With the trade deadline now over and the playoffs approaching, the next big transaction frenzy won’t occur until the 2023 NHL entry draft. Several teams have positioned themselves to be active at the draft and today Corey Pronman of The Athletic released his 2023 NHL draft rankings. Pronman considers this to be an above average draft that is heavy on forwards, this is evident in the rankings as he has only defenseman in his top ten.
The top of the draft offers no surprises as Connor Bedard is still the consensus top overall pick. Bedard continues to be viewed as a franchise changing player drawing favorable comparisons to David Pastrnak, Patrick Kane, and Nikita Kucherov. The only knock on Bedard continues to be his size, as he stands just 5′ 9″ and weights 185 pounds. While he does play with a physical edge, Pronman wonders if he eventually gets pushed from center to the wing.
Russian born winger Matvei Michkov is Pronman’s second ranked prospect in the draft. He too is on the smaller size standing just 5’10” and weighing in at just 172 pounds. Pronman considers Michkov to be one of the best draft eligible prospects he’s seen inside the offensive zone. Michkov recently completed the best 17-year-old season in Russia’s junior league history, topping Nikita Kucherov. He is seen as a game breaking elite scorer with a mind that sees the game in a way that few players do. He is currently signed to the KHL until 2025-26, meaning any team that drafts him might have to wait a few years for Michkov to make an impact.
Slotting in at number three in Pronman’s rankings is center Adam Fantilli out of Michigan. He was ranked second back in Pronman’s January rankings and draws comparisons to Jonathan Toews. Fantilli is fresh off one of the best underage seasons in USHL history and is currently having one of the best seasons seen in the modern era by a first-year draft eligible college player. While his speed and hockey sense are ranked as NHL average, his puck skills are seen as elite. Fantilli projects as an elite NHLer and a number one center on a very good team.
Pronman views Bedard, Michkov and Fantilli as first overall pick type of prospects. But obviously there can only be one first overall pick this June in Nashville and it appears as though that will be Connor Bedard.
Pronman’s top ten draft eligible players are:
- Connor Bedard, Regina (WHL)
- Matvei Michkov. Sochi (KHL)
- Adam Fantilli, Michigan (NCAA)
- Leo Carlsson, Orebro (SHL)
- Nate Danielson, Brandon (WHL)
- William Smith, USA U-18 (NTDP)
- David Reinbacher, Kloten (NL)
- Danil But, Yaroslavl (MHL)
- Colby Barlow, Owen Sound (OHL)
- Samuel Honzek, Vancouver (WHL)
Pronman’s full list can be found here.