On Wednesday, NHL Central Scouting released their midterm rankings of players eligible for the upcoming 2022 NHL Draft. Led by defenceman Isaiah George, eight Knights were included.
The scouting bureau separates draft-eligible players into four categories: North American Skaters, North American Goalies, International Skaters, and International Goalies. The categories are based on which league the player is in, rather than their nationality.
42nd – Isaiah George – Defenceman, 6-foot, 196 pounds
The 17-year-old has been vital for the Knights this season, forming the top pairing with Gerard Keane and anchoring the top penalty-killing unit. Despite missing out on an OHL rookie season, George plays with the poise of a veteran. His excellent four-way skating ability allows him to navigate the ice elegantly and makes him an effective player in both offensive and defensive transitions. He will face more competition for ice time in 2022 with the arrivals of Logan Mailloux and Kirill Steklov.
62nd – Ruslan Gazizov – Centre, 5-foot-11, 185 pounds
The import pick was immediately thrust into a top role when he arrived in late October and has flourished. He has adapted to his new surroundings very quickly and it’s evident on the ice: he plays with supreme comfort, dictating the pace of play with his stickhandling and ability to find a teammate in a shooting lane. In his first 19 OHL games, Gazizov has five goals and 11 assists – he’ll hope the second half of the season goes just as well.
75th – Jackson Edward – Defenceman, 6-foot-2, 187 pounds
The Knights second-round pick in 2020 has also enjoyed plenty of ice time in his first season at Bud Gardens, facing off against the league’s best forwards and spending time on the powerplay. Edward is a self-proclaimed Evan Bouchard fan and has shown a similar ability to start the attack with a breakout pass and join the rush.
129 – Colton Smith – Left Wing, 6-foot-3, 195 pounds
Smith shows strong finishing ability with deceptive movement and an excellent shot. His start to the season caught the attention of many, including TSN’s Head of Scouting, Craig Button, who placed him 64th overall in his most recent rankings. He scored an incredible 12 goals in his first 21 games – good enough for second amongst rookies – and has been a menace on the man advantage.
188 – Brody Crane – Left Wing, 5-foot-11, 183 pounds
The second Crane to play for the Knights has impressed the hometown crowd this year with his dazzling stickhandling and high-energy game. He has scored an impressive four goals and eight points in 24 games despite limited ice time and powerplay usage.
196 – Kirill Steklov – Defenceman, 6-foot-5, 203 pounds
The Estonian-born defenseman returned to the Knights after representing Russia at the World Juniors and spending the last season and a half in Russia. He started the campaign in the KHL with Vityaz Podolsk before being sent down to the juniors, where he scored nine points in 13 games. He enters the draft as a two-time re-entry and will work hard to impress NHL scouts by leading the Knights’ blueline.
213 – Landon Sim – Centre, 5-foot-11, 174 pounds
After leading all 2004-born players in Maritime Junior Hockey League scoring last season, Sim has shined this season in London. He has shown a penchant for scoring important goals: including the team’s opening goal of the season, two overtime winners, and of course, the Teddy Bear Toss goal. The forward has grown five inches and almost 50 pounds since the 2020 OHL Priority Selection and shows a strong 200-foot checking game.
16 – Brett Brochu, 6-foot, 176 pounds
The Brett Brochu story just keeps getting better and better. After his record-breaking rookie season in 2019-20, the former Dresden Jr. King has returned better, faster, and stronger and has been one of the league’s best goaltenders. He was named to Team Canada’s World Junior team after being cut from last year’s team and won his only start before the tournament was cancelled. Only captain Luke Evangelista has more points in our Coulter’s Pharmacy Three-Stars race and that’s because Brochu has shown an ability to consistently steal points this season:
The 2022 NHL Entry Draft will be held on July 7–8, 2022, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec.