NHL Draft Grades: Analyzing each team's haul at the 2023 event (2024)

The 2023 NHL Draft has come and gone, with teams adding future franchise-altering players, important depth pieces, and, of course, a handful of busts.

Here, we grade and discuss how each team fared over the seven rounds relative to its draft slots.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
2C Leo CarlssonOrebro (SHL)
33LW Nico MyatovicSeattle (WHL)
59C Carey TerranceErie (OHL)
60G Damian ClaraFarjestad (J20)
65RW Coulson PitreFlint (OHL)
85RW Yegor SidorovSaskatoon (WHL)
97LHD Konnor SmithPeterborough (OHL)
129LHD Rodwin DionicioWindsor (OHL)
161RHD Vojtech PortEdmonton (WHL)

The Ducks surprised many when they took Carlsson over Adam Fantilli at No. 2. The Swede has a better hockey sense, which ultimately tempted Anaheim more than his Canadian counterpart.

The rest of their draft left something to be desired. Myatovic, Terrance, Pitre, Smith, and Port are all intriguing but project to be smaller-role players should they reach the NHL. Clara is a fun swing on a raw goaltender with a huge frame. Sidorov had a huge season as a re-entry in the WHL, and Dionicio is among the most fascinating late-round players with his immense skill but woeful skating.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
6LHD Dmitriy SimashevLokoYaroslavl (MHL)
12LW Danil ButLoko Yaroslavl (MHL)
38G Michael HrabalOmaha (USHL)
70C Jonathan CastagnaSt. Andrews (CAHS)
72LW Noel NordhBrynas (J20)
81C Tanner LudtkeLincoln (USHL)
88RW Vadim MorozMinsk (KHL)
102LHD Terrell GoldsmithPrince Albert (WHL)
134G Melker ThelinBjorkloven (Sweden U18)
160LHD Justin KipkieVictoria (WHL)
162C Samu BauIlves (Liiga)
166G Carsen MusserU.S. NTDP

Nobody expected Simashev to go so high, and the Coyotes doubled down a few picks later by taking his Yaroslavl teammate But. Arizona opted for the tantalizing physical tools of both players over more highly rated prospects. Those tools were a priority for general manager Bill Armstrong, as all but one draftee is listed at 6-foot-2 or above. Five prospects are 6-foot-5 or taller.

Hrabal is a fascinating goaltending prospect with his massive 6-foot-7 frame, and the Coyotes have developed a handful of quality netminders in recent years. But overall, it's a combination of risky bets with premium draft picks and lower-potential players after the second round.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
92C Christopher PelosiSioux Falls (USHL)
124C Beckett HendricksonU.S. NTDP
188C Ryan WalshCedar Rapids (USHL)
214RW Casper NassenVasteras (J20)
220LHD Kristian KostadinskiFrolunda (J20)

The Bruins had one selection in the top 100 and used it on a player ranked 127th among North American skaters by Central Scouting. Boston got value in Hendrickson at No. 124 but failed to land any truly exciting prospects. The Bruins will hope re-entry picks in Walsh and Nassen will continue to produce against better competition after performing well against younger players in the USHL and J20 Nationell, respectively.

Already with one of the NHL's weakest pools, the Bruins didn't do anything to improve their pipeline in any meaningful way.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
13LW Zach BensonWinnipeg (WHL)
39C Anton WahlbergMalmo (J20)
45RHD Maxim StrbakSioux Falls (USHL)
86RHD Gavin McCarthyMuskegon (USHL)
109LW Ethan MiedemaKingston (OHL)
141G Scott RatzlaffSeattle (WHL)
173LHD Sean KeohaneDexter School (USHS)
205LHD Norwin PanochaBerlin (Germany U20)

Kevyn Adams must have laughed as the GM saw a prospect with the quality of Benson fall to the Sabres at No. 13. The Winnipeg ICE product could very well be the best two-way winger to come out of the draft and is a perfect fit with Buffalo's youthful, exciting brand of hockey.

After taking another smaller forward in the first round, the Sabres added plenty of size on Day 2. All of Wahlberg, Strbak, McCarthy, and Miedema are listed at 6-foot-1 or taller but weren't just picked for their size. Wahlberg and Strbak have impressed internationally, while McCarthy and Miedema have had solid results in the USHL and OHL, respectively. Overall, another very strong draft for Buffalo.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
16LW Samuel HonzekVancouver (WHL)
48LHD Etienne MorinMoncton (QMJHL)
80LW Aydar SunievPenticton (BCHL)
112C Jaden LipinskiVancouver (WHL)
176G Yegor YegorovMoscow (MHL)
208LHD Axel HurtigRogle (J20)

Honzek is an excellent pick at No. 16 as a toolsy winger with a massive frame and big upside. Had he not been injured at the world juniors, the Slovakian could have easily gone higher.

