NHL Rumors: Electrifying Defenseman Poised For Early Draft Selection

Less than a month away from the 2022 NHL Draft, talk continues to center, as always, around the top offensive prospects. A little less attention has been given to the defensive end of things. 

However, it's not for lack of defensive talent. 

The 18-year old Slovak, Simon Nemec, has been playing in the professional Slovak Extraliga for two seasons now. Last season, he put up a solid 26 points in 39 games with an impressive plus-13 rating. 

For just 18 years old, Nemec's two seasons playing professional in Slovakia certainly puts him ahead of the power curve when it comes to experience. And while centers like Cooley, Wright, and Slafkovsky seem to have dominated the past months of draft talk, Nemec is not without recognition. Scott Wheeler of The Athletic predicts Simon Nemec will go second overall next month.

This may seem to stand apart from the official 2022 NHL Draft Prospect Rankings which place Nemec third among European skaters. That's third overall, not considering North Americans like Wright and Cooley. 

But putting Nemec before some of the promising centers might not be as crazy as it sounds.

The six-foot, 199-pound righty could be a perfect fit for the struggling Arizona Coyotes. 

It is no secret the Coyotes have been spiraling in recent years. And let's just say that the loss of stars Oliver Ekman Larsson and Connor Garland hasn't helped. What the Coyotes lack offensively, they lack even more on defense, with a terrifying 313 goals allowed this past season (2nd worst in the NHL.)

While draft day is always full of surprises, Simon Nemec certainly has what it takes to go with the top three. And while confidence in his skill set may vary, there's certainly plenty of it on his side of things.