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DJ’s Top 5 2023 NHL Prospects to Lookout For

The NBA Draft has come and gone and now it’s time to turn our attention to the 2023 NHL Draft set to take place Wednesday and Thursday night. This class has been discussed as the best class of the decade and a potentially historic draft class due to the immense talent at the top and spread throughout the class.

17-year-old Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats is the “Golden Prize” at the top, being labeled as the next franchise-altering talent, already having a nickname “The Better One” before even entering the league, and being dubbed as the best prospect since Connor McDavid in 2015. He’s not the only potential transformative player in what is a loaded class, as other super prospects, such as Michigan Wolverine center, Adam Fantilli, and Orebro center of the Swedish Hockey League, Leo Carlsson to name a few.

I’ll be putting each prospect with the respective team I think they’ll be going to. Without further ado, let's get into my top five prospects heading into what is projected to be a historic draft class.

1. Chicago Blackhawks- Connor Bedard, C, Regina Pats(WHL)

Height:5’10 Age:17

Weight:185 lbs

The Bedard hype has been building for quite some time now over the years, as NHL teams were salivating for whatever draft he was first eligible to enter and the Blackhawks were the lucky winners of the lottery who look to get his stout services.

Bedard is a fierce competitor in that 5-foot-10, 185 lb frame of his, as he can do it all on the rink. He’s coming off a rather impressive season, to say the least with the Regina Pats of the WHL(Western Hockey League) that saw him score 71 goals and accumulate 72 assists in just 57 games.

He only needs a slither of space to get his shot off, if any at all, and can do it against the toughest of defenses and defenders. His accuracy and production are jaw-dropping. Some of the moves he does to get around defenders and create space for himself before scoring a seemingly impossible goal will leave you in awe of how did he do that.

Bedard has been the best and most dominant player amongst all competition from a youngster and has only continued to justify the hype that’s been bestowed upon him as “The Better One”.

2. Anaheim Ducks- Adam Fantilli, C, Michigan Wolverines

Height:6’2 Age:18

Weight:187 lbs

Though Bedard might be the main attraction of the draft at the top, the top of the draft doesn’t end there with star talent, and thankfully so for the Ducks, who’ll be getting a player who would go No.1 in any of the previous last few draft classes in Adam Fantilli out of Michigan who has an NHL-ready frame to hold up against the physical and rigorous game that is the NHL and its 82-game schedule.

Fantilli is a cheetah on the ice using his speed and strength to blow by and overpower his opponents. He was the best player on a highly offensive powered Wolverine team that had the third best record (26-12-3) in Division I Men’s hockey and second in goals per game (4.17), according to

Fantilli has elite puckhandling, IQ, and an ability to hit an array of shots on the ice rink from offsetting his opponents on one-on-one deke moves, snipers from a distance, power moves towards the goal, or end-to-end rushes, he has displayed the versatility to do it in a variety of ways.

Fantilly scored 30 goals and accumulated 35 assists in the process to 65 points on 1.81 points per game (all led the Big Ten) this season in 36 games.

The Ducks can use Fantilli’s scoring prowess as they ranked dead last in points scored in the NHL last season.

3. Columbus Blue Jackets- Leo Carlsson,C, Orebro(SHL)

Height:6’3 Age:18


The center position at the top of this draft is the best it’s been in a long time and that continues with another tremendous prospect in the Swedish center of Orebro HK of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), Leo Carlsson.

Carlsson is arguably the best skater, if not the best skater in the entire class. He glides on the ice like a ballerina with the way he makes it look so effortlessly. He has great mechanics in his strides and great agility at shifting speeds.

Carlsson has played in the SHL the last two seasons against grown men and has more than held his own against the competition and then some.

Carlsson is one of the most poised players in the class as he doesn’t seem phased in high pressure moments which will bold well for him at the next level as he’ll be expected to be an instant difference maker right away as a top three pick due to his intangibles and playmaking ability.

He has an insatiable work ethic to be great and always seems to be in the right spots as a highly valuable two-way player, which will come in handy for the Blue Jackets as they ranked 31st in points allowed last season.

Carlsson recorded 25 points in 44 games, which isn’t as lucrative as Fantilli or Bedard, but he makes up for that with his IQ, ability to use his body, and so forth, and would go No.1 overall in any other class if it weren't for Bedard.

4. San Jose Sharks- Will Smith, C, USNTDP

Height:6’0 Age:18

Weight:172 lbs

Another excellent center prospect goes here to the Sharks in what is probably the best for the position in league history. The Sharks will have the privilege to draft Will Smith (no not the actor) from the Under-18 USA Team who is an ankle breaker on the ice rink, getting defenders off balanced and looking silly.

Smith will likely take a season or two to further develop his game at Boston College before eventually making his way to San Jose.

Smith is one of the best defenders in the class who can switch coverage swiftly in the blink of an eye. He also is adept as a playmaker, as he seems to always know when to make the right pass.

Smith does a great job utilizing fakes with his body, head, and skates, hence why he’s an ankle breaker.

He scored 14 goals and 14 assists for a total of 28 points for the U.S. Men’s Development Team in 2021-22 and recorded 51 goals and 76 assists for 127 points, staggering numbers.

5.Montreal Canadiens- Matvei Michkov, F, Sochi (KHL)

Height:6’0 Age:18


The first non-center I have coming off the board has a lot of risks as he won’t be eligible to come to North America until the 2026-27 season as he’s under contract with the SKA Saint Petersburg doesn’t expire until the conclusion of the 2025-26 season.

Michkov’s delay to the NHL certainly dims the excitement a bit, but the Canadiens already have incredible young talent in Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki, and Jurag Slafkovsky to name a few as they await for Michkov to mature his game in the next two years.

Michkov is one of the most skilled players in the draft with most considering him the best Russian prospect since Alex Ovechkin in 2004, and has the chance to challenge Bedard as the best player out of this draft class someday… That’s how highly scouts think of his potential.

His puck skills and creativity help create easy shots for himself and for his teammates, opening up easy scoring lanes and passing routes for his team.

His puckhandling is like a ball on a string similar to NBA star guard Kyrie Irving, it’s like it’s glued to him whenever he’s in possession of the puck is a sight to behold and a skill of the highest level.

Michkov doesn’t just play well, but he knows he’s good, displaying confidence to go with his dominance on the rink and has the audaciousness to try moves on the rink that most wouldn’t dare try.

He scored 9 goals and had 11 assists for 20 points for Sochi last season on 97 shot on goal attempts.

He’s similar to former NBA legend “Pistol” Pete Maravich, with his boldness and creativity on the rink.

Can tend to have tunnel vision at times and try to do too much, but you expect that at times for a player so unique and gutsy like Michkov.

The Canadiens adding him to their already stellar collection of talent will only make them more of a juggernaut to be reckoned with in the coming years.

All in all the 2023 NHL Draft will be a special draft class to remember due to the mesmerizing talent it possesses not only at the top of the draft of the aforementioned guys with varying skillsets but also the talent through the draft as a whole, that will make franchises around the league happy and the league better as a whole.

Lets skate!

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