NHL Draft Grades: Analyzing each team's haul at the 2023 event
The 2023 NHL Draft has come and gone, with teams adding future franchise-altering players, important depth pieces, and, of course, a handful of busts.
Here, we grade and discuss how each team fared over the seven rounds relative to its draft slots.
|2||C Leo Carlsson||Orebro (SHL)|
|33||LW Nico Myatovic||Seattle (WHL)|
|59||C Carey Terrance||Erie (OHL)|
|60||G Damian Clara||Farjestad (J20)|
|65||RW Coulson Pitre||Flint (OHL)|
|85||RW Yegor Sidorov||Saskatoon (WHL)|
|97||LHD Konnor Smith||Peterborough (OHL)|
|129||LHD Rodwin Dionicio||Windsor (OHL)|
|161||RHD Vojtech Port||Edmonton (WHL)|
The Ducks surprised many when they took Carlsson over Adam Fantilli at No. 2. The Swede has a better hockey sense, which ultimately tempted Anaheim more than his Canadian counterpart.
The rest of their draft left something to be desired. Myatovic, Terrance, Pitre, Smith, and Port are all intriguing but project to be smaller-role players should they reach the NHL. Clara is a fun swing on a raw goaltender with a huge frame. Sidorov had a huge season as a re-entry in the WHL, and Dionicio is among the most fascinating late-round players with his immense skill but woeful skating.
|6||LHD Dmitriy Simashev||Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)|
|12||LW Danil But||Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)|
|38||G Michael Hrabal||Omaha (USHL)|
|70||C Jonathan Castagna||St. Andrews (CAHS)|
|72||LW Noel Nordh||Brynas (J20)|
|81||C Tanner Ludtke||Lincoln (USHL)|
|88||RW Vadim Moroz||Minsk (KHL)|
|102||LHD Terrell Goldsmith||Prince Albert (WHL)|
|134||G Melker Thelin||Bjorkloven (Sweden U18)|
|160||LHD Justin Kipkie||Victoria (WHL)|
|162||C Samu Bau||Ilves (Liiga)|
|166||G Carsen Musser||U.S. NTDP|
Nobody expected Simashev to go so high, and the Coyotes doubled down a few picks later by taking his Yaroslavl teammate But. Arizona opted for the tantalizing physical tools of both players over more highly rated prospects. Those tools were a priority for general manager Bill Armstrong, as all but one draftee is listed at 6-foot-2 or above. Five prospects are 6-foot-5 or taller.
Hrabal is a fascinating goaltending prospect with his massive 6-foot-7 frame, and the Coyotes have developed a handful of quality netminders in recent years. But overall, it's a combination of risky bets with premium draft picks and lower-potential players after the second round.
|92||C Christopher Pelosi||Sioux Falls (USHL)|
|124||C Beckett Hendrickson||U.S. NTDP|
|188||C Ryan Walsh||Cedar Rapids (USHL)|
|214||RW Casper Nassen||Vasteras (J20)|
|220||LHD Kristian Kostadinski||Frolunda (J20)|
The Bruins had one selection in the top 100 and used it on a player ranked 127th among North American skaters by Central Scouting. Boston got value in Hendrickson at No. 124 but failed to land any truly exciting prospects. The Bruins will hope re-entry picks in Walsh and Nassen will continue to produce against better competition after performing well against younger players in the USHL and J20 Nationell, respectively.
Already with one of the NHL's weakest pools, the Bruins didn't do anything to improve their pipeline in any meaningful way.
|13||LW Zach Benson||Winnipeg (WHL)|
|39||C Anton Wahlberg||Malmo (J20)|
|45||RHD Maxim Strbak||Sioux Falls (USHL)|
|86||RHD Gavin McCarthy||Muskegon (USHL)|
|109||LW Ethan Miedema||Kingston (OHL)|
|141||G Scott Ratzlaff||Seattle (WHL)|
|173||LHD Sean Keohane||Dexter School (USHS)|
|205||LHD Norwin Panocha||Berlin (Germany U20)|
Kevyn Adams must have laughed as the GM saw a prospect with the quality of Benson fall to the Sabres at No. 13. The Winnipeg ICE product could very well be the best two-way winger to come out of the draft and is a perfect fit with Buffalo's youthful, exciting brand of hockey.
After taking another smaller forward in the first round, the Sabres added plenty of size on Day 2. All of Wahlberg, Strbak, McCarthy, and Miedema are listed at 6-foot-1 or taller but weren't just picked for their size. Wahlberg and Strbak have impressed internationally, while McCarthy and Miedema have had solid results in the USHL and OHL, respectively. Overall, another very strong draft for Buffalo.
|16||LW Samuel Honzek||Vancouver (WHL)|
|48||LHD Etienne Morin||Moncton (QMJHL)|
|80||LW Aydar Suniev||Penticton (BCHL)|
|112||C Jaden Lipinski||Vancouver (WHL)|
|176||G Yegor Yegorov||Moscow (MHL)|
|208||LHD Axel Hurtig||Rogle (J20)|
Honzek is an excellent pick at No. 16 as a toolsy winger with a massive frame and big upside. Had he not been injured at the world juniors, the Slovakian could have easily gone higher.
Calgary took more big swings on Day 2 with Morin and Suniev. Morin was the top-scoring draft-eligible defenseman out of the QMJHL and was lauded by Central Scouting's Dan Marr as his favorite North American-based blue-liner. Suniev had a monster season in the BCHL, tallying 45 goals and 90 points, and heads to UMass in the NCAA this fall. A promising first draft for GM Craig Conroy.
|30||LW Bradly Nadeau||Penticton (BCHL)|
|62||RW Felix Unger Sorum||Leksand (J20)|
|94||RW Jayden Perron||Chicago (USHL)|
|100||RW Alexander Rykov||Chelmet (VHL)|
|126||RW Stanislav Yarovoy||Vityaz (KHL)|
|139||RHD Charles-Alexis Legault||Quinnipiac (NCAA)|
|158||G Ruslan Khazheyev||Chelyabinsk (MHL)|
|163||LW Timur Mukhanov||Omsk (MHL)|
|190||RW Mikey Emerson||Chicago (USHL)|
|222||G Yegor Velmakin||Voronezh (VHL)|
If the Hurricanes continue to have trouble converting their shots into goals when Nadeau is ready to make the jump in a few years, he'll help with that. The 5-foot-10 winger dominated the BCHL this season, scoring 62 goals over 71 regular-season and playoff games with Penticton. He's a textbook swing on potential at the end of Round 1.
Had Unger Sorum been born two days later, he would've been in the 2024 draft instead. That makes his point-per-game campaign in the J20 Nationell and excellent U18s even more impressive.
The rest of the draft was very Carolina Hurricanes: five Russians, two Chicago Steel forwards, and an overage defenseman from the NCAA. Perron, Rykov, and Mukhanov are exciting picks for their potential, but the Hurricanes have yet to see their pipeline of Twitter favorite prospects turn into legit NHLers.
|1||C Connor Bedard||Regina (WHL)|
|19||C Oliver Moore||U.S. NTDP|
|35||G Adam Gajan||Chippewa (NAHL)|
|44||RW Roman Kantserov||Magnitogorsk (MHL)|
|55||RW Martin Misiak||Youngstown (USHL)|
|67||LW Nick Lardis||Hamilton (OHL)|
|93||C Jiri Felcman||Langnau (Swiss U20)|
|99||C Alex Pharand||Sudbury (OHL)|
|131||LW Marcel Marcel||Gatineau (QMJHL)|
|167||C Milton Oscarson||Orebro (SHL)|
|195||LHD Janne Peltonen||Karpat (Finland U20)|
The Blackhawks won the 2023 draft when they landed the No. 1 pick in the draft lottery. Bedard is a legitimate franchise-changer who alters the trajectory of the franchise and is expected to be among the league's most threatening goal-scorers for many years. But their high grade isn't just for that slam dunk pick.
After Bedard, Chicago added the best skater in the draft in Moore, solidifying immense depth down the middle in their prospect pool. The Blackhawks then took the first goaltender in the draft at No. 35 in Gajan, who starred for Slovakia at the world juniors.