Calgary took more big swings on Day 2 with Morin and Suniev. Morin was the top-scoring draft-eligible defenseman out of the QMJHL and was lauded by Central Scouting's Dan Marr as his favorite North American-based blue-liner. Suniev had a monster season in the BCHL, tallying 45 goals and 90 points, and heads to UMass in the NCAA this fall. A promising first draft for GM Craig Conroy.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
30LW Bradly NadeauPenticton (BCHL)
62RW Felix Unger SorumLeksand (J20)
94RW Jayden PerronChicago (USHL)
100RW Alexander RykovChelmet (VHL)
126RW Stanislav YarovoyVityaz (KHL)
139RHD Charles-Alexis LegaultQuinnipiac (NCAA)
158G Ruslan KhazheyevChelyabinsk (MHL)
163LW Timur MukhanovOmsk (MHL)
190RW Mikey EmersonChicago (USHL)
222G Yegor VelmakinVoronezh (VHL)

If the Hurricanes continue to have trouble converting their shots into goals when Nadeau is ready to make the jump in a few years, he'll help with that. The 5-foot-10 winger dominated the BCHL this season, scoring 62 goals over 71 regular-season and playoff games with Penticton. He's a textbook swing on potential at the end of Round 1.

Had Unger Sorum been born two days later, he would've been in the 2024 draft instead. That makes his point-per-game campaign in the J20 Nationell and excellent U18s even more impressive.

The rest of the draft was very Carolina Hurricanes: five Russians, two Chicago Steel forwards, and an overage defenseman from the NCAA. Perron, Rykov, and Mukhanov are exciting picks for their potential, but the Hurricanes have yet to see their pipeline of Twitter favorite prospects turn into legit NHLers.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
1C Connor BedardRegina (WHL)
19C Oliver Moore U.S. NTDP
35G Adam GajanChippewa (NAHL)
44RW Roman KantserovMagnitogorsk (MHL)
55RW Martin MisiakYoungstown (USHL)
67LW Nick LardisHamilton (OHL)
93C Jiri FelcmanLangnau (Swiss U20)
99C Alex PharandSudbury (OHL)
131LW Marcel MarcelGatineau (QMJHL)
167C Milton OscarsonOrebro (SHL)
195LHD Janne PeltonenKarpat (Finland U20)

The Blackhawks won the 2023 draft when they landed the No. 1 pick in the draft lottery. Bedard is a legitimate franchise-changer who alters the trajectory of the franchise and is expected to be among the league's most threatening goal-scorers for many years. But their high grade isn't just for that slam dunk pick.

After Bedard, Chicago added the best skater in the draft in Moore, solidifying immense depth down the middle in their prospect pool. The Blackhawks then took the first goaltender in the draft at No. 35 in Gajan, who starred for Slovakia at the world juniors.

Kantserov, one of the top-scoring prospects out of the Russian junior league, and Lardis, who had a superb second half in the OHL after being traded midseason, stand out among the nine picks on Day 2. But of course, the Blackhawks could've drafted 10 randoms off of the street after Bedard and still would've been ecstatic.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
27C Calum RitchieOshawa (OHL)
31 LHD Mikhail GulyayevOmskie (MHL)
155RHD Nikita IshimnikovYekaterinburg (MHL)
187LHD Jeremy HanzelSeattle (WHL)
219C Maros JedlickaZvolen (Slovakia)

Ritchie was a projected top-10 prospect coming into the season and is a great bet to bounce back next year with Oshawa. Gulyayev has set scoring records among junior-aged Russian defensem*n and is a splendid fit in Colorado's system with his electrifying offense and skating.

The Avalanche ended their draft with two of the oldest draftees in Hanzel and Jedlicka, players who could play in the AHL as soon as this fall. Hanzel was a dominant two-way defenseman with the WHL champion Thunderbirds, while Jedlicka has been a consistent scorer for two years in the improving Slovakian league.

After making their first pick at No. 193 a year ago, the Avalanche did incredibly well to replenish a fairly barren prospect pool.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
3C Adam FantilliMichigan (NCAA)
34RW Gavin BrindleyMichigan (NCAA)
66RW William WhitelawYoungstown (USHL)
98LHD Andrew StrathmannYoungstown (USHL)
114C Luca PinelliOttawa (OHL)
156G Melvin StrahlMoDo (J20)
194C Oiva KeskinenTappara (Finland U20)
224LW Tyler PeddleDrummondville (QMJHL)

Fantilli fell into the Blue Jackets' lap at No. 3, and the fit is perfect in terms of style and positional need. He could step into their lineup as soon as this fall and be a contributor in the top nine, and he's a future top-line pivot.

Then, at the top of the second round, Columbus snagged Fantilli's linemate Brindley, a diminutive but speedy and tenacious winger who would've been a slam dunk first-rounder if he were 3 inches taller.

The Blue Jackets absolutely crushed this draft. They didn't overthink things when Fantilli became available at No. 3 and identified high-potential prospects with their remaining picks. That's exactly what a team like Columbus should be doing on draft day.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
61LHD Tristan BertucciFlint (OHL)
79C Brad GardinerOttawa (OHL)
125RHD Aram MinnetianU.S. NTDP
157G Arno TiefenseeMannheim (DEL)
189C Angus MacDonnellMississauga (OHL)
221LW Sebastian BradshawElite Hockey Academy (18U AAA)

The Stars love to draft out of the OHL and added another three Ontario-based prospects Thursday. Bertucci underwhelmed at the U18s, and Gardiner was outproduced significantly by his teammate Pinelli, who went much later to Columbus. Dallas failed to come out of the draft with a prospect that carries easily identifiable potential to play a meaningful NHL role.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
9C Nate DanielsonBrandon (WHL)
17RHD Axel Sandin PellikkaSkelleftea (J20)
41G Trey AugustineU.S. NTDP
42RHD Andrew GibsonSault Ste. Marie (OHL)
47LHD Brady ClevelandU.S. NTDP
73LW Noah Dower NilssonFrolunda (J20)
117LHDLarry KeenanCulver (USHS)
137RHD Jack PhelanSioux Falls (USHL)
147LW Kevin BickerMannheim (Germany U20)
169G Rudy GuimondTaft School (USHS)
201C Emmitt FinnieKamloops (WHL)

The Red Wings added more of the same at No. 9 with Danielson after taking a similar prospect in Marco Kasper a year ago. That's not necessarily a bad thing; Danielson could become a top-six, two-way center - but Detroit had the opportunity to go for a higher-upside scorer in the top 10.

Landing Sandin Pellikka - possibly the draft's best offensive defenseman - at No. 17 significantly helps this grade. He adds to an already stacked group of young blue-liners in the Red Wings' system but brings a more offensive element than what Detroit already has.

It never hurts to snag one of the draft's top goaltenders, which the Red Wings did with Augustine. Dower Nilsson - the younger brother of Detroit prospect Liam - adds a scorer to an otherwise fairly bland draft.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
56RHD Beau AkeyBarrie (OHL)
184G Nathaniel DayFlint (OHL)
216C Matt CopponiMerrimack (NCAA)

With just three picks and none inside the top 50, it was going to be tough for the Oilers to make an impression. Taking Akey at No. 56, however, did exactly that.

The right-shot defenseman is one of the top neutral-zone defenders in the entire class. Edmonton's pipeline on defense is barren, and adding a player like Akey is a great way to spend the team's lone pick in the first five rounds. That selection does the heavy lifting here.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
63C Gracyn SawchynSeattle (WHL)
127LHD Albert WikmanFarjestad (J20)
159G Olof GliffordHV71 (Sweden U18)
191LHD Luke CoughlinRimouski (QMJHL)
198LW Stepan ZvyaginDinamo (MHL)

Sawchyn and the Panthers are a perfect stylistic match. The Thunderbirds forward has plenty of skill and isn't afraid to mix it up physically despite being undersized. Ranked as high as No. 13 by Elite Prospects, he's exactly the type of player Florida should be drafting in the absence of a top-50 selection.

Coughlin is an undersized defenseman with pedigree as a former top-five pick in the QMJHL. He was injured to start his draft campaign but finished the year on a strong note. That's a quality sixth-round swing.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
54LHD Jakub DvorakLiberec (Czechia)
78RW Koehn ZiemmerPrince George (WHL)
118G Hampton SlukynskyWarroad (USHS)
150RHD Matthew ManiaSudbury (OHL)
182RW Ryan ConmySioux City (USHL)

Dvorak is massive at 6-foot-5 and can move well for his size, but he has yet to produce any notable results. Ziemmer scored a bunch of goals in the WHL, while Mania has a great name and an exciting blend of skills.

