Draft Order NHL: 2023 NHL Draft Order: Round 3: 65. Anaheim Ducks: Coulson Pitre, RW, Flint Firebirds (OHL), 66. Columbus Blue Jackets: William Whitelaw, C, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL), 67. Chicago Blackhawks: Nick Lardis, LW, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL), 68. Nashville Predators (from San Jose Sharks): Jesse Kiiskinen, RW, Lahti Pelicans (SM Liiga), 69. Montreal Canadiens: Jacob Fowler, G, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL), 70. Arizona Coyotes: Jonathan Castanga, C, St Andrew's College (ON), 71. San Jose Sharks (from Philadelphia Flyers): Brandon Svoboda, C, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL), 72. Arizona Coyotes (from Washington Capitals): Noel Nordh, RW, Brynas IF (Elitserien), 73. Detroit Red Wings: Noah Dower Nilsson, C, Frolunda Indians (Elitserien), 74. St. Louis Blues: Quinton Burns, D, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL), 75. Vancouver Canucks: Hunter Brzustewicz, D, Kitchener Rangers (OHL), 76. St. Louis Blues (from Ottawa Senators): Juraj Pekarcik, RW, HK Nitra (Tipos), 77. Vegas Golden Knights (from Buffalo Sabres): Mathieu Cataford, RW, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL), 78. Los Angeles Kings (from Pittsburgh Penguins): Koehn Ziemmer, RW, Prince George Cougars (WHL), 79. Dallas Stars (from Nashville Predators): Brad Gardiner, C, Ottawa 67's (OHL), 80. Calgary Flames: Aydar Suniev, LW, Penticon Vees (BCHL), 81. Arizona Coyotes (from New York Islanders): Tanner Ludtke, C, Lincoln Stars (USHL), 82. Winnipeg Jets: Zachary Nehrig, RW, Shattuck St. Mary's HS (MN), 83. Nashville Predators (from Tampa Bay Lightning): Dylan Mackinnon, D, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL), 84. Seattle Kraken: Caden Price, D, Kelowna Rockets (WHL), 85. Anaheim Ducks (from Minnesota Wild): Yegor Sidorov, RW, Saskatoon Blades (WHL), 86. Buffalo Sabres (from Los Angeles Kings): Gavin McCarthy, D, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL), 87. Philadelphia Flyers (from New York Rangers): Yegor Zavragin, G, Mamonty Urga (MHL), 88. Arizona Coyotes (from Edmonton Oilers): Vadim Moroz, RW, Dinamo Minsk (KHL), 89. Vancouver Canucks (from Toronto Maple Leafs): Sawyer Mynio, D, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL), 90. New York Rangers (from New Jersey Devils): Drew Fortescue, D, USNTDP (USHL), 91. Pittsburgh Penguins (from Colorado Avalanche): Emil Pieniemi, D, Oulun Karpat (SM Liiga), 92. Boston Bruins: Christopher Pelosi, C, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL), 93. Chicago Blackhawks (from Dallas Stars): Jiri Felcman, C, SCL Tigers (National League A), 94. Carolina Hurricanes: Jayden Perron, RW, Chicago Steel (USHL), 95. Philadelphia Flyers (from Florida Panthers): Denver Barkey, RW, London Knights (OHL), 96. Vegas Golden Knights: Arttu Karki, D, Tappara (SM Liiga), Round 1: 1. Chicago Blackhawks: Connor Bedard, C, Regina Pats (WHL), 2. Anaheim Ducks: Leo Carlsson, C, Orebro HK (Elitserien), 3. Columbus Blue Jackets: Adam Fantilli, C, Michigan, 4. San Jose Sharks: Will Smith, C, USNTDP (USHL), 5. Montreal Canadiens: David Reinbacher, D, Kloten Flyers (National League A), 6. Arizona Coyotes: Dmitri Simashev, D, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL), 7. Philadelphia Flyers: Matvei Michkov, RW, SKA Saint Petersburg (KHL), 8. Washington Capitals: Ryan Leonard, RW, USNTDP (USHL), 9. Detroit Red Wings: Nate Danielson, C, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), 10. St. Louis Blues: Dalibor Dvorsky, C, AIK IF (Elitserien), 11. Vancouver Canucks: Tom Willander, D, Rogle BK (Elitserien), 12. Arizona Coyotes (from Ottawa Senators): Daniil But, LW, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL), 13. Buffalo Sabres: Zach Benson, LW, Winnipeg Ice (WHL), 14. Pittsburgh Penguins: Brayden Yager, C, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL), 15. Nashville Predators: Matthew Wood, RW, Connecticut, 16. Calgary Flames: Samuel Honzek, LW, Vancouver Giants (WHL), 17. Detroit Red Wings (from New York Islanders): Axel Sandin Pellikka, D, Skelleftea AIK (Elitserien), 18. Winnipeg Jets: Colby Barlow, LW, Owen Sound Attack (OHL), 19. Chicago Blackhawks (from Tampa Bay Lightning): Oliver Moore, C, USNTDP (USHL), 20. Seattle Kraken: Eduard Sale, RW, HC Kometa Brno (Extraliga), 21. Minnesota Wild: Charlie Stramel, C, Wisconsin, 22. Philadelphia Flyers (from Los Angeles Kings): Oliver Bonk, D, London Knights (OHL), 23. New York Rangers: Gabe Perreault, LW, USNTDP (USHL), 24. Nashville Predators (from Edmonton Oilers): Tanner Molendyk, D, Saskatoon Blades (WHL), 25. St. Louis Blues (from Toronto Maple Leafs): Otto Stenberg, C, Frolunda Indians (Elitserien), 26. San Jose Sharks (from New Jersey Devils): Quentin Musty, LW, Sudbury Wolves (OHL), 27. Colorado Avalanche: Calum Ritchie, C, Oshawa Generals (OHL), 28. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Boston Bruins): Easton Cowan, LW, London Knights (OHL), 29. St. Louis Blues (from Dallas Stars): Theo Lindstein, D, Brynas IF (Elitserien), 30. Carolina Hurricanes: Bradly Nadeau, C, Penticon Vees (BCHL), 31. Colorado Avalanche (from Florida Panthers): Mikhail Gulyayev, D, Avangard Omsk (KHL), 32. Vegas Golden Knights: David Edstrom, C, Frolunda Indians (Elitserien), Round 2: 33. Anaheim Ducks: Nico Myatovic, LW, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL), 34. Columbus Blue Jackets: Gavin Brindley, RW, Michigan, 35. Chicago Blackhawks: Adam Gajan, G, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL), 36. San Jose Sharks: Kasper Halttunen, RW, Helsingfors IFK (SM Liiga), 37. Tampa Bay Lightning (from Montreal Canadiens): Ethan Gauthier, RW, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL), 38. Arizona Coyotes: Michael Hrabel, G, Omaha Lancers (USHL), 39. Buffalo Sabres (from Philadelphia Flyers): Anton Wahlberg, C, Malmo Redhawks (Elitserien), 40. Washington Capitals: Andrew Cristall, LW, Kelowna Rockets (WHL), 41. Detroit Red Wings: Trey Augustine, G, USNTDP (USHL), 42. Detroit Red Wings (from St. Louis Blues): Andrew Gibson, D, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL), 43. Nashville Predators (from Vancouver Canucks): Felix Nilsson, C, Rogle BK (Elitserien), 44. Chicago Blackhawks (from Ottawa Senators): Roman Kantserov, RW, Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL), 45. Buffalo Sabres: Maxim Strbak, D, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL), 46. Nashville Predators (from Pittsburgh Penguins): Kalan Lind, C, Red Deer Rebels (WHL), 47. Detroit Red Wings (from Nashville Predators): Brady Cleveland, D, USNTDP (USHL), 48. Calgary Flames: Etienne Morin, D, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL), 49. New York Islanders: Danny Nelson, C, USNTDP (USHL), 50. Seattle Kraken (from Winnipeg Jets): Carson Rehkopf, LW, Kitchener Rangers (OHL), 51. Philadelphia Flyers (from Tampa Bay Lightning): Carson Bjanason, G, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL), 52. Seattle Kraken: Oskar Fisker Molgaard, C, HV71 (Elitserien), 53. Minnesota Wild: Rasmus Kumpalainen, C, Lahti Pelicans (SM Liiga), 54. Los Angeles Kings: Jakub Dvorak, D, HC Bili Tygri Liberec (Extraliga), 55. Chicago Blackhawks (from New York Rangers): Martin Misiak, LW, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL), 56. Edmonton Oilers: Beau Akey, D, Barrie Colts (OHL), 57. Seattle Kraken (from Toronto Maple Leafs): Lukas Draicevec, D, Tri-City Americans (WHL), 58. New Jersey Devils: Lenni Hameenaho, LW, Assat (SM Liiga), 59. Anaheim Ducks (from Colorado Avalanche): Carey Terrance, C, Erie Otters (OHL), 60. Anaheim Ducks (from Boston Bruins): Damian Clara, G, Farjestads BK (Elitserien, 61. Dallas Stars: Tristan Bertucci, D, Flint Firebirds (OHL), 62. Carolina Hurricanes: Felix Unger Sorum, RW, Leksands IF (Elitserien), 63. Florida Panthers: Gracyn Sawchyn, C, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL), 64. Minnesota Wild (from Vegas Golden Knights): Riley Heidt, C, Prince George Cougars (WHL)