Kantserov, one of the top-scoring prospects out of the Russian junior league, and Lardis, who had a superb second half in the OHL after being traded midseason, stand out among the nine picks on Day 2. But of course, the Blackhawks could've drafted 10 randoms off of the street after Bedard and still would've been ecstatic.
|27||C Calum Ritchie||Oshawa (OHL)|
|31||LHD Mikhail Gulyayev||Omskie (MHL)|
|155||RHD Nikita Ishimnikov||Yekaterinburg (MHL)|
|187||LHD Jeremy Hanzel||Seattle (WHL)|
|219||C Maros Jedlicka||Zvolen (Slovakia)|
Ritchie was a projected top-10 prospect coming into the season and is a great bet to bounce back next year with Oshawa. Gulyayev has set scoring records among junior-aged Russian defensemen and is a splendid fit in Colorado's system with his electrifying offense and skating.
The Avalanche ended their draft with two of the oldest draftees in Hanzel and Jedlicka, players who could play in the AHL as soon as this fall. Hanzel was a dominant two-way defenseman with the WHL champion Thunderbirds, while Jedlicka has been a consistent scorer for two years in the improving Slovakian league.
After making their first pick at No. 193 a year ago, the Avalanche did incredibly well to replenish a fairly barren prospect pool.
|3||C Adam Fantilli||Michigan (NCAA)|
|34||RW Gavin Brindley||Michigan (NCAA)|
|66||RW William Whitelaw||Youngstown (USHL)|
|98||LHD Andrew Strathmann||Youngstown (USHL)|
|114||C Luca Pinelli||Ottawa (OHL)|
|156||G Melvin Strahl||MoDo (J20)|
|194||C Oiva Keskinen||Tappara (Finland U20)|
|224||LW Tyler Peddle||Drummondville (QMJHL)|
Fantilli fell into the Blue Jackets' lap at No. 3, and the fit is perfect in terms of style and positional need. He could step into their lineup as soon as this fall and be a contributor in the top nine, and he's a future top-line pivot.
Then, at the top of the second round, Columbus snagged Fantilli's linemate Brindley, a diminutive but speedy and tenacious winger who would've been a slam dunk first-rounder if he were 3 inches taller.
The Blue Jackets absolutely crushed this draft. They didn't overthink things when Fantilli became available at No. 3 and identified high-potential prospects with their remaining picks. That's exactly what a team like Columbus should be doing on draft day.
|61||LHD Tristan Bertucci||Flint (OHL)|
|79||C Brad Gardiner||Ottawa (OHL)|
|125||RHD Aram Minnetian||U.S. NTDP|
|157||G Arno Tiefensee||Mannheim (DEL)|
|189||C Angus MacDonnell||Mississauga (OHL)|
|221||LW Sebastian Bradshaw||Elite Hockey Academy (18U AAA)|
The Stars love to draft out of the OHL and added another three Ontario-based prospects Thursday. Bertucci underwhelmed at the U18s, and Gardiner was outproduced significantly by his teammate Pinelli, who went much later to Columbus. Dallas failed to come out of the draft with a prospect that carries easily identifiable potential to play a meaningful NHL role.
|9||C Nate Danielson||Brandon (WHL)|
|17||RHD Axel Sandin Pellikka||Skelleftea (J20)|
|41||G Trey Augustine||U.S. NTDP|
|42||RHD Andrew Gibson||Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)|
|47||LHD Brady Cleveland||U.S. NTDP|
|73||LW Noah Dower Nilsson||Frolunda (J20)|
|117||LHD Larry Keenan||Culver (USHS)|
|137||RHD Jack Phelan||Sioux Falls (USHL)|
|147||LW Kevin Bicker||Mannheim (Germany U20)|
|169||G Rudy Guimond||Taft School (USHS)|
|201||C Emmitt Finnie||Kamloops (WHL)|
The Red Wings added more of the same at No. 9 with Danielson after taking a similar prospect in Marco Kasper a year ago. That's not necessarily a bad thing; Danielson could become a top-six, two-way center - but Detroit had the opportunity to go for a higher-upside scorer in the top 10.
Landing Sandin Pellikka - possibly the draft's best offensive defenseman - at No. 17 significantly helps this grade. He adds to an already stacked group of young blue-liners in the Red Wings' system but brings a more offensive element than what Detroit already has.
