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The Intermission Sports 2023 NHL Mock Draft

(Image: Daily Faceoff)

By: Mitchell Fox

The NHL Entry Draft is only days away, and in the spirit of every hockey writer that ever lived, I felt the urge to do a first-round mock draft of my own.

I am no expert on scouting, so I am combining what I have seen and think with the knowledge of some of the best prospect writers out there. I’ve also had a hand from my brother Brendan, who has done extensive research on draft prospects this year.

This is not a consensus ranking, but the idea is to have some fun taking a guess at what might happen on Wednesday night using what I have read and heard from others, watched myself and my own understanding of the game and NHL teams.

With that little disclaimer out of the way, humour me and take a couple minutes to check out my first-round mock for the 2023 NHL Draft.

1. Chicago - Connor Bedard

There is about a zero per cent chance the Chicago Blackhawks do not select Connor Bedard with the first pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

With undeniable hand-eye and agility and an unbelievable release on his shot, the Vancouver native made his mark with the Regina Pats over the last few seasons since joining them as an exceptional status player, earning comparisons to Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and other NHL superstars.

On 26 public rankings, he is number one on all 26. The kid is good, and Chicago is the only team that gets to pick him.

2. Anaheim Ducks - Adam Fantilli

Though Leo Carlsson and Matvei Michkov are very highly-touted, the second pick in this draft has largely been devoted as Adam Fantilli’s place to go. Fantilli, a Canadian who played in the NCAA this season, has experience well beyond his years and his play is both the reason behind that and the best evidence of that. Fantilli has played for Canada at the world under-18 tournament, the world juniors and just got back from playing at the World Championships. Add 65 points in 36 games at the University of Michigan and it is hard to imagine the Ducks passing up an opportunity to add Fantilli to a young core featuring Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, Mason McTavish, Jamie Drysdale and Olen Zellweger.

3. Columbus Blue Jackets - Leo Carlsson

The third overall pick might be the most difficult and interesting one in this draft. The best player for the pick might be Matvei Michkov, but with his complicated contract situation (he is signed with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL in Russia until 2026), it is well worth it for Columbus to go to Leo Carlsson, who is not as offensively gifted but brings similar pedigree in his strong all-around game. His success alongside adults in the Swedish Hockey League could be attributed to not only his skill but his hockey sense, among the best in the draft.

The other key factor for the Blue Jackets is position. They need a center, which Carlsson is and Michkov is not. The Swede could be the high-end NHL centre they need to fit nicely with Johnny Gaudreau, Patrik Laine or some of their wing prospects.

4. San Jose Sharks - Matvei Michkov

It is far from a guarantee, but my guess is San Jose takes the shot on Michkov. The Russian winger has such immense pedigree as an elite offensive talent that it just does not feel right to suggest he goes any later than the fourth or fifth pick. His play with the puck is unimaginably good for a player so young, while his shot makes him a scoring threat every game.

It is quite possible Michkov goes later. Perhaps a team trades up to the fifth pick to snag him, or he falls to the Capitals at eight, but based on pure skill, he should go sooner. San Jose needs to build whatever talent they can into their roster and their road to success is not a short one. By the time Michkov moves over to the NHL and then plays through an entry-level contract, Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic should be off the books and the team could look completely different from the version that struggled so mightily this year.

5. Montreal Canadiens - Will Smith

The Montreal Canadiens are a tough team to read, but it seems pretty likely they take the best player available from the almost undisputed top five in this draft (perhaps with the exception of if Michkov is the one to fall). So, Will Smith is the player they should pick.

Highlighted by possibly the best hands in the draft, Smith has shown off some brilliant flash and skill to his game as the United States National Team Development Program’s (USNTDP’s) top centre and has even been ranked above Carlsson by some scouts. There are other good players the Canadiens could pick to fill any of the massive holes in their system, but when it comes to pure potential or upside, Smith is the best option. If he is available at five, the Canadiens perhaps get a centre to play beside Cole Caufield in the future.

6. Arizona Coyotes - David Reinbacher

The draft really begins to change when the Coyotes take the stage at pick number six. The options here are extensive and a struggling Coyotes franchise could find a much-needed win in a lot of places. The answer to me is that they will pick the first defenceman in the draft.

Austrian defenceman David Reinbacher has made a name for himself in many respects, including playing well as an 18-year-old in a men’s league in Europe. He appears close to NHL-ready and has offensive skills to match his highly touted defensive ones. Having picked forwards with most of their early picks in recent years, the Coyotes finally take a step towards having a bonafide top-four defenceman to replace Jakub Chychrun.

