Connect with us

2023 NHL Draft

Capitals Land Dvorsky In Hockey Now Network’s Mock Draft



Dalibor Dvorsky, the Washington Capitals first-round selection in the 2023 National Hockey Now Mock Draft. (Gabriel Gustafson)

The Washington Capitals will soon make a franchise-altering draft choice as, for the first time since 2007, they have a top-10 pick.

With the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft only days away, the beat writers from the National Hockey Now network (and a few friends) provided their best attempt at how Wednesday’s draft will shake out. These are those results.

1. Chicago Blackhawks: Connor Bedard, C, Regina (WHL)

Chicago Hockey Now‘s Nate Brown: One of the two sure-fire picks of the draft. The Blackhawks are getting arguably one of the most anticipated players since Connor McDavid went to the Oilers in 2015. Bedard is expected to jumpstart the rebuild and help Chicago exit faster than what looked like a long process.

2. Anaheim Ducks: Adam Fantilli, C, University of Michigan (Big Ten)

Sirius’ Russ Cohen: He will opt to return to Michigan and the team can decide who its No. 1 center is in the future. The Ducks are starting to collect impressive young centers. Fantilli’s overall game is superb and he can be one of the most dangerous players around the net in the NHL in the near future.

3. Columbus Blue Jackets: Leo Carlsson, C, Orebro (SHL)

Cohen: They need a center and he’s one of the best in the draft. The Blue Jackets’ Director of Pro Scouting, Josef Boumedienne, knows him from serving as assistant GM for Sweden’s national team. That team included potential Olympic selections for 2026.

4. San Jose Sharks: Will Smith, C, USNTDP

San Jose Hockey Now‘s Sheng Peng: While Matvei Michkov is tempting here, there are obviously a lot of questions surrounding him, in terms of when he’ll be able to come over to North America. Smith is a safer pick in that regard, but still owns top-of-the-lineup offensive upside.

5. Montreal Canadiens: Matvei Michkov, W, SKA Saint Petersburg (KHL)

Montreal Hockey Now‘s Marc Dumont: Despite the concerns regarding his contract in Russia, Michkov is simply too talented to ignore. The Canadiens desperately need players with elite offensive instincts and Michkov fits the bill. He has the type of skill set that would usually result in a first-overall choice. His fantastic shot, creativity, and elusiveness will serve him well in the NHL.

6. Arizona Coyotes: David Reinbacher, D, Kloten HC (Swiss NL)

FloHockey’s Chris Peters: The Coyotes are in desperate need of defensive help in both the near and long term. Reinbacher projects favorably as a top-four defenseman with a chance to be a top pairing guy. He has size and mobility that will make an impact in Arizona’s system.

7. Philadelphia Flyers: Ryan Leonard, W, USNTDP

Philly Hockey Now‘s Chuck Bausman: The Flyers need help everywhere. Leonard plays with a physical edge — Philly fans love that — and has shown a scorer’s touch. He plays with maximum effort and is defensive minded, too. He is going to Boston College in the fall to join Flyers prospect Cutter Gauthier.

8. Washington Capitals: Dalibor Dvorsky, C, AIK (Allsvenskan)

Washington Hockey Now‘s Jared Serre: The Capitals need to capitalize on the team’s first top-10 choice since 2007, and Dvorsky is the safe pick with Michkov and others already off the board. Dvorsky is a cerebral playmaker and Central Scouting’s No. 3 International skater — drastically improving the Capitals’ prospect pool in one pick alone.

9. Detroit Red Wings: Oliver Moore, C, USNTDP

Detroit Hockey Now‘s Bob Duff: Detroit GM Steve Yzerman is delighted to find Moore still on the board at No. 9. He’s the playmaking center that the Red Wings currently lack. With his explosive speed, he might also be the best skater in this draft class. As well, he’s sound defensively. Moore is destined for the University of Minnesota and the Wings will like that they can be patient with his development.

10. St. Louis Blues: Matthew Wood, W, University of Connecticut (Hockey East)

KFNS590’s Andy Strickland: Blues need defense, but can likely grab a player they want with one of their later picks in the 1st round. Take the best player available and in this case is Wood. He’s the youngest player in NCAA hockey and dominated in junior hockey the year before. Has some Tage Thomspson qualities, although not as big. He’s 6-foot-3, and the Blues want to get bigger.

