Draft Order NHL: 2023 NHL Draft Order: Round 1: The Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets are tied with the lowest point total in the NHL right now. We will know which NHL team gets the first overall pick on May 8, 2023 once the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery takes place.

2023 NHL Mock Draft: Debut

Round 1 Picks 1-16

The 2023 NHL Entry Draft is forward heavy in the most literal sense. Regina Pats center Connor Bedard is the first Generational Talent in the NHL Draft since Connor McDavid back in 2015 or Auston Matthews in 2016.

Lisa Donovan Last Updated: April 1, 2023.

  1. Chicago Blackhawks: Connor Bedard, C, Regina Pats (WHL)

    Chicago traded Patrick Kane, a player they drafted first overall back in 2007 to the New York Rangers at the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline. Also, center and Chicago Blackhawks team captain Jonathan Toews, who was drafted the year before Patrick Kane in 2006, is an unrestricted Free Agent after this season. The third overall pick from that 2006 NHL Draft has struggled to stay healthy the last two seasons and is currently on injured reserve.

    Chicago Blackhawks 2020 first round pick Lukas Reichel, who was drafted seventeenth overall that year finally developed enough to earn a first line winger role on the Chicago Blackhawks this season. The downside is that Reichel has 9 points in 18 games without Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews. Toews is coming back from an injury that kept him out for months tonight though. Chicago has a league low 178 goals scored in the 2022-2023 NHL Season and needs Connor Bedard in the worst way possible with their defenders having talent despite being extremely inconsistent along with both their starting and backup goalie in their thirties.

    Only three centers had back-to-back seasons with 100 points in junior hockey the last twenty years. Those three centers are Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby who was drafted first overall in 2005, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid who was drafted first overall ten years after Crosby in 2015, and Regina Pats center Connor Bedard. Bedard scored his 100th point in the WHL this season on the same exact day McDavid reached 100 points in the NHL about a month ago.

    Connor Bedard had 51 goals, 49 assists, and 100 points in 62 games with the Regina Pats in 2021-2022. Connor Bedard had 71 goals, 72 assists, and 143 points in 2022-2023. Bedard was kept scoreless in the 2023 CHL Prospects Game. Bedard made up for that though as Connor Bedard had 2 goals, 1 assist, and 3 points in his WHL Playoff debut in game 1 of an opening round series against the Saskatoon Blades where Regina went on the road and stole a playoff win from Saskatoon.

    Our websites founder Chris Ransom has archived every OHL, WHL, and QMJHL Draft dating back to 2019. Connor Bedard was the first WHL player in history to be granted exceptional status before the Regina Pats drafted him first overall in the 2020 WHL Draft. which allowed Bedard play junior hockey at the age of 15 rather than the normal age where most junior hockey players start at age 16. You can also read about other players from the 2020 WHL Draft besides Bedard by clicking that link. Sidney Crosby was denied exceptional status in Canada prior to his draft year in 2005 during the NHL Lockout. That led to players like John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, and Connor McDavid being granted exceptional status. As McDavid made the jump to the OHL in 2012 three years before being eligible for the NHL Draft in 2015.

    Connor Bedard is special and his 144 points this year were 24 more points than the 120 points McDavid posted in his draft year leading up to the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. McDavid got his 300th career NHL goal in his seventh NHL season, so it's safe to say Bedard will develop with a similar trajectory. Chicago probably needs Bedard more than any other team in the NHL if they want to escape the rebuild their in. Chicago's future first line will feature Lukas Reichel as the first line left winger, Connor Bedard as the first line center, and Frank Nazar a player Chicago drafted at right winger thirteenth overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft to be the future first line right winger. A line with Reichel, Bedard, and Nazar will do a lot of damage down the road. Adding forwards on those second through fourth lines will be the challenge for Chicago with their remaining draft picks in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

    Chicago needs Seth Jones and Caleb Jones the two sons of Popeye Jones to improve defensively. Connor Timmins anchors the second line, but Alex Vlasic, a defender with first line potential did enough with the Rockford IceHogs to earn a promotion to the NHL where he's now on Chicago's second line. Third line defender Nikita Zaitsev has a no movement clause just like Seth Jones and Connor Timmins who anchor the first and second lines of the blue line. Once Kevin Korchinski, a defender Chicago drafted seventh overall gets promoted to the NHL, Chicago should have their core defenders on all three lines to take pressure off of the offense. Goalie Drew Commesso is in his junior season at Boston University and Chicago's 2020 second round pick is a goalie that you need to keep an eye on as Commesso just took Boston University to the 2023 Frozen Four.

