Final Mock 2023 NHL Draft: Intrigue after 1st 4 picks | (2024)

Canadiens selection at No. 5 unclear after Bedard, Fantilli, Carlsson, Smith go off board

Final Mock 2023 NHL Draft: Intrigue after 1st 4 picks | (1)

By @NHLdotcom

The 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be held June 28-29 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

The first round will be June 28 (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVAS) and Rounds 2-7 are June 29 (11 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVAS). is counting down to the draft with in-depth profiles on top prospects, podcasts and other features. Today, writers Adam Kimelman and Mike G. Morreale submit their third and final mock draft of the first round.'s full draft coverage can be found here.

The most intriguing moment of the 2023 NHL Draft could come when the Montreal Canadiens go on the clock with the No. 5 pick. staff writers Adam Kimelman and Mike G. Morreale are in agreement on how the first four selections will go, starting with the Chicago Blackhawks choosing center Connor Bedard of Regina of the Western Hockey League with the No. 1 pick, and University of Michigan center Adam Fantilli going to the Anaheim Ducks at No. 2.

But starting at No. 5, their opinions vary widely.

The 16 teams that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs took part in the lottery drawing for the first two selections on May 8; the Blackhawks won the No. 1 pick, and the Ducks won No. 2. The remaining teams were ordered based on inverse order of the NHL standings.

The 12 teams that lost in the first two rounds of the playoffs were slotted into picks 17-28. Teams that did not win their division were placed in inverse order of regular-season standings points, followed by the two division winners who lost, in inverse order of regular-season points.

The No. 29 pick belongs to the St. Louis Blues, who acquired it from the Dallas Stars via the New York Rangers. The Stars traded the pick to the Rangers for defenseman Nils Lundkvist on Sept. 19, and the Rangers sent it to the Blues as part of the trade for forward Vladimir Tarasenko on Feb. 9.

No. 30 goes to the Carolina Hurricanes, who lost in the Eastern Conference Final.

The Florida Panthers lost in the Stanley Cup Final but traded the pick, No. 31, to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Ben Chiarot on March 16, 2022.

The Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights have No. 32.

The Blues have three picks in the first round, No. 10 as well as No. 25 and No. 29. The Blackhawks, Canadiens, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers, Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators each have two picks.

1. Chicago Blackhawks

Kimelman -- Connor Bedard, C, Regina (WHL): Bedard (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) could be the best prospect to enter the NHL since Connor McDavid, who was selected No. 1 by the Edmonton Oilers at the 2015 NHL Draft. The 17-year-old has dominated every level he's played at, and he's done it while usually being the youngest player on his team. Bedard is a generational talent with the ability to fast-forward the Blackhawks back into Stanley Cup Playoff contention.

Morreale -- Connor Bedard: Bedard was flawless during his draft-eligible season, winning the Canadian Hockey League Top Prospect, Top Scorer, and David Branch Player of the Year awards this season after leading the Western Hockey League in goals (71) and points (143) in 57 games with Regina. He'll be a major building block for a franchise in need of high-end talent, especially at the center position.

NHL Tonight talks expectations for Connor Bedard

2. Anaheim Ducks

Kimelman -- Adam Fantilli, C, Michigan (NCAA): Fantilli dominated NCAA hockey as few 18-year-old freshmen have. He led all players in points (65) and tied for the lead in goals (30), helping Michigan reach the Frozen Four and winning the Hobey Baker Trophy as the top men's hockey player. At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, he has NHL-ready size and should be able to make an NHL impact whenever he decides to turn pro, likely after one more season at Michigan.

Morreale -- Adam Fantilli: Fantilli, the top player in college hockey this season, has the tools required to become an elite power center in the NHL.

Cosentino Previews Upcoming Draft Prospects

3. Columbus Blue Jackets

Kimelman -- Leo Carlsson, C, Orebro (SWE): Carlsson won't blow your skates off like Bedard, but he does everything exceptionally well. He's got NHL-ready size (6-2, 194) and already has two seasons of experience in the Swedish Hockey League. Carlsson has the chance to be the top-end No. 1 center Columbus has been missing.

Morreale -- Leo Carlsson: Carlsson knows how to manage the puck along the boards and is difficult to knock down in battles. He was named junior player of the year in the SHL this season.