It's difficult to evaluate skaters out of high school, let alone a goaltender like Slukynsky. Conmy produced in the USHL and is a reasonable sixth-rounder. It's a decent draft for the Kings, but nothing that gets you particularly excited.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
21C Charlie StramelWisconsin (NCAA)
53C Rasmus KumpulainenPelicans (Finland U20)
64C Riley HeidtPrince George (WHL)
149LHD Aaron PionkWaterloo (USHL)
181RHD Kalem ParkerVictoria (WHL)
213LW Jimmy ClarkGreen Bay (USHL)

Stramel struggled mightily as a freshman at Wisconsin after a strong career previously with the U.S. NTDP. The Wild will hope to see the big, mobile pivot rediscover his form as a sophom*ore.

Kumpulainen is on the younger side of the class and produced in Finland's junior league and at the U18s. Heidt was superb value at the end of the second round, having matched Bedard for the WHL lead in assists. He likely shifts to the wing but has significant power-play upside and doesn't shy away from physicality. A solid draft that addressed premium positions.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
5RHD David ReinbacherKloten (NL)
69G Jacob FowlerYoungstown (USHL)
101LW Florian XhekajHamilton (OHL)
110RHD Bogdan KonyushkovTorpedo (KHL)
128G Quentin MillerQuebec (QMJHL)
133LW Sam HarrisSioux Falls (USHL)
144G Yevgeni VolokhinKhanty-Mansiysk (MHL)
165C Filip ErikssonVaxjo (J20)
197LHD Luke MittelstadtMinnesota (NCAA)

It's hard to get too upset when you land the draft's top defense prospect. The Canadiens valued Reinbacher's handedness and professional profile; after all, he played the entire season in the top four of a Swiss pro team. But passing on immense potential in Matvei Michkov, or even Ryan Leonard, is a tough pill to swallow.

The rest of the Canadiens' draft was ... odd. They took three goaltenders, with Fowler being the most compelling of the bunch after leading Youngstown to the USHL championship.

Taking the younger Xhekaj at No. 101 was rich, considering he was a re-entry who scored just 25 points in the OHL. It was a slightly strange draft for Montreal, which took players from all over but left with a conservative top-five selection and only one or two other picks to really like.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
15RW Matthew WoodUConn (NCAA)
24LHD Tanner MolendykSaskatoon (WHL)
43C Felix NilssonRogle (J20)
46LW Kalan LindRed Deer (WHL)
68RW Jesse KiiskinenPelicans (Finland U20)
83RHD Dylan MacKinnonHalifax (QMJHL)
111C Joey WillisSaginaw (OHL)
121G Juha JatkolaKalPa (Liiga)
143C Sutter MuzzattiRPI (NCAA)
175C Austin RoestEverett (WHL)
218RW Aiden FinkBrooks (AJHL)

GM Barry Trotz wanted his scouts to target prospects with high upside. He got exactly that early in the draft with Wood, a big and skilled winger who scored at a high rate as a freshman in the NCAA. The Predators followed that up with one of the top-skating blue-liners in Molendyk, a terrific rush defender who's just waiting to unlock more offensive upside.

Nashville continued to take fun swings on Day 2. All of Nilsson, Lind, Kiiskinen, Willis, and Fink have exciting elements to their game. MacKinnon is a mean defenseman who helps diversify the class too. And Jatkola, Muzzatti, and Roest are re-entry prospects who enjoyed strong campaigns. An incredibly promising start to the Trotz era.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
58RW Lenni HameenahoAssat (Liiga)
122RW Cam SquiresCape Breton (QMJHL)
154RHD Chase CheslockRogers (USHS)
164LW Cole BrownHamilton (OHL)
186LHD Daniil KarpovichYekaterinburg (MHL)

The Devils had a perfectly average draft. Hameenaho played regular shifts in Finland, and Squires hovered near a point per game in the QMJHL. Throw in a trio of typical late-round swings, and New Jersey has to be content with Thursday's outcome.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
49C Danny NelsonU.S. NTDP
113LW Jesse NurmiKooKoo (Finland U20)
145C Justin GillSherbrooke (QMJHL)
177LHD Zach SchultzU.S. NTDP
209LHD Dennis Good BoggAIK (J20)

