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Color of Hockey

Color of Hockey: Nine players eligible for 2022 NHL Draft

QMJHL defenseman Warren, NTDP forward Kaplan among North American skaters

by William Douglas @WDouglasNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

William Douglas has been writing The Color of Hockey blog since 2012. Douglas joined NHL.com in 2019 and writes about people of color in the sport. Today, he profiles players of color eligible for the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre in Montreal on July 7 and 8.

The 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be held in person for the first time in two years after being conducted virtually due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

There are at least nine players of color ranked by NHL Central Scouting who'll be in the stands with their families at the draft or watching on television, waiting to hear their names called. The first round is Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, ESPN+. SN, TVAS). Rounds 2-7 are Friday (11 a.m. ET; NHLN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS).

Here's a look at the nine players:

Noah Warren, D, Gatineau (QMJHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 33 (North American skaters)

Warren (6-foot-5, 224 pounds) had 24 points (five goals, 19 assists) in 62 games. Gatineau coach and general manager Louis Robitaille likens the 17-year-old's build and game to New York Rangers defenseman K'Andre Miller.

"He can skate with anybody in this league," Robitaille said. "He has a long reach, and he really takes pride in shutting down the other team's top players. Often you see a smaller guy who can skate well. Him, he's a big guy who skates well and is tough to play against."

Isaiah George, D, London (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 53 (North American skaters)

George (6-foot, 196) was London's second-leading scorer among defensemen with 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) in 67 games. He was among 40 draft prospects who competed in the 2022 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium in March. 

Billy Sullivan, London's United States scout, said the 18-year-old's offensive prowess sometimes overshadows his defensive ability.

"His game right now is he possesses the puck a lot, his head is up the entire time, and he takes what is given to him on the ice," Sullivan said. "Because he has the puck so much on his stick people consider him an offensive defenseman, but I consider him a two-way defenseman who is a very, very good defender."

Devin Kaplan, RW, NTDP
NHL Central Scouting: No. 61 (North American skaters)

Kaplan (6-3, 205) is a power forward who had 38 points (13 goals, 25 assists) in 53 games for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team, and six points (one goal, five assists) in six games to help the United States finish second at the 2022 IIHF Under-18 World Championship.

NTDP Under-17 coach Nick Fohr said Kaplan plays his best when "he's physical, he's skating hard, he's attacking the net, playing like a power forward, using his big body and his speed to get in front of the net."

The 18-year-old from Bridgewater, New Jersey, will play at Boston University this fall. Kaplan comes from a hockey family. His oldest brother, Jordan, 25, was a forward for Adirondack, the New Jersey Devils' ECHL affiliate, this season. Their middle brother, Jalen, 22, completed his senior season with NCAA Division III Colby College in Waterville, Maine, in March.

Jackson Dorrington, D, Des Moines (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 71 (North American skaters)

Dorrington (6-2, 192) had 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 41 games with Des Moines, and one assist in four games for the United States at the 2021 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, an under-18 international tournament.

The 18-year-old from North Reading, Massachusetts is committed to Northeastern University. His 20-year-old brother, Max, is a forward at St. Lawrence University. The brothers are distant cousins of the late Art Dorrington, who became the first Black player to sign an NHL contract when he joined the New York Rangers organization in 1950. He never reached the NHL.

Daimon Gardner, C, Warroad (HIGH-MN)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 97 (North American skaters)

A power forward, Gardner (6-4, 200) had 83 points (45 goals, 38 assists) in 30 high school games after he had four points (three goals, one assist) in 14 games for Omaha and Tri-City of the United States Hockey League. The 18-year-old from Eagle Lake, Ontario is committed to Clarkson University and was one of six Indigenous players to play for Warroad this season.

"I think it helped him a lot coming back and playing high school just on a confidence level," Warroad coach Jay Hardwick said. "He had been kind of playing in spots where his role was maybe limited, or he wasn't asked to be the go-to guy. When he came back to Warroad, he was given the opportunity to play on our top line and play on our power play and kill penalties."

Rodwin Dionicio, D, Niagara (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 118 (North American skaters)

Dionicio (6-2, 207) was Niagara's second-leading scorer among defensemen as a rookie with 31 points (six goals, 25 assists) in 57 games and was an Ontario Hockey League All-Rookie finalist. The 18-year-old was born in Newark, New Jersey to parents from the Dominican Republic and raised in Switzerland. He played for Switzerland at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Championship and the 2020 Winter Youth Olympics.

Kazimier Sobieski, D, Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep (HIGH-MN)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 130 (North American skaters)

The son of a Chinese mother from Taiwan and an American father of Polish heritage, Sobieski (6-foot, 181) had 31 points (four goals, 27 assists) in 38 games. The 18-year-old from South Deerfield, Massachusetts will play for the University of Massachusetts-Amherst this fall.

"He's a really good, strong skater, fluid skater, he's got a heavy shot and he's a well-rounded player," Shattuck-St. Mary's boys' prep coach Tom Ward said. "He's a 200-foot player such that he can create in the offensive zone as a defenseman, be a fourth and fifth attacker to help keep plays and pucks alive."

Zaccharaya Wisdom, RW, Cedar Rapids (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 145 (North American skaters)

Wisdom (5-11, 154) had 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 53 games for Cedar Rapids. The 18-year-old from Toronto is committed to play for Colorado College. His 19-year-old brother, Zayde Wisdom, was chosen by the Philadelphia Flyers in the fourth round (No. 94) of the 2020 NHL Draft. Each have been mentored by and received encouragement from current and former Black NHL players from Scarborough, Ontario, including Anthony Stewart, Chris Stewart, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds and Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Akil Thomas.

Grayson Badger, RW, Dexter Southfield (High School-MA)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 165 (North American skaters)

The 18-year-old (6-foot, 172) from Boston had 32 points (nine goals, 23 assists) in 24 games and is committed to Northeastern University. Badger said he's a power forward in the mold of Shane Doan, who had 972 points (402 goals, 570 assists) in 1,540 games for the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes from 1995-2017.

"That description fits him," said David Franzosa, who has coached Badger the past five years. "He's a pure right winger and he can also play the off side. He's a strong, good-sized kid who imposes his will on his opponents."

Photos: USA Hockey, Dominic Charette, Matt Hiscox Photography, Des Moines (USHL), Omaha (USHL), Vivid Eye Photography, Shattuck-St. Mary's, Cedar Rapids (USHL), Dave Arnold Photography.

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