Zach Benson and Ryan Leonard could be better overall players, but the blueliner is the way the Coyotes are likely to go.

7. Philadelphia Flyers - Ryan Leonard

Philadelphia seems like a good bet to take Reinbacher, but with him already off the board, they look to the USNTDP and select Ryan Leonard. The USNTDP has produced a lot of talent in recent years and the Flyers have not been shy about picking players from the program, including Cutter Gauthier last year. Daniel Briere may have replaced Chuck Fletcher as General Manager, but with much of the scouting staff still around and a very hands-on upper management group still in control, it seems fair to guess those views remain intact.

Leonard is a high-energy player with a fair bit of skill, but his attractiveness to teams like the Flyers comes in that he does a lot of little things well, including bringing some bite to his game. One of the top scorers on the USNTDP thanks to his hunger on and off the puck, Leonard could be valuable up the middle or on the wing for a Flyers team that needs all the future talent they can get.

8. Washington Capitals - Dalibor Dvorsky

Zach Benson might be slightly more attractive as a top-ten pick, but Washington goes for the best center available. Dalibor Dvorsky is one of the more experienced players in the draft thanks to his international play for Slovakia and playing for AIK of the HockeyAllsvenskan league in Sweden, so he could be an option for a Capitals team that wants to reconstruct quickly and contend while Alex Ovechkin is still one of the best scorers in the NHL.

Dvorsky is a strong two-way player and is known for his ability to move the puck under pressure. Add in that he is also a legitimate scoring threat thanks to his net-driving ability and strong shot, and it is hard to believe he gets past many teams. The Capitals need centers in their lineup and especially in their prospect system, so Dvorsky is the best pick at eight.

9. Detroit Red Wings - Zach Benson

Zach Benson is one of the most skilled players in the draft, but also the best two-way player according to Scott Wheeler’s superlatives rankings. If he was taller than 5’10” and was a bit tougher and stronger, it is more than likely some scouts and writers would have him ranked higher than ninth. He is known as a complete player who makes those around him better with his elite passing and high-end smarts. So, though he is not as safe a pick as others in the draft, the potential for a steal makes Benson an attractive target for the Red Wings, who need a game-changer in their system. Benson could be that, so if he is still available, they likely waste no time picking him.

10. St. Louis Blues - Nate Danielson

Some think the Blues are going to go with Tom Willander in this spot, and for good reason considering they need defence prospects. However, they also need a high-end center. The best option, then, is very likely Nate Danielson, whose stock has risen in recent weeks.

One reason has to be Danielson’s impressive showing at the draft combine, which included top ten scores in four different types of jumps, as well as the bench press and pull-ups. Danielson’s allure is furthered by his size (he is 6’2”), swift skating and responsible positioning. He is not as exciting as players like Benson or Brayden Yager (maybe the next-best center), but his leadership qualities as the captain of the Brandon Wheat Kings and his mix of size, speed and smarts have led many to trust his projectability as a middle-six center.

Danielson is a good fit for the Blues, who have three first-round picks and a real chance for a quick turnaround.

11. Vancouver Canucks - Matthew Wood

Matthew Wood may not be the best player available, but he feels like the one for the Canucks. This is not only because he took the route through the BCHL (where he set records as a 16- and 17-year-old) to the NCAA, but because he is possibly a top ten player in the draft in pure skill. He also fits one of the Canucks’ many needs.

Like the Blues, the Canucks need a center. But with mostly wingers remaining at the top of the draft class, it makes sense to go with Wood, who mostly played wing at the University of Connecticut this year but played center in Jr. A. While there are some questions about whether Wood will be a center in the long run, the possibility, combined with his size (he is 6’3”), nose for the net and wicked wrist shot may be enough to convince the Canucks to stay close to home.

12. Arizona Coyotes (via Ottawa) - Gabe Perreault

Gabe Perreault has been projected in a lot of different spots across rankings and mocks out there, but as a strong winger from the USNTDP who has proven he can score and with a former NHLer for a father (Yanic Perreault was quite the player in his day), there is good reason to believe teams will covet him.

For the Coyotes to take Reinbacher with their earlier pick, a forward feels like a must here, and Perreault could very well be the one. He is touted as one of the most purely talented players in the draft and can fill the scoresheet, but he also plays a safe and smart style compared to some of the other more scrappy players remaining. He is known as likely the best passer in the class and has caught a lot of attention for his all-around game. Perreault has gained popularity throughout the season, so the Coyotes could be lucky to snag him at 12.

13. Buffalo Sabres - Oliver Moore

Oliver Moore is likely the fastest skater in the draft. If any team appreciates speed and knows how to pick talented forward prospects, it is the Sabres. With JJ Peterka, Jack Quinn, Peyton Krebs and Dylan Cozens already in the picture as young studs, a sure-fire center with speed, skill and enough of a scrappy edge to make up for being a bit smaller than some of the other popular names in the draft is an attractive target. A center is perhaps the greatest need for the Sabres, who already have Ukko Pekka Luukkonen and Devon Levi as goaltending prospects and Rasmus Sandin and Owen Power on defence, so knabbing Moore at 13 seems like a great pickup (and in my mind a steal).

The other possibility here is that the Sabres take the bite on Dmitri Simashev, the skilled defenceman from Lokomotiv in Russia, but it is possibly a bit too early and Moore should be a good fit.

14. Pittsburgh Penguins - Axel Sandin-Pellikka

The truth is, moving down feels like a real possibility for Kyle Dubas and company. Ignoring that, however, the best pick has to be Axel Sandin-Pelikka. The undersized Swedish blueliner will likely be the second or third defenceman picked in the draft, though I will admit that will likely come much earlier than pick 14. There are more sure-fire forward prospects than defencemen in this draft, but ASP’s pedigree and skill as an offensive defenceman and powerplay specialist are difficult to question anywhere in the top 15. The fact he is right-handed makes him a hot commodity to be sure.

ASP is one of a few draft-eligible players to have played at the World Juniors. Though he only had one point, he was an important player for Sweden en route to a fourth-place finish. Add in appearing in 22 games in the SHL (Sweden’s top professional league) this past season and Sandin-Pellikka appears to be closer to the NHL than other prospects in this draft.

This works perfectly for the Penguins. New GM Kyle Dubas picks the next version of Rasmus Sandin (his first pick as GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs) for a Penguins team that is depleted at all levels and would like to compete while Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are still playing.

15. Nashville Predators - Brayden Yager

Brayden Yager may be a bit of a risk in some scouts’ eyes because of defensive struggles down the stretch, but his heavy shot, speed and smart positioning made him a top talent in the Western Hockey League (WHL) this year. He has a nose for the puck and is capable of finding the back of the net in a lot of ways, including with his eye-catching shot.

Barry Trotz said in May that he told his scouts to “take some swings” for high-end players and that “I can find you 3rd line, 4th line guys, no problem. Go get me some guys that get people out of their seats.” If the Predators’ scouting staff is ready to take a bet on a skill player rather than a safer all-around player, they can certainly fill their need at center with Yager.

16. Calgary Flames - Colby Barlow

This feels like it should be too late to be writing about Colby Barlow, but compared to other players in the first half of the first round, he just doesn’t seem to have the same excitement around his name.

Barlow could be one of the closest players to being NHL-ready after the top five or so picks. The Owen Sound Attack captain is the type of bonafide goal scorer that is hard to come by, even in this very talented draft class. He is known as a leader on and off the ice who plays hard all the time, making him a pick the Flames will covet.

There is reason to believe a defenceman would be a good choice for the Flames, but I don’t think Tom Willander or Dmitri Simashev turn the crank enough for a Flames scouting group with a history of taking the best player available with their mid-first-round picks (Jakub Pelletier stands out) to skip on someone like Barlow.

17. Detroit Red Wings (via NYI) - Tom Willander

There is a real possibility that I have Detroit’s two picks in the wrong order, as Tom Willander has gotten a lot of attention recently and may go ahead of Sandin-Pellikka. However, the chance that Benson becomes a star makes me think he will not be available this late, so it seemed reasonable to believe that the Red Wings’ second pick could be where they choose a defenceman. If Willander is gone, Dmitiri Simashev or even ASP are likely still available.

Like ASP, Willander is a Swedish right-handed defenceman who could be picked any time between fifth and 25th. One big difference, however, is that he is not an offensive defenceman but rather a strong two-way type. In the mould of two of the Red Wings’ most significant picks in recent years, Moritz Seider and Simon Edvinsson, Willander is another relatively big defenceman with surprising and outstanding skating. Aggressive, defensively stout and skilled all at once, he is not a player opponents will like playing against. So, this feels about as far as he could fall, and the Red Wings would be thrilled.

18. Winnipeg Jets - Dmitri Simashev

For the first time in the draft, I have blueliners going back-to-back with Winnipeg taking Dmitri Simashev. The Russian has gained a lot of attention, especially in more recent months, because of his effective defensive play and strong footwork. He has a lot of speed for a 6’4” blueliner and is intelligent with and without the puck. He even got into 18 KHL games this year.

The Russian factor is one worth mentioning because Simashev has some development to do and will likely do that in Russia, meaning he could end up with a long contract in the KHL and not want to leave. Winnipeg could use a defence prospect and has some options when it comes to the direction of their team, so they can be malleable to Simashev’s contract situation and trajectory. If he falls this far and Winnipeg does not take him, I’d put my money on Seattle or Minnesota.

19. Chicago (via Tampa Bay) - Samuel Honzek

Samuel Honzek is the other 6’4” player with a good chance of being picked in the first 20 picks of the draft. The Vancouver Giants forward brings the “compete level” and hockey sense scouts are always bound to like and that matches his impressive size and strength. Add in some skill and the belief he could be moved to the middle of the ice in the future, and there is good reason to see how he could be a target for teams in this range of the draft.

Honzek has gotten some attention in the last couple of months (Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman apparently followed him around a bit) so if Chicago is one of the teams that recognize this attraction to Honzek, they could use their second pick in the draft on him or even trade down to accrue some more picks. If they do select him, Honzek may not play alongside Bedard, but he would bring a presence Chicago could use.

20. Seattle Kraken - Quentin Musty

I have gone back and forth on who I think the Kraken will choose at 20 but settled on one of two OHL forwards - Quentin Musty and Calum Ritchie. Why? Because Seattle has had early success with not being afraid to take players where they should be picked and have picked a lot of players from the OHL. Last year, they watched Shane Wright fall to fourth overall and wasted no time picking him. In two drafts, they have picked some players that have already taken serious strides, including Ryan Winterton in 2021 and David Goyette, Ty Nelson and Tucker Robertson in 2022. Every one of those players played in the OHL last year.

Musty wins out for a few reasons. First off, he played alongside Goyette at times this season and could next season. Secondly, he is a winger, which they need more than a center. On top of that, though, Musty brings a little more superstar potential than Ritchie thanks to his impressive stickhandling for a 6’2” winger and a quick but hefty shot. Watching the Wolves with and without Musty this year (he missed time in January with an injury), it was clear how important the 2021 first-overall OHL Draft pick was to their offence.

21. Minnesota Wild - Daniil But

The Minnesota Wild might be one of the few teams in the NHL to be confident in picking a Russian player this early. All the evidence they need sits in Kirill Kaprizov’s 234 points in 203 games for the Wild across three seasons. Getting him over to North America took some time, but it was well worth it. In the case of Daniil But, he certainly will not be available in the fifth round and likely not even at the Wild’s next pick, so this is the time to pick the big winger.

But is enormous and plays like it. He uses his 6’5” frame well to protect the puck and put some power into a fiery shot, and has the tools in terms of skating, stickhandling and smart two-way play to round out a pretty complete package. He averaged a point-per-game in the MHL and played 15 games in the KHL, bringing some attention his way from NHL scouting departments. Minnesota just has to be one of those teams in my mind.

22. Philadelphia Flyers (via Columbus via LA) - Calum Ritchie

While the Flyers may intend to pick a defenceman with their second first-rounder to fill out a different need than they did with Leonard, there may not be a player that catches their attention enough to pick before some of the forwards remaining. So, Calum Ritchie feels like the pick for them at 22. The Oshawa Generals center is a player that caught even my attention in the couple of games that I got to watch him play in Mississauga, as his presence on the ice was made notable by his efficient playmaking and strong puck protection.

Ritchie could end up moving to the wing as he develops, but his strong positional sense and stickwork mean there is a shot he stays up the middle, making him even more valuable to the Flyers. To walk away from the first round with Leonard and Ritchie would be very promising.

23. New York Rangers - Gavin Brindley

The ideal pick for the Rangers here might be Ritchie, but with him gone, they take probably the next most exciting forward in Gavin Brindley. The University of Michigan forward is undersized to say the least at just 5’8” but he makes up for it with a fiery spirit and hunger for the puck, matched with his great skating and quick hands. The Rangers will appreciate a player that can both retrieve and carry the puck, and was on Scott Wheeler’s lists of best skaters and most competitive players in the draft class. With a bit of a history of drafting American players, the Rangers could like Brindley. They have not picked undersized players, but a management team finally building a team of their own might be more open-minded now.

