The Winnipeg Jets were on cloud nine when young ice hockey forward Brad Lambert was still on the board. They were elated when it was time for them to make their second pick in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft.
The Jets expected the Finnish-Canadian player to be gone by the time their choice at No. 30 came around but they went on to grab him with both hands when he was still there.
“We had him ranked quite a bit higher,” Jets director of amateur scouting Mark Hiller said, as quoted by NHL.com. “We didn’t think he’d be there, and we couldn’t get up to the stage fast enough to announce his name.”
Adding to this, Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said: “We think he’s the best skater in the draft. At 30, things like this always happen. You’ve got a guy higher on your list and you’re waiting to see, waiting to see, waiting to see. You get a good feeling.”
“Am not too worried about my struggles”
The Lahti native Lambert, who represented Finland at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton, Canada, scored a power-play goal on a one-timer in a 6-1 win against Latvia on Tuesday. The youngster also impressed all for his country when the 2022 WJC first was played in December. He had five points (one goal, four assists) in two games before the tournament was postponed after four days due to coronavirus concerns.
“[Liiga] is a very defensive league, a very tough league to play in as a young guy,” Lambert said. “I had my struggles in producing, but I’m not too worried about that. … I’ve kind of always been a guy that produced, and last year obviously didn’t go my way. I’m just really looking forward to next year and bouncing back.”