The guys discuss Leo Carlsson ranking in at number 3

Kimelman -- Will Smith, C, USA U-18 (NTDP): Smith is a game-breaking offensive talent with a well-rounded game that can be the best player on the ice whether he has a hat trick or doesn't get a point. He saved his best hockey this season for the biggest moment, helping the United States win the gold medal at the 2023 IIHF Under-18 World Championship in April with a tournament-best 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in seven games, matching the U.S. record set by Jack Hughes at the 2019 tournament. Smith (6-foot, 180) will play at least one season at Boston College, but will be more than worth the wait.

Morreale -- Will Smith: The right-handed center creates scoring chances and can handle the puck at top speed to drive offense and make players around him even better.

NHL Draft: Best of William Smith

5. Montreal Canadiens

Kimelman -- Matvei Michkov, RW, SKA St. Petersburg (RUS): From a pure skill standpoint, Michkov (5-10, 172) might be second only to Bedard in this year's draft class. His contract in the Kontinental Hockey League runs through the 2025-26 season, so whatever team drafts him will need patience. But the Canadiens have started to put some good young pieces in place with forwards Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki, Kirby Dach and Juraj Slafkovsky, and defensem*n Kaiden Guhle, Justin Barron and Jordan Harris. They've also drafted well recently, so they're well stocked to wait for Michkov to potentially arrive at age 22 in 2026.

Morreale -- David Reinbacher, D, Kloten (SUI): Reinbacher (6-2, 194) might turn out to be the best defenseman prospect of this draft. The Austria-born right-handed shot didn't look out of place playing in the top professional league in Switzerland with 22 points (three goals, 19 assists) in 46 games, and some scouts have compared him to Edmonton Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm. The thought of Reinbacher and Lane Hutson (2022 NHL Draft; No. 62) as a future defense pair is enticing.

6. Arizona Coyotes

Kimelman -- David Reinbacher: With two picks in the first round, the Coyotes can take the best defenseman available and still find a top-end forward later in the draft. Reinbacher is highly skilled in all areas of the game and already has been a standout against older, more developed competition in the top pro league in Switzerland as well as the IIHF World Championship. He could be a year away from playing significant minutes in the NHL.

Morreale -- Dalibor Dvorsky, C, AIK (SWE-2): Dvorsky (6-1, 200) is a good skater, great with the puck on his stick, and has an ability to maintain possession with good vision. He can win battles in the corner and shows great skill in tight spaces; he led fourth-place Slovakia with 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in seven games at the U-18 Worlds.

7. Philadelphia Flyers

Kimelman -- Ryan Leonard, RW, USA U-18 (NTDP): Leonard's play got better as the season went on, and he was outstanding at the World U-18s, scoring eight goals in seven games, including the overtime winner in the gold-medal game. But more than the skill, Leonard (6-foot, 190) plays a feisty game, reminiscent of Matthew Tkachuk of the Florida Panthers. The Flyers are a bit deep at right wing, with Travis Konecny and Joel Farabee at the NHL level and prospects Bobby Brink and Tyson Foerster all right-handed shots. But Philadelphia amateur scouting director Brent Flahr said recently if the best player available is a right wing, then they'll take another right wing.

Morreale -- Ryan Leonard: He's a prototypical Flyer with high-end compete, grittiness, a big shot and the willingness to be the player that stirs the pot when his team needs a spark. Leonard also provided leadership as a member of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program Under-18 team, with 94 points (51 goals, 43 assists) in 57 games.

8. Washington Capitals

Kimelman -- Axel Sandin Pellikka, D, Skelleftea Jr. (SWE-JR): The Capitals have done well with adding young forwards at the top of the draft the past few seasons, with Connor McMichael (2019, No. 25) and Hendrix Lapierre (2020, No. 22) looking like they're ready for more. Now would be a good time to address the defense, and Sandin Pellikka (5-11, 180) is the best defenseman prospect available. He had 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) in 31 games in Sweden's junior league and is the best offensive-minded defenseman in the draft.

Morreale -- Matvei Michkov: Washington can afford to make a splash here and the 18-year-old, compared by some to Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov, would qualify. He had 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 30 games on loan to Sochi of the KHL and offers great acceleration, puck handling skills and confidence reminiscent of Bedard. With three more seasons left on his KHL contract, patience will be needed, but the payoff for the Capitals could be tremendous.

