Who are the top prospects in the 2023 draft?

A little less than 48 hours after the end of the 2022 draft, it’s already time to look at what awaits us at the 2023 auction.

Without being horrible, the vintage that has just taken place is recognized by several experts as being a little weaker than usual. Remember, however, that the same thing was said of 2017…

But the 2023 draft could be historic. Already, it is said that it could be the strongest since that of 2015 (McDavid, Eichel, Barzal, Marner, Rantanen, etc.).

Some even argue that the first three or four players to be selected next year would have been taken first this year.

Once again, the Canadian risks being in the race for a top choice. The team certainly won’t be as bad as last year, but it’s a safe bet that they should finish in the league’s worst three to five. Aside from the Blackhawks, Coyotes and Kraken, few clubs are likely to be as bad as the Habs.

It is therefore time to get a first glimpse of what awaits us in 2023 and to get to know some of the hopefuls who will be closely followed.

Here are five young players who, for now, are ranked as the best of their vintage.

5- Zach Benson (forward) – 5’10 150 pounds

The BC native is small, but he makes up for it with his impressive speed and excellent hands. He collected 63 points in 58 games with the mighty Winnipeg Ice.

However, it was in the playoffs that Benson impressed the most. Despite the fact that he was on the same team as several players now belonging to the NHL (Matthew Savoie, Connor Geekie and Carson Lambos), he was the leading scorer with 23 points in 15 games.

He got 11 points more than Savoie and 12 more than Geekie, who were both selected in the top-11 of the last draft.

4- Dalibor Dvorsky (center) – 6’1 190 pounds

After Slafkovsky and Nemec, here is another Slovak who could be selected very high. Last year he played in the Swedish junior league, where he had 40 points in 33 games.

He is a strong center who has an excellent shot. He had 13 points in just five games at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, despite being among the youngest players in the tournament.

3- Adam Fantilli (center) – 6’3 192 pounds

Here is one whose journey will be fascinating to follow. The Canadian has lined up with Chicago Steel in the USHL for the past two years, where he notably played with Sean Farrell. He was simply dominant last year when he finished third in league scoring with 37 goals.

The center isn’t afraid to use his size to his advantage and this notably allowed him to have one of the best seasons in history for a player of this age in the USHL, thus beating Kyle Connor and Johnny Gaudreau.

With a good 2022-2023 season, whoever plays for the University of Michigan Wolverines could enter the discussion and be one of the first two players chosen.

2- Matvei Michkov (Right winger) – 5’10 160 pounds

Michkov is probably the best Russian prospect since Alexander Ovechkin. He dominated the MHL and also did very well in the KHL with five points in 13 games.

Yes, he’s frail, but he’s an extremely skilled and creative skater. Despite the “hype” surrounding Connor Bedard, he could even be chosen first.

1- Connor Bedard (Center) – 5’9 181 pounds

Despite the fact that he is not even 17 yet, this hope no longer needs to be introduced. He is the first player in WHL history to earn Outstanding Player status and in his first full season on the league, he finished fourth in points with 100 and second in goals with 51.

With four goals in just two games at the World Junior Championship, he sent Shane Wright into oblivion.

Prior to this year, Wright had generational player status, as did Bedard. It will be interesting to see how the latter will react to the fall of the center of the Frontenacs. Will he use that as extra motivation.

If so, we could witness the arrival of the next Connor MacDavid.

For now, the 2023 draft is highly anticipated. However, a lot can change in a year. At this time last year, Wright and Brad Lambert were considered to be the best hopes of the vintage, but we know the rest…

A lot of

– Djokovic is back!

– Will Olivier Renard fetch a goalkeeper?

– No change in the quarterbacks of the Alouettes

– It will be interesting to see if there is a departure (Lapointe?).

– The importance of accumulating high choices.

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