March 4, 2023

FCHockey’s post trade deadline 2023 NHL Draft mock

The 2023 NHL Trade Deadline is in the rearview, so it’s time to mock up the 2023 NHL Draft.

Just like 16 teams will be doing in the short term with attention turning to the 2023 draft for non-playoff teams.

Hockey fans saw plenty of draft capital move with a fast and furious week leading into the trade deadline, with a plethora of first-rounders trading hands and adding to the draft excitement.

Here are the transcations that seen first round picks moved in advance of the 2023 draft:

  • Montreal acquired the rights to Florida’s first round pick (top-10 protected) in the deal that sent Ben Chiarot to the Panthers.
  • Arizona acquired the rights to Ottawa’s first round pick (top-5 protected) in the deal that send Jakob Chychrun to the Senators.
  • Detroit acquired New York’s first round pick (conditional) acquired via Vancouver in the deal that sent Filip Hronek to the Canucks.
  • Nashville acquired Edmonton’s first round pick in the deal that sent Mattias Ekholm to the Oilers.
  • Columbus acquired Los Angeles’ first round pick (conditional) in the deal that sent Jones Korpisalo and Vladislav Gavrikov to the Kings.
  • St. Louis acquired a conditional first round pick from New York in the deal that sent Vladimir Tarasenko to the Rangers. The pick will be the latter between the Rangers and Stars first rounder.
  • Chicago acquired Tampa Bay’s first round pick (top-10 protected) in the deal that sent Brandon Hagel to the Lightning.
  • St. Louis acquired a first round pick from Toronto in the deal that sent Ryan O’Reilly to the Maple Leafs.
  • San Jose acquired a first round pick (conditional) from New Jersey in the deal that sent Timo Meier to the Devils.
  • Toronto acquired a first round pick from Boston in the deal that sent Rasmus Sandin to the Capitals.

With the trade deadline behind us, here’s a look at how the 2023 draft could now shake down:

1. Columbus Blue Jackets – Connor Bedard | C/RW | Regina (WHL)
FCHockey rank – 1

The Columbus Blue Jackets surprise nobody by selecting Connor Bedard. There’s not much to say about Bedard that hasn’t already been said, as he’s a generational talent that appears bound to be among the league’s elite in short order. Bedard is a complete offensive package that plays the game with speed and skill and can process the play at top speed — allowing him to stay one step ahead of his opposition and find his way into scoring areas. He’s a lethal shooter with one of the quickest shot releases we’ve seen in recent draft years, and would be a natural fit alongside other high skill players such as Johnny Gaudreau and Kent Johnson.

2. Chicago Blackhawks – Adam Fanilli | C | Michigan (NCAA)
FCHockey rank – 2

The Chicago Blackhawks usher in a new era of Blackhawks hockey with the selection of Adam Fantilli, a complete, well-rounded forward who has all the makings of a future No. 1 center at the NHL level. The only thing Fantilli’s game lacks is a true weakness, as he’s a toolsy player that checks just about every box you want in a top-line center. He’s big, fast, skilled, and has the intelligence to find his way into scoring areas and find teammates in the offensive zone with a high efficiency. Fantilli would be a worthy centerpiece to rebuild the franchise around alongside the likes of Frank Nazar and Kevin Korchinski.

3. Anaheim Ducks – Leo Carlsson | C/LW | Orebro HK (SHL)
FCHockey rank – 4

The Anaheim Ducks add to their growing pool of forward talent with the selection of Leo Carlsson, a rangy and highly-skilled playmaker with an advanced offensive game. Carlsson is among the most creative and skilled players in the draft while also having the size already to stand up to the pro game. His playmaking ability as well as an underrated goal scorer’s touch would make him a lethal asset alongside the like of Trevor Zegras and Mason McTavish for years to come and would continue to round out the future of Anaheim’s offense.

