Saginaw, Mich. – NHL Central Scouting released its final rankings ahead of the 2022 NHL Draft on Thursday featuring a total of four players representing the Saginaw Spirit. The 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft is scheduled from July 7-8, 2022 and will be hosted by the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre in Montreal, Que.
Both defenseman Pavel Mintyukov and center Matyas Sapovaliv were identified as potential first round picks, with Mintyukov ranked sixth among all North American skaters and first among North American defensemen.
Full list: North American Skaters | North American Goaltenders
Sapovaliv is ranked 23rd among North American skaters and is the fifth highest-ranked forward playing in the Ontario Hockey League behind consensus first overall pick Shane Wright from the Kingston Frontenacs, Luca Del Bel Belluz of the Mississauga Steelheads, Owen Beck of the Mississauga Steelheads, and David Goyette of the Sudbury Wolves.
Mintyukov finished the 2021-22 regular season with 62 points, becoming the first Spirit defenseman in team history to lead the team in scoring at seasons end. The Russian-born defenseman was selected by the Spirit in the first round of the 2020 CHL Import Draft.
Saginaw’s first round pick in the 2021 CHL Import Draft is also a projected first round pick in 6-foot-3, 180-pound center Matyas Sapovaliv. The Czech-born forward saw his game and production grow as the season went on, finishing with 52 points in 68 games. Sapovaliv won 711 of 1,369 faceoffs this season for a 51.9% success rate. Only Tucker Robertson of Peterborough and Rory Kerins of the Soo took more faceoffs this season than Sapovaliv.
Goaltender Andrew Oke keeps his title as the top ranked OHL goaltender going into the 2022 NHL Draft. Oke’s first season in the OHL was a stellar one, with the rookie goaltender playing in 1,931 minutes of action this season, trailing only Nolan Lalonde of the Erie Otters among rookie OHL goaltenders. The Shelby Township, Michigan native finished the season with a record of 13-16-1-0 this season, with a 4.63 goals against average (GAA) and a .848 save percentage (SV%).
Defenseman Roberto Mancini is also projected to be selected in the late rounds of the 2022 NHL Draft. After not being taken in his NHL Draft year as a 2003-birthday, Mancini has blossomed into a steady veteran on the Spirit back line. His progression this season was recognized by the team, who awarded Mancini with Most Improved Player at seasons end. The Vaughan, Ontario native finished the season with 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points in 64 games and scored six of those points in his final eight games.