2023 NHL Draft Results




Round 3



Youngstown Phantoms center William Whitelaw was a player that I had a first round grade on. Find out who got him in the third round.



Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: June 30, 2023.


  1. Anaheim Ducks: Coulson Pitre, RW, Flint Firebirds (OHL) A- Grade

    The 6-0 170 lb Coulson Pitre is versatile enough to play left wing, center, or right wing. He can play all three forward roles effectively, yet right wing is his best role. The Flint Firebirds produced two first round wingers in Ty Dellandrea and Brennan Othmann. Coulson Pitre is the Flint Firebirds best winger since those two.


    Coulson Pitre had 23 goals, 21 assists, 44 poinsts, and a +11 +/- ratio in 52 OHL games during his rookie season in 2021-2022 after being a fourth round pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection. Coulson Pitre had 6 goals, 3 assists, and 9 points in 16 games during the 2022 OHL Playoffs. Coulson Pitre had 25 goals, 35 assists, 60 points, and a +20 +/- ratio in 59 games in 2022-2023. Coulson Pitre had 2 goals, 3 assists, and 5 points in the 2023 OHL Playoffs.


    Coulson Pitre has the skating, versatility, playmaking, passing, sniping, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, vision, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Coulson Pitre needs to develop his slap shot power and slap shot accuracy and continue to improve that area of his game. Most of his goals came on wrist shots, but Pitre showed he could score front handed and back handed wrist shots which makes Pitre one of the better shooters in the 2023 NHL Draft even though he still needs to develop and refine his slap shot.


    I had Coulson Pitre graded higher than Nico Myatovic who the Ducks drafted at thirty three at the very top of the second round. Both Nico Myatovic and Coulson Pitre were 60 point players. Pitre is more versatile, but Myatovic can get 30 goals and 30 assists.


    Anaheim has stability at center, defense, and goalie thanks to how the Anaheim Ducks have drafted the last five years from 2019 to 2023. Now the Anaheim Ducks just need to draft wingers and develop them. Anaheim has the pieces to be competive down the road if their draft picks at defenseman and goalie continue to develop.


  2. Columbus Blue Jackets: William Whitelaw, C, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) A+ Grade

    The 5-8 175 lb William Whitelaw was the first pick in the 2021 USHL Draft. He only played 9 games as a rookie, but dominated this past season.


    William Whitelaw had 36 goals, 25 assists, 61 points, and a +11 +/- ratio in 62 USHL regular season games in 2022-2023. William Whitelaw had 5 goals, 4 assists, and 9 points in 9 games during the 2023 USHL Playoffs leading the Youngstown Phantoms to a 2023 Clark Cup.


    William Whitelaw has the speed, explosion, burst, agility, skating, foot speed, playmaking, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. William Whitelaw has better tape and traits on film compared to Nate Danielson even though Danielson had more points than Whitelaw despite being a team captain on the Brandon Wheat Kings.


    The thing is Whitelaw is going to Wisconsin. I think Whitelaw coud be in the NHL by 2025-2026 while Danielson is a guy that I see remaining in the WHL for two more years and then going to the AHL for a season before making the jump to the NHL in 2026-2027. With William Whitelaw, I see a guy that can go from the Youngstown Phantoms for two years, to the Wisconsin Badgers for two years, to the Minnesota Wild on their NHL roster in two years without having to spend any time on the Iowa Wild in the AHL. Frankly, that's what separates William Whitelaw from Nate Danielson in my opinion.


    Detroit took Nate Danielson at 9. Colubmus got a player with better film and traits than the ninth pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft in the third round. Also I had William Whitelaw graded slightly higher than Gavin Brindley.


    Columbus got Adam Fantilli my second best player as their first line center with the third pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. Columbus drafted Gavin Brindley who was twenty third on my big board in the second round who was teammates with Adam Fantilli at Michigan. Columbus took my twenty first best player in William Whitelaw in the third round.


    Fantilli should be in the NHL this year on the top line if he doesn't return to Michigan. Gavin Brindley could be in the NHL as a fourth line right winger by 2024 or 2025. You also have the luxury of grooming Brindley to be the replacement to first line right winger Patrik Laine when he becomes an unrestricted Free Agent in 2026. William Whitelaw could be on Columbus by 2025 if he dominates at Wisconsin since fourth line center Sean Kurlay is a unresticted Free Agent in 2025 and third line center Cole Sillinger got demoted to the AHL last year after being drafted twelfth overall in 2021. There's a window of opportunity for Whitelaw to become the third line center if he dominates while Sillinger struggles. William Whitelaw will be on Columbus by 2026 at the very latest assuming he plays all three seasons at Wisconsin unless the Blue Jackets end up winning the NHL Draft Lottery in 2024 or 2025.



  3. Chicago Blackhawks: Nick Lardis, LW, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL) A+ Grade

    The Chicago Blackhawks take the best winger on their board in the third round. Nick Lardis is the top winger on the board, and he's now versatile enough to play left wing and right wing. Nick Lardis was my third best player on the board trailing Chicago Steel right winger Jayden Perron who was in Chicago's backyard and Kelowna Rockets defenseman Caden Price. Lardis is more versatile of a winger than Jayden Perron and I mocked him to Anaheim at 33 as he just missed my first round.