    Chicago is getting a superstar and blue chip player with Connor Bedard. Bedard will consistently get 100 points in the NHL as long as he's healthy just like Connor McDavid currently does. The downside is Chicago may not be a playoff team until Kevin Korchinski and Drew Commesso make the NHL since Chicago has so many holes on offense outside of Bedard and Reichel after trading away core players at forward away like Alex Debrincat to Ottawa for the seventh overall pick which was used on Korchinski in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft and Kirby Dach the third overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft away to Montreal for a second first round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.

  2. Columbus Blue Jackets: Adam Fantilli, C, Michigan

    The Columbus Blue Jackets finally get their first line center in Michigan Wolverines center Adam Fantilli. The 2023 NHL Entry Draft already looks similar to the 2015 NHL Entry Draft when McDavid went first overall before Hobey Baker Award Winner Jack Eichel went second overall that year. Adam Fantilli is a Hobey Baker Award Finalist in 2023 with Matthew Kniles and Logan Cooley last years third overall pick as his competition for the award. Fantilli has 8 more points in his freshman year at Michigan than last years third overall selection Logan Cooley. This leads me to believe that Fantilli ends up winning the Hobey Baker Award in 2023.

    Adam Fantilli was supposed to go first overall in the 2020 OHL Draft., but fell in the OHL Draft after reports surfaced that Adam Fantilli wanted to play with his older brother on the Chicago Steel in the USHL. Chicago ended up tendering Adam Fantilli by giving up a first round pick in the 2020 USHL Draft.

    Fantilli is bigger than Bedard at 6-2 191. Fantilli turned down the OHL in Canada to play in the USHL with the Chicago Steel in the USA. Fantilli improved his point total from 36 in his first year with the Steel in 2020-2021 to having 37 goals, 37 assists, and 74 points in his final season with the Chicago Steel in 2021-2022 prior to enrolling at Michigan.

    Adam Fantilli had 29 goals, 35 assists, and 64 points as a true freshman at Michigan as their second line center helping the Michigan Wolverines return to the Frozen Four in 2023 during the 2022-2023 NCAA Hockey Season. If Fantilli can lead Michigan to an NCAA Championship, he may be able to make an immediate jump to the NHL like Connor Bedard. Columbus Blue Jackets team captain Boone Jenner started out at right winger before converting to center last year. Boone Jenner only had 44 points in 2021-2022. Jenner has already matched that total while having more goals and fewer assists. Jenner would be better used at right winger or on the second line.

    Columbus would have Johnny Gaudreau at left wing, Adam Fantilli at center, and Patrik Laine at right winger on their first line. Columbus would have Kent Johnson their fifth overall pick from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft who got promoted from the third line in limited action as a rookie to the second line, Jack Roslovic as the second line center, and Boone Jenner as the second line right winger where Jenner initally excelled early in his NHL career. Having those guys as the top six forwards is a massive improvement over what Columbus currently has now that Cole Sillinger, the twelfth overall pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft got demoted to the Cleveland Monsters in the AHL.

    Zach Werenski the best defenseman on Columbus suffered a season ending injury very early in the regular season this year after getting injured near the end of last year too. Columbus traded Vladislav Gavrikov their first line defenseman that complimented Werenski in a contract year to the Los Angeles Kings for the Kings 2023 first round pick. Jake Bean the third best defenseman outside of Werenski is on injured reserve. Adam Boqvist the fourth best defenseman on Columbus isn't playing and got benched by the coaching staff after being with Columbus for almost two full seasons as part of the trade that sent Seth Jones to the Chicago Blackhawks for two first round picks in 2021 and 2022. All of these defensemen being injured or not playing along with a lack of a first line center is why Columbus has sucked this year. Once David Jiriceck and Denton Mateychuk the two defensemen Columbus drafted in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft make the NHL, this team could finally start competing as long as starting goaltender Elvis Merzlikins stays on Columbus. Elvis currently has a modified no trade clause and he hasn't left the building that the Blue Jackets play in.

