Grandy’s 2023 NHL Mock Draft

This 2023 draft is shaping up to be a fun one with a deep class and a few wild cards that could cause multiple other dominoes to fall. Let’s get started

1-Chicago Blackhawks-Connor Bedard/Center

This one’s a no-brainer. He is the best prospect since Connor McDavid, Bedards shot, and offensive instincts alone make him worth the pick, then you add his drive and competitive level on top, and it’s done.

2-Anaheim Ducks-Adam Fantilli/Center

Fantilli is more than just a consolation prize; the big center played his freshman season at Michigan, where he won the Hobey Baker, joining an exclusive club of Jack Eichel and Paul Kariya as the only other two to accomplish that feat. It fits the Ducks needs well and adds a little bit of nastiness to the dazzle of Zegras.

3-Columbus Blue Jackets- Will Smith/Center

The Blue Jackets are looking for a #1 center, and the highly skilled Smith answers that call. Part of a record-setting line at the USNTDP this season, Smith has dazzled at every level and opportunity so far. He will be playing at least a season at Boston College and should look really good between Laine and Gaudreau shortly after that.

4-San Jose Sharks- Matvei Michkov/Wing

Michkov, on pure talent, is the closest to Bedard in this class but has several issues which may cause him to slide, chiefly a three-year commitment to the KHL. The Sharks, who appear to be at the start of their rebuild, can afford the time and patience to wait on him coming over and add a few more pieces in the meantime to build up around him.

5-Montreal Canadians-Leo Carlsson/Center

Despite adding the massive Slafkovsky last season, the Canadians could look to add some more skilled size to their relatively small top 6, and they are running to the podium with Carlsson still there. Pegged by many to be a near-lock for the top 3, Carlsson slides just enough to land here. Whether they play him at center or wing, Carlsson is both BPA and fills a need.

6-Arizona Coyotes- Daliber Dvorsky/Center

Dvorsky will fill a much needed role as a matchup, two-way center with more skill than given credit for. It will look great as part of a 1-2 punch featuring Logan Cooley down the middle. While the Coyotes need defensive prospects, with this draft being forward heavy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them take two forwards in the first.

7-Philadelphia Flyers- Ryan Leonard/Winger

Despite being under 6 foot, Leonard plays like a beast. Heavy hitter, heavy on the forecheck, and highly skilled, Leonard will make a great first pick for new GM Daniel Briere.

8-Washington Capitals-David Reinbacher/Defense

The Capitals select the near-consensus best defenseman in the draft. Has good size and does a little bit of everything real well; Reinbacher should be a near-lock as a second pairing guy or second defenseman on the first pairing. Just a rock-solid piece to add to any core.

9-Detroit Red Wings-Oliver Moore/Center

Detroit takes the best skater in this draft by far. Could come in and give McDavid a run for his money as the fastest skater in the league. Will fill a need as a second-line center and just be absolutely nasty in transition. Between Larkin and Moore, the Red Wings will look really good down the middle.

10-St Louis Blues-Tom Willander/Defenseman

There was no player that saw his stock rise more from the U-18 tournament play. The smooth-skating defenseman with size is another defenseman who, while not spectacular at any one thing, does so many things well that he will fill a core role on any team going forward.

11-Vancouver Canucks-Matthew Wood/Winger

Wood is the large, skilled winger that every team seems to covet. Could use some time to fill out his build and work on his skating, but between his shot and size should make an impact, especially on the power play as he develops.

12-Arizona Coyotes-Zach Benson/Winger

The Coyotes are thrilled to walk away from the first round with arguably the two best defensive forwards in the draft. Despite clocking in on the smaller side, Benson made his mark known on the forecheck and defensively, all while being one of the absolute best playmakers in juniors. May be the best or near best passer in the draft.

