2023 NHL Draft: MHN’s Top-64 Midseason Draft Rankings
With the 2023 NHL Draft only about four months away, it’s now time for our Montreal Hockey Now’s Midseason 2023 NHL Draft Rankings.
This year’s class is a pretty special one, with the likes of Connor Bedard and Adam Fantilli hovering at the top of virtually every draft ranking out there; and with due cause.
Both are having historic seasons in the WHL and NCAA, respectively, and look to be the strongest 1-2 combo at the top of an NHL Draft class since Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel in 2015.
But there’s so much more to like about this class, especially the recent risers that have started making some serious noise across the world.
It’s going to be an especially deep class for the WHL, who, on top of Connor Bedard, will also boast talents like Zach Benson, Andrew Cristall, Riley Heidt and Brayden Yager; just to name a few.
Zach Benson. Gross. pic.twitter.com/A1NyrURusu
— 🌜Joel Henderson🌛 (@dathockeydoe) February 2, 2023
The United States National Development Team (USNDT) will also be a major player at the top of the draft; with Will Smith cemented in most public lists as being a top-10 talent. His teammates Ryan Leonard and Oliver Moore are also rocketing up the rankings, including this one, due to their dynamic offensive ability and dominance, even against players three-to-five years older than them in the NCAA.
Ryan Leonard has his second of the game just 1:35 into the third period! Oliver Moore has assisted on both Leonard goals tonight! 3-0.@USAHockeyNTDP #USHL pic.twitter.com/CtGIZoCiNj
— Ryan Sikes (@ryan_sikes10) February 3, 2023
However, it’s not just the U-18 level that’s producing impressive talents south of the border.
There’s also a strong contingent of draft-eligible talent that has made the jump to the NCAA as 17 and 18-year-olds have impressed as of late. Youngsters like Adam Fantilli, Gavin Brindley, Matthew Wood and Charlie Stramel have made the jump a year early as true freshmen in the NCAA and haven’t seemingly missed a beat in terms of play.
It’s an unprecedented amount of true freshmen players eligible for the NHL Draft, as most classes will have one or two exceptional cases, while this year will likely see four or more players picked in the 1st-round.
Adam Fantilli to Gavin Brindley.
• Fantilli extends his point streak to 8 games and 18 points.
• Brindley extends his point streak to 7 games and 12 points.
The 2023 kids are alright. pic.twitter.com/H4b2Y7cKzk
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) February 5, 2023
Last, but not least, the European contingent in this year’s draft is also very interesting for scouting teams. Matvei Michkov remains one of the most gifted goal-scorers that we’ve seen at the U-18 level, and he’s also started to rack up points in the KHL since his loan to Sochi. Meanwhile, Leo Carlsson has been a force in the SHL for an 18-year-old, putting up offensive numbers that haven’t been seen in quite some time for a draft-eligible prospect.
Matvei Michkov with 1+1 through one period of play today.
He's up 5 goals and 8 points in ~14 KHL games with Sochi pic.twitter.com/gqUeHPfHl9
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) January 31, 2023
European defencemen currently dominate the rankings as we speak, with Axel Sandin-Pellikka, David Reinbacher, Mikhail Gulyayev and Dimitri Simashev looking to be the four top defencemen in this class as of now; but there’s a lot of hockey to be played yet, and some development curves to be adjusted.
As of now, Sandin-Pellikka and Reinbacher are starting to separate themselves from the rest; both of whom are playing in professional settings in Sweden and Switzerland respectively and putting up very rare offensive numbers for their age.
David Reinbacher (#64 blue) (Draft 2023) just overskating former NHLer Alex Formenton, following up on his shots, winning a puck against Formenton and Former NHler Tim Heed before serving his teammate on a plate. pic.twitter.com/OOjR1KDavy
— Thibaud Chatel (@Thibaud_Chatel) January 24, 2023
It will truly be an embarrassment of riches for the Montreal Canadiens, who are currently trending toward picking twice within the first 12 picks of this top-heavy draft. Should Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes succeed in potentially getting himself a third 1st-round pick prior to the 2023 NHL Draft, this may indeed be one of the most special drafts the Habs have had in quite some time.
MUST READ: Montreal Canadiens To-Do List Before NHL Trade Deadline
With that said, here is a Top-64 Ranking of the 2023 NHL Draft class based on my viewings so far this season.
|3||Matvei Michkov||Right Wing||KHL/VHL||Left||5'10||150lbs|
|5||Zach Benson||Centre/Left Wing||WHL||Left||5'10||160lbs|
|8||Andrew Cristall||Left Wing||WHL||Left||5'10||165lbs|
|9||Colby Barlow||Left Wing||OHL||Left||6'1||187lbs|
|11||Eduard Sale||Winger||Czech Extraliga||Left||6'1||167lbs|
|15||Riley Heidt||Left Wing||WHL||Left||5'11||178lbs|
|18||Ethan Gauthier||Centre/Right Wing||QMJHL||Right||5'11||176lbs|
|19||Matthew Wood||Right Wing||NCAA||Right||6'3||190lbs|
|20||Samuel Honzek||Left Wing||WHL||Left||6'3||181lbs|
|21||Quentin Musty||Left Wing||OHL||Left||6'2||197lbs|
|27||Gabe Perreault||Left Wing||USHL||Left||5'11||170lbs|
|28||Otto Stenberg||Centre/Left Wing||SHL||Left||5'10||172lbs|
|29||Koehn Ziemmer||Right Wing||WHL||Right||6'0||194lbs|
|30||Charlie Stramel||Right Wing||NCAA||Left||6'3||215lbs|
|35||Noah Dower-Nilsson||Left Wing||SHL||Left||5'10||168lbs|
|37||Daniil But||Left Wing||KHL||Right||6'5||203lbs|
|41||Oscar Fisker Molgaard||Centre||SHL||Left||6'0||163lbs|
|44||Kalan Lind||Centre/Left Wing||WHL||Left||6'0||154lbs|
|45||Kasper Halttunen||Right Wing||LIIGA||Right||6'2||191lbs|
|51||Alexander Rykov||Right Wing||KHL||Left||5'11||170lbs|
|52||Carson Rehkopf||Left Wing||OHL||Left||6'1||194lbs|
|53||Alex Ciernik||Left Wing/Right Wing||SHL||Left||5'10||179lbs|
|57||Danny Nelson||Centre/Left Wing||USHL||Left||6'3||203lbs|
|59||Emil Jarventie||Left Wing||Liiga||Left||5'10||163lbs|
|61||Mathieu Cataford||Right Wing||QMJHL||Right||5'11||187lbs|
|62||Lenni Hameenaho||Right Wing||Liiga||Right||6'10||174lbs|
|HM||Roman Kantserov||Centre/Left Wing||KHL||Left||5'9||176lbs|
|HM||Tyler Peddle||Centre/ Left Wing||QMJHL||Left||6'1||190lbs|
|HM||Jesse Kiiskanen||Right Wing||LIIGA||Right||6'0||187lbs|
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It’s very interesting to me that the ‘05 born kids are living up to their hype this year when you consider they essentially lost 2 years of development during the pandemic at such a crucial time in their hockey lives. Very impressive. I guess they spent the time doing off ice training which has proven to pay dividends on the ice this year. Kinda shows you that instead of having kids play hockey 365 days a year and be on the ice many times a week, that spending more time off the ice building strength and endurance, would be better for their overall game.
Three draft picks out of the Qmjhl would be a low for recent years . Over the last 5 drafts the league has produced in rounds 1&2 – 2018 (7) , 2019 (6) , 2020 (7). , 2021 (5) , 2922 (4)