Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day our LWOS Prospects Writers will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2023 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow Ben Kerr, Kyle Pereira and Frederik Frandson on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! Today we bring you our 2023 NHL Mock Draft.
The Last Word prospects crew got together, with several guests, to do a 2023 NHL mock draft. There were three total trades made, a few reaches, and several potential steals due to big names falling. As for the guests, the squad invited Sammy Tirpak, Mitchell Brown, Chad Minton, Chase Rochon, Wally Mazurek, and James Iacovone.
2023 Last Word On Hockey NHL Mock Draft
Picks One Through Five
First Overall: Chicago Blackhawks Select Connor Bedard
There’s not much to discuss. The unquestioned first overall selection in the 2023 draft is Bedard, and he joins a rebuilding Blackhawks squad.
Second Overall: Anaheim Ducks Select Adam Fantilli
Again, not a surprise. Fantilli has, more or less, been the number two prospect for much of the season.
Third Overall: Columbus Blue Jackets Select Leo Carlsson
“Columbus has been searching for a number 1 centre for quite some time. In Leo Carlsson they find a player who will take that role. The big swede can play with both power and skill, and has a strong 200 foot game” – Ben Kerr, Last Word on Hockey
Fourth Overall: San Jose Sharks Select Matvei Michkov
“For the Sharks this would be their new face of the franchise if he arrives after his contract in the KHL. A face they desperately need and can be patiently waiting for.” – Frederik Frandsen
Fifth Overall: Montreal Canadiens Select David Reinbacher
“I think Reinbacher could be a great compliment to Lane Hutson to solidify the top pairing ahead of the ensuing list of prospects and defence already on the roster.” – Chase Rochon, McKeen’s Hockey
2023 NHL Mock Draft, Picks Six Through Ten
Sixth Overall: Arizona Coyotes Select Zach Benson
“By the numbers, he is the best playmaker I have tracked with over 3000 players since Connor McDavid, and of course, some of that is he’s been slated between two great shooters, but it’s also a testament to his abilities to get the puck off the boards and play to the middle, and seemingly limitless passing skill.” – Mitchell Brown, Elite Prospects.
Seventh Overall: Philadelphia Flyers Select Ryan Leonard
“At seven, Ryan Leonard seems like almost a no brainer. Leonard can score at the same rate as the other players picked to go 5-10. Leonard also creates plays for teammates, but also plays a physical style. A physically gifted winger with a mean streak and high offensive abilities.” – James Iacovone, Flyers Media
Eighth Overall: Washington Capitals Select Oliver Moore
“Oliver Moore is an unbelievable skater and playmaker, with great hockey sense and passing ability. On top of this, he plays a very complete game with a great work rate, which indicates that he can be a leader of the new Washington Capitals.” -the Frandsen
Ninth Overall: Detroit Red Wings Select Will Smith
While there are some concerns regarding Smith’s defensive abilities and off-puck play, there’s no doubt that the upside is there. He’s a fun player to watch, and has lots of potential.
Tenth Overall: St. Louis Blues Select Axel Sandin Pellikka
“Looking at St. Louis, I don’t see much in the way of defensemen for the Blues top prospects, so I’d go Sandin Pellikka here. I think they just have more in their pipeline up front” – Kerr
Picks 11 Through 20
11th Overall: Vancouver Canucks Select Dalibor Dvorsky
“If you believe in [taking] the best player available, then that’s the pick for the Canucks. I do think, too, that they can use the help up the middle after trading away Bo Horvat.” – Kerr
12th Overall: Arizona Coyotes Select Eduard Sale
Sale combines excellent skating abilities with strong playmaking instincts and good off-puck abilities. In addition, he also defends well, with an excellent motor and, again, good instincts.
13th Overall: Buffalo Sabres Select Dmitri Simashev
“Player type and team type fit each other, the upside/risk ratio fits both sides and with how big the Sabres blue-line is shaping up to be, Simashev’s 6-4 frame and great combination of skill and skating would be a perfect option for the Sabres.” – Sam Tirpak, OhMyHockey
14th Overall: Pittsburgh Penguins Select Nate Danielson
“Danielson is a smooth skating two-way forward from the Brandon Wheat Kings. He can maneuver with the puck at high speeds pretty impressively for a player of his size. He will provide Pittsburgh with much-needed centre depth in their prospect pool and has potential top line ceiling with a middle six floor.” – Iacovone
15th Overall: Nashville Predators Select Gabe Perreault
“Gabe Perrault was the safest pick at 15 with what was already off the board without trading up. I like his all around offensive IQ, high floor, leadership/teammate qualities and his potential to develop into a top-6 player eventually” – Chad Minton, PredLinesNSH
The First Trade In The NHL Mock Draft! Montreal and Calgary Strike A Deal
For the first trade in the mock, it’s Calgary (run by Tirpak) and Montreal (run by Rochon) coming together. Montreal gives up Josh Anderson (at 15% retained) and the 37th overall pick for Dillon Dube and the 16th overall draft selection.
