Who are the best NHL prospects 2023 has to offer? There is some high-level talent up for grabs in this year’s draft, especially at the number one spot.
Most drafts are made up of top picks that have the potential to be All-Stars or franchise players, but the 2023 NHL Draft contains a generational talent with a level of excitement that only a handful of prospects have ever received.
Best NHL prospects 2023
The 2023 NHL Draft will take place on June 28 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Although the choice is easy for whichever team selects first overall, the picks afterward are much tougher to figure out.
The 2023 NHL Draft class includes players from many leagues, including the WHL, KHL, NCAA, SHL, OHL, and USNTDP.
With the conclusion of the IIHF World Junior Championships, NHL general managers got a closer look at some of these young stars as the top prospects in 2023 NHL Draft begin to take shape.
10. Calum Ritchie, Canada
Calum Ritchie is a 6’2” center who currently plays for the Oshawa Generals in the OHL.
During the 2021-2022 season, Ritchie had 45 points in 65 games for the Generals. In the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup which featured many top draft prospects, Ritchie led the tournament with 10 points in five games as the Canadians won the gold medal.
Ritchie has a great all-around game and will get on the scoresheet often at the NHL level.
9. Will Smith, USA
A 6’0” center from the United States, Will Smith currently plays for the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP).
There are a lot of different opinions on the 17-year-old, as some project him as high as sixth overall, while others believe he is a middle first-round pick. With his elite playmaking skills in the offensive zone, along with his strong skating abilities, he should be considered a top-10 pick in the draft.
8. Dalibor Dvorsky, Slovakia
Dalibor Dvorsky is a 6’1” center from Slovakia.
He has all the skills to be a good NHL center, it will just be about putting it all together each and every night. Dvorsky collected just three points at the World Juniors and will have to be aggressive and take more initiative in the offensive zone if he wants to produce consistently in the NHL. He does have an exceptional shot which will help him get goals at the next level.
7. Eduard Sale, Czechia
After helping Czechia capture its first World Junior medal since 2005, Eduard Sale will have some more eyes on him as the draft nears.
Sale is a 6’1” winger with a high hockey IQ. He had six points at the World Junior Championships, which included a goal in the quarterfinals and an assist in the gold medal game.
Sale plays with a ton of confidence, and his puck-handling skills make him a top prospect in the 2023 NHL Draft class.
6. Brayden Yager, Canada
A consistent producer at the WHL level, Brayden Yager has shown that he will be a great goal scorer in the big league.
The 6’0” center scored 34 goals for the Moose Jaw Warriors last season and has already surpassed 44 points less than 40 games into this season. At the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, Yager scored five goals in five games and was second in points with nine.
5. Zach Benson, Canada
Zach Benson is another Canadian prospect lighting it up in the WHL the last season and a half.
Benson had 63 points last season for the Winnipeg Ice and is on pace for over 100 points this season. Although standing at only 5’10”, Benson is able to control the puck well. He also has the determination, energy, and aggressiveness to be successful in the NHL at his size.
4. Matvei Michkov, Russia
Matvei Michkov has already proven on the international stage that he is elite among his peers.
The 5’10” right winger dominated the competition in the 2021 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, collecting 13 points in just five games. At the U18 World Junior Championships in 2021, Michkov had 16 points as he was named the WJC Most Valuable Player and Best Forward.
3. Leo Carlsson, Sweden
Leo Carlsson will get lots of attention in this draft for his size, speed, and ability to create chances in the offensive zone.
A 6’3” center/winger, Carlsson was able to showcase his skills at the World Juniors on a Swedish team that was full of NHL-drafted players. He had six points in the tournament, which included a huge performance in the quarterfinals where he scored two goals in a 3-2 victory over Finland.
2. Adam Fantilli, Canada
Adam Fantilli is a 6’2” center from Toronto, Ontario.
Fantilli is arguably the best skater in this draft. He competes hard on every shift and uses his body well to win the puck.
Fantilli didn’t dominate at the World Juniors but did show flashes of what he is capable of as one of the best NHL prospects 2023 has to offer. He is currently playing for Michigan in the NCAA, where he is averaging more than a point per game so far this season.
1. Connor Bedard, Canada
Connor Bedard, a 5’10” center, is the clear choice for the number one pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.
Players like Bedard do not come around often, as he is on a level very few have ever been heading into the draft. If there was any doubt about him going first overall a month ago, that got shut down after his performance at the World Junior Championships. Bedard led the tournament with 23 points, which was nine more than the next-best player.