NHL mock draft 2.0: Post trade-deadline edition
The NHL trade deadline has come and gone with a frenzy of big names including Jakob Czychrun, Timo Meyer, Tyler Bertuzzi, Patrick Kane and Matthias Ekholm, among others, switching teams. In addition to registered players, dozens of players selected in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft have also changed hands.
With that shuffling over, it’s time to see where the 2023 NHL Entry Draft’s first round is going and which teams are most likely to add talent.
The first round has elite forwards led by a quartet of Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Matvey Michkov and Leo Karlsson, but others close the gap by turning the Top 10 into a group filled with skill.
Here’s Sportzshala’s second layout of the 2023 NHL Draft, where you can see how many rounds can be played. based on Tankaton current draft order. You can also check out our NHL Mid-Term Draft Rankings to compare where these top players were in January.
1. Columbus – Connor Bedard, C, Regina (WHL)
The first round will be dominated, with the exception of exchanges, by a group of teams with two or more first round picks. The Columbus Blue Jackets are currently in the lead, followed by Chicago and San Jose with the first overall pick…and Connor Bedard.
A generational talent, Bedard is poised to become a shining character in McDavid’s echelon. A brilliant skater, Bedard will immediately take first place. After a dismal Columbus season, the addition of Bedard would change the franchise.
2. San Jose – Adam Fantilli, C, Michigan (NCAA)
Fatilli dominated his historic NCAA rookie season. He is big, strong, smart and responsible on both sides. While Bedard is the clear number one, Fatilli is not a consolation prize. He also has franchise-changing abilities as a potential high-profile center. Whoever “loses” in the draft lottery will win against Fatilli.
3. Chicago – Matvey Michkov, PV, Sochi (KHL)
Michkov forced himself to prove himself in Russia by asking for a change of scenery, and when he got it at HC Sochi, he answered every question at the start of the season regarding his rating. If Michkov were eligible to come to North America next season, there is a good chance he would challenge Fatilli to move higher. Playing in one of the world’s leading professional leagues, the KHL, Michkov proved himself to be a man who could make a difference. Chicago is in the midst of a complete overhaul, and given they have several first-round picks, the wait with Michkov is well worth it.
4. Anaheim – Leo Karlsson, C/LW, Orebro (SHL)
While the Ducks stand in the center with Trevor Zegras and Mason McTavish, Karlsson looks like a castle that needs to be moved to the flank in the NHL, a position he has seen many times in the SHL. His stats in Sweden, combined with his 6’3″ height, will delight Anaheim fans who can’t help but notice the gaping wing holes.
For a team of young talent already playing in the NHL, Karlsson is the perfect player, as his performance against the pros as a teenager suggests he’s closer to the NHL than many in this draft, especially considering he’s a late 2004 prospect. He doesn’t have the flare of those above or below him in this draft, but he’s deadly in the draw and always impresses.
5. Arizona – Will Smith, C, USNTDP
No one has assets like the Arizona Coyotes and will need to bring their future prospects to the NHL in waves if they are to deal with the future impact of the cap. Their cap has been a concern lately and someday they may be on the other end of the spectrum with the amount of high picks they accumulate. Smith fits the bill, as Arizona might let him marinate at Boston College for a season or two before accepting him. Smith cheats with the puck and can make goaltenders and defensemen look silly with his quick hands. The natural center is also one of the best players at the top of the draft.
6. Montreal – Zach Benson, W, Winnipeg (WHL)
Ryan Suzuki, Cole Cofield, Juraj Slavkowski and Kirby Dutch. It’s a great start for Montreal, who also have promising players like Joshua Roy, Philip Mesar, Riley Kidney and Owen Beck joining their group of forwards. But good things don’t happen. Benson plays behind the wheel that makes his linemates better, but also reads and uses his teammates’ strengths to position himself for offensive opportunities. He’s not getting enough credit in this draft filled with gifted players.