    The 5-11 168 lb Nick Lardis had 37 goals, 28 assists, and 65 points in 2022-2023. Nick Lardis had 5 goals, 5 assists, and 10 points in the 2023 OHL Playoffs. Nick Lardis was a first round pick in the 2021 OHL Draft..


    Nick Lardis has the speed, explosion, burst, agility, skating, versatility, foot speed, playmaking, passing, sniping, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, vision, and offensive awareness to succeed in the NHL. He's got improve his defensive play and hockey IQ. The talent to be effective in the NHL is there.


    Nick Lardis will watch his OHL team the Hamilton Bulldogs play in Brampton for the next three years. The Hamilton Bulldogs OHL team will undergo stadium renovations during this time and return to Hamilton once the stadium renovations are complete. Nick Lardis will be on the Rockford Icehogs in the AHL or the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHl by the time the Bulldogs leave Brampton and return to Hamilton following the stadium renovations with the `Hamilton Bulldogs.


  4. Nashville Predators: Jesse Kiiskinen, RW, Lahti Pelicans (SM Liiga) A- Grade

    The Nashville Predators draft another right winger here. Jesse Kiiskinen is one of the top right wing prospects from Finland in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.


    The 6-0 190 lb Jesse Kiiskinen had 13 goals, 12 assists, and 25 points on the Lahti Pelicans Under 20 Team in 2021-2022. Jesse Kiiskinen had 20 goals, 23 assists, and 43 points on the Lahti Pelicans Under 20 Team in 2022-2023. Jesse Kiiskinen played 7 SM Liiga games where he had 0 goals, 1 assist, and 1 point in 7 games n 2022-2023.


    Jesse Kiiskinen has the speed, explosion, burst, agility, skating, foot speed, skating, playmaking, passing, sniping, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, vision, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. As long as a player is born before September 15, 2005, that player can enter the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. Jesse Kiiskinen was born after Connor Bedard on August 23, 2005. He was also the team captain of Finland's International team in multiple tournaments involving Finland's Under 18 National Hockey Team leading up to the 2023 NHL Entry Draft so not only is Jesse Kiiskinen one of the youngest players in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, he's got incredible leadership traits for such a young player.


    Jesse Kiiskinen is projected to go in the third round on most NHL Mock Drafts despite getting an invite to the 2023 NHL Combine. I've seen multiple NHL Mock drafts put him in the second round and one put him in the late first round. I can see why you would mock him in the second round though when you look at his leadership traits and longevity for one of the youngest players in this draft class when there isn't a consensus first round player from Finland this year.


    Nashville reached slightly here, but would some would argue the Nashville Predators got a steal. I had a late third round grade on Jesse Kiiskinen, but I had Kiiskinen graded one spot above Lahti Pelicans teammate Rasmus Kumpalainen who went in the second round to the Minnesota Wild because of his in your face attitude. I gave this an A- grade, but you can argue this pick warrants an A grade if you are a fan of the Nashville Predators.



  5. Montreal Canadiens: Jacob Fowler, G, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) A+ Grade

    The 6-2 201 lb Jacob Fowler went undrafted in the 2021 USHL Draft. Instead he got an invite to the Youngstown Phantoms mini-camp, which was his foot in the door. He was so impressive during the mini-camp that he got invited to an exit meeting with the team before the Youngstown Phantoms signed Jacob Fowler to a team contract with the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL at the age of 15.


    Jacob Fowler redshirted in 2020-2021 during his first year with the team since he wasn't eligible to play until he turned 16 in the USHL. Jacob Fowler went 11-4-1 with a 2.18 goals against avrage, .927 save percentage, 35 goals allowed, and posted 2 shutouts in his 16 starts while also playing two additional games giving him 18 games played and 16 total starts during his rookie USHL season in 2021-2022. Jacob Fowler also came in for one game during the 2022 USHL Playoffs.


    Jacob Fowler started 40 games for the Youngstown Phantoms going 27-9-4 with a 2.28 goals against average, a .921 save percentage, 88 goals allowed surrendering under 90 goals in those 40 starts, and 5 shutouts in the 2022-2023 USHL Season winning the 2022-2023 USHL Goalie Of The Year award after leading the USHL in wins, goals against average, and save percentage while tying the league lead with 5 shutouts on the year during the regular season. Jacob Fowler went 8-1-0 in his 9 starts during the 2023 USHL Playoffs with a 1.36 goals against average, a .952 save percentage, and recorded 1 shutout in game 3 of the 2023 Clark Cup to help the Youngstown Phantoms secure their first Clark Cup in team history.


    Jacob Fowler went 3-0-0 in the 2023 Clark Cup against the Fargo Force with a 0.64 goals against average, a .976 save percentage, and 1 shutout in game 3 after going 58 and half minutes without giving up a goal in game 1 of the 2023 Clark Cup. Jacob Fowler's goaltending led to him winning 2023 USHL Most Outstanding Player Award and 2023 Clark Cup MVP this year. Jacob Fowler was the first goalie in USHL history to win USHL Goalie Of The Year, 2023 USHL MMost Outstanding player Award, and the 2023 Clark Cup MVP in the same year. That's like Patrick Mahomes winning regular season MVP and Super Bowl MVP in the same season and it's freaking insane.


    This guy had a 30 save shutout against the Chicago Steel back in October. The Chicago Steel had Macklin Celebrini, the 2022-2023 USHL Player Of The Year with 40 goals, 46 assists, and 86 points. Celebrini is also the early favorite to go first overall in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. Watching this young man Jacob Fowler go into Chicago in a road contest where Youngstown traveled to Chicago. He also had a 33 save shutout later in the season. Fowler impressed me so much in that game against the Chicago Steel when watching the tape that I moved him up into the first round prior to the start of the 2023 USHL Playoffs.


    Style, Post Integration, Glove, Blocker Pad, Reading The Puck By Tracking, Rebound Control, Post Save Recovery, Quickness, Footwork, and Puckhandling. Those are ten different categories that NHL Draft Scouts use to evaluate goalies. Back in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Sebastian Cossa and Jesper Wallstedt were the only two goalies to check off these boxes and both went in the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Jacob Fowler and Trey Augustine were the only two goalies in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft to check off all ten boxes for me in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft with other goalies like Adam Gajan, Michael Hrabel, and Carson Bjarnason impressing me at times, but failing to check off all ten boxes you want from an NHL goalie despite some of these guys being ranked ahead of Jacob Fowler and Trey Augustine.


    Jacob Fowler and Trey Austine played each other once in a head-to-head game where Augustine defeated Fowler 3-2 in overtime. Fowler faced Gabe Perreault, Will Smith, and Ryan Leonard the trio of United States National Team Developmental Program players in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft that are all projected to go in the top 20 overall facing much tougher skaters compared to Trey Augustine. Jacob Fowler will be joining Perreault, Smith, and Leonard at Boston College this Fall.


    Two of Boston College's top three goalies are graduating. The one goalie returning is a third string junior goalie who gave up more than 5 goals per game in his two starts. Jacob Fowler should be able to win the starting goalie job as a true freshman at Boston College. Over the next two to three seasons he can develop at Boston College before signing his entry level contract with Montreal. Starting goalie Carey Price the fifth overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft has dealt with injuries the last two years and his contract is up in 2025.