4. San Jose Sharks – Zachary Benson | LW | Winnipeg (WHL)
FCHockey rank – 5

The San Jose Sharks pick up a potential future face to their offense with the selection of Zachary Benson, a highly-intelligent dual threat winger with true game-breaking potential. Benson is among the top scorers in junior hockey this season as he uses his top notch awareness in the offensive zone to regularly set up teammates in high-danger scoring areas. His playmaking vision and spatial awareness are both elite qualities to his game, as he can read and break down defensive zone coverage with ease and also flash high-end skill in tight spaces.

5. Arizona Coyotes – Matvei Michkov | LW/RW | HK Sochi (KHL)
FCHockey rank – 3

The Arizona Coyotes select perhaps the biggest wild card at the top of the 2023 draft with the selection of Matvei Michkov, a scoring winger with elite skill and sky-high potential. Michkov is a volume shooter who rarely passes up opportunities to put the puck on net and does a very good job of finding his way into soft ice to make himself available to linemates. He reads coverage especially well and is consistently involved around the puck while also having the small-area skill to be effective in traffic. Michkov is signed through the 2026 season in the KHL, so a team like Arizona could afford to wait and reap the benefits in their new home in Tempe.

6. Vancouver Canucks – Will Smith | C | USA U18 (NTDP)
FCHockey rank – 6

The Vancouver Canucks add a much-needed jolt to their prospect pool with American center Will Smith, a dynamic playmaking pivot with a pair of the smoothest mitts in the class. Smith is incredibly impressive in tight spaces, showing excellent soft skill that allows him to cut through checks and find his way to open ice while also being able to place the puck into tight areas to find teammates for scoring opportunities. Smith would immediately jump to the top of Vancouver’s prospect chart and has the makings of a future top-line player to play alongside Elias Pettersson.

7. Montreal Canadiens – Dalibor Dvorsky | C | AIK (Allsvenskan)
FCHockey rank – 11

The Montreal Canadiens, who selected Juraj Slafkovsky and Filip Mesar in the first round one year ago, go back to the Slovak well with the addition of Dalibor Dvorsky — a well-rounded center capable of playing in all situations. Dvorsky has all the makings of a future top-six center at the NHL level, with high-end awareness at both ends of the ice and dual threat ability as both a scorer and distributor. Dvorsky plays a very mature game for a player his age and would be a natural fit in Montreal’s top six alongside Slafkovsky, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield.

8. Philadelphia Flyers – Calum Ritchie | C | Oshawa (OHL)
FCHockey rank – 10

The Philadelphia Flyers add another piece to the rebuild of their offense with Calum Ritchie, another well-rounded center who plays the game with a blend of size and skill. Ritchie has pro size and can play in hard areas in the offensive zone while also possessing advanced soft skill, allowing him to stickhandle in close quarters and shed defenders one-on-one. Ritchie is capable as both a scorer and passer, as his shot release is quick and deceptive and can beat netminders from medium range.

9. St. Louis Blues – David Reinbacher | D | EHC Kloten (NL)
FCHockey rank – 20

The last time the St. Louis Blues drafted inside the top-10 was way back in 2008 — where they selected a right-handed defenseman by the name of Alex Pietrangelo and here they select another mature right-shot blueliner with David Reinbacher. Reinbacher is a steady two-way defenseman who shows maturity beyond his years, as he’s poised with the puck on his stick and is very consistent in his reads and decision-making. More than capable at both ends of the ice, he has the makings of a future top four, minute-munching defenseman and would add a massive jolt to the Blues defensive pool, as the club has not selected a blueliner in the first round in over a decade.

10. Washington Capitals – Eduard Sale | LW | Kometa Brno (Czechia)
FCHockey rank – 8

The Washington Capitals adds a significant piece to the future of their offense with the selection of Eduard Sale, a high IQ dual threat offensive contributor who is able to break down coverage with advanced reads and soft skill. Sale sees the ice exceptionally well when the puck is on his stick, able to quickly identify passing lanes and find teammates in scoring areas often. He shows strong small area skill and can find loose pucks around the net-front to bury chances when he receives them. With the old guard in Washington beginning to age out, Sale has the potential to be a prominent pillar in the next wave of Capitals.