It never hurts to snag one of the draft's top goaltenders, which the Red Wings did with Augustine. Dower Nilsson - the younger brother of Detroit prospect Liam - adds a scorer to an otherwise fairly bland draft.
|56||RHD Beau Akey||Barrie (OHL)|
|184||G Nathaniel Day||Flint (OHL)|
|216||C Matt Copponi||Merrimack (NCAA)|
With just three picks and none inside the top 50, it was going to be tough for the Oilers to make an impression. Taking Akey at No. 56, however, did exactly that.
The right-shot defenseman is one of the top neutral-zone defenders in the entire class. Edmonton's pipeline on defense is barren, and adding a player like Akey is a great way to spend the team's lone pick in the first five rounds. That selection does the heavy lifting here.
|63||C Gracyn Sawchyn||Seattle (WHL)|
|127||LHD Albert Wikman||Farjestad (J20)|
|159||G Olof Glifford||HV71 (Sweden U18)|
|191||LHD Luke Coughlin||Rimouski (QMJHL)|
|198||LW Stepan Zvyagin||Dinamo (MHL)|
Sawchyn and the Panthers are a perfect stylistic match. The Thunderbirds forward has plenty of skill and isn't afraid to mix it up physically despite being undersized. Ranked as high as No. 13 by Elite Prospects, he's exactly the type of player Florida should be drafting in the absence of a top-50 selection.
Coughlin is an undersized defenseman with pedigree as a former top-five pick in the QMJHL. He was injured to start his draft campaign but finished the year on a strong note. That's a quality sixth-round swing.
|54||LHD Jakub Dvorak||Liberec (Czechia)|
|78||RW Koehn Ziemmer||Prince George (WHL)|
|118||G Hampton Slukynsky||Warroad (USHS)|
|150||RHD Matthew Mania||Sudbury (OHL)|
|182||RW Ryan Conmy||Sioux City (USHL)|
Dvorak is massive at 6-foot-5 and can move well for his size, but he has yet to produce any notable results. Ziemmer scored a bunch of goals in the WHL, while Mania has a great name and an exciting blend of skills.
It's difficult to evaluate skaters out of high school, let alone a goaltender like Slukynsky. Conmy produced in the USHL and is a reasonable sixth-rounder. It's a decent draft for the Kings, but nothing that gets you particularly excited.
|21||C Charlie Stramel||Wisconsin (NCAA)|
|53||C Rasmus Kumpulainen||Pelicans (Finland U20)|
|64||C Riley Heidt||Prince George (WHL)|
|149||LHD Aaron Pionk||Waterloo (USHL)|
|181||RHD Kalem Parker||Victoria (WHL)|
|213||LW Jimmy Clark||Green Bay (USHL)|
Stramel struggled mightily as a freshman at Wisconsin after a strong career previously with the U.S. NTDP. The Wild will hope to see the big, mobile pivot rediscover his form as a sophomore.
Kumpulainen is on the younger side of the class and produced in Finland's junior league and at the U18s. Heidt was superb value at the end of the second round, having matched Bedard for the WHL lead in assists. He likely shifts to the wing but has significant power-play upside and doesn't shy away from physicality. A solid draft that addressed premium positions.
|5||RHD David Reinbacher||Kloten (NL)|
|69||G Jacob Fowler||Youngstown (USHL)|
|101||LW Florian Xhekaj||Hamilton (OHL)|
|110||RHD Bogdan Konyushkov||Torpedo (KHL)|
|128||G Quentin Miller||Quebec (QMJHL)|
|133||LW Sam Harris||Sioux Falls (USHL)|
|144||G Yevgeni Volokhin||Khanty-Mansiysk (MHL)|
|165||C Filip Eriksson||Vaxjo (J20)|
|197||LHD Luke Mittelstadt||Minnesota (NCAA)|
It's hard to get too upset when you land the draft's top defense prospect. The Canadiens valued Reinbacher's handedness and professional profile; after all, he played the entire season in the top four of a Swiss pro team. But passing on immense potential in Matvei Michkov, or even Ryan Leonard, is a tough pill to swallow.
