Montreal Canadiens win first pick at 2022 NHL draft lottery
May 11, 2022
The Montreal Canadiens won the NHL draft lottery for 2022 on Tuesday night, which earned them the first pick in the upcoming draft. The draft will be held on July 7-8 at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes will take the podium for the first time and select the first player overall.
"I remember the last time the draft was in Montreal in 2009 and it was a packed house. That isn't the case in every draft location," Hughes said. "So, especially with us owning the first pick, I can only imagine the build-up of anticipation, excitement, and interest in the Montreal Canadiens."
After finishing the season with an NHL-worst record of 22-49-11, the Canadiens had the best odds of winning the lottery, at 18.5 percent.
"You hope as an organization that you don't pick No. 1 overall too often but when you're in that situation, it's pretty special," Hughes added.
It is likely that the team will pick the Kingston Frontenacs' Shane Wright, a center in the Ontario Hockey League, who is widely considered the best player ahead of the draft. He had 94 points in the 2021-22 season with 32 goals and 62 assists across 63 games played.
On the eve of the third game of the Frontenacs' OHL playoff series against the North Bay Battalion, the Burlington, Ontario, native said he already knew the results of the lottery
Other top prospects
Hughes declined to name a specific player he wanted to draft, only saying that the group of 2022 would feature "a talented draft".
"We think we have the opportunity to draft a player that's going to have an important role in the future of the Montreal Canadiens," Hughes said. "When? How? That's to be determined, like every other year in the draft, but we're excited. We're excited about the potential in this draft."
Logan Cooley of the US Development Program and Matthew Savoie of the WHL's Winnipeg Ice, along with left-winger Juraj Slafkovsky, a bronze medalist with Slovakia at the 2022 Olympic Games, are among the other top prospects.
"The decisions that we take in terms of where our players play will really be based on what we think is best for their development," Hughes said. "We're just going to do what we think is right for the players and ensure that they move forward."
In the lottery, the New Jersey Devils climbed to second place, while the Arizona Coyotes had the third overall selection.
Since the Montreal Forum hosted the 1980 draft and the Habs selected Doug Wickenheiser with the first overall pick, Montreal had not had a first-round pick.
Previously in the history of the Canadiens, a total of four players were picked first overall, namely Guy Lafleur in 1971, Rejean Houle in 1969, Michel Plasse in 1968, and Garry Monahan at the very first draft in 1963. Every player picked first overall by the Canadiens was drafted in Montreal.
The other teams that made it to the top 10 of the draft order were the Seattle Kraken, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, Sabres, and Anaheim Ducks.