  3. Anaheim Ducks: Matvei Michkov, RW, SKA Saint Petersburg (KHL)

    Anaheim has drafted good centers like Trevor Zegras and Mason McTavish in the top 10 of the 2019 and 2021 NHL Entry Drafts. Anaheim added another defenseman in Pavel Mintyukov before drafting a third center in Nathan Gaucher during the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. The one position Anaheim needs upgrades at more than any other position is the winger position.

    Matvei Michkov was the first Russian player to make the KHL at age 16 since Alexander Ovechkin. Lots of Russian hockey players have to play in the MHL and VHL before earning a promotion to the KHL.

    SKA Saint Petersburg loaned Michkov to HC Sochi another KHL team for this season. At 5-8 147, Michkov has 9 goals, 11 assists, and 20 points in 2022-2023. Matvei Michkov has been a consensus top three player for most of the 2023 NHL Draft process along with Bedard and Fantilli dating back to last year leading up to the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.

    Matvei Michkov is a playmaker that will set up other teammates for goals. Michkov also has a deadly shot in terms of having the shooting power trait you want from a winger in the NHL and will give the Anaheim Ducks a star at one of the wing spots, most likely at right winger. Anaheim desperately needs a star player at left winger or right winger on their first line to compliment first line center Trevor Zegras who was drafted ninth overall back in 2019. Michkov will be a first line right winger on the Ducks whether that's right away in 2023-2024 or in a few years from now after more development with SKA Saint Petersburg in the KHL.

  4. San Jose Sharks: Leo Carlson, LW, Orebro HK (Elitserien)

    San Jose hired Mike Grier as their new General Manager. Mike Grier traded down in the first round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft with the Arizona Coyotes. Mike Grier won't trade out of the fourth overall pick. Some San Jose fans will be disappointed about not having a top three pick let alone the top selection. Fortunately for San Jose there is one more blue chip player on the board with the fourth overall pick.

    Leo Carlson can play left wing, center, or right wing with his versatility. In fact, you can make an argument that Carlson is the most versatile player in this entire top 4. Carlson entered the preseason as a consensus top 10 pick unlike the consensus top three players. Leo Carlson improved enough to solidify the fourth overall spot in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

    Leo Carlson has the body of a center at 6-2 185, but Orebro HK the professional team that Leo Carlson plays for in Sweden has played him at left wing in the SHL. Leo Carlson had 10 goals, 15 assists, and 25 points with Orebro HK in 2022-2023.

    San Jose has Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl on their first two lines at center in the NHL. My guess is Leo Carlson will end up moving to left winger.

    Leo Carlson has the playmaking and goal scoring that you want in a winger. TSN's Bob McKenzie called Carlson a blue chip prospect and you can make an argument for him over Matvei Michkov at 3, but I still believe Michkov goes ahead of Carlson because Michkov's shot is more developed for the NHL at this point.

    San Jose seems optimistic about 2023 NHL Trade Deadline acquisitions left winger Jacob Peterson and right winger Martin Kaut who Colorado drafted in the first round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Both wingers are now on San Jose's first line with Logan Couture. It's possible that William Eklund San Jose's seventh overall pick back in 2021 whose done well in the AHL with the San Jose Barracuda and Leo Carlson could play on San Jose's second line as early as next season with Leo Carlson at left winger, Tomas Hertl at center, and William Eklund at right winger. This would give the San Jose Sharks six quality forwards after trading Timo Meier their 2015 first round pick to the New Jersey Devils for another 2023 first round pick.

  5. Montreal Canadiens: Will Smith, C, USNTDP (USHL)

    Montreal can take the best player on their board rather than draft for need with the fifth pick. The injury bug has been brutal for the rebuilding Canadiens. Juraj Slafkovsky and Cole Caufield both suffered season ending injuries. Kirby Dach, a second line center that Montreal traded for is also currently injured.

    The best player on the United States National Team Developmental Program in the USHL this year is a prospect named Will Smith same name as the actor who decided to slap the shit out of Chris Rock, but a different person. Other notable celebrities that actually played hockey growing up include Owen Wilson, Bradley Cooper, and Avril Lavigne.

