Happy Friday, LA Kings fans! We are inching ever closer to the 2022 NHL Draft.
If you missed the first mock draft installment, see the link below.
Like the last iteration, I used the FC Hockey Mock Draft Simulator Tool.
Without further ado, here’s version 2.0!
Round 1, 19th overall: Conor Geekie, C
From Strathclair, Manitoba, Conor Geekie is a 2022 NHL draft-eligible prospect who spent all last season with the Winnipeg Ice of the WHL. Prior to being the second overall pick in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft, Geekie played U18 AAA hockey for the Yellowhead Chiefs as a 16-year-old.
He played for the U15 AAA team the year before, racking up 49 goals and 37 assists for 86 points in 31 games. With the U18 club, Geekie continued to average more than a point per game, tallying 18 goals and 35 points in only 26 games during the 2019-20 season, earning league Rookie of the Year honors in the process.
In an abbreviated WHL campaign, Geekie continued to impress at the next level, scoring nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points and a +13 in 24 games. This past season, he exploded for 24 goals and 46 assists, including an unbelievable +46 in 63 games. Geekie finished fourth on the Ice in points (70) and fourth in the WHL in plus-minus during the regular season. In the postseason, he chipped in three goals and eight assists for 11 points in 15 games.
This past season, he played with 2021 Minnesota Wild first-round pick Carson Lambos, 2020 Philadelphia Flyers sixth-rounder Connor McClennon, and fellow 2022 NHL draft-eligible talent Matthew Savoie.
If the name sounds familiar, Conor is the young brother of Seattle Kraken forward Morgan Geekie. His father, Craig, spent time in the WHL between the Brandon Wheat Kings and Spokane Chiefs.
D.O.B – May 5, 2004
Nationality – Canada
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Height – 6-foot-4
Weight – 205 lbs
Position – C
Handedness – Left
- Ranked #15 by CONSOLIDATED RANKING
- Ranked #19 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
- Ranked #14 by FCHOCKEY
- Ranked #10 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
- Ranked #14 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
- Ranked #31 by TSN/CRAIG BUTTON
- Ranked #5 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
- Ranked #10 by SPORTSNET
- Ranked #14 by ISS HOCKEY
- Ranked #14 by RECRUIT SCOUTING
- Ranked #29 by DOBBERPROSPECTS
- Ranked #13 by DRAFT PROSPECTS HOCKEY
- Ranked #30 by SMAHT SCOUTING
- Ranked #13 by THE PUCK AUTHORITY
Credit: Elite Prospects
Conor Geekie is not a flashy forward by any means. He’s not the fastest guy on the ice, but he has a nose for the net. Throughout my viewings, his net presence really stood out to me. Whether it be supporting an odd-man rush into the attacking zone, establishing his position in front of the crease to deflect shots from the point, or cleaning up loose pucks, Geekie does most of his damage within 10 feet of the net.
He possesses a rare combination of size and skill. While he lacks top-end speed, Geekie uses his big, long legs to create powerful strides to skate past defenders. When skating through traffic, he uses his big body to shield defenders and maintains his balance against those attempting to knock him off the puck.
On the left, right, or up the middle, Geekie can score from anywhere, usually close to the net.
From a positional standpoint, he is quite good. He sees the ice very well and understands where the defense is vulnerable. From there, he attacks. Geekie is an excellent facilitator of the puck, scanning the ice while also having a keen sense of where his teammates are on the ice. One play comes to mind from last season against Regina where Geekie received the puck in the high slot, only to snap a perfectly-timed pass to his teammate for a one-timer past the netminder.
Geekie also shines with puck retrievals in the attacking zone. He does a good job of sizing up the defender and uses his big frame to knock them off the puck. When he has possession of the puck, Geekie utilizes his body and strength to shield them off before passing the puck up-ice to his teammates.
Defensively, he’s responsible in his own end. Geekie uses his powerful stride to provide coverage. From a positional standpoint, he aligns himself to take away open passing lanes in the slot. He will put his body in harm’s way to prevent the shot from getting through.
