At the trade deadline, star players such as Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jakob Chychrun found new homes for the back end of the season. So did first-round picks.
The 2023 deadline saw a plethora of draft capital get moved. In total, seven first-round draft selections from this year were moved ahead of the March 3rd deadline.
As a result, there were a ton of changes within the first 32 selections for the upcoming draft. Seven teams now own multiple first-rounders and eight clubs don’t have one at all.
Of course, the biggest talking point remains the sensational Connor Bedard. The Regina Pats center has cemented his status as the No. 1 pick in the draft with his outstanding 2022-23 season. The last question remaining is which team wins the draft lottery and gets the chance to take the talented Bedard.
NHL Playoff picture: Updated standings, bracket, matchups & key dates for 2022-23 season
With the trade deadline in the rearview, The Sporting News presents its 2023 NHL Mock Draft 2.0.
The Sporting News 2023 NHL Mock Draft 2.0
Since the order won’t be finalized until after the season’s conclusion, The Sporting News used Tankathon’s 2023 draft order, which is based on current standings.
As mentioned, there were a multitude of trades involving first-round picks at the 2023 trade deadline. As a result, the Blue Jackets, Canadiens, Coyotes, Red Wings, Predators, Blackhawks and Sharks all have two selections in the first round, and the Blues own three.
The Senators, Islanders, Oilers, Lightning, Kings, Devils, Stars and Bruins all traded away their first-round draft picks and don’t have a selection within the first 32 picks.
1. Columbus Blue Jackets: Connor Bedard, C, Regina (WHL)
Welcome to Ohio, Connor Bedard! Between his historic World Juniors performance and his dominance in the WHL, there’s no denying who’s going No. 1 this year. The Blue Jackets have a chance at pairing the budding superstar with two elite wingers in Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine.
2. San Jose Sharks: Adam Fantilli, C, Michigan (NCAA)
Fantilli is an excellent consolation prize so to speak. The native of Nobleton, Ont. leads all NCAA skaters in points, averaging just under two points per game, and is second in goals. He gives the Sharks a true future No. 1 center.
3. Chicago Blackhawks: Leo Carlsson, C, Örebro HK (SHL)
While I don’t think Matvei Michkov should fall outside of the top three, I do think Chicago goes with Carlsson here, who offers a much sooner solution to their lack of star power at the NHL level. He’s big, he’s skilled and he’s got speed to pair. Carlsson is a strong centerpiece for the rebuilding Blackhawks.
4. Anaheim Ducks: Matvei Michkov, RW, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
The Ducks add to one of the deepest prospect pools with the addition of Michkov. The Russian is signed with SKA until the 2025-26 season, which is why some experts and scouts feel he will drop in the draft. But Anaheim isn’t going to be competitive anytime soon and can afford to wait for the talented Michkov.
5. Philadelphia Flyers: Will Smith, C, USA U18 (USHL)
The Flyers desperately need a future No. 1 center, especially after going with Cutter Gauthier, a wing, at No. 5 in 2022. Smith fills that need. He is one of the most versatile players in the draft, and the USA U18 product owns one of the silkiest pairs of mitts you will find. He dominates in tight areas with his crafty hands and is a creative playmaker.
6. Montreal Canadiens: Zach Benson, LW, Winnipeg (WHL)
Montreal could potentially go center here, but they already have a ton in their system, so I think they go wing and take the best one available here in Benson. He’s a winger that carries a high hockey IQ and is a threat both to shoot and pass with efficiency. He’ll fit in nicely with the young wings the Canadiens already have in Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovsky.
7. Arizona Coyotes: Brayden Yager, C, Moose Jaw (WHL)
Arizona adds another high-end center to its prospect pool with Yager. The versatile center plays a strong two-way game and has one of the best shots of the draft. His release is quick, the puck gets on goaltenders at a high speed and most importantly, it’s accurate. A 1-2 duo down the middle of Logan Cooley and Yager would be deadly in the desert.
8. Vancouver Canucks: Andrew Cristall, LW, Kelowna (WHL)
The Canucks use their first-round pick on a hometown kid. No, it’s not Bedard, it’s Cristall, one of Bedard’s best friends and a native of Vancouver. The Kelowna Rocket is all over draft boards, but I like his offensive potential and he should be a top-10 selection. Plus, what’s an easier PR win for the Canucks than bringing in a local kid with high-end talent?
9. St. Louis Blues: Dalibor Dvorsky, C, AIK (HockeyAllsvenskan)
Last year felt like the start of a serious Slovak movement in the NHL, and once again, the country has a top-10 prospect this year in Dvorsky. The center brings a strong, well-rounded game and the Blues would be smart to snag Dvorsky with the first of three picks in the first round.
10. Detroit Red Wings: Eduard Sale, RW, HC Kometa Brno (Czech Extraliga)
The Red Wings inject some offensive power into their prospect system with the selection of Sale. The Czech winger’s play has some consistency concerns, but when Sale is on, he’s on. He’s an all-offensive threat with a knack for playmaking and scoring. Detroit has a recent history of using first-round picks on Europeans (Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond, Simon Edvinsson, Marco Kasper) and keeps that trend in 2023.
11. Washington Capitals: Calum Ritchie, C, Oshawa (OHL)
Washington hasn’t selected this high in the first round in the last 10 drafts and takes Ritchie with the first pick outside the top 10. Ritchie’s appeal is his build, he stands at 6-2 as a center. He is more than capable of making an impact as both a scorer and a passer.
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12. Arizona Coyotes (via Ottawa Senators): Colby Barlow, RW, Owen Sound (OHL)
Barlow is the Coyotes’ second selection in the 2023 first round after taking Yager earlier. The winger is a natural goal scorer whose speed stands out the most. With both Yager and Logan Cooley waiting in the wings in Arizona, those are two excellent options to pair a player like Barlow with.
13. Buffalo Sabres: Ryan Leonard, RW, USA U18 (USHL)
Buffalo picked three smaller, skilled forwards in the first round of last year, so the club switches gears and gets a hard-nosed forward in Leonard for 2023. One of a number of prospects from the national program, the brother of current Predator John Leonard does the dirty work, getting to the front of the net to wreak havoc in the crease. He also has a strong shot that can beat goalies from distance.
14. Calgary Flames: David Reinbacher, D, Kloten (Swiss National League)
Reinbacher may have entered the 2022-23 season as a fairly unknown prospect, but there’s now a strong chance he’s the first defenseman off the board in 2023. The Austrian was one of the lone bright spots for his country at the 2023 World Juniors. He’s a steady, two-way blue liner who has already shown he can eat up minutes. He feels like the perfect fit for a Darryl Sutter system.
15. Montreal Canadiens (via Florida Panthers): Oliver Moore, C, USA U18 (USHL)
If a team needs a center that can forecheck hard and plays at an elite level in his own zone, then Moore is your guy. After taking Benson at No. 6, the Habs go to center at No. 15 and take Moore. He has a great motor and utilizes his speed all over the ice. As a strong playmaker, he’d be the perfect fit to play alongside a scoring winger like Juraj Slafkovsky.
16. Nashville Predators: Samuel Honzek, LW, Vancouver (WHL)
Nashville brings in a promising, young Slovak talent in Honzek. The Vancouver Giant may have gone higher if not for a leg injury keeping him out for two months, but the Predators can take advantage and snag him in the middle of the second round. He’s a well-rounded prospect that does a lot of little things right.
17. Detroit Red Wings (via New York Islanders): Axel Sandin Pellikka, D, Skelleftea (SHL)
No one loves selecting Swedish prospects more than the Red Wings, and they take another one at No. 17 with the selection of Sandin Pellikka. The Swedish defenseman has shot up draft boards and is considered to be one of the top blueliners at the draft. He’s mobile and has the makings of a potential power play quarterback in the NHL.
18. Winnipeg Jets: Mikhail Gulyayev, D, Omskie Yastreby (MHL)
Winnipeg has used its last four first-round picks on forwards, so the Jets go to the blue line in 2023. Gulyayev is one of the top Russian prospects in this class, profiling as a smooth distributor of the puck. The Jets don’t generate a ton of offense from the back end, and adding someone like Gulyayev could eventually help open up the offense more.
19. Pittsburgh Penguins: Nate Danielson, C, Brandon (WHL)
It feels like Danielson does everything well. He plays a smart, two-way game and can be deployed in all situations. Danielson has a keen eye to read plays and get in position to make a play before it’s even developed. He’s not bumping out Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, but Pittsburgh does not have a clear solution in their prospect pool once one or both are gone in the future.
20. Nashville Predators (via Edmonton Oilers): Lukas Dragicevic, D, Tri-City (WHL)
With the second of the team’s first-round selections, the Predators address the blue line and take Dragicevic after the Honzek pick at No. 15. Dragicevic is always looking to create offense from the back end, whether that be by jumping up in the rush or creeping down low from the point. The Preds need a young, puck-moving defenseman and Dragicivec could be the solution.
21. Seattle Kraken: Tanner Molendyk, D, Saskatoon (WHL)
The Kraken went heavy on forwards in 2022, so they use their first pick in 2023 to take Molendyk, an extremely fluid defenseman. His elite skating abilities allow him to be a threat in the transition game, and he also uses it to his advantage when gapping up on opponents. There aren’t a ton of defensive prospects in Seattle systems, so it gets a boost with Molendyk.
22. Colorado Avalanche: Matthew Wood, RW, UConn (NCAA)
The Avalanche didn’t have a selection until the sixth round of the 2022 draft but kept their first-round pick in 2023. At No. 21, Colorado goes with Wood, a freshman at UConn. He’s a big power forward that actually has high-end scoring ability and skill, despite standings at 6-3. It may take a bit for Wood to develop, but that’s fine with the Avalanche, who aren’t looking for immediate help yet.
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23. Minnesota Wild: Quentin Musty, LW, Sudbury (OHL)
Minnesota has drafted extremely well in recent history, and add another top prospect in Musty. The winger plays hard, as he’s not afraid to throw the body around on the forecheck and muck it up in front of the net. But he also can beat defenders one-on-one with skill.
24. Chicago Blackhawks (via Tampa Bay Lightning): Daniil But, LW, Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
I mentioned Wood two picks ago as a winger with size and skill. There’s a Russian version of that in But. The intriguing forward is 6-5 and over 200 pounds already. His shot is what scouts are drawn to, but he is also a force along the boards and down low. Chicago already took Carlsson at No. 3 and can take a high-risk, high-reward pick here at No. 24.
25. Columbus Blue Jackets (via Los Angeles Kings): Ethan Gauthier, RW, Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
Joining Bedard as 2023 first-round picks for Columbus is Gauthier, an impressive scoring winger. While Bedard brings the flash, Gauthier has a nose for the net. He gets in on the forecheck, he goes to goal mouth and cleans up rebounds in front.
26. New York Rangers: Riley Heidt, C, Prince George (WHL)
The Rangers hung onto this year’s first-round pick and are rewarded with Heidt. He’s a premier playmaker, always looking for an open teammate rather than holding on for a shot. New York hasn’t taken a natural center in the first round since 2017, but that trend changes here.
27. St. Louis Blues (via Toronto Maple Leafs): Caden Price, D, Kelowna (WHL)
After taking Dvorsky in the top 10, St. Louis takes Price here with the second of three selections in the first rounds. The Kelowna Rocket is a mobile, two-way defender that is an elite distributor. There may be more offense in Price’s game that he has yet to tap into.
