The highly anticipated 2023 NHL Draft is tomorrow! We never really know what the GMs are thinking at this time of the year, but we took a shot at predicting the first round. We provided who we think our top-ten prospects are in this year’s draft; now check out our 2023 mock draft below!
FIRST HALF OF THE FIRST ROUND
1 – (CHI) Connor Bedard
It doesn’t get easier than this for the Blackhawks. Bedard goes #1 every time.
2 – (ANA) Adam Fantilli
The Ducks may not have won the Bedard sweepstakes, but the Hobey Baker winning Freshman at the second spot is a pretty good consolation.
3 – (CBJ) Leo Carlsson
Columbus continues to improve through the draft with Swedish centreman Leo Carlsson. They’ve got tons of talent coming up, and now they should have their top center of the future secured.
4 – (SJ) Will Smith
Instead of going risky with Matvei Michkov, the Sharks stay safe and draft the top American prospect in the draft, centre Will Smith.
5 – (MTL) Matvei Michkov
The Canadiens aren’t going to contend for a few years, meaning Michkov can play out his contract in Russia before heading to Montreal. There’s been some talk of other guys on the board going to the Canadiens, but the young Russian has too much talent to pass on.
6 – (AZ) Dalibor Dvorsky
He may be a slightly riskier pick than others still on the board, but Dvorsky’s upside makes him a very intriguing target here for the Coyotes, who also have the 12th overall pick.
7 – (PHI) Ryan Leonard
A guy who competes as hard as Leonard is a perfect fit for Philadelphia and their fans. He may not have the most talent in the draft, but his motor will run forever. There’s a reason he played on the USNTDP’s top line.
8 – (WAS) David Reinbacher
The draft isn’t super deep on the blueline, but neither are the Capitals right now. If Michkov is off the board, they may take a chance on the Austrian Reinbacher, whose stock has gone up significantly in the last few months.
9 – (DET) Oliver Moore
Another USNTDP forward is off the board here as the fastest skater in the draft heads to Detroit.
10 – (STL) Zack Benson
He’s a smaller guy, but he’s super talented. Cole Caufield dropped a little in the draft a few years ago and he just signed a long extension in Montreal. Hopefully, teams don’t make the same mistake with Benson.
11 – (VAN) Axel Sandin Pellikka
The Canucks need size on the blueline, but Pellikka’s puck-moving ability might be too much to pass up if he’s still available here. He also plays bigger than his 5’11 frame.
12 – (AZ) Nate Danielson
If Connor Bedard is singing your praises, NHL teams will certainly be taking a closer look at you. He may not have the highest ceiling, but Arizona will get a solid NHL centreman here with Nate Danielson.
13 – (BUF) Matthew Wood
Matthew Wood’s stock continues to rise after leading UConn as a freshman. The Sabres are looking to become contenders soon, and Wood could fit in nicely with a young group of very skilled forwards.
14 – (PIT) Tom Willander
The Pens used their first draft pick on a defenseman last year, but the team could still use some more help on the back end. Willander is a project, but he could turn out to be an offensive force in the NHL in a few years.
15 – (NAS) Eduard Sale
Sale’s stock took a considerable hit this year, but there’s a reason he was looked at as a top 10 prospect in this year’s class at one point. His consistency raises concern, but the potential remains. GM Barry Trotz won’t shy away from taking a swing, either.
16 – (CGY) Gabe Perrault
Perrault had a terrific year alongside Will Smith and Ryan Leonard on the U.S. National Team. He could definitely go higher than 16, but the Flames shouldn’t pass on a talent like his if he’s still here.
SECOND HALF OF THE ROUND
17 – (DET) Brendan Yager
18 – (WPG) Dmitri Simashev
19 – (CHI) Andrew Cristall
20 – (SEA) Colby Barlow
21 – (MIN) Otto Stenberg
22 – (PHI) Quentin Musty
23 – (NYR) Samuel Honzek
24 – (NAS) Gavin Brindley
25 – (STL) Mikhail Gulyayev
26 – (SJ) Daniil But
27 – (COL) Callum Ritchie
28 – (TOR) Oliver Bonk
29 – (STL) Riley Heidt
30 – (CAR) Ethan Gauthier
31 – (MTL) Bradley Nadeau
32 – (VGK) Lukas Dragicevic
Regardless of how bad this will look after Wednesday, we can’t wait to see how this year’s draft plays out!