With the tenth pick in the 2022 CHL Import Draft, the Giants went to Slovakia to select center Samuel Honzek. The 17-year-old is projected to be a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and has to tools to really do some damage at the WHL level. He stands at 6’3″, 181 pounds and already has a history of success at the pro level in Slovakia.
This past season, Honzek played 49 games for HK Dukla Trencin in Slovakia’s top division. He scored ten goals and added four assists receiving consistent ice time throughout the season. There is also a connection to the Vancouver Giants as former star defenceman Andrej Meszaros also played for HK Dukla Trencin this season before announcing his retirement.
On the international stage, Honzek impressed winning Silver with Slovakia at the Hlinka Gretzky tournament while also helping the Slovaks book a spot in the World U18 Championship next season after winning the U18 Division 1A tournament. While he did not have any points in the Hlinka Gretzky tournament, he was a driving factor at the U18 D1A tournament finishing with four goals and two assists in six games.
What sticks out about Honzek is he knows how to use his size to succeed. He can get to the front of the net with ease and always has his stick on the ice waiting for the pass. A player who is not afraid to shoot the puck, he has the potential to score a lot of goals if he makes the transition to the WHL.
With the 70th overall pick, the Giants selected Jonathan Lekkerimäki out of Sweden. The winger is expected to be a top-15 pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. He does have a contract with Djurgårdens IF of the HockeyAllsvenskan next season so we will have to wait and see if he makes the jump to the WHL.
This past season, Lekkerimäki impressed at the J20 and SHL levels. He had 35 points in 26 games with Djurgårdens IF J20 of the J20 league and registered nine points in 26 games for Djurgårdens IF in the SHL. His most impressive stretch of hockey came while playing for Sweden at the World U18s where he recorded 15 points in six games on route to a Gold Medal. He also participated in the Hlinka Gretzky tournament scoring five goals in five games to secure a Bronze Medal.
Lekkerimäki is an elite talent who can snipe the puck as good as anyone and is a threat whenever he has the puck in the offensive zone. He has high-end skating ability and speed which allows him to blow by defenders on the rush making him very difficult to defend. If he makes the move to the Giants, he could put up massive point totals as his style of play matches very well with how the WHL is played.