13-Buffalo Sabres-Dimitri Simashev/Defenseman

The Buffalo Sabres see the potential behind the lack of stats this season and make the bet that his size, skating, and skill wins out and maximize his potential. If Simashev hits to his fullest potential, he may become the best defenseman from this draft. With them already stocked (and no predicting trades in this mock), they take the gamble on his upside here.

14-Pittsburgh Penguins-Axel Sandin-Pellika/Defenseman

The Penguins are thrilled to take the best offensive defenseman in the draft. Someone who should be Letangs protege and eventually stepping into that role himself as the Penguins start seeing the end of the Crosby era.

15-Nashville Predators-Nate Danielson/Center

The Predators, under new GM Barry Trotz, are thrilled to take the do it all center here.

16-Calgary Flames-Colby Barlow/Winger

The Flames look to be heading towards a rebuild, and taking the 50-goal scorer with size is a great way to start that

17-Detroit Red Wings-Mikhail Gulyayev/Defenseman

The Red Wings take their future power-play quarterback here with the highly skilled Gulyayev. Detroit has added a lot of high upside in this draft.

18-Winnipeg Jets-Brandon Yager/Center

The Jets take advantage of Yager having a slightly disappointing season and take him as they look to embark on a new reset and new core.

19-Chicago Blackhawks-Gabe Perrault/Winger

After getting Bedard, the Blackhawks take a relatively safe gamble, but one with real upside. Perrault broke Auston Matthews single-season scoring record in the USNTDP and looks to be an incredible steal at this point in the draft.

20-Seattle Kraken-Andrew Cristall/Winger

The Kraken have already taken a few high upside chances in their existence, and Cristall may be their biggest yet. The highly skilled and competitive wing is only available this late due to his size and having a rough second half of the season and U-18s

21-Minnesota Wild-Samuel Honzek/Center

The Wild seem to be in a position where they will want a center and will be very happy Honzek is still available. The large center fits their biggest need, has some upside, and they can afford to be patient with him.

22-Philadelphia Flyers-Lukas Dragecivic/Defenseman

The Flyers take a swing on the best passing defenseman in the draft. Will be great passing up to Gauthier and Leonard but needs to work on his skating and work in his own zone.

23-New York Rangers-Quentin Musty/Winger

The Rangers will soon need to be able to slot some skilled, cheap wingers into their middle six as they keep their window open, and Musty has some of the best upside of anyone left.

24-Nashville Predators-Gavin Brindley/Winger

Barry Trotz was quoted to have said, “find me high upside players in the draft, I can sign bottom six guys” to his scouting staff, and Brindley fits that mold well. An incredibly exciting player with high compete levels, Brindley could look great in their top six

25-St Louis Blues-Daniil But-Winger

The Blues take the mammoth goal-scoring winger from Russia. They can afford to be patient until he comes to North America and adds a great shot to that team.

26-San Jose Sharks-Callum Ritchie/Center

The Sharks take the center with some of the best hands and puck handling in the draft.

27-Colorado Avalanche-Riley Heidt/Center

The Avs acquired a second first-rounder in the draft, and I don’t expect them to use both, but if they do, I would expect a couple high upside type picks. Heidt fits that.

28-Toronto Maple Leafs-Oliver Bonk/Defenseman

The Maple Leafs take the highly intriguing defenseman as they try to add potential pieces around “The Core Four.”

29-St Louis Blues-Charlie Stramel/Center

With three first-rounders, I can’t imagine the Blues take them all. But if they do look for a big center like Stramel as they add to the center pipeline

30-Carolina Hurricanes-Eduard Sale/Winger

The Hurricanes are running to the podium with the large skilled winger still available this late in the draft. It just speaks to how good this class is. Someone like Sale is still available.

31-Colorado Avalanche-Michael Hrabel/Goalie

The Avs have needed a goalie of the future for a very long time, and they add the large Hrabel and give him time and patience to develop.

32-Vegas Golden Knights-Otto Stenburg/Center

The Knights, fresh off a Cup win, look to add down the middle of the ice and, with how deep this class is in that position, get a very good one in Stenburg still available.

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