9. Detroit Red Wings

Kimelman -- Zach Benson, LW, Winnipeg (WHL): Benson (5-10, 170) has elite-level hockey IQ with a work ethic to match. His creativity and playmaking helped him lead best team in the Western Hockey League with 98 points (36 goals, 62 assists) in 60 games, a team that featured two first-round NHL draft picks, Matt Savoie (Buffalo Sabres) and Conor Geekie (Arizona Coyotes). Once he develops more physically, Benson has the chance to be a top-line playmaker.

Morreale -- Matthew Wood, RW, Connecticut (NCAA): Wood (6-4, 197) probably has the highest ceiling of any prospect selected in the first round and Detroit general manager Steve Yzerman might be the one willing to take that chance on him. His shot is accurate and hard, and he can score multiple ways, with a one-timer or toe-drag. He led Connecticut with 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) in 35 games.

10. St. Louis Blues

Kimelman -- Dalibor Dvorsky: Dvorsky was able to showcase a smart, skilled game with good quickness while playing against older, more physically developed competition in Allsvenskan, the second-highest pro league in Sweden. The potential of pairing Robert Thomas and Dvorsky through the middle has to be appealing to the Blues.

Morreale -- Tom Willander, D, Rogle Jr. (SWE-JR): With their first of three picks in the first round, the Blues can add a skilled right-shot defenseman (6-1, 180) with excellent mobility, skating speed, and good understanding of the game. He finished third among defensem*n at the U-18 Worlds with eight points (three goals, five assists) in seven games for Sweden.

11. Vancouver Canucks

Kimelman -- Tom Willander: The Canucks have selected two defensem*n in the top two rounds of the draft since 2017, Quinn Hughes and Jett Woo with their first two selections in the 2018 NHL Draft. Finding more talent at that position is an imperative. Willander, who will play at Boston University next season, brings a complete game with a nice competitive edge who got better and more impressive as the season went on.

Morreale -- Nate Danielson, C, Brandon (WHL): Danielson has great vision and patience with the puck. The right-handed shot (6-1, 186) made one of the most significant jumps in Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, to No. 7 from No. 13 on the midterm list, after leading Brandon with 78 points (33 goals, 45 assists) in 68 games. He can play all situations, including the power play and penalty kill.

12. Arizona Coyotes (from Ottawa Senators)

Kimelman -- Colby Barlow, LW, Owen Sound (OHL): The Coyotes need goal scorers and Barlow showed a great scoring touch this season, finishing fifth in the OHL with 46 goals in 59 games, and he has a high-end shot that is reminiscent of Sabres forward Jeff Skinner. Barlow can skate the puck into the offensive zone and is strong enough (6-foot, 190) to win battles along the wall. He also rates high in intangibles: He was a 17-year-old captain and was the top scholastic player in the Canadian Hockey League.

Morreale -- Oliver Moore, C, USA U-18 (NTDP): Moore (5-11, 195), who is headed to the University of Minnesota in the fall, is considered by many to be the fastest skater of this draft class. On top of his elite speed and top-line potential in the NHL, he can play center or wing. He had 75 points (31 goals, 44 assists) in 61 games with the NTDP.

13. Buffalo Sabres

Kimelman -- Matthew Wood: Wood's game got better as the season went on, capped by 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in seven games for Canada at World U-18s, where he answered any questions about his skating. His size and skill make him one of the best players below the dots in this draft class. The Sabres have built an impressive array of young offensive talent, led by Tage Thompson (also a Connecticut product), Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs, Dylan Cozens and Jack Quinn, plus top prospects Jiri Kulich and Isak Rosen. Wood would make a strong group even better.

Morreale - Dmitri Simashev, D, Yaroslavl Jr. (RUS-JR): The 18-year-old plays a strong physical game and has good size (6-4, 198). He's competitive, alert and active in all three zones. The Sabres can afford to let Simashev develop and mature overseas with what they already have among their lineup and their pipeline along the blue line.

Kimelman -- Nate Danielson: Danielson stood out on a Brandon team that struggled this season, and scouts were impressed with how he continued to develop the offensive side of his game to complement a defensive game that Bedard said made him the most difficult player to skate against in his draft class. It's imperative for the Penguins to find centers that can eventually replace Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and Danielson has the potential to develop into a strong top-six player.

Morreale -- Zach Benson: A terrific skater and relentless contributor on the forecheck, Benson will go to the tough areas of the ice and always battle hard despite his frame. His best asset is his hockey smarts and he's improved his defensive game; Pittsburgh needs to build prospect depth in all areas.

15. Nashville Predators

Kimelman -- Oliver Moore: Barry Trotz, who will take over as general manager July 1, wants his scouts to "take some high-end swings on some guys," so Moore would be the perfect addition here. The left-shot center is considered the best skater in the draft class with a skill set reminiscent of Detroit Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin.

Morreale -- Gabriel Perreault, RW, USA U-18 (NTDP): Nashville needs help on the wing in its prospect pool and Perreault (5-11, 163) led the NTDP in goals, assists and points and was second for the United States at the U-18 Worlds with 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in seven games. The son of former NHL center Yanic Perreault has great instincts, smarts and knows how to put himself in good areas to create offense.

16. Calgary Flames

Kimelman -- Samuel Honzek, LW, Vancouver (WHL): Honzek's strength and hockey IQ stood out this season, his first in the Western Hockey League after coming over from his native Slovakia. He showed he could make plays off the rush and use his big body (6-3, 195) to hold off defenders to create time and space to use his quick, heavy shot. He missed nearly two months because of a bad skate cut to his left calf sustained during the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, but he looked recovered when he returned and his Video: 'NHL Tonight' talks expectations for Connor Bedard removed any lingering doubts about his quickness and power.

Morreale -- Samuel Honzek: Honzek is a power forward with good hands and skating ability. He had 56 points (23 goals, 33 assists) in 43 games to become the third-highest Vancouver rookie scorer in a single season after Fabian Lysell (62 points, 2021-22) and Gilbert Brule (60 points, 2003-04).

17. Detroit Red Wings (from New York Islanders via Vancouver Canucks)

Kimelman -- Eduard Sale, LW, Brno (CZREP): After taking a center at No. 6, the Red Wings can take a top-end left wing who was voted rookie of the year the top professional league in the Czech Republic after he had 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 43 games. Sale (6-2, 175) has high-end puck skills and a high hockey IQ that will allow him to develop into a top option for the power play and penalty kill.

Morreale -- Axel Sandin Pellikka:Sandin Pellikka compensates for his lack of size with his hockey smarts and tremendous work ethic. He's a quick and agile puck-mover from the back end, and Pellikka has proven reliable and consistent. In addition to his outstanding play in Sweden's junior league, he made his SHL debut this season with Skelleftea and had five points (two goals, three assists) in 22 games.

18. Winnipeg Jets

Kimelman -- Brayden Yager, C, Moose Jaw (WHL): Yager (5-11, 170) is a strong, quick skater and a puck hound with a dynamic shot. He needs to get stronger, but the upside is a top-line center that can make players around him better.

Morreale -- Colby Barlow: Barlow can beat defenders with his great speed or strength in shielding them off 1-on-1 in tight quarters. He can play physical along the boards and could be a top-nine forward at the NHL level.

19. Chicago Blackhawks (from Tampa Bay Lightning)

Kimelman -- Gabriel Perreault: The Blackhawks find a great complement to Bedard with Perreault, who broke Auston Matthews' NTDP record with 132 points (53 goals, 79 assists) in 63 games this season. His hockey sense is his best asset, and it allows him to use his anticipation and puck skills to create scoring chances for himself and his teammates.

Morreale -- Brayden Yager: It's a perfect time to start building the forward prospect pool with players to surround Bedard, and Yager is a fantastic two-way center. The right-handed shot improved his playmaking this season to complement a powerful shot. He's responsible in all three zones and effective on face-offs.

20. Seattle Kraken

Kimelman -- Oliver Bonk, D, London (OHL): The Kraken have done well adding young forwards in the draft, topped by Calder Trophy finalist Matty Beniers (2021, No. 2) and Shane Wright (2022, No. 4). Now they can start building prospect depth at defenseman with Bonk (6-1, 180), a right-handed shot with a well-rounded skill set and the smarts that come from having a father, Radek Bonk, who played in the NHL.

Morreale -- Quentin Musty, LW, Sudbury (OHL): The Kraken can continue to bolster their forward prospect pool with big, mobile players and Musty (6-1, 200) fits that mold. He's a power forward with good vision and playmaking ability with a high hockey IQ who should be a big contributor on the power play.

21. Minnesota Wild

Kimelman -- Calum Ritchie, C, Oshawa (OHL): The Wild lack a legitimate No. 1 center and Ritchie (6-2, 184) has that kind of upside. He had 59 points (24 goals, 35 assists) in 59 OHL games and nine points (three goals, six assists) in seven games to help Canada finish third at the 2023 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, despite playing through a season-long shoulder injury that required surgery. He is expected to be fully healed for training camp, when his full skill set should really be on display, including a top-end skating that powers a strong offensive game.

Morreale -- Calum Ritchie: Ritchie excelled all season, including helping Canada to a bronze medal at the World U-18s despite his shoulder injury. He can play in traffic and manages that with good hands and hockey sense.

22. Philadelphia Flyers (from Los Angeles Kings via Columbus Blue Jackets)

Kimelman -- Otto Stenberg, C, Frolunda Jr. (SWE-JR): After taking a high-end wing at No. 7, the best pick here for the rebuilding Flyers is a smart, skilled center who has been a leader of almost every team he's played on. After selecting center Cutter Gauthier with the No. 5 pick of the 2022 NHL Draft, adding Stenberg would set them up nicely through the middle as they return to Stanley Cup Playoff contention.

Morreale -- Oliver Bonk: Bonk is a two-way defenseman with high hockey IQ and a threat on the rush. The right-handed shot is capable of transitioning the puck quickly while using his size to shut down plays and move opposing forwards down low. After selecting Leonard earlier, the Flyers would be wise to choose a top-tier defenseman with a well-rounded game.

23. New York Rangers

Kimelman -- David Edstrom, C, Frolunda Jr. (SWE-JR): Adding young skill in the middle could be the best option for the Rangers at this point, with Mika Zibanejad at age 30 and Vincent Trocheck turning 30 before next season starts. Edstrom (6-3, 185) is a smart player with great size who averaged a point per game (28 points in 28 games) in Sweden's junior league.

Morreale -- Charlie Stramel, C, Wisconsin (NCAA): Stramel (6-3, 222) has an impressive combination of size, skating and skill. He's good in traffic and positions himself well to provide scoring opportunities for himself or teammates. He can finish checks and doesn't shy from contact.

24. Nashville Predators (from Edmonton Oilers)

Kimelman -- Danil But, LW, Yaroslavl Jr. (RUS-JR): After taking a playmaking center with their first choice, the Predators can add a big wing in But (6-5, 203). He skates well and knows how to use his size to protect the puck, clear space for himself and finish from anywhere in the offensive zone. Projects to be a power forward difficult to handle below the dots in the offensive zone.

Morreale -- Otto Stenberg: Stenberg has leadership qualities and a tremendous two-way game. An offensively gifted player with quick hands and an accurate shot, Stenberg had 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in seven games for Sweden at the World U-18s. He's a complete player with a strong work ethic and the ability to come up big in clutch situations. He's also versatile enough to play wing or center.

25. St. Louis Blues (from Toronto Maple Leafs)

Kimelman -- Mikhail Gulyayev, D, Omsk Jr. (RUS-JR): After filling one need at center, the Blues can address another with Gulyayev (5-10, 172), a left-shot defenseman who can skate well enough to be a one-man breakout and is positionally strong all over the ice.

Morreale -- Eduard Sale: Sale is a talented forward with great offensive instincts who can shoot and pass with good accuracy. He is active in the offensive zone and presents a challenge for opposing defenders with his size and strength. He had six points (four goals, two assists) in five games for Czechia at the World U-18s.

26. San Jose Sharks (from New Jersey Devils)

Kimelman -- Lukas Dragicevic, D, Tri-City (WHL): After taking a playmaking center with their first pick, the Sharks can take a swing on Dragicevic (6-1, 194). There's questions about his skating but he's a right-handed shot with the kind of offensive game that allowed him to put up 75 points (15 goals, 68 assists) in 68 games, including a 27-game point streak.