28. San Jose Sharks (via New Jersey Devils): Dmitri Simashev, D, Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
After securing Fantilli at No. 2, the Sharks go defense at No. 28 and select Simashev. The Russian defenseman has size to him at 6-4 and can cover a ton of ice. He’s mobile for his height and has shown flashes of offensive potential. But he projects out more to be a physical, stingy defender.
29. St. Louis Blues (via Dallas Stars): Jayden Perron, RW, Chicago (USHL)
Last year, the Blackhawks and Coyotes both reached with their third selections of the first round to draft projects, and I think the Blues follow a similar path by drafting Perron. The North Dakota commit has been a late riser in this draft and makes perfect sense for the Blues to take with their final first-round pick. He’s a smart, shifty player that can make defenders miss.
30. Carolina Hurricanes: Gabe Perreault, LW, USA U18 (USHL)
Carolina should be looking to help out its offense, so taking Perreault makes a ton of sense for the Canes. He’s a point-producing machine, leading the U18 national team in scoring this season. Perreault is constantly creating offensive chances, whether that’s by himself and creating space, or finding his teammates.
31. Vegas Golden Knights: Gavin Brindley, C, Michigan (NCAA)
After drafting Michigan product Brendan Brisson in 2020, Vegas grabs another Wolverine in 2023, selecting Brindley with the second-to-last pick in the first round. Brindley is versatile as he can play both center and wing. His intelligence on both ends of the ice is what makes him stand out among his peers.
32. Toronto Maple Leafs (via Boston Bruins): Charlie Stramel, RW, Wisconsin (NCAA)
Stramel was once considered a borderline top-10 candidate, but he hasn’t been overly impressive at Wisconsin or with the USA at the World Juniors. He’s a big power forward that has a nose for the net. The Maple Leafs have a lot of skill, so Stramel could eventually be a bottom-six forward that adds some grit to their lineup.
When is the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery?
- Date: Monday, May 8
- Start time: 7 p.m.
The 2023 NHL Draft Lottery will take place on Monday, May 8 at 7 p.m.
That will not only determine who gets the No. 1 pick but the order of the first 16 picks in the draft.
When is the 2023 NHL Draft?
- Day 1 date: Wednesday, June 28
- Day 1 start time: TBD
- Day 2 date: Thursday, June 29
- Day 2 start time: TBD
The 2023 NHL Draft will span two days. The first round will take place Wednesday, June 28, with representatives from all 32 teams in Nashville.
On Thursday, June 29, the picks in Rounds 2-7 will be made.
Where is the 2023 NHL Draft?
- Venue: Bridgestone Arena
- City: Nashville, Tenn.
Bridgestone Arena, home of the Predators, will be the location of the 2023 NHL Draft.
This is the second time that Nashville will host a draft. The city was the site of the 2003 draft.
Complete list of No. 1 overall picks in NHL history
No team has had more No. 1 overall picks than the Canadiens. Picking first isn’t always easy and many teams have failed to identify the best player in the draft while picking first.
Here’s a list of every No. 1 overall pick in NHL Draft history.
