fluid and smooth skater. Once in the offensive zone, he’s a shifty and creative playmaker. His shot needs work, but that’s something that should come along as he matures and gets stronger. 

Related: Devils Bet on Nemec’s Upside at 2nd Overall

Nemec has some things to work on defensively, especially defending the rush. If the Devils can weed out some of those inconsistencies. At worst, he should be a second-pair offensive defenseman who contributes to the power play. But he has tremendous upside and should become much more than that.

46. Seamus Casey, Defenseman

With their second pick of the draft, which they obtained after acquiring Vitek Vanecek from the Washington Capitals, the Devils selected smooth-skating defenseman Seamus Casey from the US National Team Development Program with the 46th overall pick. He finished this past season with 13 points in 17 games for the USNTDP Juniors in the USHL and 10 goals and 33 points in 48 games for US National U18 Team in the USDP. 

While Casey isn’t the prospect Nemec is, their makeups aren’t too different. Casey is a crafty stick handler who excels in transition and is an efficient puck carrier through the neutral zone. His skating is excellent, but not necessarily for his speed. His edgework is fantastic and allows him to do some pretty neat things with the puck on his stick.

Seamus Casey USNTDP
Seamus Casey with the USNTDP (Photo by Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

In his Day 2 review of the draft, Scott Wheeler noted that if Casey can refine his decision-making and approach a little bit, he could look like Samuel Girard in the long-term (from ‘2022 NHL Draft: Winners and losers from Day 2, picked by Scott Wheeler,’ The Athletic – 7/8/2022). If that’s the case, the Devils may have grabbed another defenseman with top-four potential. And they improved their goaltending by acquiring Vanecek in the process. 

102. Tyler Brennan, Goaltender

The Devils’ annual pick of a goalie somewhere in the mid-rounds, Tyler Brennan becomes the newest netminder in the organization’s pipeline. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Brennan finished with a .899 save percentage (SV%) in 39 games for the Prince George Cougars. Though they were one of the weaker teams in the WHL, Brennan did impress in the playoffs, totaling a .954 SV% in four games. 

Per Ben Kerr of Last Word on Sports, the best part of Brennan’s game is his mental makeup. He stays calm and collected and gets a good read on opponents’ tendencies. He needs time to add strength, but he has the athleticism and physical traits to project as a starting goaltender. For what it’s worth, he was ranked 62nd overall in McKenzie’s final ranking, making him the top-ranked goaltender in the 2022 draft, ahead of Topias Leinonen (71). He’ll return to the WHL for another season, which should help his development. 

110. Daniil Orlov, Defenseman

After selecting Brennan, the Devils got right back to adding defensemen, drafting 6-foot-2, 181-pound Russian Daniil Orlov from Sakhalinskiye Akuly in the MHL — the Russian junior league. He finished with nine goals and 30 points in 54 games and will play for MHK Krylia Sovetov Moskva in the MHL next season. 

Related: Devils Gamble on Vanecek to Spark Goaltending

As was the theme with Nemec and Casey, the Devils went for a smooth-skater with offensive upside in Orlov. Here’s what Corey Pronman had to say about Orlov in his final 2022 draft rankings (from “2022 NHL Draft prospects: Juraj Slafkovsky leads Corey Pronman’s final ranking,” The Athletic – 7/5/2022): 

“He has some offense, showing a good shot, ability to use his feet to jump into attacks and flashes of skill. I wouldn’t call his puck play overly inspiring though, and I have a hard time seeing him be a true puck-mover at higher levels. The size and skating allows him to defend well, but the lack of skill and sense will push him as he advances to the pros.” 

Orlov doesn’t have the upside of Casey or Nemec, as should be the expectation with someone drafted in the fourth round. But he could have an NHL future as a bottom-pair defender. 

126. Charles Leddy, Defenseman

Ah, another defenseman. After picking three offensive-minded blueliners with their first four selections, the Devils went for a physical, defensive defenseman in Leddy. He played 81 games between the US National U18 team with the USDP and USNTDP Juniors in the USHL, finishing with 24 points, all assists. 

Charles Leddy USNTDP U18
Charles Leddy with the USNTDP U18 (Photo by Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

Here’s what Douglas Larson of FC Hockey had to say about Leddy in a game report from a contest against the Michigan Wolverines back in February: 

“Leddy is a defensive defenseman who shuts down lots of plays while having little offensive skill. There’s nothing flashy or exciting about his game, but one thing that’s for sure is he’s very effective while on the ice. I thought everything about his defensive game was great: he had good gaps, an active stick, and was pretty physical throughout the game.”

For a late-round pick, drafting a defensive defenseman like Leddy is perfectly fine. The Devils already grabbed three defensemen with offensive upside to this point, so I get the rationale for going another direction in Leddy. The Fairfield, Connecticut native will attend Boston College next season. 

141. Petr Hauser, Right Wing

Hey, a forward. It took until the fifth round, but the Devils selected their first forward of the 2022 draft with Czech winger Petr Hauser. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder finished this past season with 25 goals, 34 assists and 59 points in 41 games in Czechia’s U20 league. He also played in 15 games for HC Stadion Litoměřice in the Czechia2 — Czechia’s equivalent of the AHL — totaling a goal and an assist. 

There’s not much available on Hauser, but from the looks of it, he’s a big forward who’s a decent skater with a pretty good shot. It also appears he has a knack for getting to relatively high-danger scoring areas: 

At this point in the draft, it’s worth taking a flyer on a big forward with scoring upside like Hauser. He’ll need a couple of years to develop in Czechia, at a minimum, but perhaps he can develop into a bottom-six power forward who can provide some offense. 

166. Josh Filmon, Left Wing

After selecting Hauser, the Devils drafted left winger Josh Filmon of the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL. The 18-year-old finished the 2021-22 campaign with 23 goals, 22 assists and 45 points in 67 games, which was third on the team in scoring. Here’s what Evan Pace of Dobber Prospects had to say last month about Filmon: 

“Most of the tools are there for Filmon; size, pretty good speed, hands, vision, and shooting, however, he can improve on each through more seasoning and development. He can make a flashy play, beating a defender one-on-one with a nice move and firing one past the goalie, but he can also make a low-effort, forced pass much later than it should be. If Filmon can put it all together on a shift, make good decisions consistently, and improve his physical stature, he can become one of the more intriguing mid-round prospects from the 2022 draft in due time.”

The Devils seem to have gotten a pretty good value pick in Filmon at 166th overall. He was ranked 75th in McKenzie’s rankings and was generally a top 100 prospect in most public rankings. He needs to add plenty of strength to his 6-foot-2, 160-pound frame, but he has plenty of time to do so. For a sixth-round pick, the Devils did quite well with Filmon and selected someone with more NHL potential than your traditional late-round pick. 

198. Artyom Barabosha, Defenseman

With their final selection of the 2022 draft, the Devils went back to defense and selected the physical Artyom Barabosha, who played for Krasnaya Armiya Moskva in the MHL. Unlike Orlov, he’s more of a traditional defensive defenseman as he finished with four goals, seven assists and 11 points in 45 games. He also added three points, all assists, in 19 MHL playoff games. 

Per Alex Taxman of Draft Prospects Hockey: “On defense, Barabosha boasts a very strong defensive stick and a punishing physical game. He will not allow forwards to beat him to the inside and does a great job keeping the puck on the perimeter of the ice.” At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Barabosha can lay the wood. Just ask Juraj Slafkovsky, who went first overall to the Montreal Canadiens, about Barabosha’s punishing physical game: 

Though Barabosha is a physical defender, he can carry the puck through the neutral zone effectively, so perhaps there’s a little more to unlock offensively. Like Filmon, he was another good late-round value pick by the Devils with more NHL potential than your traditional seventh-round selection. 

Devils Had a Strong 2022 Draft

Even though the Devils went defense-heavy at the draft, they came out with a good haul from their eight picks. Nemec has top-pair upside, while Casey had first-round value and could be a top-four defender in a few years. Orlov and Barabosha are different players, but both have NHL potential as bottom-pair blueliners. Brennan is a project, as most goalies are nowadays, but he could become a starter down the road. They also grabbed a couple of intriguing wingers in Hauser and Filmon, so all in all, a job well done and an improvement from most of their 2021 class.