Hillier, Jets inventory the prospect cabinets at 2022 NHL Draft

Mark Hillier keeps a busy schedule throughout the year, especially now that travel is becoming a little bit easier to do.

The St. John’s, Newfoundland product – and Director of Amateur Scouting for the Winnipeg Jets – often leaves his home for two-to-three weeks at a time, returns home for a few days, then heads back on the road.

Over, and over, and over again.

All so he can be as prepared as possible for the NHL Draft.

Hillier, along with general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, and the entire organization made seven picks at the 2022 NHL Draft at the Bell Centre in Montreal. In total, four were forwards, two were defencemen, and the final pick added another goaltender to the organization.

14th overall – Rutger McGroarty (RW), USA National Development Team Program

Hillier: Great character kid, He hasn’t wiped the smile off his face, it’s from ear to ear. Everybody says how high his character his, his grit and determination. But also he scored 50 goals in the combined seasons and events this year. Really happy with adding a guy of his grit and character with his combined skill level and goal-scoring ability.”

Cheveldayoff: He’s an energy guy who comes out and is one of those guys that’s going to do anything for an organization to win. Combine that with skill, character, leadership, those are the things that draw you to him. We’re real excited to have him as part of our organization.


30th overall – Brad Lambert (Centre), Finnish Liiga

Hillier: I think he’s hard on himself that he fell. He didn’t have a great year, a lot of factors were put into that. He wasn’t in a great development situation. He takes some ownership of that. Going forward I think he’ll be in a better spot this coming year. Just look for better things and a high ceiling.

Cheveldayoff: We think he’s the best skater in the draft. Obviously, he’s played over in a European men’s league, which is tough. We’ve seen that with other players as well. It’s hard for young players to get different types of opportunities to really accentuate their talents over there. But the positive is that he’s played with men, so he knows what it’s like to play in a men’s organization and in a men’s league.


55th overall – Elias Salomonsson (RHD), Skelleftea of the SHL

Hillier: I think he’s a really good skater. I’d call him almost an elite skater, a puck moving defenceman. He plays with an edge and some sandpaper to him. Hard hitter, doesn’t have a high end on the skill but decent stats. He’s got a good shot. I think he’s going to be a guy that takes care of his own end first, moves the puck and plays hard.


77th overall – Danny Zhilkin (Centre), Guelph Storm of the OHL

Hillier: I had lots of viewings in Guelph. I’ve seen him play a bit. He’s a big, strong kid. He’s a good skater, has some upside on the skill side and good speed at the centre ice position.”


99th overall – Garrett Brown (RHD), Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)

Hillier: A really good skating defenceman. A puck mover. We think he’s just starting to scratch the surface. It took him a while to establish himself in the USHL this year. He got better and better as the season went on. He won a championship. I think he had a big growth camp a few years back. He went to Spokane’s camp (in the WHL), I believe and he was a 5-foot-9, smaller defenceman. I know he told us that now he’s just under 6-foot-3. Won a championship there in Sioux City and he’s going to go back to Sioux City next year and then on to Denver, so we like the development path there.”


175th overall – Fabian Wagner (Centre), Linkoping HC J20

Hillier: He’s probably played some wing but we see him as a centreman. A left-shot centre, 5-foot-11. Really smart, I would say hockey sense is his best asset. A two-way guy. Really responsible defensively but can chip in offensively. There’s good value here.


207th overall – Domenic DiVincentiis (Goaltender), North Bay Battalion of the OHL

Hillier: He got better and better as the season went on, he got playoff games off the older goaltender and it looks like he might be the No. 1 there next year. Our goalie coach Drew McIntyre put in a lot of work with him and he really likes the player. We had him ranked quite a bit higher and we’re happy we got him here in the seventh round. We like there’s really good upside there.”


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