24. Nashville Predators (via Edmonton) - Mikhail Gulyayev

Since every draft has to have a bold pick, this feels like it could be the one. Mikhail Gulyayev is a skilled offensive defenceman whose mobility and acceleration has become his defining feature. He has also been touted as a good puck-mover and rush defender. Gulyayev may struggle in his own end and that likely contributed to being sent down after a short stint in the KHL, but his play in the MHL (Russia’s junior league) has earned him a lot of attention. An incredible 16-year-old season last year (35 points in 54 games) was followed by 25 points in 22 games this year, a very impressive mark for a defenceman.

If Yager was a potentially risky pick before, then Gulyayev might be even more of one. But Nashville sounded willing to take such risks and though their GM has changed, they have a history of pretty good scouting. The Russia factor is of course one to consider here, but Nashville may be able to overcome it if the pick of Yaroslav Askarov in 2020 and Fyodor Svechkov in 2021 are any indication.

25. St Louis Blues (via Toronto) - Lukas Dragicevic

After the relatively safe and closer to NHL-ready pick with Danielson at 10, the Blues can afford to take a bit more of a risk with one of their later two picks, or at least that is a common thought in NHL circles. In this case, Lukas Dragicevic is a premium example of an offensive defenceman, even said to play at times like a fourth forward (though this might have had more to do with being on the struggling Tri-City Americans this year).

His skating has raised questions for sure, but Dragicevic proved that he could fill the scoresheet and he is a 6’1” right-handed defenceman – that alone gives him serious value. There are not many definitively better defencemen in the draft but the likelihood is one of the teams between this pick and the Blues’ next pick takes Dragicevic if he is available.

26. San Jose Sharks (via New Jersey) - Andrew Cristall

After Michkov, the Sharks have a lot of options, whether they want to go for a defenceman to mix things up, or a safer forward pick. Another way to go is with the player remaining with possibly the most potential to become a star. Andrew Cristall has been ranked in the middle of the first round by many writers, but mocked lower, even falling into the second round in Corey Pronman’s latest mock draft.

Cristall is a pure playmaker. His trademark is moving the puck as well as anyone in the draft class thanks to his shiftiness and vision when passing. His smaller stature and the fact he is a winger mean he will likely fall further than he should, but I am choosing to give the Sharks a vote of confidence in being able to look past size. Their new scouting department headed by Chris Morehouse and Stephane LeBlanc has a history in CHL scouting and they along with Mike Grier likely have their eyes set on a new era in Sharks hockey. More importantly, Cristall has too much potential to fall much further.

27. Colorado Avalanche - Bradly Nadeau

I have flipped back and forth on who I think the Colorado Avalanche will select at 27 many times. Though I think the real answer is that the Avalanche might be a good candidate to trade down with this pick to get whoever it is that they have their eyes set on and something extra, let’s assume they use the pick.

My choice, in the end, is Bradly Nadeau. The Avalanche have had success with players who started in Junior A out West and are committed to the NCAA, as a certain player named Cale Makar was. Nadeau is not Makar in a lot of ways (namely he is a forward), but he is a player a lot of teams may want in the late first or early second round, and the Avalanche feel like a good fit. Nadeau was on Wheeler’s list of players with the highest ceilings and best skating and made his mark in several categories at the Draft Combine. He could be a real star if he uses his mix of excellent vision, quick feet and a sharp wrist shot as a base of a strong all-around game. He has work to do, but Nadeau makes sense for an already strong Avs team.

28. Toronto Maple Leafs (via Boston) - Eduard Sale

The Toronto Maple Leafs have a new GM in Brad Treliving, but most of the rest of their front office remains intact. Does this mean they will go with some of the prototypical Leafs draft picks of the Kyle Dubas era? Who knows. Will they trade down a few picks as Dubas liked to? Maybe, but if Eduard Sale is available when they come up, I doubt it.

Sale has caught a lot of attention with his play at the junior level in Czechia (where he had 99 points in 44 games) and at the international level, including at the last two under-18 tournaments and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He was honourable mentions on three of Wheeler’s lists – top skaters, shooters and passers – and was 11th on his list of highest ceilings. If Sale is as strong in all those categories as a lot of writers and scouts have suggested, and he fills out his 6’2” frame more, he could be an impact player in a couple of years. Though his popularity has faltered, it is very difficult to imagine Sale falling past the Leafs pick.