11. Montreal Canadiens (via FLA) – Axel Sandin Pellikka | D | Skelleftea AIK (SHL)
FCHockey rank – 12

With their second selection in the first round, the Canadiens add a significant boost of skill to their back end with Axel Sandin Pellikka, an incredibly mobile Swedish blueliner with excellent offensive awareness and skill. Sandin Pellikka is a natural power play quarterback, as he’s a strong puck distributor and picks his spots well to jump down from the offensive blue line to contribute to offensive zone play. Sandin Pellikka has also shown growth in his defensive game and decision-making, as has high potential as a future top-four offensive defenseman.

12. Detroit Red Wings – Brayden Yager | C | Moose Jaw (WHL)
FCHockey rank – 7

The Detroit Red Wings add another future top-six forward piece with Brayden Yager, a versatile two-way forward with a deadly shot release and a high offensive ceiling. Yager’s greatest weapon as an attacker is his shot, as he owns a lightning-quick release on his shot that allows him to beat netminders in transition with pinpoint precision. Yager is a capable distributor as well and shows strong awareness in his own zone, lending to his projection as a future top-six center at the NHL level.

13. Calgary Flames – Colby Barlow | LW/RW | Owen Sound (OHL)
FCHockey rank – 16

The Calgary Flames add a significant boost to the future of their top-six forward group with the selection of Colby Barlow, a mature goal-scoring winger who plays with a blend of intensity and awareness. Barlow plays a very effective north-south game, as he drives hard areas of the ice to bang home loose pucks while also owning a heavy shot with a deceptive release, making him a scoring threat from just about anywhere in the offensive zone. He would be a natural fit alongside a natural playmaker.

14. Arizona Coyotes (via OTT) – Oliver Moore | C | USA U18 (NTDP)
FCHockey rank – 13

With their second first-round selection, the Coyotes add another high-end piece with the addition of Oliver Moore, a speedy two-way center who plays with pace and a high motor. Moore is a capable defensive player as he swings back in his own zone to support his defensemen in puck retrieval and can transition the puck in a hurry with excellent straightline speed and agility. Moore is a strong playmaker who can consistently find linemates in scoring areas with well-placed passes, and would fit in well alongside the likes of Logan Cooley, Dylan Guenther, and, perhaps, Michkov.

15. Detroit Red Wings (via NYI) – Mikhail Gulyayev | D | Omsk (KHL)
FCHockey rank – 15

Back at the podium again is the Red Wings, where the select a smooth-skating offensive defenseman in Mikhail Gulyayev. Gulyayev is an elite puck distributor who can make difficult passes from the top of the offensive zone and effortlessly quarterback a top power play unit. Gulyayev has high-end skill and can transition pucks through the neutral zone easily, and would be a strong fit alongside a well-rounded defenseman such as Moritz Seider.

16. Nashville Predators – Ryan Leonard | RW | USA U18 (NTDP)
FCHockey rank – 25

The Nashville Predators add a high-motor scoring winger in Ryan Leonard. Leonard is a classic Predators-type forward, as he’s a hard worker who is capable of grinding his way into high-danger areas to score goals. He doesn’t shy away from shooting the puck and can beat netminders from medium range with a hard wrister, while also on occasion showing flashes of high-end small area skill. Coaches are bound to fall in love with the way Leonard plays, as he’s capable of playing up and down anywhere in an NHL lineup.

17. Buffalo Sabres – Andrew Cristall | LW/RW | Kelowna (WHL)
FCHockey rank – 9

The upstart Buffalo Sabres select Andrew Cristall, who is among the top scorers in the CHL this season with his dynamic, high-skill style of play. Cristall is an electric offensive player who is capable of changing a game with just one rush up the ice. He owns fantastic one-on-one puck skills and can beat defenders with ease; a more natural playmaker than he is a goal scorer as he’s capable of finding teammates in tight spaces with difficult passes, but can also bury opportunities when they come along with a quick release on his shot.

