The National Hockey League Central Scouting Service 2022 Mid-Season Draft Rankings were released on Wednesday, including a collection of players sure to please Waterloo Black Hawks fans.
Of the 224 North American skaters who received a place on the NHLCS list, Waterloo defenseman Sam Rinzel nabbed the 26th overall position, suggesting that he may be a candidate to be chosen in the opening round. Only three Black Hawks have ever been picked that early: Peter Ferraro (New York Rangers, 1992), Brock Boeser (Vancouver Canucks, 2015), and Shane Bowers (Ottawa Senators, 2017).
Rinzel has appeared in three Waterloo games this season, producing a goal and two assists during the November stint. The University of Minnesota recruit was the Hawks’ second round selection during Phase II of the 2021 USHL Draft last May. He is spending this winter with Chaska High School in Minnesota, where he is serving as team captain and currently has 16 points in 13 games. Rinzel is also slated to represent the Hawks next Monday during the BioSteel All-American Game in Plymouth, Michigan.
While Rinzel represents the future on the Waterloo blue line, a former Hawks defenseman is also receiving close consideration. David Gucciardi played in 29 games with 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) for Waterloo last season. This year as a freshman at Michigan State, Gucciardi has four goals and four assists in 22 NCAA contests. Gucciardi was ranked 74th on Wednesday.
Others of note included:
-Affiliate forward Grayson Badger, slotted 114th. Badger is playing prep hockey at Dexter Southfield School in Massachusetts after Waterloo acquired his junior hockey rights during Phase II of last May’s USHL Draft.
-Forward Gavin O’Connell has been in the lineup for 29 Black Hawks games, while also making two appearances for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program Under-18s against NCAA opponents. For Waterloo, he has two goals and nine assists, currently ranking as the team’s top rookie scorer. The Minnesota-Duluth prospect was ranked 143rd by NHLCS.
-Defenseman Adam Cardona, whose +2 plus/minus differential this season is tied for third among active Black Hawks players and best among Waterloo defensemen. Cardona is also one of only two Hawks blue-liners to have skated in every game this season. His two goals include a game-winner against the Des Moines Buccaneers. Cardona has five total points. He was ranked 171st by Central Scouting.
The 2022 NHL Draft will be conducted by the NHL’s 32 teams on July 7th and 8th. During the current NHL season, 14 former Waterloo players have appeared in at least one game, including league debuts by Tom Novak (Nashville Predators) and Jack Drury (Carolina Hurricanes).