7. Vancouver – Andrew Crystal, RW, Kelowna (WHL)
Goodbye Beau Horvath, goodbye Detroit Red Wings trailblazer, hello Andrew Crystal. He is electric; the kind of player who will get Canucks fans out of their seats. He’s a great shooter, a threat from all around, and has the potential to enter Vancouver’s forward corps, most likely a top 6 winger with Elias Pettersson or JT Miller (if he stays on the team) in future seasons. If there’s a problem, it’s his size (5ft 10in, 165lbs), but he makes up for it in almost every way, including the high level of competition.
8. Philadelphia – Axel Sandin-Pellikka, D, Skelleftea AIK (J20 Nationell)
Things aren’t going well in Philadelphia. Their potential pool is so-so and their culture is in question. While top forwards are currently in the draft, the question marks about Philadelphia’s blue line now and in the future are too big to ignore.
They’ve bought Ivan Provorov and it looks like Tony DeAngelo’s trial run is coming to an end. Aside from current NHL player Cam Yorke and prospect Emile André, there aren’t many organizational moments on the blue line. Sandin-Pellikka can put in a lot of minutes, is a great skater, and loves to own the puck, all assets that Philadelphia should want.
9. st. Louis – Eduard Sale, W, Brno (Czech Republic)
While St. Louis’ biggest organizational need is probably on the blue line (meaning they can capture Sandina-Pellikka here), with three picks in the first round, they have room to take position later. and find the best player available with their best pick. . A terrific figure skater who has achieved success at the international level and gained valuable experience at the professional level this year, Sale still needs time, but he looks like a real pro. Perhaps at the moment, Sale is more of a playmaker than a scorer. Sale has the offensive tools to make a difference in the top six.
10. Detroit – Oliver Moore, C, USNTDP
Moore’s stock has been up all season, and the idea of his speed with Dylan Larkin or Lucas Raymond in center should bring a smile to Red Wings fans. Detroit needs scoring, especially after previous top 10 forwards failed to change the rules of the offensive game. Moore, a University of Minnesota devotee, excels at forcing the pace and looks like a great future NHL player.
11. Washington – Dalibor Dvorsky, center, AIK (HockeyAllsvenskan)
Washington signaled a new phase in its organization on time by selling off parts en masse. Dvorsky won’t be the second Alex Ovechkin, but fans will love his release, which often ends in a net. He’s had his ups and downs and needs someone to push him to get more involved every shift, but Dvorsky’s talent borders on the top five, though he needs to learn the consistency of a pro.
12. Montreal (via Florida) – Mikhail Gulyayev, D, Omskie Yastreby (MHL)
A typical modern defenseman, Gulyaev is short, but advances the puck using his skating and passing skills and defends using his mobility. Perhaps by picking a hitter first, Montreal could return to a trove of talented scorers or pick one of the few defenders worthy of the first round. Gulyaev won’t come to North America until at least 2025-2026, which means he’ll have time to grow up before he enters Montreal’s pressure cooker atmosphere.
13. Buffalo – Riley HaidtWITHPrince George (WHL)
The options here are endless, whether it’s Heidt, Ryan Leonard, or Braden Jaeger. This will be an interesting choice for Buffalo, who will likely pick whoever they consider to be the best available as they have accumulated depth on every lead position. Haidt is inventive, finding joints where there would seem to be none, manipulating paths for overtaking and shooting, and finishing with a cannon. Skip Haidt if you want, as some rate him lower in the first round, but he’s the kind of prospect that could make NHL clubs regret their choice a few seasons from now.
14. Arizona (via Ottawa) – David Reinbacher, D, Kloten (Netherlands)
Name a young quarterback who’s making an impact on the Arizona blue line… I’ll wait. Jacob Chychrun is gone and Maverick Lamouret is the best prospect in this position. Arizona will almost be forced to pick a hitter with their first pick (if they don’t trade), so the quarterback should be the second pick. Reinbacher might surprise some with his almost…