    It's possible, but very unlikely that Jacob Fowler goes to the NHL in 2025. If he goes to Boston College for three years, he will be ready for the Laval Rocket in the AHL by 2026. If he does well in the AHL you can promote him by 2027. He should be ready to start for the Montreal Canadiens by 2028 at the latest, but will Montreal remain patient with Jacob Fowler or will the Canadiens rush him due to the injuries Carey Price has had in the past.


    Montreal has a great history with NHL goalies. See Patrick Roy and Carey Price as examples.


    Since posting NHL Draft grades on Draft Utopia in 2015, only three teams drafted my top defenseman and top goalie in the NHL Entry Draft. Those teams are the Dallas Stars in 2017 with Miro Heiskanen and Jake Oettinger which has been a massive success. The New Jersey Devils did the same thing in 2022 when they drafted my top defenseman Simon Nemec second overall before getting my top goalie Tyler Brennan in the fourth round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Montreal drafted the top defenseman David Reinbacher fifth overall in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft this year before taking Jacob Fowler with the sixty ninth pick in the third round of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.


  6. Arizona Coyotes: Jonathan Castanga, C, St Andrew's College HS (ON) B- Grade

    The 6-2 195 lb Jonathan Castanga had 29 goals, 43 assists, and 72 points as the team captain on the St Andrew's College High School hockey team that plays High School in Ontario in 2022-2023. Jonathan Castanga will play on the Penticon Vees in the BCHL next season in 2023 before starting his NCAA career at Cornell in 2024.


    Jonathan Castanga has the speed, burst, explosion, skating, foot speed, playmaking, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, stick handling, and offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Jonathan Castanga just needs to develop his slap shot and maybe improve his ability to win face offs.


    Arizona has Logan Cooley the top prospect not in the NHL according to The Hockey News whose returning to Minnesota for his sophomore season after being drafted third overall in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Barrett Hayton, Arizona's 2018 first round pick that was drafted fifth overall took five years to develop, but played well enough to be a second line center down the road with 45 points on the Arizona Coyotes top line thanks to Cooley being in College. Conor Geekie the eleventh pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft is likely the third line center of the future. This means Jonathan Castanga has a narrow window of opportunity to be the fourth line center on the Arizona Coyotes, but that could change if the Coyotes win the NHL Draft Lottery in 2024 or 2025 with centers like Macklin Celebrini the projected first overall pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft and Michael Misa the projected first overall pick in the 2025 NHL Entry Draft.


    Castanga can develop on the Penticon Vees and Cornell in the NCAA. He won't have to sign his entry level deal until 2027. If he plays all three years of his entry level deal in the AHL, then he wouldn't require a one-way contract in the NHL until 2030 which is when the contract for Josh Norris expires.



  7. San Jose Sharks: Brandon Svoboda, C, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) A Grade

    Brandon Svoboda was the team captain on the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL. Before that, he really stood out with the Pittsburgh Penguins Under 15 AAA Bantam team that plays at the UPMC Mario Lemeiux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township, Pennsylania.


    Brandon Svoboda had 26 goals, 34 assists, and 60 points in 56 games on the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 14 Under AAA team at the UPMC Mario Lemeiux Sports Complex in 2019-2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic. Brandon Svoboda had 25 goals, 38 assists, and 63 points with the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 15 Under AAA team at the UMPC Mario Lemieux Sports Complex in 2020-2021. Brandon Svoboda had 24 goals, 26 assists, and 50 points with the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 16 Under AAA team at the UPMC Mario Lemieux Sports Complex in 50 games in 2021-2022.


    The 6-3 209 lb Brandon Svoboda was voted team captain of the Youngstown Phantoms prior to the start of the season. Brandon Svoboda had 10 goals, 16 assists, 26 points, and a +20 +/- ratio in 59 USHL games in 2022-2023. Brandn Svoboda had 1 goal, 0 assists, and 1 point in 9 games during the 2023 USHL Playoffs.


    Brandon Svoboda has the speed, explosion, burst, agility, skating, foot speed, playmaking, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Brandon Svoboda is great at winning face offs. He has a lot of NHL traits that you want and will only continue to develop at Boston University this Fall.


    Brandon Svoboda wil be a second or third line center at Boston University this Fall. Macklin Celebrini the top pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft will probably be the top line center on Boston University. Brandon Svoboda will compete against San Jose's 2023 first round pick Will Smith in the 2024 Beanpot Tournament if Boston University goes up against Boston College.


    Brandon Svoboda has fewer weaknesses than Will Smith, but he didn't flash as a first round prospect like Smith did on tape despite showing strong leadership traits. At the same time if San Jose's top line features Tomas Hertl at left wing, Logan Couture at center, and William Eklund remains then Will Smith will be the second line center after one or two years at Boston College unless the Sharks win the NHL Draft Lottery in 2024 or 2025. Tomas Hertl can play center and winger, so when San Jose plays Hertl at center that means Hertl is the second line center and Will Smith is the third line center.


    Brandon Svoboda will either be a first line center on the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL which is his floor, a fourth line center on the San Jose Sharks, or a third line center on the San Jose Sharks down the road which is his ceiling in San Jose. Right now, I'd say Brandon Svoboda projects as a fourth line center on the San Jose Sharks. This can change if the San Jose Sharks end up winning the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery and get Macklin Celebrini or the 2025 NHL Draft lottery which features center Michael Misa who once led the entire OHL in points as a 15-year-old in October of 2022. San Jose would prioritize one of those exceptional players over Brandon Svoboda even though Svoboda has enough traits to be a bottom six player on the San Jose Sharks in the NHL.


  8. Arizona Coyotes: Noel Nordh, RW, Brynas IF (Elitserien) A- Grade

    Arizona drafts another winger prospect here. Noel Nordh is versatile enouhgh to play left wing or right wing.


    The 6-1 200 lb Noel Nordh had 13 goals, 14 assists, 27 points, and a -6 +/- ratio on the Brynas IF Under 20 Team in 32 games in 2022-2023. Noel Nordh had 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point, and a -4 +/- ratio in 10 SHL games in 2022-2023.


    Noel Nordh has the skating, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. He's got a high motor. Even if he fixes his passing and wrist shot, he's not projected to be a high end scorer in the NHL which will limit him to a third or fourth line winger role in the NHL despite defending well.



  9. Detroit Red Wings: Noah Dower Nilsson, C, Frolunda Indians (Elitserien) A Grade

    Detroit drafts a center to gamble on in the third round. Noah Dower Nilsson has NHL traits, but doesn't exactly utilize those traits on a consistent basis. Also most of his production came on the Frolunda Indians Under 20 Team as Noah Dower Nilsson only played 3 SHL games. Noah Dower Nilsson had 2 goals, 4 assists, and 6 points for Sweden in 7 games during the World Junior Championships.


    The 5-11 185 lb Noah Dower Nilsson had 26 goals, 28 assists, and 54 points on the Frolunda Indians Under 20 Team. Noah Dower Nilsson had 0 points in 3 SHL games after being promoted to the SHL.


    Noah Dower Nilsson has the skating, versatility, playmaking, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Noah Dower Nilsson needs to improve his ability to win face offs as he was used as a left winger more so than a center in the SHL once known as Eliserien. Noah Dower Nilsson can continue to develop in Sweden and the AHL on the Grand Rapids Griffins until he's ready to play in the NHL. Detroit has a lot of centers including two centers that were drafted in the first round including Marco Kasper and Nate Danielson.


