Perhaps probably the most coveted participant in hockey is a right-handed capturing defenseman that may run an influence play.
The New Jersey Devils discovered their man in Slovakia’s Simon Nemec with the second-overall decide on the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal.
“It says a lot that not only did he play in the World Championship, but he was on the PP and 6-on-5 when they needed a goal,” mentioned Devils Chief Scout Mark Dennehy. “Right shot D are difficult to get. We got a good one.”
Nemec, 6-foot, 199 kilos, felt good about his probabilities of being chosen by New Jersey after assembly with the crew’s scouting and administration employees on the NHL Combine in Buffalo. However, it was nonetheless a bit stunning he admitted upon listening to his title.
“I was a little bit nervous because New Jersey has more centers and they need a defenseman,” Nemec mentioned with a smile. “It’s a big surprise because everybody said I’d be four, five, or six (picked). But second-overall is amazing.
“I’m actually, actually excited. I nonetheless cannot consider it. Amazing.”
Nemec, 18, is an offensively gifted blueliner. His hockey IQ, skating, vision and passing make him an offensive threat, and a natural power-play quarterback.
“Simon is the modern-day puck transferring defenseman,” Dennehy said. “His imaginative and prescient in all three zones, plus the power to go off both forehand or backhand, permits his crew to transition from protection to offense.”
Nemec had quite an eventful past year. He played all season with Nitra’s pro team of the Slovakian league. He also helped Slovakia win bronze at the Winter Olympic Games, claimed silver in the annual Hlinka Tournament and represented his country in the World Championship.
“He has a boatload of expertise enjoying in opposition to males,” said Sportsnet’s draft expert Sam Cosentino, “going again to when he was 15 years previous entering into video games within the males’s league in Slovakia, enjoying in two Worlds, enjoying within the Olympics. That’s not a whole lot of expertise you get to see from a participant in his draft yr come to the desk with.”
Adding to the night’s accolades was the fact that Nemec’s Slovakian teammate Juraj Slafkovsky went No. 1 overall to Montreal, meaning his homeland produced the top took picks in the NHL Draft – a historic first for the country.
“Last yr was actually good for Slovakia,” Nemec said. “We gained a bronze medal, we had been second within the Hlinka and now first-overall and second-overall. Amazing yr.
“It was an amazing moment for my family, for me, for everybody in Slovakia. It’s an amazing night because we had the first-overall and second-overall.”
Nemec desires to come back to North America subsequent season. While his vacation spot would possible be Utica of the American Hockey League, his actual objective is to be enjoying within the National Hockey League.
“I want to go to North America,” he mentioned of his plans subsequent yr. “Maybe the American Hockey League. If there’s an option for me, I want to play a couple games in the NHL.”