11. Vancouver Canucks: Tom Willander, D, Rogle BK (SHL)

Strickland: Vancouver has forwards in the pipeline, but could use a top-end defenseman. He was super impressive at the combine in both the workouts as well as during interviews.

12. Arizona Coyotes: Nate Danielson, C, Brandon (WHL)

Peters: The Coyotes can get a dependable two-way center with some size and play-driving ability. There is debate about his overall puck skills as he lacks the dynamic element of some of the others available, but the Coyotes can add a projectable middle six pivot by selecting Danielson.

13. Buffalo Sabres: Quentin Musty, W, Sudbury (WHL)

Buffalo Hockey Now‘s Michael Augello: Sabres GM Kevyn Adams appears to be looking to add a young power forward at No. 13. At the Draft Combine earlier this month, there was a lot of chatter about Buffalo being interested in Matthew Wood, but he went off the board to the Blues. Musty is a WNY product, who played for the Jr. Sabres before heading to Sudbury. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound winger doubled his offensive output in his second OHL season with 78 points and is good two-way, but he needs to work on his skating.

14. Pittsburgh Penguins: Zach Benson, W, Winnipeg (WHL)

Pittsburgh Hockey Now‘s Dan Kingerski: It’s very tempting to snag a center like Brayden Yeager here, but Benson is too good to pass up. He’s undersized (5-foot-9, 163 pounds), but a lot of scouts think he’s a top-10 talent. Speed, playmaking, and a difference maker. He’s fearless in the corners and between the dots. A hard forechecker, he’s compared to Mitch Marner. Despite the rough-and-tumble Metro Division, a difference maker on Evgeni Malkin’s or Sidney Crosby’s line is the type of pick that could add that bit of electricity back into the Penguins’ lineup sooner than later.

15. Nashville Predators: Gabriel Perreault, W, USNTDP

Nashville Hockey Now‘s Michael Gallagher: GM-in-waiting Barry Trotz wants some high-end swings from his scouting department and Perreault certainly fits that bill after a breakout 2022 season in which he set USNTDP records for single-season points (132) and assists (79). His elusive skating and excellent puck-handling make him a threat to create scoring chances from anywhere on the ice, and his ability (and desire) to attack defenders 1-on-1 is exactly the kind of aggressively offensive skill set that will thrive under newly hired head coach Andrew Brunette.

16. Calgary Flames: Brayden Yager, C, Moose Jaw (WHL)

Calgary Hockey Now‘s Steve MacFarlane: The team needs to focus on the future at centre and Yager has an elite shot and finishing ability that the Flames need after all those one-goal losses.

17. Detroit Red Wings: Axel Sandin Pellikka, D, Skelleftea (SHL)

Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen: The flashy Swede is the best puck-moving defenseman in the draft. He’s slick with the puck, a superb decision-maker. The Red Wings are looking to add more right-shot young defensemen.

18. Winnipeg Jets: Dmitri Simashev, D, Lokomotiv (KHL)

Cohen: The 6-foot-4 defenseman has a high ceiling. Already over 200 pounds, he has room to get stronger, he’s already a very good skater and he’s slippery in the offensive zone creating chances for teammates. He has top-four defenseman written all over him.

19. Chicago Blackhawks: Colby Barlow, W, Owen (OHL)

Brown: Many believe Andrew Cristall will go here, but there’s just too many boxes that Barlow checks to not take him. The Blackhawks are flush with centers and defensemen in the prospect pool and this allows them to take a skilled winger. Forty-six goals in 59 games, and currently Owen Sound’s captain, Barlow would be another leadership voice in a future Blackhawks locker room. Beyond that, his commitment to both ends of the ice along with his scoring gifts and other intangibles makes him Davidson’s pick at 19.

20. Seattle Kraken: Riley Heidt, C, Prince George (WHL)

Cohen: He has plenty of speed, a quick decision-maker on odd-man breaks and is a precision passer. The pivot has a pro-one-timer, too.