    Noah Dower Nillson is also the younger brother of Detroit Red Wings 2021 fifth round pick Liam Nillson. Having the two brothers on Detroit should help from a team chemistry standpoint.


  10. St. Louis Blues: Quinton Burns, D, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) A Grade

    St. Louis drafts another defenseman that can be groomed for the future. Quinton Burns can play two more years in the OHL before going to the AHL where he will play through his entry level contract.


    The 6-1 180 Quinton Burns had 0 goals, 4 assists, 4 points, and a -3 +/- ratio in 42 OHL games as a 2021 second round pick in the 2021 OHL Draft in 2021-2022. Quinton Burns had 2 goals, 27 assists, 29 points, and a -13 +/- ratio in 2022-2023.


    Quinton Burns has the speed, burst, explosion, skating, foot speed, playmaking, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Quinton Burns held his own as a penalty killer. Quinton Burns displayed good funamentals and ideal traits you want from a defenseman when the Kingston Frontenacs clobbered the Oshawa Generals in an 8 to 1 road victory for the Kingston Frontenacs.



  11. Vancouver Canucks: Hunter Brzustewicz, D, Kitchener Rangers (OHL) A Grade

    The 5-11 190 lb Hunter Brzustewicz had 6 goals, 51 assists, 57 points, and a+8 +/- ratio in 68 OHL games in 2022-2023. Hunter Brzustewicz had 0 goals, 4 assists, and 4 points in 9 games during the 2023 OHL Playoffs.


    Hunter Brzustewicz also won the Bob Schlieman Award with the Kitchener Rangers having four of the last five winners for the Bob Schlieman Award which goes to the best offensive defenseman. I'm not sure if that's the best offensive defenseman on the Kitchener Rangers or if it is for the best offensive defenseman in the OHL. Regardless, it's an impressive accomplishment on the resume of Hunter Brzustewicz.


    Hunter Brzustewicz has the speed, explosion, burst, agility, skating, playmaking, passing, sniping, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, vision, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Hunter Brzustewicz is a guy who could end up being a steal in the 2023 NHL Draft if he fell to the third round. He's raw, but the traits to be a top 4 defenseman in the NHL once he finishes developing are there in spades. The Canucks can take as much time with Huner Brzustewicz as they need.


  12. St. Louis Blues: Juraj Pekarcik, RW, HK Nitra (Tipos) C Grade

    St. Louis drafts a forward with the versatility to play all three spots on offense in a forward line. Juraj Pekarcik is versatile enough to play left winger, center, and right winger.


    The 6-2 183 lb Juraj Pekarcik had 9 goals, 11 assists, and 20 points with the HK Nitra Under 20 Team in 2022-2023. Juraj Pekarcik had 0 goals, 3 assists, 3 points, and a -2 +/- ratio with HK Nitra in 30 games in Tipos.


    Juraj Pekarcik has the skating, playmaking, passing, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Juraj Pekarcik is a great skater that passes and defends well. He just has to develop his shot.



  13. Vegas Golden Knights: Mathieu Cataford, RW, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) A Grade

    Chicago gets their future third line right winger with this pick. Mathieu Cataford was drafted sixth overall in the first round of the 2021 QMJHL Draft. Mathieu Cataford is versatile enough to play both right winger and left winger even though his main position is at right wing.


    The 5-11 190 lb Mathieu Cataford had 17 goals, 29 assists, 46 points, and a +5 +/- ratio in 62 QMJHL games during his rookie season in 2021-2022. Mathieu Cataford had 4 goals, 1 assist, and 5 points in 5 games during the 2022 QMJHL Playoffs. Mathieu Cataford had 31 goals, 44 assists, 75 points, and a +33 +/- ratio in 2022-2023. Mathieu Cataford had 5 goals, 8 assists, and 13 points in 21 games during the 2023 QMJHL Playoffs.


    Mathieu Cataford has the skating, versatility, playmaking, passing, sniping, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, vision, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Mathieu Cataford just needs to improve his slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, and shot release. Once he tweaks that part of his game he will be ready for a bigger role whether that's with the Henderson Silver Knights in the AHL or the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL.


    My guess is he plays two more years in the QMJHL for the Halifax Mooseheads, goes to the Henderson Silver Knights for a year, becomes a member of the Vegas Golden Knights in 2026, and if he does well enough to make the NHL in 2026, he's a player who could end up as a replacement to Mark Stone down the road when Stone's contract expires in 2027.


    I had a second round grade on Mathieu Cataford. This is a guy that I can see making the Vegas Golden Knights roster at some point since Jonathan Marchessault is in a contract year after winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2023 as the first line right winger. Mark Stone the team captain is the second line right winger despite being under contract. Nicolas Roy is effective for a third line right winger, but can also play a fourth line center role on the back six. Keegan Kolisar your fourth line right winger is a UFA in 2025.


    I was higher on Mathieu Cataford than David Edstrom who Vegas drafted at thirty two. The big question is will he come straight from the QMJHL to the NHL in 2025 or will he develop with the Henderson Silver Knights for a few years before potentially arriving on Vegas in 2027 when Mark Stone's contract is up.


  14. Los Angeles Kings: Koehn Ziemmer, RW, Prince George Cougars (WHL) A Grade

    The 6-0 210 lb Koehn Ziemmer had 30 goals, 27 assists, 57 points, and a -15 +/- ratio in 2021-2022. Koehn Ziemmer had 0 goals, 2 assists, and 2 points in 4 games during the 2022 WHL Playoffs. Koehn Ziemmer had 41 goals, 48 assists, 89 points, and a 0 +/- ratio in 2022-2023. Koehn Ziemmer had 3 goals, 4 assists, and 7 points in 10 games during the 2023 WHL Playoffs.


    Koehn Ziemmer has the skating, playmaking, passing, sniping, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, vision, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Koehn Ziemmer doesn't have that first step you want in a skater. He also needs to develop his shot blocking ability in order to perfect his game on defense.


    I had a second round grade on Koehn Ziemmer. The Los Angeles Kings got quite the player in the third round. This is a player I can see making the Los Angeles Kings NHL roster by 2026 when Adrian Kempe, the Los Angeles Kings first line right winger becomes an unrestricted Free Agent. The Los Angeles Kings may have gotten a steal in the third round.



  15. Dallas Stars: Brad Gardiner, C, Ottawa 67's (OHL) A- Grade

    The 6-1 184 lb Brad Gardiner had 19 goals, 20 assists, 39 points, and a +19 +/- ratio in 2022-2023. His father Bruce Gardiner played 312 NHL games.


    Brad Gardiner has the skating, foot speed, playmaking, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Brad Gardiner has come a long way since being a third round pick in the 2021 OHL Draft showing he has the wrist shot and slap shot NHL teams want to see. He's a great passer as well who would develop quickly in Vancouver.


    Roope Hintz and Wyatt Johnston will be the top 2 centers by 2025. I have to believe Logan Stankoven and Mavriq Bourque will also be on Dallas by then. However, if Dallas wanted to move Logan Stankoven to right wing which was his secondary position then it would open up a fourth line center role for Brad Gardiner as a grinder type center.