18. Pittsburgh Penguins – Nate Danielson | C | Brandon (WHL)
FCHockey rank – 18

The Pittsburgh Penguins begin to replenish the future of their center core with the selection of Nate Danielson, a versatile and mature two-way middleman who can play in all-situations and contribute on all areas of the score sheet. Danielson’s game is defined by his advanced reads at both ends of the ice, as he sees the ice exceptionally well and can distribute the puck effectively with strong playmaking vision, bury chances with a strong and snappy wrist shot, and contribute defensively with strong stick work and faceoff ability.

19. Winnipeg Jets – Dmitri Simashev | D | Yaroslavl (KHL)
FCHockey rank – 37

The Winnipeg Jets add a significant boost to their blue line with Russian defenseman Dmitri Simashev. Simashev is a rangy and toolsy blueliner who has a very large 6-foot-4 frame and strong mobility for a player his size. Simashev can cover a lot of ice with his blend of mobility and his reach and is adept at denying zone entries with either stick work or physicality. He’s a strong defensive player who can defend in transition and protect his net-front, and may have more to give on the offensive side of the puck with strong puck skills for a player his size.

20. Nashville Predators (via EDM) –  Matthew Wood | RW/C | Connecticut (NCAA)
FCHockey rank – 27

With their second first round pick, the Predators add more scoring punch to their forward group with the selection of Matthew Wood, a big scoring forward in the midst of an excellent freshman season for UCONN. Wood owns a pro-ready frame 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds — at the age of 18 — and uses that size to play in hard areas and get his weight behind his shot. Wood likely projects more as a scorer at the NHL level, but has flashed improved playmaking ability at the NCAA level this year with strong offensive zone reads and capable distribution skills.

21. Seattle Kraken – Gavin Brindley | C/RW | Michigan (NCAA)
FCHockey rank – 14

The sophomore Seattle Kraken, Among the league’s pleasant surprises this year, find themselves in the 20s of the 2023 draft where they select Gavin Brindley. Brindley is a highly-intelligent playmaking forward who can distribute to linemates effortlessly with consistent zone reads and soft skill that allows him to place the puck into tight areas. Brindley is a smart player on both sides of the puck as well, showing versatility throughout the year for Michigan while also being capable of playing both wing and center.

22. Minnesota Wild – Tanner Molendyk | D | Saskatoon (WHL)
FCHockey rank – 28

The Minnesota Wild, who selected two forwards in the first round of the 2022 draft in Liam Ohgren and Danila Yurov, add to the blue line with the selection of defenseman Tanner Molendyk. Molendyk is a highly mobile rearguard with borderline elite skating ability, allowing him to transition pucks and join the rush effortlessly. His skating ability allows him to control gaps and defend the rush well, and he likely has another gear to his offense just waiting to be tapped into with flashes of advanced skill and distribution ability.

23. Colorado Avalanche – Samuel Honzek | LW | Vancouver (WHL)
FCHockey rank – 46

The Colorado Avalanche add a versatile piece to their forward group with the selection of Samuel Honzek. Honzek is a very well-rounded and moldable forward prospect, as he checks multiple boxes including size, speed, two-way awareness, and playmaking smarts. Honzek is a hard worker who forechecks well and uses his reach to disrupt opponents on their breakouts, and can contribute in the offensive zone by consistently funnelling the puck to high-danger scoring areas.

24. Columbus Blue Jackets (via LA) –  Quentin Musty | LW | Sudbury (OHL)
FCHockey rank – 24

The Blue Jackets add another high-end offensive piece with the selection of Quentin Musty. Musty is an American winger who plays the game with a blend of hard and soft skill, as he’s capable of beating defenders one-on-one with creative moves or by beating them in hard areas with his strength and stocky frame. Musty is a very competitive player who doesn’t shy away from extra curricular activities after the whistle and can provide plenty of offensive with his advanced playmaking vision and a capable shot.

25. New York Rangers – Riley Heidt | C | Prince George (WHL)
FCHockey rank – 19

The New York Rangers add a piece to their center depth with the selection of Riley Heidt, a highly-intelligent playmaker who consistently makes the players around him better. Heidt is a natural disher who makes consistently strong decisions with the puck on his stick. He sees the ice well and can find linemates with crisp seam passes and soft area passes. Heidt moves well and is a more than capable attacker in transition and would fit naturally with New York’s other offensive weapons.