29. St Louis Blues (via Dallas) - Otto Stenberg

If the Blues can pick Otto Stenberg at 29, they should be happy. The Swedish center was the captain for Sweden at the U18 Worlds as well as a handful of other international events and has been heralded as one of the better Swedish players in the draft class since well before this season. Stenberg is known for his slick hands and good decision-making with the puck, but his two-way game and shot are of a quality that make him a dynamic all-around player.

The Blues have an opportunity to pick three players in Danielson, Dragicevic and Stenberg who bring very different qualities on the ice but all appear to have maturity, high-end tools and the capacity to improve. They could walk away from the first round with grins on their faces, even with the risk on Dragicevic, if this is how it turns out.

30. Carolina Hurricanes - Jayden Perron

With Seth Jarvis and Aleksi Heimosalmi as evidence, the Carolina Hurricanes are not afraid of players less than six feet tall. In that spirit, and recognizing Rod Brind’Amour’s style of play and Don Waddell’s boldness, 5’9” Jayden Perron feels like a fit for the Hurricanes.

Perron has had one of the most interesting paths to the draft, having made his way up through minor leagues in Manitoba before going to the Chicago Steel of the USHL. His playmaking ability and slickness with the puck caught a lot of attention this year and makes him probably the only USHL player picked in the first round.

If Perron makes it past the Leafs, Carolina is probably the only other team remaining in the first round that takes the bite on a player that could be one of the draft’s smartest and most skilled players.

31. Montreal Canadiens (via Florida) - Oliver Bonk

The Canadiens feel like a good bet to bring defencemen back into the fold. Every prospect they can get is useful and having picked a forward earlier, a defenceman fills another need. Here, the Canadiens go with a player they know, in a sense. Oliver Bonk, the son of former NHLer Radek Bonk, played alongside Canadiens prospect Logan Mailloux with the London Knights this year, making a mark down the stretch and through a playoff run that ended with a loss in the OHL Championship.

Bonk is a safer pick amongst defencemen in this draft, as instead of providing highlight-reel offensive plays, his strong suit might be without the puck. He defends the rush well thanks to smart timing and positioning as well as stickwork and a good first step. His offensive upside is more questionable, but the Habs already have some offensive defencemen in their system and could use a reliable pick to be NHL-ready in a couple of years when they are ready to contend.

32. Vegas Golden Knights - Tanner Molendyk

The Vegas Golden Knights just won a championship as the team with the most Canadian players on their roster, including a lot of WHL alumni. General manager Kelly McCrimmon won championships with the Brandon Wheat Kings and together with President of Hockey Operations George McPhee are known to like CHL players. Tanner Molendyk is thus a fit for the Golden Knights, in addition to being maybe the best player available (or at least the best defenceman).

Molendyk is trumpeted as a great skater (he was third on Wheeler’s list) thanks to his edgework and mobility up the ice, though some have pointed out he can be hesitant to use it. Still, that speed can be tapped into to create a strong two-way defenceman. He may not become a star, but if he can become a solid fourth or fifth defenceman, the Golden Knights, who know the importance of defensive depth well now, will be thrilled.

Honourable mentions:

Some players that have a good shot of going in the first round, or at least the early second round, in my and my brother’s minds include Riley Heidt, Etienne Morin, Ethan Gauthier, Oscar Fisker-Molgaard, Nick Lardis, Charlie Stramel and the best goaltender in the class, Michael Hrabal.


  1. CHI - Connor Bedard

  2. ANA - Adam Fantilli

  3. CBJ - Lucas Carlsson

  4. SJS - Matvei Michkov

  5. MTL - Will Smith

  6. ARZ - David Reinbacher

  7. PHI - Ryan Leonard

  8. WSH - Dalibor Dvorsky

  9. DET - Zach Benson

  10. STL - Nate Danielson

  11. VAN - Matthew Wood

  12. ARZ (via ?) - Gabe Perreault

  13. BUF - Oliver Moore

  14. PIT - Axel Sandin-Pellikka

  15. NSH - Brayden Yager

  16. CGY - Colby Barlow

  17. DET - Tom Willander

  18. WPG - Dmitri Simashev

  19. CHI - Samuel Honzek

  20. SEA - Quentin Musty

  21. MIN - Daniil But

  22. PHI - Calum Ritchie

  23. NYR - Gavin Brindley

  24. NSH - Mikhail Gulyayev

  25. STL - Lukas Dragicevic

  26. SJS - Andrew Cristall

  27. COL - Bradly Nadeau

  28. TOR - Eduard Sale

  29. STL - Otto Stenberg

  30. CAR - Jayden Perron

  31. MTL - Oliver Bonk

  32. VGK - Tanner Molendyk


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