    Brad Gardiner will probably develop on the Ottawa 67's in the OHL for two more years. After that, He will also probably be a top six forward on the Texas Stars in the AHL as a first or second line center. Assuming Dallas plays Roope Hintz, Wyatt Johnston, Mavrik Bourque, and Logan Stankoven as their top 4 centers by 2025 after letting Jamie Benn and Radek Faksa walk. I just don't know where he would fit on an NHL lineup right now.


    I had a fourth round grade on Brad Gardiner, but did not know his dad Bruce Gardiner played 312 NHL games. Jim Nill gave up a 2024 third round pick and a 2024 sixth round pick to get Brad Gardiner because he probably wowed Dallas at the 2023 NHL Combine during the interview process. Nill doesn't recycle draft picks when trading up. The only other time Nill traded up during the NHL Draft as General Manager was when he moved up for Jake Oettinger in 2017, which worked out quite well for Dallas by the way.


    Brad Gardiner's production as a scorer is somewhat underwhelming. However his defensive play for a center and his discipline is through the roof. Brad Gardiner has traits are good enough to warrant a bottom six role as an NHL center. Despite me having Tristan Bertucci graded higher than Brad Gardiner, The Hockey News had Gardiner graded above Bertucci with a second roundn grade on Gardiner and a third round grade on Bertucci.


    There's a good chance Brad Gardiner is an AHL player unless Mavrik Bourque or Logan Stankoven flops in the NHL. If both of those high draft picks pan out and Gardiner develops offensively, Dallas will have to keep Gardiner in the AHL or move Stankoven over to right winger which was his secondary position using him similarly to Tyler Seguin. Brad Gardiner is someone who could replace fourth line center Radek Faksa down the road as that fourth line grinder center who excels defensively, but there's also a possibility that Dallas just traded up for an AHL player.


    This is a guy that Jim Nill wanted, so I'll give Dallas the benefit of the doubt for now. However, I'm giving Dallas an A- grade over an A grade because I'm not sure there's a role for him in the NHL if both Mavrik Bourque and Logan Stankoven pan out. I had first round grades on both Bourque and Stankoven with Stankoven graded higher than Wyatt Johnston. With Johnston having the success he had this year, I just don't know where Gardiner fits.


    Brad Gardiner's floor is a second line center on the Texas Stars in the AHL and his ceiling is a third line center on Dallas. The problem is with Roope Hintz locked up until 2031, Wyatt Johnston emerging, Mavrik Bourque your 2020 first round pick who Dallas had in their top fifteen, and Logan Stankoven a 2021 second round pick that most had a first round grade on, I'm not sure Gardiner will reach his ceiling in Dallas unless Bourque busts and Stankoven moves over to right winger.


  16. Calgary Flames: Aydar Suniev, LW, Penticon Vees (BCHL) A+ Grade

    The 6-1 192 lb Aydar Suniev had 45 goals, 45 assists, and 90 points with the Penticon Vees in 2022-2023. Aydar Suniev had 9 goals, 14 assists, and 23 points in 15 games during the 2023 BCHL Playoffs. Aydar Suniev has a hockey scholarship to University of Massachusetts this Fall.


    Aydar Suniev has the skating, explosion, burst, agility, skating, foot speed, playmaking, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, offensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Aydar Suniev has the offensive traits you want, but needs to develop his defenisve awareness at University of Massachusetts with the Massachusetts Minutemen before making the jump to the AHL with the Calgary Wranglers or the NHL with the Calgary Flames.


    I had a second round grade on Aydar Suniev. This may be Calgary's best value pick since taking Johnny Gaudreau in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.



  17. Arizona Coyotes: Tanner Ludtke, C, Lincoln Stars (USHL) C- Grade

    dd>The 6-0 185 lb Tanner Ludtke had 23 goals, 38 assists, and 61 points in 30 games as the team captain of Lakeville South High School in in 2022-2023. Tanner Ludtke also had 32 goals, 34 assists, 66 points, and a +16 +/- ratio in 57 games for the Lincoln Stars in the USHL in 2022-2023.

    Tanner Ludtke is going to Omaha-Nebraska this Fall on a hockey scholarship. He could develop into a fourth line center down the road and at the very worst, he'll be a great AHL player on the Tuscon Roadrunners. He might be a player who could develop into a fourth line center in the NHL, but would only get that oppotunity if he beats out Jonathan Castanga.


  18. Winnipeg Jets: Zachary Nehrig, RW, Shattuck St. Mary's HS (MN) B Grade

    The 6-2 182 lb Zachary Nehrig is versatile enough to play right winger or center. Zachary Nehrig is my top High School player that didn't play in the CHL or the USHL in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. Zachary Nehrig is going to play college hockey at Western Michigan this fall on a hockey scholarship with Zachary Nehrig being the first hockey recruit from the NHL Combine that Western Michigan's hockey program has landed.


    Zachary Nehrig had 26 goals, 61 assists, and 87 points with Shattuck St. Mary's a High School hockey powerhouse in the state of Minnesota in 2021-2022. Zachary Nehrig had 39 goals, 46 assists, and 85 points with Shattuck St. Mary's during his senior season in 2022-2023.


    Zachary Nehrig has the speed, burst, explosion, skating, foot speed, playmaking, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, stick handling, and offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Zachary Nehrig can go to Western Michigan for three years and potentially sign his entry level contract with the Winnipeg Jets in 2026 starting out on the Mannitoba Moose. He would be in the NHL by 2027 at the earliest if he dominated in the AHL and 2029 at the latest.


    I had a fourth round grade on Zachary Nehrig. He did interview at the 2023 NHL Combine as one of the top 106 players and he could potentially be a Blake Wheeler replacement down the road.



  19. Nashville Predators: Dylan Mackinnon, D, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) A- Grade

    Nashville drafts a defenseman in the third round that I had a late third round grade on. One guy who might be ready in two years is Halifax Mooseheads defenseman Dylan Mackinnon. He's a player who could develop quickly like his predecessor in Halifax Justin Barron. Dylan MacKinnon was drafted fifth overall 2021 QMJHL Draft.


    The 6-2 190 lb Dylan MacKinnon had 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, and a -14 +/- ratio in 52 QMJHL games in 2021-2022. Dylan MacKinnon had 0 goals, 0 assists, and 0 points in 4 games during the 2022 QMJHL Playoffs. Dylan MacKinnon had 6 goals, 17 assists, 23 points, and a +31 +/- ratio in 61 games in 2022-2023. Dylan MacKinnon had 0 goals, 2 assists, and 2 points in 20 games during the 2023 QMJHL Playoffs.


    Dylan MacKinnon has the speed, explosion, skating, foot speed, playmaking, passing, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Dylan MacKinnon has to develop his shot and perform better in the QMJHL Playoffs. He's got to show he can be an impact player in th playoffs as well as the regular season. His floor is better than Los Angeles Kings second round pick Jakub Dvorak, but his ceiling isn't quite as high.


  20. Seattle Kraken: Caden Price, D, Kelowna Rockets (WHL) A+ Grade

    The 6-0 190 lb Caden Price had 2 goals, 19 assists, 21 points, and a +24 +/- ratio in 47 games in 2021-2022. Caden Price played in 4 games during the 2022 WHL Playoffs, but didn't do anything in terms of generating points. Caden Price had 5 goals, 35 assists, 40 points, and a -12 +/- ratio in 65 games in 2022-2023. Caden Price had 1 goal, 1 assist, and 2 points in 4 games during the 2023 WHL Playoffs.


