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NHL Mock Draft 2022: Buffalo Sabres select Seamus Casey with No. 28 pick

There are a few players I’ve been banging the drum on throughout the 2022 NHL draft season and my favorite player out of all them is Seamus Casey.

Casey is an undersized, right-handed defenseman for the USNTDP. He played a significant role in the top 4 for the USNTDP. He played on the power play as well as the penalty kill for the USNTDP.

Seamus Casey possesses three skills that are truly, if not the best, then one of the best in this draft class for a defenseman. He has exceptional edges, pivots, and deception techniques, is one of the best at scanning and identifying plays before they happen at both ends of the ice, and his puck handling is of an elite nature.

Given these three skills it would seem that Casey would have no problem generating offense from the backend, and that he would be a very aggressive and puck-dominant force in transition. However, Casey is surprisingly passive in the offensive zone and defers to passing, and not carrying, the puck in transition and especially in offensive zone entries.

When he gets aggressive in the offensive zone, I don’t think there’s a defender I’d take over him as someone I’d want running my PP1 or being the offensive-leaning defensemen on my first pairing.

I lean towards taking Casey as one of the first defenders off the board in the 2022 draft. There’s so much to work with from his skill, intelligence, and ability to use lateral and deceptive motions to create space and get by defenders. With Casey going to Michigan in 2022 and the graduation of Blankenburg and the exodus of Owen Power, it’s going to open up a PP2 role behind Luke Hughes. Given Mel Pearson’s history of leaning into the strengths of his defenders and Casey getting 2-3 years of developing in a system that will adhere to his strengths: Casey is poised to flourish.

Here’s how the first 27 picks of the mock draft went:

1. Shane Wright — Montreal Canadiens

2. Logan Cooley — New Jersey Devils

3. Juraj Slafkovsky — Arizona Coyotes

4. Simon Nemec — Seattle Kraken

5. David Jiricek — Philadelphia Flyers

6. Cutter Gauthier — Columbus Blue Jackets

7. Joakim Kemell — Ottawa Senators

8. Matthew Savoie — Detroit Red Wings

9. Conor Geekie — Buffalo Sabres

10. Kevin Korchinski – Anaheim Ducks

11. Jonathan Lekkerimaki — San Jose Sharks

12. Frank Nazar — Columbus Blue Jackets

13. Marco Kasper — New York Islanders

14. Danila Yurov — Winnipeg Jets

15. Liam Ohgren — Vancouver Canucks

16. Brad Lambert — Buffalo Sabres

17. Pavel Mintyukov — Nashville Predators

18. Lian Bichsel — Dallas Stars

19. Isaac Howard — Los Angeles Kings

20. Denton Mateychuk — Washington Capitals

21. Ivan Miroshinichenko — Pittsburgh Penguins

22. Rutger McGroarty — Anaheim Ducks

23. Jiri Kulich — St. Louis Blues

24. Gleb Trikozov — Minnesota Wild

25. Noah Ostlund — Toronto Maple Leafs

26. Jagger Firkus — Montreal Canadiens

27. Lane Hutson — Arizona Coyotes

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