16th Overall: Montreal Selects Colby Barlow
“Barlow is a natural goal scorer and provides size and grit on the wing. He could eventually be the third piece on the Habs top line with Suzuki and Caufield.” – Kerr
17th Overall: Detroit Red Wings Select Matt Wood
Matt Wood is a modern-day power forward with a pro style that should translate well to the NHL level. With high-skill, young forwards like Lucas Raymond in the pipeline, a guy who can play more rough around the edges would be a nice complement to the core.
18th Overall: Winnipeg Jets Select Tom Willander
“With a powerful stride, explosive edges, and NHL tools across the board, he has top-four potential, and there’s always a chance that he adds more offence over the next few seasons.” – Brown
19th Overall: Chicago Blackhawks Select Quinton Musty
“Even after adding Connor Bedard to a system that already features Lukas Reichel and Frank Nazar, the Blackhawks still need more high-end forward prospects. Quentin Musty certainly fits what the Hawks need as he possesses skill, great hockey sense, a strong shot, exceptional hands, and has good size.”” – Wally Mazurek, Chicago Prospects
20th Overall: Seattle Kraken Select Andrew Cristall
Cristall is one of the most creative and impressive playmakers in the class, and is an excellent transitional player. He brings top line upside, if he can bulk up and be stronger on his feet.
Final Picks Of Round One In The 2023 NHL Mock Draft
21st Overall: Minnesota Wild Select Brayden Yager
“[Yager’s] shot and goalscoring touch would perfectly complement the vision and passing of Boldy, and the speed and skating of Yurov could complete the perfect second line.” – Frandsen
22nd Overall: Philadelphia Flyers Select Calum Ritchie
“A 6’2 center for Oshawa, Ritchie is an unselfish, playmaking centre with a solid two-way game. He’s big and strong at 187 [pounds]. He’s a very smart player with great hands, finds the right spots on the ice and loves to set up teammates.” – Iacovone
23rd Overall: New York Rangers Select Samuel Honzek
“Given his physical characteristics, [Honzek’s] likely to play, but the impressive puck skills combined with his mobility give him home run potential.” – Brown
24th Overall: Nashville Predators Select Gavin Brindley
“Gavin Brindley has potential major steal written all over him at 24. Again, if they don’t trade, then Brindley would be an outstanding high upside pick.” – Minton
25th Overall: St.Louis Blues Select Daniil But
Daniil But has a ton of upside, especially for a late first round selection. However, his skating, defensive play, and offensive consistency needs work. But the Blues are in a position to take a big home run swing here, and there’s few still left with But’s upside.
26th Overall: San Jose Sharks Select Lukas Dragicevic
“Dragicevic is a great puck-moving and offensive defenceman with fantastic skating. While he is raw and his defence needs some work, he was also the defender that had the highest upside.” – Frandsen
27th Overall: Colorado Avalanche Select Carson Bjarnason
The first goaltender to come off the board, Carson Bjarnason is a smooth, technically sound and poised presence in the crease, with great size and athleticism.
The Second Trade Takes Place
For the second deal, it was Tirpak again, this time as the Toronto Maple Leafs, making a deal with the Blackhawks (run by Mazurek). This time it was Toronto trading their 28th overall pick to Chicago for the 35th and 55th overall selections.
28th Overall: Chicago Blackhawks Select Oscar Fisker Molgaard
“Oscar Fisker Mølgaard checks all of [their] boxes, and still has some untapped offensive potential.” – Mazurek
29th Overall: St. Louis Blues Select Ethan Gauthier
Ethan Gauthier has a balanced offensive arsenal, with not one trait truly standing out. But, what he does have is an excellent defensive game and a high-end motor that projects well to the NHL level.
30th Overall: Carolina Hurricanes Select Mikhail Gulyayev
Gulyayev is an excellent skater and offensive play creator. He has the makings of a future top pair defender.