|1963||Montreal Canadiens||Garry Monahan||St. Michael’s Juveniles|
|1964||Detroit Red Wings||Claude Gauthier||Rosemount|
|1965||New York Rangers||Andre Veilleux||Montreal Ranger Jr. B|
|1966||Boston Bruins||Barry Gibbs||Estevan Bruins|
|1967||Los Angeles Kings||Rick Pagnutti||Garson-Falconbridge|
|1968||Montreal Canadiens||Michel Plasse||Drummondville Rangers|
|1969||Montreal Canadiens||Rejean Houle||Montreal Junior Canadiens|
|1970||Buffalo Sabres||Gilbert Perreault||Montreal Junior Canadiens|
|1971||Montreal Canadiens||Guy Lafleur||Quebec Remparts|
|1972||New York Islanders||Billy Harris||Toronto Marlboros|
|1973||New York Islanders||Denis Potvin||Ottawa 67’s|
|1974||Washington Capitals||Greg Joly||Regina Pats|
|1975||Philadelphia Flyers||Mel Bridgman||Victoria Cougars|
|1976||Washington Capitals||Rick Green||London Knights|
|1977||Detroit Red Wings||Dale McCourt||St. Catharines Findcups|
|1978||Minnesota North Stars||Bobby Smith||Ottawa 67’s|
|1979||Colorado Rockies||Rob Ramage||Birmingham Bulls|
|1980||Montreal Canadiens||Doug Wickenheiser||Regina Pats|
|1981||Winnipeg Jets||Dale Hawerchuk||Cornwall Royals|
|1982||Boston Bruins||Gord Kluzak||Billings Bighorns|
|1983||Minnesota North Stars||Brian Lawton||Mount St. Charles High School|
|1984||Pittsburgh Penguins||Mario Lemieux||Laval Voisins|
|1985||Toronto Maple Leafs||Wendel Clark||Saskatoon Blades|
|1986||Detroit Red Wings||Joe Murphy||Michigan State|
|1987||Buffalo Sabres||Pierre Turgeon||Granby Bisons|
|1988||Minnesota North Stars||Mike Modano||Prince Albert Raiders|
|1989||Quebec Nordiques||Mats Sundin||Nacka|
|1990||Quebec Nordiques||Owen Nolan||Cornwall Royals|
|1991||Quebec Nordiques||Eric Lindros||Oshawa Generals|
|1992||Tampa Bay Lightning||Roman Hamrlik||Zlin ZPS AC|
|1993||Ottawa Senators||Alexandre Daigle||Victoriaville Tigres|
|1994||Florida Panthers||Ed Jovanovski||Windsor Spitfires|
|1995||Ottawa Senators||Bryan Berard||Detroit Jr. Red Wings|
|1996||Ottawa Senators||Chris Phillips||Prince Albert Raiders|
|1997||Boston Bruins||Joe Thornton||Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds|
|1998||Tampa Bay Lightning||Vincent Lecavalier||Rimouski Oceanic|
|1999||Atlanta Thrashers||Patrik Stefan||Long Beach Ice Dogs|
|2000||New York Islanders||Rick DiPietro||Boston University|
|2001||Atlanta Thrashers||Ilya Kovalchuk||Spartak|
|2002||Columbus Blue Jackets||Rick Nash||London Knights|
|2003||Pittsburgh Penguins||Marc-Andre Fleury||Cape Breton|
|2004||Washington Capitals||Alex Ovechkin||Dynamo|
|2005||Pittsburgh Penguins||Sidney Crosby||Rimouski Oceanic|
|2006||St. Louis Blues||Erik Johnson||USA U18|
|2007||Chicago Blackhawks||Patrick Kane||London Knights|
|2008||Tampa Bay Lightning||Steven Stamkos||Sarnia Sting|
|2009||New York Islanders||John Tavares||London Knights|
|2010||Edmonton Oilers||Taylor Hall||Windsor Spitfires|
|2011||Edmonton Oilers||Ryan Nugent-Hopkins||Red Deer Rebels|
|2012||Edmonton Oilers||Nail Yakupov||Sarnia Sting|
|2013||Colorado Avalanche||Nathan MacKinnon||Halifax Mooseheads|
|2014||Florida Panthers||Aaron Ekblad||Barrie Colts|
|2015||Edmonton Oilers||Connor McDavid||Erie Otters|
|2016||Toronto Maple Leafs||Auston Matthews||Zurich|
|2017||New Jersey Devils||Nico Hischier||Halifax Mooseheads|
|2018||Buffalo Sabres||Rasmus Dahlin||Frolunda|
|2019||New Jersey Devils||Jack Hughes||USA U18|
|2020||New York Rangers||Alexis Lafreniere||Rimouski Oceanic|
|2021||Buffalo Sabres||Owen Power||University of Michigan|
|2022||Montreal Canadiens||Juraj Slafkovsky||TPS|
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