May 31, 2023

How the draft eligibles did at the 2023 IIHF Worlds

The 2023 IIHF Worlds is in the books, and four members of the 2023 NHL Draft class had a chance at one final showcase before heading into the big day.

Here were their impressions from FCHockey scouts on hand to watch in person:

10 GP | 1 G | 2 A | 3 P | 12:25 ATOI

Adam Fantilli capped off his extremely impressive draft-eligible season with a World Championship gold, after already leading the NCAA in scoring, winning the Hobey Baker and winning a U20 WJC-gold. He might not have produced as much as expected, but he solidified his spot high up in the line-up as the tournament went on, after even being the 13th forward early on. Fantilli showcased a very mature game, and he didn’t look the least bit out of place on a Canada squad filled with NHLers. He was able to show some flashes of the offensive skills that have him ranked as the no. 2 prospect going into the draft, with the clear highlight being his game winner against Latvia, which could very well have been the goal of the tournament.

His performance on the international stage showed that he could very well be the most NHL ready player in this draft if we look at the impact he could have at both ends of the ice, since he showed he can be a valuable player even when he isn’t on the score sheet.

“His skating is already at a level that’ll slip right onto an NHL roster, and he’s not shy to finish his checks, try to provide a physical, checking presence, and he can back it up with highlight reel puckhandling.” FCHockey scout Aaron Vickers said.

LEO CARLSSON | SWEDEN | C | 6’3″ | 198 LBS
8 GP | 3 G | 2 A | 5 P | 15:38 ATOI

Leo Carlsson had arguably the biggest role for his team of any draft eligible in his tournament, as the youngest player to ever play for Team Sweden at the event. He was centering the first line for most of the tournament, and finished with 3 goals and 5 points in 8 games, while sharing the +/- lead for a Swedish team filled with top level talent from Europe and even some seasoned NHLers. Although his offensive production could probably have been better, he only amassed 12 shots on goal through 8 games, Carlsson showed that he can play a reliable two-way role against pro-level competition.

He did struggle on faceoffs throughout the tournament, and his play did seem to lack a bit of tempo that would be needed for him to succeed as a center on a higher level. Carlsson still has time to develop obviously, and with his tool kit there definitely is some good base for that development. Personally, I think his play during this tournament solidified my opinion of him being a top-three pick this summer.

“Carlsson consistently displays excellent situational awareness, constantly scanning his surroundings to determine his next move, whether in the offensive or defensive zone.” FCHockey scout Rasmus Tornqvist said.

4 GP | 0 G | 1 A | 1 P | 15:57 ATOI

David Reinbacher had a rough start to the tournament, with a lower-body injury sustained early on, which definitely could have impacted his performance once he was able to rejoin the squad. He finished with 4 games out of 7, while logging an average of 15 minutes per night, and was the only Austrian player with a positive +/- en route to helping Austria secure their spot in the highest division for next season. He wasn’t able to find the score sheet a whole lot, but given his size and tool kit he can be valuable in other areas of the ice, too.

Reinbacher showcased some flashes of the franchise defenseman that teams will for sure hope him to be, and he is definitely an option to be the first blueliner off the board in the draft.

“He uses his size, particularly his reach, to disrupt plays and he presents good gap control when defending against the rush,” Vickers said. “There were some areas that he didn’t particularly excel in, mainly in his skating and pivoting while defending, but that could very well be a result of the injury he sustained.”

6 GP | 0 G | 0 A | 0 P | 9:16 ATOI

Just the fact that Oscar Fisker Molgaard made it onto the Danish team at his age should tell you a lot about his hockey IQ. When watching him it was extremely clear that he is nowhere near the physical level required to be an impact player at this level, which just makes it even more impressive he was on the team, and that he played 41 games in the SHL this year. Despite his role being somewhat limited (he averaged around 12 minutes of ice-time a night), Fisker Molgaard was able to showcase the tools that make him a candidate for a pick in the early second round, or maybe even late first.

Offensively, Molgaard wasn’t able to produce during this tournament, but that comes as no surprise given how easy he was to knock off the puck. Molgaard will definitely need to improve his physical tools during the next few seasons, but if he is able to do that his hockey IQ will definitely make him a valuable pick for a team looking for a reliable two-way player.

“Molgaard excels at supporting his teammates in both the offensive and defensive zones, showcasing impressive positioning for his age while competing against older players,” Tornqvist said. “Defensively, he demonstrates a smart approach by focusing on containment rather than physical battles, utilizing his stick for coverage and maintaining tight coverage to keep opponents to the outside.”

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