    Caden Price has the skating, explosion, burst, agility, skating, foot speed, playmaking, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Caden Price may be the best penalty killer in this draft.


    I saw Caden Price on film against the Spokane Chiefs. The Spokane Chiefs had seven power plays in one game including three power plays in the first six minutes and four power plays in the first ten minutes. The Kelowna Rockets went 7/7 when penalty killing against the Spokane Chiefs. Caden Price is a big reason why. Caden Price still needs to refine both his wrist shot and slap shot in order to imrpove his goal scoring and consistency as a player. Once Price does that, he will be ready for the NHL possibly as early 2025.


    Seattle now has three defenseman that I had first round grades on. Those defensemen are Ty Nelson their 2022 third round pick, Lukas Dragicevic, and now Caden Price whose amazing as a penalty killer. There's a chance none of those guys reach the NHL, but the odds are one of those guys will see NHL minutes and if they make an impact when they do, Seattle will improve defensively. If all three guys reach the NHL which is a long shot, then Seattle could be in position to contend for a Stanley Cup by the later part of this decade.



  21. Anaheim Ducks: Yegor Sidorov, RW, Saskatoon Blades (WHL) A Grade

    Yegor Sidorov was drafted twentieth overall by the Saskatoon Blades in the CHL Import Draft. Yegor Sidorov is from Belarus, but has the versatility to play both right winger and left winger with right wing being his main position.


    The 6-0 182 lb Yegor Sidorov had 23 goals, 12 assists, 35 points, and a -2 +/- ratio in 2021-2022. Yegor Sidorov had 1 goal, 2 assists, and 3 points in 5 games with the Saskatoon Blades during the 2022 WHL Playoffs. Yegor Sidorov had 40 goals, 36 assists, 76 points, +25 +/- ratio in 2022-2023. Yegor Sidorov had 9 goals, 10 assists, and 19 points in 16 games during the 2023 WHL Playoffs.


    Yegor Sidorov had 4 career hat tricks over the past two years in the WHL. That's the second most hat tricks among any player in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft trailing only Connor Bedard the top pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft who had 9 hat tricks. It's also worth pointing out that Bedard had hat tricks in game 1 and game 6 of the opening round series where the Saskatoon Blades Sidorov's WHL team edged out the Regina Pats Bedard's WHL team in 7 gamees.


    Yegor Sidorov has the skating, playmaking, passing, sniping, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, stick handling, puck control, ability to create space, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Yegor Sidorov turned 19 ten days prior to the 2023 NHL Entry Draft on June 18, 2023 and still doesn't wow you with a lack of game breaking speed and explosion despite being a proficient skater with smooth strides.


    The thing is Anaheim would have to sign Yegor Sidorov to an entry level deal by 2024 since he's heading into his final WHL season. He can get stronger and continue to develop with the San Diego Gulls in the AHL until he's proven himself starting in 2024.


  22. Buffalo Sabres: Gavin McCarthy, D, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) B+ Grade

    The 6-1 186 lb Gavin McCarthy will be heading to Boston University this Fall. Gavin McCarthy had 2 goals, 11 assists, 13 points, and a +7 +/- ratio in 2021-2022. Gavin McCarthy had 0 goals, 1 assist, and 1 point in 9 games during the 2022 USHL Playoffs. Gavin McCarthy had 8 goals, 19 assists, 27 points, and a -4 +/- ratio in 42 games in 2022-2023.


    Gavin McCarthy was a top 5 defenseman in points for an under 18 defenseman in the USHL. He also finished in the top 30 in penalty minutes despite missing 20 games due to injuries.


    Gavin McCarthy has the skating, foot speed, playmaking, passing, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Gavin McCarthy has the physicality and penalty killing you want, but he also needs to develop his shot. Gavin McCarthy has a third round grade, but with questions about his shot, durability, and quick decision making despite a sharp hockey IQ, I had him falling to the fourth round. He was one of 106 players at the 2023 NHL Combine, so it's possible he ends up sneaking into the third round.


    If an NHL team drafts Gavin McCarthy they won't have to sign him to an entry level contract until 2026. With all the defensemen that Buffalo has, Gavin McCarthy is a guy the Sabres can gamble on.



  23. Philadelphia Flyers: Yegor Zavragin, G, Mamonty Urga (MHL) D Grade

    This is the first D grade that I've handed an NHL team since the Arizona Coyotes took Danill But at 12. I had a seventh round grade on Yegor Zavragin. The fact that the Flyers drafted two goalies in the first three rounds tells me that Cal Pedersen is gone after 2025 when his contract is up. It also tells me the Philadelphia Flyers may let Carter Hart walk or trade Carter Hart if both goalies develop well.


    Philadelphiia gambles on a project goalie. Yegor Zavragin plays in the MHL and hasn't gotten promoted to the KHL yet.


    The 6-2 183 lb Yegor Zavragin had a 2.49 goals against average ana .920 save percentage in the MHL in 21 games in 2022-2023. Yegor Zavragin had a 0.00 goals against average and a 1.000 save percentage in his one VHL game where he got promoted from the MHL to the VHL. Yegor Zavragin is worth gambling on in the seventh round, but not in the third round when one of the top six goalies is still on the board.


    Also, Philadelphia traded up for Brandon Wheat Kings goalie Carson Bjanarson in the second round of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. Bjanarson is the youngest goalie in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, but he looks like he's playing in quicksand when you watch him on tape. The fact that the Flyers took a second goalie one round after taking Bjanarson tells me that one of these two goalies may have the upside to supplant Carter Hart down the road if he continues to struggle, but neither guy is good enough to enter the conversation to be Hart's backup goalie until 2025 at the earliest.


  24. Arizona Coyotes: Vadim Moroz, RW, Dinamo Minsk (KHL) D Grade

    The 6-3 185 lb Vadim Moroz had 5 goals, 9 assists, and 14 points with Dinamo Minsk in the KHL. Moroz is an awesome defensive winger that loves to hunt the puck while passing it on offense to get other players involved. He just needs to develop as a skater and shot.


    Vadim Moroz is the first player that did not crack my 2023 NHL Mock Draft to get drafted. The Hockey Writers had a fifth to sixth round grade on him while Corey Prongman of the Athletic had him in his top 142 overall. That's the only reason I bumped this pick up from the first potential F grade to a D grade.



  25. Vancouver Canucks: Sawyer Mynio, D, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) B Grade

    Vancouver goes for value and drafts another defenseman that can be groomed for the future. Sawyer Mynio is one guy left on the board with enough upside to develop into a defenseman that could be a first line defenseman on an NHL team down the road. That is one guy that I can see why Vancouver gambled on when gauging potential with a third round pick.


    The 6-0 163 lb Sawyer Mynio had 4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points, and a +8 +/- ratio in 47 WHL games in 2021-2022. Sayer Mynio had 0 goals, 0 assists, and 0 points in the 2022 WHL Playoffs as a rookie after being a third round pick in the 2020 WHL Draft. Sawyer Mynio had 5 goals, 26 assists, 31 points, and a +50 +/- ratio in 68 WHL games in 2022-2023. Sawyer Mynio had 1 goal, 3 assists, and 4 points in 19 games during the 2023 WHL Playoffs plus Mynio played in 5 more playoff games during the 2023 Memorial Cup.


