2023 NHL Draft Countdown – No. 5-1: Will Smith, Leo Carlsson, Matvei Michkov, Adam Fantilli, Connor Bedard

Nation World HQ
9 months ago
Over the next few weeks leading into the 2023 NHL Draft, we’ll be counting down the Top 100 prospects in this year’s class based on Daily Faceoff’s list. Today, we have No. 5 Will Smith, No. 4 Leo Carlsson, No. 3 Matvei Michkov, No. 2 Adam Fantilli, and No. 1 Connor Bedard.

No. 5: Will Smith

Date of Birth: March 17, 2005
Nation: United States
Position: Centre
Shoots: Right
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 172 lbs
Scouting Report: 
Smith was named MVP of the U-18 Worlds after scoring nine goals and 20 points in just seven games en route to a gold. It was one of the best tournament performances ever, with Smith recording at least a point in every single game. His creativity is among the best in the class, and he’s as good of a playmaker as it gets.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff

No. 4: Leo Carlsson 

Date of Birth: December 26, 2004
Nation: Sweden 
Position: Centre
Shoots: Left
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 194 lbs
Scouting Report: “Carlsson combines speed, physicality and a penchant for highlight-reel plays. He has size, creates havoc in front of the net and held his own against quality competition in the SHL. The highest-scoring U-19 player in Sweden, Carlsson isn’t far from being NHL-ready. He showed signs of that being the case at the men’s World Hockey Championship, where he served on the top line with Lucas Raymond all tournament long.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff

No. 3: Matvei Michkov

Date of Birth: December 9, 2004
Nation: Russia 
Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 148 lbs
Scouting Report: “It might be understated just how good Michkov’s time with Sochi was. Playing on the worst team in the league, he managed to finish with 20 goals in 27 games to finish fourth in team scoring. Six of the team’s nine wins came with Michkov in the lineup, and his 0.74 points-per-game during his time with Sochi is the best by a U-19 in league history – beating out Evgeny Kuznetsov, Eeli Tolvanen, Vladimir Tarasenko, Kirill Kaprizov and Artemi Panarin, among others. He’s special, but since he has a KHL deal until 2026, NHL teams must be patient. There’s always the chance he never comes over, but that’s a risk teams should be willing to take.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff

No. 2: Adam Fantilli

Date of Birth: October 12, 2004
Nation: Canada
Position: Centre
Shoots: Left
Height: 6’2″ 
Weight: 187 lbs
Scouting Report: “Fantill’s rookie campaign saw him lead the NCAA with 65 points en route to the Hobey Baker Award as the best men’s college hockey player. That’s one heck of a consolation prize for the team that misses out on Bedard, because Fantilli would go No. 1 in most other years. Whether or not he decides to return to Michigan next year, it’s clear Fantilli is ready for the big leagues. Think Jonathan Toews during his prime.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff

No. 1: Connor Bedard

Date of Birth: July 17, 2005
Nation: Canada
Position: Centre
Shoots: Right
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 185 lbs
Scouting Report: “You already know everything you need to know about the NHL’s next superstar. After scoring 71 goals and 143 points in 57 regular season games, Bedard followed it up by scoring 10 goals and 20 points in just seven playoff games with Regina. The Pats fell in the end, marking the conclusion of one of the best junior careers we’ve ever seen. Truly a special season for an exceptional prospect. Congrats, Chicago.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff

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