Adam Fantilli pacing US-based NHL Draft eligibles
Adam Fantilli isn’t just the top 2023 NHL Draft eligible prospect playing in the United States.
His red-hot opening with Michigan might have him fighting for the top spot overall.
The NCAA season is just a month old, and Fantilli is making his push to be a top selection in the 2023 NHL draft with his meteoric, historic start. Fantilli, currently No. 3 in FCHockey’s Preliminary ranking for the 2023 draft, is leading the NCAA in scoring as a freshman with 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in 12 games.
It has him presently battling with Connor Bedard and Matvei Michkov for the top spot.
“He’s entering his draft year as a consensus top-three pick for most scouts, and with that comes some pressure to perform,” FCHockey US-based scout Douglas Larson said. “He’s been able to dominate in the USHL over the last couple of years with the Chicago Steel and now will look to replicate his success at Michigan. He should have no problem being a key offensive producer for the Wolverines while keeping his name at the top of NHL draft rankings.”
Fantilli, off to a torrid start to his collegiate career, will look to keep the pace up as the Wolverines make their push for the Frozen Four.
But he’s not alone.
Here are some players that Larson will have his eyes on:
Who are you personally looking forward most to scouting this season?
“The player I’m most excited about watching this season has to be William Whitelaw. He most recently had a strong performance at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup with Team USA, where he scored four points in four games. His offensive skill set is one of the best I’ve seen from the US region. Everything he does is quick with an elite shot. I think he’ll be a problem for other teams in the USHL this year and will be a real treat to watch.”
Who is your sleeper pick as the biggest riser from the United States?
“My biggest sleeper to rise up the draft boards this season is Aram Minnetian of the U18 NTDP. Up to this point, I’ve viewed him once and he couldn’t have left a better first impression. He’s a well-rounded right-shot defenseman who skates well and is impactful in all areas of the game. He’ll be coveted by NHL teams and will be a first-round selection.”
Who do you see being the toughest prospect to gauge from your region?
“This season, I already have questions about touted prospect Charlie Stramel. He has a big frame with skill, and while that is enticing, he just hasn’t put it all together. He has the tools and size to become an effective player in the NHL at some point but hasn’t driven play consistently enough for me to place him as a top-20 player in this draft. He may very well answer my questions about him with the Wisconsin Badgers this season, but I think he’ll be tough to gauge.”