26. Chicago Blackhawks (via TB): Ethan Gauthier | RW | Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
FCHockey rank – 23

The Blackhawks add another offensive piece with the selection of Ethan Gauthier, a high-energy scorer who finds his way into scoring opportunities with his relentless style of play. Gauthier is an excellent forechecker who works hard to pressure opposing defenders to force mistakes and turnovers. He has a nose for the net and can bury opportunities close to the goal mouth while also being capable of beating netminders from medium range with his strong shot, and would be a natural fit alongside a high-skill playmaker such as Nazar. 

27. St. Louis Blues (via TOR) – Gabriel Perreault | LW/RW | USA U18 (NTDP)
FCHockey rank – 22

With their second of three first round picks, the Blues add a potent point-producing forward with the selection of Gabriel Perreault — who currently leads the NTDP in scoring this season with 94 points in 46 games. Perreault is consistent offensive catalyst in the offensive zone, consistently making the right play with the puck to elongate offensive zone possession or find linemates in scoring areas. Perreault shows flashes of high-end skill as well, able to open space in the offensive zone with his creativity and consistently generate offense for himself and his teammates.

28. San Jose Sharks (via NJD) – Lukas Dragicevic | D | Tri-City (WHL)
FCHockey rank – 59

With their second first round pick, the Sharks select Lukas Dragicevic as they look to replenish a somewhat shallow pool of defensive prospects. Dragicevic is a true offensive defenseman, as he relishes playing the role of a rover, taking opportunity he can to help rush the puck up the ice and create time in the offensive zone. Though Dragicevic is not the most polished skater, he owns strong puck skills and can evade checks when handling the puck, allowing him to sneak down from the point with the puck in order to generate scoring chances.

29. St. Louis Blues (via DAL) – Charlie Stramel | C | Wisconsin (NCAA)
FCHockey rank – 32

With their final first round selection, the Blues add size and strength at the center ice position with the selection of Charlie Stramel. Stramel is a reliable north-south player who can play in hard areas due to his pro-ready size 6-foot-3 and 216 pounds. He can win battles for positioning in front of the net and below the goal line and play with bite and a physical edge, while also flashing strong small area skill for a player his size as well as capable puck distribution skills.

30. Carolina Hurricanes – Jayden Perron | C/RW | Steel (USHL)
FCHockey rank – 17

The Carolina Hurricanes take a swing on a true boom or bust prospect in Jayden Perron, who is among the most skilled players in the class. Perron is an undersized 5-foot-8 forward whose greatest asset is his dynamic set of hands and his creative attacking mindset. Perron is adept at cutting through checks with his skill and agility and can find passing lanes for linemates in scoring areas around the goal mouth, and is capable of making flashy plays that can change a game with one rush up the ice.

31. Vegas Golden Knights – Koehn Ziemmer | RW | Prince George (WHL)
FCHockey rank – 42

The Vegas Golden Knights take a goal scoring threat in Koehn Ziemmer. Ziemmer is a deadly shooter with a wicked shot release, allowing him to fool netminders from medium range with a quick flick of wrists that gets the puck on goal with both power and accuracy. He does well to find himself into soft areas of ice to make himself available as a shooting option for linemates, and also shows flashes of high-end skill to shed checkers or make plays around the goal mouth to bury pucks.

32. Toronto Maple Leafs (via BOS) – Caden Price | D | Kelowna (WHL)
FCHockey rank – 41

The Toronto Maple Leafs add a mobile two-way defenseman in Caden Price. Price is a strong puck-mover due to his strong mobility and crisp passing ability, allowing him to transition pucks out of his zone in a hurry and begin the counter attack quickly. Price is a natural puck distributor with flashes of high-end playmaking vision when handling the puck from the offensive blue line, and may yet have more offensive potential just waiting to be tapped into if he can even out his decision-making.

*standings based on points-percentage entering action Friday.

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