    Will Smith the hockey player is 6-0 180 lbs. Smith has 41 goals, 62 assists, and 103 points in 2022-2023 with the US-Under 18 Team. Smith has 14 goals, 27 assists, an 41 points in 18 USHL games. Will Smith was the first line center with both the US-Under 18 Team and the United States National Team Developmental Program that plays in the USHL.

    Will Smith is going to Boston College for at least a year before making the jump to the NHL. Smith would be an upgrade over what Montreal currently has for a second line center behind Nick Suzuki. At the same time, Montreal wouldn't have to rush Smith into the NHL with him playing in the NCAA giving Kirby Dach one more year to put everything together at the NHL level.

  6. Arizona Coyotes: Zach Benson, LW, Winnipeg Ice (WHL)

    Arizona will have Nick Schmaltz as their first line left winger, Logan Cooley will end up as the first line center, and Clayton Keller will be the first line right winger on the Arizona Coyotes next season in 2023-2024 after Arizona drafted Logan Cooley third overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.

    Matias Maccelli will be Arizona's line 2 left winger with Barrett Hayton as the line 2 center, and Lawson Crouse as the line 2 right winger. Arizona has their top six forwards.

    Arizona's third line could feature Zach Benson as the third line left winger, Connor Geekie the eleventh overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft as the third line center, and Dylan Guenther, Arizona's 2021 first round pick that was selected ninth overall as the third line right winger. With those nine players, the Arizona Coyotes offense might finally have an identity assuming everyone stays healthy while Schmaltz, Maccelli, Hayton, and Crouse continue their level of play.

    Zach Benson was Winnipeg's 2020 first round pick in the 2020 WHL Draft. He played with Matthew Savoie and Connor Geekie who were drafted first and second overall in the 2019 WHL Draft. Savoie and Geekie were both picked in the top eleven of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. The crazy thing is Benson played on the first line and second line of the Winnipeg Ice complimenting both centers.

    Zach Benson is 5-10 159 lbs. He's versatile enough to play left wing, center, and right wing with his versatility. He can line up everywhere at forward and played on the first line with the Winnipeg Ice at left winger. You can argue that Zach Benson is the most versatile forward in the top six overall.

    Zach Benson had 25 goals, 38 assists, and 63 points in 2021-2022 during his rookie season in the WHL. Benson broke out this season as Benson had 36 goals, 62 assists, and 98 points in 2022-2023.

    Zach Benson is in a draft class with four blue chip players and a 100 point player whose the projected fifth overall pick. Benson may be a top 5 talent in most NHL Draft classes, but he falls to six in what is an extremely top heavy forward draft where the Arizona Coyotes select him here.

  7. Philadelphia Flyers: Dalibor Dvorsky, C, AIK IF (Elitserien)

    Philadelphia needs a first line center. Philadelphia drafted first line left winger Cutter Gauthier fifth overall a year ago as Gauthier transitioned from left winger to center.

    Philadelphia ends up securing a preseason top five pick with the seventh overall pick. At one point, Dalibor Dvorsky, a 6-0 190 center was the undisputed favorite to go fourth overall in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. Dalibor Dvorsky gives the Philadelphia Flyers a potential first line center after trading team captain Claude Giroux away. Dvorsky had 10 goals, 11 assists, and 21 points against grown men in Sweden.

  8. Vancouver Canucks: Eduard Sale, RW, HC Kometa Brno (Extraliga)

    Eduard Sale is versatile enough to play both left winger and right winger at 6-1 187. He has 7 goals, 7 assists, and 14 points with HC Kometa Brno against grown men that play professional hockey in the Czech Republic. Eduard Sale was a second line right winger and first line right winger on HC Kometa Brno. He can play in a top six winger role on the first or second line in the NHL. Vancouver already has Brock Boeser and 2022 first round pick Jonathan Lekkerimaki developing meaning there will be less pressure on Eduard Sale to be rushed up to the NHL as he continues to develop. Right now Sale is a consensus top nine selection in most 2023 NHL Mock Drafts even though you can argue there are players with better point production on top lines. With former Penguins GM Jim Rutherford in Vancouver, the Canucks will just grab the best player on their board as Vancouver continues a tedious rebuild after trading Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders.

  9. Detroit Red Wings: Colby Barlow, LW, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

    Detroit traded first line left winger Tyler Bertuzzi. Detroit now has to go back to the drawing board and get a first line left winger to compliment Dylan Larkin. The good news for Detroit Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman can draft preseason top 10 pick Colby Barlow or Kelowna Rockets first line left winger Andrew Kristall. Either player would be a major asset for the Detroit Red Wings with the ninth overall pick.

    Detroit gets a goal scoring sniper at nine with Colby Barlow. Barlow is 6-1 187 and was Owen Sound Attack's first round pick that was drafted eighth overall in the 2021 OHL Draft.

    Colby Barlow had 30 goals, 17 assists, and 47 points as a rookie with 5 goals, 1 assist, and 6 points in 7 OHL Playoff games as a rookie during the 2021-2022 OHL Season. That promising season had Barlow locked into the top 10 heading into his second season. Barlow has only continued to improve with 46 goals, 33 assists, and 79 points in 2022-2023 heading into the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

  10. St. Louis Blues: Brayden Yager, C, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

    St. Louis traded Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O'Reilly away for first round picks. However, St. Louis may land a viable replacement to Ryan O'Reilly with this tenth overall pick as Brayden Yager was once projected to be a top 5 pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft heading into this season. St. Louis will be thrilled to land a player as talented as Brayden Yager to round out the top 10 of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

    Brayden Yager is 6-0 166. You can argue he needs to put on some muscle, but his production speaks for itself. Yager had 34 goals, 25 assists, and 59 points in 2021-2022 after improving on his 18 points in 24 games as a rookie in limited action. Yager has 28 goals, 50 assists, and 78 points for the Moose Jaw Warriors as a first line center. Brayden Yager is someone who has a higher ceiling than either Brayden Schenn, Ryan O'Reilly, or Robert Thomas. That should tell you that this is a guy St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong would pound the table for if he fell to the tenth overall pick where the St. Louis Blues are currently projected to pick.

  11. Washington Capitals: Andrew Cristall, LW, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

    Washington drafts a first line left winger who actually started out as a center prior to being drafted by the Kelowna Rockets in the first round of the 2020 WHL Draft.

    Andrew Cristall has grown three inches since he got drafted and is now at 5-10 159. Andrew Cristall had 28 goals, 41 assists, and 69 points in 2021-2022. Cristall 39 goals, 56 assists, and 95 points in 2022-2023.

    Andrew Cristall is versatile enough to play left wing or center. He seems like he's better off at left wing though due to his size.

  12. Buffalo Sabres: Ryan Leonard, RW, USNTDP (USHL)

    Buffalo can go with the best player on their board. Ryan Leonard was a first line right winger on the United States National Team Developmental Program in the USHL as well as the US-Under 18 Team. Buffalo drafts him knowing that the Sabres can develop him for at least one year in the NCAA before having to bring him up to the NHL in 2024-2025. Buffalo might be able to develop him for two years if we're being honest. It depends on which right wingers on their roster are unresticted Free Agents.

  13. Arizona Coyotes: Riley Heidt, C, Prince George Cougars (WHL)

    Ottawa sent a 2023 first round pick to Arizona for defenseman Jakob Chychurn. Arizona got Clayton Keller and Jakob Chychurn in the first round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. It's also amazing that Arizona hit on both of those players despite their questionable history with draft picks.

    Riley Heidt is versatile enough to play left wing, center, or right wing on a first line. He was drafted second overall in the 2020 WHL Draft one spot behind Connor Bedard and one spot ahead of Brayden Yager.

    Riley Heidt, a forward that weighs 5-11 178, had 21 goals, 37 assists, and 59 points in 2021-2022. Heidt had 25 goals, 72 assists, and 97 points. Heidt also recorded an assist in the 2023 WHL Playoffs. Arizona is so deep at forward in this forward heavy draft, that the Coyotes can stash Riley Heidt in their prospect pool by gambling on him since he can play either winger spot as well as center.