When he is unable to get his body in front of the puck, Geekie uses his long reach and knocks the puck out of the air. Good luck winning a puck battle against Geekie in his own zone. He likes to throw his weight around to separate the puck from the man.
The Kings already have a wealth of talent down the middle. However, Geekie was the best player on the board in this mock draft.
Round 2, 51st overall: Isaiah George, LHD
One of the best skating defensemen, Isaiah George is a 2022 NHL draft-eligible defenseman from Oakville, Ontario. He was selected in the fourth round, 68th overall, by the London Knights of the 2020 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Selection Draft.
He spent the 2019-20 season with the Toronto Malboros U16 AAA team, potting five goals and six assists for 11 points in 29 games. In seven postseason games, he added another goal and two PIM.
Due to the OHL season being canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic, George didn’t play any hockey in the 2020-21 season. He joined the Knights for the 2021-22 campaign, scoring six goals and 17 assists for 23 points in 67 games. His +23 was second-best and the highest among defensemen on the Knights roster.
George played with Nashville Predators’ 2020 second-round pick Luke Evangelista and Dallas Stars’ 2020 fourth-rounder Antonio Stranges.
He showcased his speed at the NHL Scouting Combine earlier this month, finishing with the best time (4.476 seconds) in the 30-meter backward skate. He posted the third-best forward skate time (3.903 seconds) over the same distance. George finished with the fourth-best overall score, landing ahead of Matthew Savoie, David Goyette, and Shane Wright.
George saw plenty of time on both sides in his rookie OHL campaign. His versatility will be attractive to NHL clubs.
D.O.B – February 15, 2004
Nationality – Canada
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Height – 6-foot-1
Weight – 194 lbs
Position – Defenseman
Handedness – Left
- Ranked #38 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
- Ranked #70 by FCHOCKEY
- Ranked #55 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
- Ranked #61 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
- Ranked #53 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
- Ranked #64 by RECRUIT SCOUTING
- Ranked #57 by DRAFT PROSPECTS HOCKEY
- Ranked #59 by SMAHT SCOUTING
Despite being quick on his skates, George is usually one of the last players to enter the offensive zone. Watching him on film, he has a calm presence that stands out to me as he plays to the last line of defense. Last year, he spent 61% of his ice time in the defensive zone and just 26% in the offensive zone. George plays cautiously, always very responsible in his own end, making the safest pass to lead the team on the breakout.
Offensively, he displays his skating ability at times, carrying the puck through the neutral zone and into the attacking zone, often firing a wrist shot from above the circle or in the slot before retreating back to his defensive responsibilities. George’s skating looks almost effortless, always with his head up and scanning the ice. He only had six goals last season, but George displays an accurate shot to the corners of the net. The majority of his assists last year were secondary assists.
As he continues to develop, I’d like to see him take more offensive chances. His speed often surprises people, and he will join in the rush up-ice almost undetected. When he takes his chances, good things usually happen.
The majority of his shot attempts came from above the circle, but George picked his spots to join the rush or carry the puck down low. From the point, he does a good job of keeping pucks in the offensive zone when the defense tries to clear, often retaining the puck and walking it in for a better look. If the shot isn’t there, he’ll pull the puck across his body to evade opponents before firing a long-range wrist shot on net.
I’d like to see him show more assertiveness at the next level. Too often, his wrist shots were low-danger scoring chances. His best looks came with traffic in front of the net.
Not an overly physical player, George is quite good at puck retrievals. Although not a huge part of his game, he can hold his own against bigger competition using his speed and active stick to get the puck where he wants it to go. As the season progressed, he started to showcase more physicality in his game, delivering big hits and knocking guys off the puck in the neutral zone, which will be another tool for offensive dump-ins as well as on defense.
Because he is quick, George is great at providing coverage defensively. He positions himself to stay aligned with the offensive attacker. One of his best skills as an 18-year-old is his gap control.
He’ll need to continue his defensive work. Throughout the course of my viewings, there were some instances where he overcommitted himself defending the slot only for the offensive puck-carrier to pass it to a teammate for a good scoring chance. That’s not entirely on him, though, as his teammates could provide better support. However, in one instance, George had his back to the play as the opposing skater was in the slot for essentially a point-blank chance.