Nelson was getting some first-round hype at the end of the season, so it was a slight surprise to see him available when the Islanders chose at No. 49. Nurmi scored a bunch in Finland's junior league, but New York's draft ultimately lacks the high-end upside to warrant a higher grade.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
23LW Gabe PerreaultU.S. NTDP
90LHD Drew FortescueU.S. NTDP
152LHD Rasmus LarssonVasteras (J20)
178C Dylan RoobroeckOshawa (OHL)
183LW Ty HenricksMuskegon (USHL)

Perreault has known faults; he's a small winger whose skating isn't a positive trait. But he also broke the U.S. NTDP's single-season scoring record. The Rangers have to be thrilled to add a prospect with his potential at No. 23. The rest of New York's draft is lackluster, but landing Perreault largely makes up for it.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
108RHD Hoyt StanleyVictoria (BCHL)
140LHD Matthew AndonovskiKitchener (OHL)
204C Owen BecknerSalmon Arm (BCHL)
207G Vladimir NikitinBarys Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan U20)
215RW Nicholas VantassellGreen Bay (USHL)

The Senators like what the Senators like. Yet again, Ottawa exits the draft with a few more 6-foot-2-plus skaters who didn't score much in their respective leagues. Maybe it will work out this time.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
7RW Matvei MichkovSKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
22RHD Oliver BonkLondon (OHL)
51G Carson BjarnasonBrandon (WHL)
87G Egor ZavraginKhanty-Mansiysk (MHL)
95RW Denver BarkeyLondon (OHL)
103C Cole KnubleFargo (USHL)
120LW Alex CiernikSodertalje (HockeyAllsvenskan)
135RHD Carter SotheranPortland (WHL)
172C Ryan MacPhersonLeamington (GOJHL)
199RHD Matteo MannChicoutimi (QMJHL)

GM Daniel Briere has made his mark on the Flyers in a matter of weeks. Philadelphia got arguably the second-best talent in the draft with Michkov at No. 7. The red flags are well known, but there was too much value to pass up in the back half of the top 10.

It's not just Michkov, either. Philadelphia did well to identify numerous Day 2 talents, including Barkey, Knuble, Ciernik, and Sotheran, who immediately improve the Flyers' pipeline.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
14C Brayden YagerMoose Jaw (WHL)
91LHD Emil PieniniemiKarpat (Finland U20)
142RW Mikhail IlyinCherepovets (MHL)
174C Cooper FosterOttawa (OHL)
217LW Emil JarventieIlves (Finland U20)
223LHD Kalle KangasJokerit (Finland U20)

Yager immediately becomes the Penguins' top prospect, while Jarventie is an excellent value pick in the seventh round. Kyle Dubas drafted someone from Sault Ste. Marie to keep that meme alive and well. A decent first draft for Dubas in Pittsburgh.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
4C Will SmithU.S. NTDP
26LW Quentin MustySudbury (OHL)
36RW Kasper HalttunenHIFK (Liiga)
71C Brandon SvobodaYoungstown (USHL)
123LHD Luca CagnoniPortland (WHL)
130RHD Axel LandenHV71 (J20)
132RHD Eric PohlkampCedar Rapids (USHL)
196C David KleeWaterloo (USHL)
203RW Yegor RimashevskiyDynamo (MHL)

The Sharks added talent everywhere except in the crease. Smith is a legit potential top-line center, and Musty was among the highest-upside prospects available at No. 26. Halttunen was a wicked shot, and Cagnoni is a perfect mid-round swing on a small but excellent puck-moving defenseman. There's a ton to like here.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
20LW Eduard SaleBrno (Czechia)
50LW Carson RehkopfKitchener (OHL)
52C Oscar Fisker MolgaardHV71 (SHL)
57RHD Lukas DragicevicTri-City (WHL)
89LHD Caden PriceKelowna (WHL)
116CAndrei LoshkoChicoutimi (QMJHL)
148RHD Kaden HammellEverett (WHL)
168G Visa VedenpaaKarpat (Finland U20)
180C Zeb ForsfjallSkelleftea (J20)
212RWZaccharya Wisdom Cedar Rapids (USHL)

The Kraken didn't have a top-five pick for the first time in their short history, so they went out and had one of the best cumulative drafts instead. Sale and Dragicevic have huge potential. Rehkopf, Molgaard, and Wisdom can play anywhere in the lineup. Even swings like Price, Loshko, and Forsfjall stand out. Another eye-catching draft class for Seattle.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
10C Dalibor DvorskyAIK (HockeyAllsvenskan)
25C Otto StenbergFrolunda (J20)
29LHD Theo LindsteinBrynas (SHL)
74LHD Quinton BurnsKingston (OHL)
76LW Juraj PekarcikNitra (Slovakia)
106C Jakub StanclVaxjo (J20)
138LHD Paul FischerU.S. NTDP
170LHD Matthew MayichOttawa (OHL)
202RW Nikita SusuyevSpartak (MHL)