The rest of the Canadiens' draft was ... odd. They took three goaltenders, with Fowler being the most compelling of the bunch after leading Youngstown to the USHL championship.
Taking the younger Xhekaj at No. 101 was rich, considering he was a re-entry who scored just 25 points in the OHL. It was a slightly strange draft for Montreal, which took players from all over but left with a conservative top-five selection and only one or two other picks to really like.
|15||RW Matthew Wood||UConn (NCAA)|
|24||LHD Tanner Molendyk||Saskatoon (WHL)|
|43||C Felix Nilsson||Rogle (J20)|
|46||LW Kalan Lind||Red Deer (WHL)|
|68||RW Jesse Kiiskinen||Pelicans (Finland U20)|
|83||RHD Dylan MacKinnon||Halifax (QMJHL)|
|111||C Joey Willis||Saginaw (OHL)|
|121||G Juha Jatkola||KalPa (Liiga)|
|143||C Sutter Muzzatti||RPI (NCAA)|
|175||C Austin Roest||Everett (WHL)|
|218||RW Aiden Fink||Brooks (AJHL)|
GM Barry Trotz wanted his scouts to target prospects with high upside. He got exactly that early in the draft with Wood, a big and skilled winger who scored at a high rate as a freshman in the NCAA. The Predators followed that up with one of the top-skating blue-liners in Molendyk, a terrific rush defender who's just waiting to unlock more offensive upside.
Nashville continued to take fun swings on Day 2. All of Nilsson, Lind, Kiiskinen, Willis, and Fink have exciting elements to their game. MacKinnon is a mean defenseman who helps diversify the class too. And Jatkola, Muzzatti, and Roest are re-entry prospects who enjoyed strong campaigns. An incredibly promising start to the Trotz era.
|58||RW Lenni Hameenaho||Assat (Liiga)|
|122||RW Cam Squires||Cape Breton (QMJHL)|
|154||RHD Chase Cheslock||Rogers (USHS)|
|164||LW Cole Brown||Hamilton (OHL)|
|186||LHD Daniil Karpovich||Yekaterinburg (MHL)|
The Devils had a perfectly average draft. Hameenaho played regular shifts in Finland, and Squires hovered near a point per game in the QMJHL. Throw in a trio of typical late-round swings, and New Jersey has to be content with Thursday's outcome.
|49||C Danny Nelson||U.S. NTDP|
|113||LW Jesse Nurmi||KooKoo (Finland U20)|
|145||C Justin Gill||Sherbrooke (QMJHL)|
|177||LHD Zach Schultz||U.S. NTDP|
|209||LHD Dennis Good Bogg||AIK (J20)|
Nelson was getting some first-round hype at the end of the season, so it was a slight surprise to see him available when the Islanders chose at No. 49. Nurmi scored a bunch in Finland's junior league, but New York's draft ultimately lacks the high-end upside to warrant a higher grade.
|23||LW Gabe Perreault||U.S. NTDP|
|90||LHD Drew Fortescue||U.S. NTDP|
|152||LHD Rasmus Larsson||Vasteras (J20)|
|178||C Dylan Roobroeck||Oshawa (OHL)|
|183||LW Ty Henricks||Muskegon (USHL)|
Perreault has known faults; he's a small winger whose skating isn't a positive trait. But he also broke the U.S. NTDP's single-season scoring record. The Rangers have to be thrilled to add a prospect with his potential at No. 23. The rest of New York's draft is lackluster, but landing Perreault largely makes up for it.
|108||RHD Hoyt Stanley||Victoria (BCHL)|
|140||LHD Matthew Andonovski||Kitchener (OHL)|
|204||C Owen Beckner||Salmon Arm (BCHL)|
|207||G Vladimir Nikitin||Barys Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan U20)|
|215||RW Nicholas Vantassell||Green Bay (USHL)|
The Senators like what the Senators like. Yet again, Ottawa exits the draft with a few more 6-foot-2-plus skaters who didn't score much in their respective leagues. Maybe it will work out this time.
|7||RW Matvei Michkov||SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)|
|22||RHD Oliver Bonk||London (OHL)|
|51||G Carson Bjarnason||Brandon (WHL)|
|87||G Egor Zavragin||Khanty-Mansiysk (MHL)|
|95||RW Denver Barkey||London (OHL)|
|103||C Cole Knuble||Fargo (USHL)|
|120||LW Alex Ciernik||Sodertalje (HockeyAllsvenskan)|
|135||RHD Carter Sotheran||Portland (WHL)|
|172||C Ryan MacPherson||Leamington (GOJHL)|
|199||RHD Matteo Mann||Chicoutimi (QMJHL)|
GM Daniel Briere has made his mark on the Flyers in a matter of weeks. Philadelphia got arguably the second-best talent in the draft with Michkov at No. 7. The red flags are well known, but there was too much value to pass up in the back half of the top 10.
It's not just Michkov, either. Philadelphia did well to identify numerous Day 2 talents, including Barkey, Knuble, Ciernik, and Sotheran, who immediately improve the Flyers' pipeline.
|14||C Brayden Yager||Moose Jaw (WHL)|
|91||LHD Emil Pieniniemi||Karpat (Finland U20)|
|142||RW Mikhail Ilyin||Cherepovets (MHL)|
|174||C Cooper Foster||Ottawa (OHL)|
|217||LW Emil Jarventie||Ilves (Finland U20)|
|223||LHD Kalle Kangas||Jokerit (Finland U20)|
Yager immediately becomes the Penguins' top prospect, while Jarventie is an excellent value pick in the seventh round. Kyle Dubas drafted someone from Sault Ste. Marie to keep that meme alive and well. A decent first draft for Dubas in Pittsburgh.
|4||C Will Smith||U.S. NTDP|
|26||LW Quentin Musty||Sudbury (OHL)|
|36||RW Kasper Halttunen||HIFK (Liiga)|
|71||C Brandon Svoboda||Youngstown (USHL)|
|123||LHD Luca Cagnoni||Portland (WHL)|
|130||RHD Axel Landen||HV71 (J20)|
|132||RHD Eric Pohlkamp||Cedar Rapids (USHL)|
|196||C David Klee||Waterloo (USHL)|
|203||RW Yegor Rimashevskiy||Dynamo (MHL)|
The Sharks added talent everywhere except in the crease. Smith is a legit potential top-line center, and Musty was among the highest-upside prospects available at No. 26. Halttunen was a wicked shot, and Cagnoni is a perfect mid-round swing on a small but excellent puck-moving defenseman. There's a ton to like here.
|20||LW Eduard Sale||Brno (Czechia)|
|50||LW Carson Rehkopf||Kitchener (OHL)|
|52||C Oscar Fisker Molgaard||HV71 (SHL)|
|57||RHD Lukas Dragicevic||Tri-City (WHL)|
|89||LHD Caden Price||Kelowna (WHL)|
|116||C Andrei Loshko||Chicoutimi (QMJHL)|
|148||RHD Kaden Hammell||Everett (WHL)|
|168||G Visa Vedenpaa||Karpat (Finland U20)|
|180||C Zeb Forsfjall||Skelleftea (J20)|
|212||RW Zaccharya Wisdom||Cedar Rapids (USHL)|
The Kraken didn't have a top-five pick for the first time in their short history, so they went out and had one of the best cumulative drafts instead. Sale and Dragicevic have huge potential. Rehkopf, Molgaard, and Wisdom can play anywhere in the lineup. Even swings like Price, Loshko, and Forsfjall stand out. Another eye-catching draft class for Seattle.
|10||C Dalibor Dvorsky||AIK (HockeyAllsvenskan)|
|25||C Otto Stenberg||Frolunda (J20)|
|29||LHD Theo Lindstein||Brynas (SHL)|
|74||LHD Quinton Burns||Kingston (OHL)|
|76||LW Juraj Pekarcik||Nitra (Slovakia)|
|106||C Jakub Stancl||Vaxjo (J20)|
|138||LHD Paul Fischer||U.S. NTDP|
|170||LHD Matthew Mayich||Ottawa (OHL)|
|202||RW Nikita Susuyev||Spartak (MHL)|
St. Louis clearly values the opinion of their Swedish scouts, having used each of their three first-round picks on players based in the region. Dvorsky, Stenberg, and Lindstein each fill organizational needs. The rest of the draft was a bit underwhelming, but the first-round trio are enough to be excited about.
|37||RW Ethan Gauthier||Sherbrooke (QMJHL)|
|115||RW Jayson Shaugabay||Warroad (USHS)|
|179||RHD Warren Clark||Steinbach (MJHL)|
|193||C Jack Harvey||Chicago (USHL)|
|211||C Ethan Hay||Flint (OHL)|
Gauthier fits the style of player the Lightning look to round out their lineup with. He's physical but brings a scoring touch, particularly as a goal-scorer. Shaugabay and Harvey add much needed skill to a depleted prospect pool.
|28||LW Easton Cowan||London (OHL)|
|153||C Hudson Malinoski||Brooks (AJHL)|
|185||LHD Noah Chadwick||Lethbridge (WHL)|
Cowan wasn't anticipated to be drafted in the first round, but the London Knights forward ticks a lot of boxes the Maple Leafs typically covet in the draft. He's intelligent, immensely competitive, and can play in all situations.
Malinoski is a late bloomer out of the AJHL, someone who we'll get a better read on once he plays against better competition in the fall at Providence. Toronto finally drafted its first defenseman since 2020 at No. 185 with Chadwick, a 6-foot-4 Saskatoon native with a solid two-way base.
The reach on Cowan at No. 28 hurts the overall grade for what was a fine draft for the Maple Leafs, but one that doesn't add much high-end upside.
|11||RHD Tom Willander||Rogle (J20)|
|75||RHD Hunter Brzustewicz||Kitchener (OHL)|
|89||LHD Sawyer Mynio||Seattle (WHL)|
|105||C Ty Mueller||Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA)|
|107||LW Vilmer Alriksson||Djurgarden (J20)|
|119||C Matthew Perkins||Youngstown (USHL)|
|171||RHD Aiden Celebrini||Brooks (AJHL)|
The Canucks have an organizational need on defense and addressed it early and often in this draft. All three of Vancouver's top 100 selections were used on rearguards.
Passing on Benson at No. 11 is tough, but Willander is still a player to be amped for. He's a smooth-skating, two-way blue-liner who is exactly what the Canucks have been hoping to get on their right side. He heads to Boston University in the fall.
Brzustewicz was a quality value pick in the third round, and Mynio will play a much bigger role with the Thunderbirds in the fall. A solid draft from GM Patrik Allvin that addressed a significant organizational weakness.
|32||C David Edstrom||Frolunda (J20)|
|77||C Mathieu Cataford||Halifax (QMJHL)|
|96||LHD Arttu Karki||Tappara (Finland U20)|
|192||RW Tuomas Uronen||HIFK (Finland U20)|
The Stanley Cup champions seemingly carried their positive momentum onto the draft floor. Edstrom is a 6-foot-3 pivot who excelled at the U18s and gives the Golden Knights a legit center prospect. Cataford scored a bunch in the QMJHL, and Karki gives off Nic Hague vibes with his bomb of a shot from the point.
|8||RW Ryan Leonard||U.S. NTDP|
|40||LW Andrew Cristall||Kelowna (WHL)|
|104||C Patrick Thomas||Hamilton (OHL)|
|136||RHD Cameron Allen||Guelph (OHL)|
|200||C Brett Hyland||Brandon (WHL)|
|206||G Antoine Keller||Geneve (Swiss U20)|
The Capitals come away with one of the draft's most intriguing hauls. Leonard is a nightmare to play against, Cristall decimated WHL competition, and Allen was once expected to be the first defenseman off the board. We could look back in a decade at a class that landed Washington two-thirds of a top line and a top-four blue-liner.
|18||LW Colby Barlow||Owen Sound (OHL)|
|82||RW Zach Nehring||Shattuck St. Mary's (USHS)|
|146||C Jacob Julien||London (OHL)|
|151||G Thomas Milic||Seattle (WHL)|
|210||RW Connor Levis||Kamloops (WHL)|
Barlow will excite fans in Winnipeg as a goal-scorer who plays a rugged, physical style. It was also good to see Milic finally drafted after being one of the top WHL netminders for three years and helping Canada earn gold at the world juniors.