NHL Draft Notebook: 2023 World Championship review
The 2023 NHL Draft is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory, and we’re unlocking scouting reports on prospects from an unlikely showcase — the 2023 IIHF World Championship — in our latest NHL Draft Notebook.
Here’s an extended look at some of their analysis in our latest scouting reports from the biggest tournament of the season.
LEO CARLSSON | C | SWEDEN | May 23, 2023
MIDTERM RANKING: 4
Scouting report by Rasmus Tornqvist
Leo Carlsson is an impressive forward with a large frame and exceptional puck skills, particularly considering his size. His role as the first-line center for Sweden at just 18 years old speaks volumes about his abilities and the trust placed in him to perform against elite players. Carlsson consistently displays excellent situational awareness, constantly scanning his surroundings to determine his next move, whether in the offensive or defensive zone. His puck handling is among the best in his draft class, although there were instances of unnecessary flashiness in this game. However, he also utilizes his skills effectively to make subtle plays that aid in breaking out of his own zone, employing short give-and-go passes to transition the puck into the offensive zone. Strengthening his physicality would further enhance his ability to protect the puck, although he already does a decent job of it thanks to his size. The question of whether he can play center in the NHL has been a topic of debate, and I believe that improving his skating is crucial in positioning himself favorably for that role. When he gains momentum with the puck, he can blow past opponents, but his stop-and-go play could benefit from refinement, allowing him to be more accessible in the middle of the ice during offensive zone cycles. Overall, this viewing reaffirmed my belief that Carlsson is a top-five talent in this year’s draft.
DAVID REINBACHER | D | Austria | May 23, 2023
MIDTERM RANKING: 20
Scouting report by Aaron Vickers
David Reinbacher is undoubtedly an interesting package when it comes to the 2023 draft, particularly because there are so few blueliners with true high-end, No. 1 potential — which he has. He can move around the ice with grace, and he’s always got his head up when scanning for options to outlet the puck to in all three zones. He’s massive. That will jump out first. But it doesn’t hinder his ability to push the play from his own end to the offensive zone. He’s able to cover a lot of ice due to his long stride length and fluid mobility. He doesn’t look explosive. Just smooth. He uses his size, particularly his reach, to disrupt plays and he presents good gap control when defending against the rush. There were a few sequences in this game, most noticeably late in the game, when his entire package would just come together and it clicks as to why he could be the first rearguard off the board. When it clicks, which was rare in this game, it screams franchise defenseman. But again, it came and went in spurts. It’s important to note Reinbacher sustained a lower-body injury earlier in the tournament, so a few of the issues I saw in his game could fully be a result of that. But this is also the biggest stage he’s played on to date, so there’s some give-and-take there. He seemed slow to pivot when defending the rush, and didn’t seem entirely fluid in his backwards skating. I found he seemed a little indecisive in his decision-making in his own end at times, and didn’t show a killer instinct in ending plays. Overall, he just didn’t seem crisp or sharp in his game. His wrist shot from the point looked like it could be improved, as could his time of release. He’s far from a finished product, but I found him a bit raw — he’s still learning to put the individual skills of his game together to form one cohesive style of play.
ADAM FANTILLI | LW | Canada | May 28, 2023
MIDTERM RANKING: 2
Scouting report by Aaron Vickers
Adam Fantilli is such an intriguing blend of speed, size, skill, and hockey sense. 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. He’s frequently first on the forecheck, but has the ability to be among the first forwards back, too, with his speed. Fantilli’s first few steps are quick, and his skating over longer stretches is also strong. He’s able to add a layer of deception to his game when carrying the puck, too, because of his edgework. In open ice, his jersey flaps in the wind beautifully with his long, fluid stride. He knows how to fill lanes, too, with his good IQ. Despite playing well over his age range, he didn’t look over his skis. His decision-making and overall awareness was still strong at this level. His shot looked just okay when compared to some of the more veteran players on the ice, but he’s certainly got time to improve the snap, strength, and quickness of his release. Defensively he was sound, circling low in the zone to aid in the breakout when a defenseman was lacking an asset. He also recognized when to try to skate it out of the zone and when to make a simple chip under pressure. He just understood whatever situation he was in and made the correct corresponding play. He does need to fill out his body further, too, because he can get bumped and knocked around a little bit with the style that he plays, but the frame is there to support additional weight. The stage was not too big for Fantilli, a left wing at the event, who at worst will be the No. 3 pick in the 2023 draft and he enters as a near surefire No. 2.
OSCAR FISKER MOLGAARD | C | Denmark | May 23, 2023
MIDTERM RANKING: 38
Scouting report by Rasmus Tornqvist
Oscar Fisker Molgaard is an intelligent forward whose hockey sense earned him a spot on the Danish U18 team. It’s evident that he is physically raw, appearing smaller and less developed compared to his opponents. Despite this, his value on the team becomes clear quickly. Molgaard excels at supporting his teammates in both the offensive and defensive zones, showcasing impressive positioning for his age while competing against older players. 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. He also displays strong anticipation of passing plays, leading to several intercepted passes in the neutral zone. With the puck, Molgaard remains composed and rarely panics, consistently making smart plays to his teammates. While his stride may not be the most powerful, his agility on his edges allows him to navigate effectively both with and without the puck. Despite Denmark’s challenging position in the game, Molgaard’s desire to make plays was evident. I consider him a borderline first-round talent, and it would not surprise me to see him selected in the late first round. Whichever team drafts him will acquire a highly intelligent player who, with further physical development, can excel in a two-way game.