21. Minnesota Wild: Otto Stenberg, C, Frolunda (SHL)

Cohen: Stenberg’s speed off the wall prompts scouts to believe that he will be a winger at the next level. His one-timer is terrific and he’s a two-way player who has excellent physical strength already.

22. Philadelphia Flyers: Lukas Dragicevic, D, Tri-City (WHL)

Bausman: After selecting Ryan Leonard at No. 7, the Flyers want to beef up their defensive corps. Dragicevic has size at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds and is an excellent skater. He likes to charge forward with the puck and will turn defense into much-needed offense.

23. New York Rangers: Gavin Brindley, C, University of Michigan (Big Ten)

Cohen: Brindley is a smaller, slippery forward who had 38 points in 41 games during his freshman season with the Wolverines. He’s a nifty stick-handler who competes hard and has proven he can thrive in high traffic areas. He has plenty of speed.

24. Nashville Predators: Andrew Cristall, W, Kelowna (WHL)

Gallagher: Cristall nearly averaged two points per game in 2022 and finished sixth in the WHL in scoring despite missing 14 games. Tallying 35 goals and 95 points is the kind of production that will be expected out of a Brunette-coached offense, and Cristall is a gifted playmaker who has offensive creativity in spades. He will likely fall to the mid-20s because of his 5-foot-10, 167-pound frame, and Nashville will reap the benefits.

25. St. Louis Blues: Eduard Sale, W, Brno (Czechia)

Allen: Boasts some of the best hands in the draft, Sale knows how to find seams in the defense.  Doesn’t always seem dangerous, but if you lose track of him he will find the net. He buries his chances. Some teams have him rated close to the top 10.

26. San Jose Sharks: Oliver Bonk, D, London (OHL)

Peng: At the trade deadline, GM Mike Grier made a point of adding young defensemen Shakir Mukhamadullin, Nikita Okhotiuk and Henry Thrun. I think he continues his bid to re-shape the Sharks’ defense of the future by selecting the son of Radek, an all-around 6-foot-2 blueliner who’s mobile, defends well and can move the puck.

27. Colorado Avalanche: David Edstrom, C, Frolunda (SHL)

Colorado Hockey Now‘s Evan Rawal: An ideal spot to trade down for the asset-poor Avs, but they select the very smart Edstrom from Sweden. The 6-foot-3 center excelled at every level in Sweden before finishing strong at the U18s. A hard worker and good skater with high hockey-IQ — all the attributes Colorado looks for.

28. Toronto Maple Leafs: Luca Cagnoni, D, Portland (WHL)

Augello: The Leafs will select the best player available late in the first round, but with the scouting staff of former GM Kyle Dubas still running the draft, they will not shy away from a smaller player. Toronto will feel fortunate if Cagnoni is there at No. 28. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound defenseman scored 64 points (17 goals, 47 assists) in 67 games for the Winterhawks and after trading Rasmus Sandin at the deadline, Toronto may be looking to bolster their organizational depth on the blueline.

29: St. Louis Blues: Samuel Honzek, W, Vancouver (WHL)

Allen: The skilled Slovak put up 56 points in 43 games for Vancouver. Honzek is 6-foot-4 and owns a quick release and hard shot. He will use his body and goes hard to the net.  Impressive on the power play, he projects to be a second line forward with the ability to score and play a strong all-around game.

30. Carolina Hurricanes: Jayden Perron, W, Chicago (USHL)

Cohen: Perron’s speed sets up his offense, and his two-way game is on point keeping with the Hurricanes’ way.

31. Montreal Canadiens: Calum Ritchie, C, Oshawa (OHL)

Dumont: Ritchie projects as a two-way forward that can play a 200-foot game. His defensive awareness should allow him to find a role in the NHL and quickly become a coach’s favorite.

32. Vegas Golden Knights: Daniil But, W, Yaroslavl (KHL)

Kingerski: A 6-foot-5 scorer, But is already playing well in the KHL. He owns a powerful shot and has good offensive instincts. He’s a project, but he has a high up-side.

Jared Serre covers the Washington Capitals for Washington Hockey Now. He is a graduate of West Virginia University.