31st Overall: Montreal Canadiens Select Jayden Perron
Perron has a high motor, strong defensive game, and a fast-paced offensive game that relies on smarts and his shot. Perron could be a top-six goal-scorer or a bottom-six energy player. Montreal can take Perron and develop him as they please, for the most part.
32nd Overall: Vegas Golden Knights Select Otto Stenberg
Stenberg brings to the table a multi-faceted offensive game that allows him to attack the ice however he feels will be best in the situation. Continuing to refine those skills, while maintaining his high-end motor and excellent skating, will make him a pain to play against in the future.
End Of The First, Start Of The Second Round In LWOH’s NHL Mock Draft
33rd Overall: Anaheim Ducks Select Gracyn Sawchyn
“Gracyn Sawchyn doesn’t necessarily fit the Ducks’ mould, but getting one of the draft’s best puck handlers, off-the-boards playmakers, and intense players was too much value to pass on at the start of the second round.” – Brown
34th Overall: Columbus Blue Jackets Select Oliver Bonk
“Bonk put up 40 points with London this past season. This is even more impressive when you realize that the 17 year old was behind Logan Mailloux in terms of the pecking order for power play time. Expect Bonk to continue to develop and put up even bigger numbers next year in London.” – Kerr
35th Overall: Toronto Maple Leafs Select Charlie Stramel
“[Stramel] is going to be hated by other teams. Stramel is a versatile power-forward who is as well-rounded a player as you can get with first-time draftees.” – Tirpak
The Third and Final Trade
With the third trade of the mock, it was a deal between Kyle Pereira as the Tampa Bay Lightning and Frandsen as the Sharks. This trade involved Tampa dealing away the RFA rights of Ross Colton to the Sharks for the 36th overall pick.
36th Overall: Tampa Bay Lightning Select Beau Akey
Akey has some untapped offensive potential, but does not jump up in the play at the risk of giving up defensively. He displays strong gap control and solid defensive zone abilities. He has a high end transitional ability as well.
37th Overall: Calgary Flames Select Riley Heidt
“[Heidt] is of average size, but he is fast, he is highly skilled, and he produces really well. He can also play a physical game if need be, and is very aggressive on the forecheck.” – Tirpak
38th Overall: Arizona Coyotes Select Trey Augustine
Trey Augustine had some incredible statlines playing behind a strong USNTDP squad. With a 29-1-2 record and a 0.926 save percentage, he had a phenomenal year. One thing; he’s a bit undersized. Nothing the Coyotes can’t work with.
39th Overall: Buffalo Sabres Select Bradly Nadeau
“Smaller, speedy, highly-skilled playmaker, [Nadeau] would play NCAA hockey after the draft, which is a great path for his style of play into his NHL future.” – Tirpak
40th Overall: Washington Capitals Select Michael Hrabel
“The 6-foot-6 Slovak netminder from the USHL is an extremely agile goalie, who almost defies physics with his quick movement despite his size. He also tracks the puck at a high level and has a ton of good fundamentals to his game.” – Frandsen
The Final Picks Of The 2023 NHL Mock Draft
41st Overall: Detroit Red Wings Select David Edstrom
42nd Overall: Detroit Red Wings Select Hunter Brzustewicz
43rd Overall: Detroit Red Wings Select Noah Dower Nilsson
44th Overall: Chicago Blackhawks Select Kalan Lind
45th Overall: Buffalo Sabres Select Anton Wahlberg
46th Overall: Nashville Predators Select Koehn Ziemmer
47th Overall: Nashville Predators Select Kasper Halttunen
48th Overall: Calgary Flames Select Jacob Fowler
49th Overall: New York Islanders Select Theo Lindstein
50th Overall: Seattle Kraken Select Tanner Molendyk
51st Overall: Chicago Blackhawks Select Adam Gajan
52nd Overall: Seattle Kraken Select William Whitelaw
53rd Overall: Minnesota Wild Select Caden Price
54th Overall: Los Angeles Kings Select Nick Lardis
55th Overall: Toronto Maple Leafs Select Carson Rehkopf
56th Overall: Edmonton Oilers Select Maxim Strbak
57th Overall: Seattle Kraken Select Alex Ciernik
58th Overall: New Jersey Devils Select Luca Pinelli
59th Overall: Anaheim Ducks Select Danny Nelson
60th Overall: Anaheim Ducks Select Matthew Mania
61st Overall: Dallas Stars Select Cameron Allen
62nd Overall: Carolina Hurricanes Select Timur Mukhanov
63rd Overall: Florida Panthers Select Etienne Morin
64th Overall: Minnesota Wild Select Ryan Fine
Main Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports