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Connor Bedard. Photo by Keith Hershmiller.

Many important scouting events have come and gone, such as the World Junior Championships, the World Junior A Challenge, the Biosteel All American game, and the CHL Top Prospect’s Game. That means it is time for McKeen’s Hockey to update our draft rankings for the 2023 NHL draft. Back in November, we released our preliminary top 50 (found here). This time around, we have expanded our ranking to a top 100 (plus 20 honorable mentions).

The first round of this list continues to be dominated by the Western Hockey League. Four of our top ten and nine of our top 32 (first round graded) are WHL players. The United States has a very strong presence in our first round ranking too, with eight players playing south of the Canadian border.

Positionally, forwards continue to dominate the vast majority of our first-round spots, with only six defenders and two goaltenders bucking that trend. Of particular interest, we do not have a defender ranked inside of our Top 13. Is it possible that no defender is drafted inside of the top 10 in Nashville this June? According to our scouts…yes. However, it is also important to note that this is exceptionally rare. The last time no defender was taken inside of the Top 10 was 1983 (Bobby Dollas at 14th overall to Winnipeg)!

Several players made huge leaps upward in our midseason rankings. Among them are Ryan Leonard, Oliver Moore, Dmitri Simashev, Oliver Bonk, David Reinbacher, and Quentin Musty. Leonard is a strong two-way goal scoring winger with an athletic skill set. Oliver Moore is one of the best skating forwards available this year and also plays a mature two-way game. Both have stood out positively of late for the U.S. NTDP. Dmitri Simashev is a massive defender who brings physicality and mobility, but who is also gaining confidence in his offensive abilities. Oliver Bonk has emerged as one of the top defensive defenders in the OHL; a fact that was on display at this year’s Top Prospect’s Game. David Reinbacher continues to perform well in Switzerland and was a standout for an overmatched Austrian squad at the WJC’s. All three defenders are surging up our rankings and could finish the year even higher with continued strong play. Meanwhile, Quentin Musty has played very well in Sudbury post coaching change and his upside remains extremely intriguing.

Without further ado, here is our Top 32. Our Top 100 (with 20 honorable mentions) is available for subscribers here.

1 Connor Bedard C Regina (WHL) 5-10/185 17-Jul-05 34-42-43-85
2 Adam Fantilli C Michigan (B1G) 6-2/195 12-Oct-04 22-16-24-40
3 Leo Carlsson C Orebro (SHL) 6-3/200 26-Dec-04 31-5-13-18
4 Matvei Michkov RW HK Sochi (KHL) 5-10/170 9-Dec-04 14-4-2-6
5 Will Smith C USN U18 (USDP) 6-0/175 17-Mar-05 36-28-41-69
6 Andrew Cristall LW Kelowna (WHL) 5-9/165 4-Feb-05 36-26-36-62
7 Zach Benson LW Winnipeg (WHL) 5-9/160 12-May-05 41-25-41-66
8 Nate Danielson C Brandon (WHL) 6-1/185 27-Sep-04 45-23-33-56
9 Eduard Sale LW Kometa Brno (Cze) 6-2/175 10-Mar-05 34-3-5-8
10 Dalibor Dvorsky C AIK (Allsvenskan) 6-1/200 15-Jun-05 27-4-7-11
11 Ryan Leonard RW USN U18 (USDP) 5-11/190 21-Jan-05 34-25-27-52
12 Oliver Moore C USN U18 (USDP) 5-11/185 22-Jan-05 37-21-26-47
13 Brayden Yager C Moose Jaw (WHL) 5-11/165 3-Jan-05 48-20-35-55
14 Dmitri Simashev D Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL) 6-4/200 4-Feb-05 15-0-0-0
15 Colby Barlow LW Owen Sound (OHL) 6-0/195 14-Feb-05 42-36-27-63
16 Lukas Dragicevic D Tri-City (WHL) 6-1/190 25-Apr-05 44-13-42-55
17 Axel Sandin Pellikka D Skelleftea (SHL) 5-11/180 11-Mar-05 19-2-3-5
18 Mikhail Gulyayev D Avangard Omsk (KHL) 5-11/170 26-Apr-05 12-0-1-1
19 Daniil But LW Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL) 6-5/200 15-Feb-05 12-1-0-1
20 Carson Bjarnason G Brandon (WHL) 6-3/185 30-Jun-05 17-14-2, 2.90, .911
21 Calum Ritchie C Oshawa (OHL) 6-2/185 21-Jan-05 43-19-25-44
22 Gavin Brindley C Michigan (B1G) 5-8/165 5-Oct-04 26-3-14-17
23 Gabe Perreault RW USN U18 (USDP) 5-11/165 7-May-05 39-35-41-76
24 Matthew Wood RW UConn (HE) 6-3/195 6-Feb-05 27-9-16-25
25 Riley Heidt C Prince George (WHL) 5-10/180 25-Mar-05 44-19-41-60
26 David Reinbacher D Kloten (Sui-NL) 6-2/185 25-Oct-04 36-2-17-19
27 Caden Price D Kelowna (WHL) 6-0/185 24-Aug-05 44-5-19-24
28 Ethan Gauthier RW Sherbrooke (QMJHL) 5-11/175 26-Jan-05 45-17-32-49
29 Quentin Musty LW Sudbury (OHL) 6-2/200 6-Jul-05 32-12-36-48
30 Kasper Halttunen LW HIFK (Fin-Liiga) 6-3/205 7-Jun-05 24-0-1-1
31 Otto Stenberg C Frolunda (Swe J20) 5-11/180 29-May-05 23-8-12-20
32 Michael Hrabal G Omaha (USHL) 6-6/210 20-Jan-05 6-9-3, 3.18, .899