    Sawyer Mynio has the skating, foot speed, playmaking, passing, sniping, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, vision, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Sawyer Mynio needs to improve his skating mechanics and edgework, but everything else checks out.


  26. New York Rangers: Drew Fortescue, D, USNTDP (USHL) C Grade

    The 6-1 176 lb Drew Fortescue had 1 goal, 25 assists, and 26 points on the US-Under 18 Team in 2022-2023. Drew Fortescue had 0 goals, 5 assists, 5 points, and a +13 +/- ratio in 22 games for the United States National Team Developmental Program in the USHL in 2022-2023.


    Drew Fortescue has the skating, foot speed, playmaking, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Drew Fortescue will play defense at Boston College starting this Fall and can develop there before signing his NHL entry level contract. New York won't have to sign Drew Fortescue until 2026 making him a great stash and develop player.


    This is a guy that I see having success on the Hartford Wolfpack in the AHL. I don't know if that will translate to the NHL though.



  27. Pittsburgh Penguins: Emil Pieniemi, D, Oulun Karpat (SM Liiga) B Grade

    The 6-2 175 lb Emil Pieniemi is the top prospect on Oulun Karpat. Oulun Kaprat is one of the powerhouse teams in Liiga which is a professional mens hockey league which was known as SM Liiga.


    Emil Pieniemi had 1 goal, 12 asssists, and 13 points in 31 games with the Oulun Karpat Under 20 Team in 2022-2023. Emil Pieniemi only played one game with Oulun Karpat in Liiga in 2022-2023.


    Emil Pieniemi's contract in Finland runs through 2025. This means he's got two more years to develop in Finland before the NHL team that drafts him has to sign him to an entry level contract.


    Emil Pieniemi has the skating, passing, playmaking, slap shot accuracy, vision, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Emil Pieniemi needs to develop his wrist shot, slap shot, and build some muscle. His coaches believe he can play in the NHL once he gets up to 195 lbs. Emil Pieniemi was 170 lbs, but bulked up to 175 lbs for the 2023 NHL Combine since hockey in Finland ended for this season.


    I had him going in the middle of the fourth round, but Pittsburgh took him in the third round of the 2023 NHL Draft. I'm guessing Emil Pieniemi interviewed Kyle Dubas and the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2023 NHL Combine to warrant being picked in the late third round with only 106 players at the 2023 NHL Combine. I'll give this pick a B grade here.


  28. Boston Bruins: Christopher Pelosi, C, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) D Grade

    The 6-2 185 lb Christopher Pelosi had 13 goals, 6 assists, and 19 points on the Sioux Falls Stampede. He's returning the Sioux Falls Stampede next season before enrolling into Quinnipiac in 2024.


    I felt there were at least three or four prospects on the Sioux Falls Stampede that might be better players down the road. That's why this pick got a D grade.



  29. Chicago Blackhawks: Jiri Felcman, C, SCL Tigers (National League A) C- Grade

    The 6-4 198 lb Jiri Felcman hd 10 goals, 21 assists, and 31 points with the SCL Tigers Under 20 Team in Switzerland. Jiri Felcman did not get promoted to the SCL Tigers main roster in the National League A. SCL Tigers own Jiri Felcman's rights until 2025 and he will probably go to the Rockford Icehogs in the AHL after that. He will get an opportunity on the back six if he proves himself there while outperforming other players like Colton Dach, but there's no timeline for him to make the NHL right now.


    I would say Jiri Felcman's floor is a second line center on the Rockford Icehogs. His ceiling is a fourth line center on the Chicago Blackhawks behind Connor Bedard, Oliver Moore, and Colton Dach in the NHL.


  30. Carolina Hurricanes: Jayden Perron, RW, Chicago Steel (USHL) A+ Grade

    The 5-9 166 lb Jayden Perron is versatile enough to play left wing, center, or right wing. Jayden Perron was the Chicago Steel's first round pick in the 2021 USHL Draft. Jayden Perron is also best friends with Macklin Celebrini the top pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.


    Jayden Perron had 17 goals, 28 assists, 45 points, and a +13 +/- ratio during his rookie season in 2021-2022. Jayden Perron also had 1 goal, 2 assists, and 3 points during the 2022 USHL Playoffs before the Chicago Steel were eliminated. Jayden Perron had 24 goals, 48 assists, 72 points, and a +15 +/- ratio in 61 games in 2022-2023. Jayden Perron had 4 goals, 2 assists, and 6 points in 6 playoff games during the 2023 USHL Playoffs.


    Jayden Perron has the skating, explosion, burst, agility, skating, foot speed, playmaking, passing, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot accuracy, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Jayden Perron checks off a lot of boxes. He just needs to get stronger and improve his power on shots. How can he improve power on his shots? That's pretty simple, just add more velocity on his shot as he adjusts from the USHL to the NCAA where he will play for North Dakota this Fall.


    Jayden Perron was a first line right winger on the Chicago Steel this past season as Perron broke out in his draft year. Carolina can keep Perron in the NCAA at North Dakota as long as he needs to develop.



  31. Philadelphia Flyers: Denver Barkey, RW, London Knights (OHL) A Grade

    The 5-9 155 lb Denver Barkey had 7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points, and a -6 +/- ratio in 53 OHL games in 2021-2022. Denver Barkey had 1 goal, 1 assist, and 2 points in 5 games during the 2022 OHL Playoffs. Denver Barkey had 22 goals, 37 assists, 59 points, and a +18 +/- ratio in 61 games in 2022-2023. Denver Barkey had 11 goals, 13 assists, and 24 points in 20 games during the 2023 OHL Playoffs.


    Denver Barkey has the skating, foot speed, versatility, playmaking, passing, wrist shot power, wrist shot accuracy, slap shot power, slap shot accuracy, offensive awareness, defensive awareness, and hockey IQ to succeed in the NHL. Denver Barkey has to develop his first step and explosiveness to play center in the NHL. He's good enough to play right winger in the NHL though once he develops.


    Denver Barkey is someone who could be a good third line right winger behind Matvei Michkov for the Philadelphia Flyers if you develop him until 2026 and Tyson Foerester the Philadelphia Flyers 2020 first round pick. I had a second round grade on Easton Cowam who Toronto took at 27, but I also had Denver Barkey in my top sixty. Some Flyers fans believe Barkey can be a second line center and the ceiling to be a top six forward is there.


  32. Vegas Golden Knights: Arttu Karki, D, Tappara (SM Liiga) C+ Grade

    The 6-2 176 lb Arttu Karki had 13 goals, 26 assists, and 39 points with the Tappara Under 20 Team in 2022-2023. It's only a matter or time until Arttu Karki gets promoted to Liiga where he plays for Tappara the defending Liiga champion heading into next season.


    Vegas has two defensemen in their farm system with Lukas Cormier their 2020 third round pick that played for the Charlottetown Islanders for two years before having 10 goals, 25 assists, 35 points, and a -12 +/- ratio with the Henderson Silver Knights in 2022-2023. The other prospect Vegas has on their blue line is Daniil Chayka a 2021 second round pick that I had a first round grade on. Chayka had a rocky first season in the AHL with only 8 points and a -19 +/- ratio.


    I do think Arttu Karki is talented enough to get to the AHL and challenge guys like Lukas Cormier and Daniil Chayka on the Henderson Silver Knights. I don't know if he can beat thouse guys out.












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