St. Louis clearly values the opinion of their Swedish scouts, having used each of their three first-round picks on players based in the region. Dvorsky, Stenberg, and Lindstein each fill organizational needs. The rest of the draft was a bit underwhelming, but the first-round trio are enough to be excited about.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
37RW Ethan GauthierSherbrooke (QMJHL)
115RW Jayson ShaugabayWarroad (USHS)
179RHD Warren ClarkSteinbach (MJHL)
193C Jack HarveyChicago (USHL)
211C Ethan HayFlint (OHL)

Gauthier fits the style of player the Lightning look to round out their lineup with. He's physical but brings a scoring touch, particularly as a goal-scorer. Shaugabay and Harvey add much needed skill to a depleted prospect pool.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
28LW Easton CowanLondon (OHL)
153C Hudson MalinoskiBrooks (AJHL)
185LHD Noah ChadwickLethbridge (WHL)

Cowan wasn't anticipated to be drafted in the first round, but the London Knights forward ticks a lot of boxes the Maple Leafs typically covet in the draft. He's intelligent, immensely competitive, and can play in all situations.

Malinoski is a late bloomer out of the AJHL, someone who we'll get a better read on once he plays against better competition in the fall at Providence. Toronto finally drafted its first defenseman since 2020 at No. 185 with Chadwick, a 6-foot-4 Saskatoon native with a solid two-way base.

The reach on Cowan at No. 28 hurts the overall grade for what was a fine draft for the Maple Leafs, but one that doesn't add much high-end upside.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
11RHD Tom WillanderRogle (J20)
75RHD Hunter BrzustewiczKitchener (OHL)
89LHD Sawyer MynioSeattle (WHL)
105C Ty MuellerNebraska-Omaha (NCAA)
107LW Vilmer AlrikssonDjurgarden (J20)
119C Matthew PerkinsYoungstown (USHL)
171RHD Aiden CelebriniBrooks (AJHL)

The Canucks have an organizational need on defense and addressed it early and often in this draft. All three of Vancouver's top 100 selections were used on rearguards.

Passing on Benson at No. 11 is tough, but Willander is still a player to be amped for. He's a smooth-skating, two-way blue-liner who is exactly what the Canucks have been hoping to get on their right side. He heads to Boston University in the fall.

Brzustewicz was a quality value pick in the third round, and Mynio will play a much bigger role with the Thunderbirds in the fall. A solid draft from GM Patrik Allvin that addressed a significant organizational weakness.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
32C David EdstromFrolunda (J20)
77C Mathieu CatafordHalifax (QMJHL)
96LHD Arttu KarkiTappara (Finland U20)
192RW Tuomas UronenHIFK (Finland U20)

The Stanley Cup champions seemingly carried their positive momentum onto the draft floor. Edstrom is a 6-foot-3 pivot who excelled at the U18s and gives the Golden Knights a legit center prospect. Cataford scored a bunch in the QMJHL, and Karki gives off Nic Hague vibes with his bomb of a shot from the point.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
8RW Ryan LeonardU.S. NTDP
40LW Andrew CristallKelowna (WHL)
104C Patrick ThomasHamilton (OHL)
136RHD Cameron AllenGuelph (OHL)
200C Brett HylandBrandon (WHL)
206G Antoine KellerGeneve (Swiss U20)

The Capitals come away with one of the draft's most intriguing hauls. Leonard is a nightmare to play against, Cristall decimated WHL competition, and Allen was once expected to be the first defenseman off the board. We could look back in a decade at a class that landed Washington two-thirds of a top line and a top-four blue-liner.

PICKPLAYERTEAM
18LW Colby BarlowOwen Sound (OHL)
82RWZach NehringShattuck St. Mary's (USHS)
146C Jacob JulienLondon (OHL)
151G Thomas MilicSeattle (WHL)
210RWConnor LevisKamloops (WHL)

Barlow will excite fans in Winnipeg as a goal-scorer who plays a rugged, physical style. It was also good to see Milic finally drafted after being one of the top WHL netminders for three years and helping Canada earn gold at the world juniors.

NHL Draft Grades: Analyzing each team's haul at the 2023 event (2024)
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