  14. Nashville Predators: Oliver Moore, C, USNTDP (USHL)

    Nashville drafts Oliver Moore. Moore might be a second line center on the United States National Team Developmental Program. The reason he gets drafted here over some first line centers on the board because he's an elite skater with a tremendous burst. This guy just has speed that you cannot teach. That's the biggest reason why some NHL mocks have Oliver Moore in the top 10.

    Moore told an NHL reporter that his favorite ride in the Mall Of America is the Spongebob ride. Some NHL teams are wondering if his goofy personality off the ice means Moore needs to mature more. His character is fine with no off the field concerns or incidents at this point. A lot of NHL mock drafts have Oliver Moore are all over the place as I've seen Moore mocked as high as eighth overall to Vancouver and as low as nineteenth overall to the Detroit Red Wings with the Islanders first round pick that Vancouver traded to Detroit after moving Bo Horvat to my New York Islanders for the Islanders first round pick.

  15. Montreal Canadiens: Axel Sandin-Pellika, D, Skelleftea AIK (Elitserien)

    Montreal got this pick from the Ben Chariot trade which sent one of Montreal's best defenseman to the Florida Panthers to compliment Aaron Ekblad. Montreal will take the top defenseman in this years 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

    The Montreal Canadiens are a team that desperately needs to add more talent on defense. The sad thing is the 2023 NHL Draft doesn't have a top 2 defender that has the upside to play on the first line in the NHL. Neither Miro Heiskanen and Cale Makar was NHL ready coming out of the 2017 NHL Draft, but both guys had upside to be great. Having general managers like Jim Nill and Joe Sakic remain patient with Heiskanen and Makar after they were drafted also allowed both defensemen to exceed expectations while taking their teams to Stanley Cup Finals appearances with Makar winning the Conn Smythe Trophy during Colorado's run to win the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals over the two time Champion Tampa Bay Lightning that were pursuing a three peat. Both GMS remained patient with their defensemen and were rewarded as a result. The 2023 NHL Draft does not have a defenseman with the floor or upside to be a top 2 defenseman on a first line which is the biggest reason why a defenseman did not get mocked until this selection.

    The lowest I've seen the first defenseman get mocked is pick eighteen in the back half of the first round. The highest I've seen a defenseman get mocked is pick twelve. I mocked the top defenseman in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft at pick fifteen.

    Axel Sandin-Pellika is a good two way defenseman who can play offense or defense effectively. He also has the athleticism and foot speed you want in an NHL defenseman too. He can quarterback a power play or penalty kill effectively. He's a great shot blocker too.

    It's uncertain if Axel Sandin-Pellika is 5-9 or 5-11. He's 179 lbs and went from getting 36 points in 31 games with Skelleftea AIK's Under 20 Team to doing enough to earn a promotion to the SHL where he did enough to get promoted from the third line to the second line in a very short time with Skelleftea AIK's professional team against grown men in the Elitserien league in Sweden. With questions about his height, one can argue that the top defenseman in this years NHL Draft is the Bryce Young of defenseman when it comes to questions with his height. Most NHL teams want a 6-0 or bigger defenseman, but can live with 5-11. On the other hand being 5-9 or shorter can get you knocked out of the top fifteen despite your skill set and talent.

    Dobber Prospects gave Axel Sandin-Pellika an 8/10 for NHL certainty and a 9.5/10 for Fantasy Hockey value once he makes the NHL. Montreal could use a guy like this even if he ends up on the second line in the NHL because he checks off most of the boxes despite having the upside of a line 2 defenseman that projects as a top 4 defender in the NHL.

  16. Calgary Flames: Matthew Wood, RW, Connecticut

    Calgary drafts this Connecticut right winger hoping for a Brady Tkachuk replacement. I'd say there's about a 10 percent chance Wood replaces someone as skilled and talented as Tkachuk. Despite this, Matthew Wood is a consensus top 20 prospect filling a team need for Calgary.

    Matthew Wood had 45 goals, 40 assists, and 85 points in 65 games with the Victoria Grizzlies in the BCHL last season before accepting a hockey scholarship to Connecticut. Wood only has 11 goals, 23 assists, and 34 points at Connecticut. A team like Calgary will gamble on Wood in the top half of the 2023 NHL Draft hoping he recaptures his 40/40 form once he reaches the NHL.

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