In his own zone, he had a few instances of rushing passes when he felt pressure from forecheckers or turning it over altogether, attempting to make a sharp turn away from the opposition.
All of that said, George had a very promising rookie season in the OHL after not playing for a year. He will continue to get better as he develops.
Round 3, 85th overall: Marek Hejduk, RW
Probably best characterized as a “utility forward,” Marek Hejduk is a 2022 NHL draft-eligible prospect who spent the last two seasons playing for the United States National Team Development Program in Plymouth, Michigan. If the name sounds familiar, Marek is the son of former Avalanche 50-goal scorer Milan Hejduk.
Before joining the USNTDP, Marek spent the 2019-20 season with the Colorado Thunderbirds 15U AAA club, serving as the team’s alternate captain. In 17 games, he tallied eight goals and 16 points. Hejduk was elevated for two games to the 16U AAA squad, registering an assist in two games.
In his first season with Team USA, Hejduk tallied two goals and seven assists in 21 games in USHL play. He added seven goals and 17 assists in 37 USDP games while averaging 14:21 TOI. This past year, he saw fewer minutes on ice, accumulating ten goals and 19 points in 52 USDP games. He added three goals and six assists in 27 games in USHL play.
He made significant improvements in the faceoff dot, winning 55 percent of all draws, up from 23 percent a year ago, while becoming one of U18 head coach Adam Nightingale’s most reliable penalty killers.
While he’s not as prolific of a goal-scorer as his dad, Marek is a responsible two-way forward who excels in his own end. He spent 44 percent of his ice time in the defensive zone compared to 38 percent in the offensive zone.
Hejduk is committed to Harvard University in the fall.
D.O.B – January 3, 2004
Nationality – USA/Czechia
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Height – 6-foot-0
Weight – 187 lbs
Position – Right Wing
Handedness – Right
Ranked #78 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
Ranked #219 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #159 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #89 by SMAHT SCOUTING
While the USNTDP features names like Cooley, Snuggerud, McGroarty, and Hutson, Marek Hejduk was a solid complementary player on Adam Nightingale’s club. He’s not a flashy forward, but he displays good acceleration, especially carrying the puck through the neutral zone and into the attacking zone. Hejduk is a solid skater who does a good job of scanning the ice while moving the puck up-ice.
Throughout my viewings, Hejduk’s innate ability to clean up pucks in front of the net and his physical play really stood out to me. He didn’t shoot the puck much last year, but he provided support in odd-man rushes into the offensive zone, often trailing the rush. His fellow USNTDP teammates found him as a last resort option when running out of time and space, or Hejduk was there to bury the puck home after the initial scoring chance.
The majority of his goals scored last year were within 10 feet of the goal crease. He displayed it at times, but something I’d like to see him do more of going forward is being more aggressive with the puck on his stick. In this particular clip, Hejduk does a great job of skating through the defense. Once he notices the defender all sorts of turned around, Hejduk carries the puck through the slot and decisively takes it to the net, with the netminder losing track of the play due to the traffic in front.
He may not be much of a factor on the power-play in the NHL, but teams will love Hejduk’s effort on the penalty kill. He is a pest who closes the gap quickly on the forecheck, forcing the opposition to make errant passes. From a positional standpoint, he is quite good. He aligns himself to take away passing lanes across ice and from below the net. And there’s no questioning his motor. Down low, on both sides, and back up top, Hejduk is there to provide pressure.
Hejduk’s physicality is a skill that will translate to the NHL. Not only can he close quickly on defense, but he will make you think twice about going into the corner with him.
Opponents try to play his style of game, and he does a good job of absorbing contact.
From a skating perspective, Hejduk has terrific acceleration. In open space, he joins the rush, providing support for odd-man scoring chances. In the defensive zone, he widens his stance to make himself look bigger while taking away open lanes. He’s shown good edgework in my viewings.
As aggressive and smart as he is in the defensive zone, that’s where he needs to improve in the offensive zone as he continues to develop.
(All videos courtesy of InStat)