NHL Draft 2023: Connor Bedard drafted 1st overall, followed by top 5 future All-Stars
In one of the most recent NHL Draft’s in several years, there hasn’t been a more anticipated and consensus choice to select hands down the best player in the draft. Leading up to the NHL Draft, Connor Bedard, has been praised by legendary players including Wayne Gretzky on the ceiling that he possesses coming out of Regina part of the WHL (Western Hockey League). With high praise from the “Great One”, Bedard has a chance to fulfill his potential on becoming the best prospect to enter the NHL since the Edmonton Oilers drafted Connor McDavid in 2015. Being a young prospect will not halter Bedard’s growth since he has been on several teams throughout his life that he was the youngest player on the roster. The newly drafted Center that will play for the Chicago Blackhawks has been described many adjectives in the pre-draft process, but ultimately labeling Connor a “generational talent” is the most fitting.
Experts continued to reiterate that this 2023 NHL draft class would be a cornerstone for future All-Star Game representatives and potential post-season award winners. The Anaheim Ducks are celebrating the 30th year of existence in the NHL and with the second overall pick, the agenda was to add a scored that can complement McTavish and Trevor Zegras. Leo Carlsson, Center, out of club Orebro (Sweden) is an immediate upgrade with his ability to do everything on the ice exceptionally well. His awareness to handle the puck on the boards will be invaluable when displaying his vision to set up goal scorers. His physical stature will be hard to knock off the puck making him essential to a roster that has some outstanding scorers already.
The Columbus Blue Jackets went with a sure-fire pick that displayed dominance in the NCAA hockey this year at the age of 18 as a freshman for Michigan. Not only did Columbus draft the current Hobey Baker Trophy (top men’s hockey player) in Adam Fantilli, but also, they now have a player that can join them as early as this upcoming year, or one more with the Michigan Wolverines. Fantilli has the size to be an elite Center in the NHL for many years to come. There is truly an excitement in Columbus that they have found a potential 50+-goal scorer every year.
Every mock draft listed the San Jose Sharks taking Will Smith with the fourth overall draft pick. That’s exactly the direction that the newly appointed front office, General Manager Mike Grier, went in. Grier has a tie to the Boston area, where Will Smith resides and will play at least one season with Boston College. Smith is a right-handed center that has a unique ability to have a well-rounded game overall. Compared to the top 3 players drafted above him, Smith can be the best player on the ice by either recording a hat trick, or not even recording one point. With players like Tomas Hertl on the roster, the San Jose Sharks are excited to have a player like the caliber Will Smith can bring.
The surprise pick of the night came from the Montreal Canadiens at the 5th overall slot. Canadiens disregarded the top available forwards and went with the top defenseman in David Reinbacher that has developed his skill set in the professional league in Switzerland. Reinbacher is a great puck handler and has great open ice vision. He will continue to develop his ability along the boards, but he has shown great skill in tight spaces on the ice. Although he is the top defenseman, don’t be surprised if you don’t see David playing with the Canadiens until late in the 2023-2024 season.
Every team is now chasing the Vegas Golden Knights to hoist the Stanley Cup. These top 5 teams not only won the NHL lottery, but the fan bases attached to every club will appreciate the greatness that this draft class will represent on several levels, NHL, All-Star, and the Olympics.