Best moments from 2022 NHL draft

The 2022 NHL Draft has come and gone, but its stay in Montreal will leave a lasting impression beyond just the prospects that were picked.

Due to the pandemic, it was the first draft held in person since 2019 and we were treated to everything from heartwarming selections to NHL coaches losing their mind because of who they got to meet.

The 2022 NHL Draft was full of twists and turns. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)
The 2022 NHL Draft was full of twists and turns. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports) (USA TODAY Sports)

Miroshnichenko heads to Washington

Ivan Miroshnichenko was projected to be a top-five pick in this year’s draft by many experts, but when the 18-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma — a type of cancer that affects a person’s immune system — his season had to be cut short and his stock fell.

But on Thursday, he was able to hear his name called by the Washington Capitals at 20th overall. The Capitals are a franchise many young Russian players certainly have an affinity for.

The sniper is back on the ice, as well, and is expected to attend the Capitals’ development camp in the coming weeks.

Shane Wright slips to Seattle

The draft can typically create drama with some prospects slipping down the order, but those players aren’t usually the consensus No. 1 pick and someone that was projected to go first for most of his hockey life.

With the host Canadiens opting for big Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky, the Devils going with blueliner Simon Nemec, and the Coyotes choosing center Logan Cooley, Wright was finally nabbed by the Kraken at fourth.

And as Wright went up to the stage after his too-long wait, he might have snuck a dirty glance toward the table of Canadiens management on his way to meet his team.

There’s nothing like drama that will take decades to completely unfold.

David Jiricek kisses Blue Jackets crest

In another heartfelt moment during the first round, after defenseman David Jiricek was selected sixth overall by Columbus and he donned the jersey for the first time, he continued a personal tradition and kissed the crest of his newest team.

Adorable. One of those glimpses into just how much this means for these teenagers.

Lamoureux’s parents love the draft, a lot

Jiricek’s kiss wasn’t the only one during the first round. When the Coyotes drafted towering defenseman Maveric Lamoureux 29th overall, the broadcast switched over to a shot of his parents in the crowd, looking proud and certainly…enjoying the moment.

That is definitely one way to show how happy you are for your son.

Bruce Boudreau meets WWE idol

NHL coaches are just like us. During the NHL Network broadcast, Canucks bench boss Bruce Boudreau was in the middle of a fairly typical interview when he was surprised with a visit from WWE star and Quebec native Kevin Owens.

Boudreau has spoken at length about his affinity for wrestling and Owens specifically, so of course the 67-year-old was starstruck.

Chicago trade bonanza

While there was plenty of entertainment surrounding the drafted prospects, there is nothing quite like good ol’ fashioned transactions, and the Blackhawks made sure there were plenty of those.

Before the first round even kicked off, Chicago sent a potential future franchise cornerstone in Alex DeBrincat to the Senators in exchange for some draft picks as the Blackhawks continued their staggering rebuild. And they weren’t even done with getting rid of their young talent. After the Canadiens sent defenseman Alexander Romanov to the Islanders for the 13th-overall pick, they quickly included it in a deal to acquire Chicago center Kirby Dach, who was selected third overall by the Blackhawks just three years ago.

We can only guess Chicago is aiming to be one of the first teams on that stage next year, as well.

Canucks draft…Elias Pettersson?

While we are used to some duplicate names in the NHL – like there being two Sebastian Ahos – we might not be used to them being on the same team. In the third round, the Canucks drafted a Swedish defenseman named Elias Pettersson — someone with the exact same name as their top center.

Luckily, the elder Pettersson took it well.

This brings up a significant question: If they are on the same team, what are their nameplates going to say? A Dr. Seussian “Pettersson 1” and “Pettersson 2?"

Slovakian history

It wasn’t just Slafkovsky as the first Slovakian top pick that made history, but the number of players from the country taken in the first round was a record as well. Nemec followed his countryman as the second pick, and later, the Canadiens also decided to select Filip Mesar, making sure they got a new central European fan base started.

Mesar, a friend of Slafkovsky, was selected 26th overall and Montreal managed to catch the reaction from its top pick as he learned there will be a familiar face in the organization.

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