Morreale -- Danil But: Compared by some to Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine, But skates well for his size and he can win most 1-on-1 battles. He plays with confidence and offers plenty of creativity with the puck. He had 26 points (15 goals, 11 assists) in 26 games in Russia's junior league, and scored two goals in 15 games for Yaroslavl in the KHL.

27. Colorado Avalanche

Kimelman -- Gavin Brindley, C, Michigan (NCAA): Brindley's game is based on his non-stop motor. He obviously needs to get stronger, but his size (5-8, 168) certainly wasn't an issue in the second half of the season at Michigan, when he had 28 points (11 goals, 17 assists) in 21 games. The Avalanche need to develop a second-line center, and Brindley's high-end work ethic will mesh well with star center Nathan MacKinnon.

Morreale -- David Edstrom: Edstrom is an effective passer and playmaker with good hands and puck protection ability. He was reliable, used on special teams, and plays a strong two-way game.

28. Toronto Maple Leafs (from Boston Bruins via Washington Capitals)

Kimelman -- Andrew Cristall, LW, Kelowna (WHL): Cristall (5-9, 175) mixes high-end skill with an edge. Most importantly for the Maple Leafs, Cristall plays with a chip on his shoulder that comes from constantly hearing about all the things he can't do. He'll need time to get stronger and improve his quickness, but Cristall brings a certain swagger that would only elevate Toronto's core forwards.

Morreale -- Tanner Molendyk, D, Saskatoon (WHL): The Maple Leafs need some skilled defensem*n in their prospect pool and Molendyk (5-11, 181) is a good start. He has a good transition game and will make the occasional open-ice hit; he plays bigger than his frame and is an outstanding skater. The left-handed shot had 37 points (nine goals, 28 assists) in 67 games and saw time on the power play. He also was one of Saskatoon's most-used penalty killers among its defensem*n.

29. St. Louis Blues (from Dallas Stars via New York Rangers)

Kimelman -- Kasper Halttunen, RW, HIFK (FIN): Selecting Halttunen (6-3, 215), a big forward who skates well and is hard to handle down low in the offensive zone, would be a great finish to the night for the Blues. He had 24 points (18 goals, 6 assists) in 18 games in Finland's junior league and 10 points (six goals, four assists) as Finland's captain at the 2023 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

Morreale -- Gavin Brindley: Brindley is too good to pass up at this point, especially since this is the third pick of the first round for the Blues. They can be patient with Brindley, an every-situation player with good skating, a big compete level and high hockey IQ. He's strong for his size, can play in tight areas and looks to turn over pucks.

30. Carolina Hurricanes

Kimelman -- Dmitri Simashev: The Hurricanes lack a top-flight defenseman prospect, but adding a player like Simashev would change that. The left-handed shot is a very good skater for his size, and has a smart stick when it comes to breaking up plays in the defensive zone. His style of play is reminiscent of Colton Parayko of the St. Louis Blues, and Simashev could have a higher offensive upside.

Morreale -- Andrew Cristall: Cristall was an offensive catalyst for Kelowna this season, leading them in goals (39), assists (56) and points (95) in 54 games. He's offensively gifted and contributes to the power play (nine goals, 24 assists) because of his great vision and ability. With the proper development, Cristall has top-six NHL potential in the next 3-5 years.

31. Colorado Avalanche (from Florida Panthers via Montreal Canadiens)

Kimelman -- Ethan Gauthier, RW, Sherbrooke (QMJHL): Gauthier plays with an edge similar to his father, former NHL defenseman Denis Gauthier, but his skill level is significantly higher. Ethan (5-11, 183) has nice quickness and can beat defensem*n with his speed, but also is willing to get to the net and fight for opportunities in front.

Morreale -- Ethan Gauthier: The right-handed shot was fourth for Sherbrooke with 69 points (30 goals, 39 assists) in 66 games, including 23 goals at even strength. He scored seven power-play goals and had five game-winning goals this season. Gauthier is good down low, and plays the type of game that NHL coaches crave during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

32. Vegas Golden Knights

Kimelman -- Michael Hrabal, G, Omaha (USHL): The Golden Knights used five goalies this season and have played 12 in their six seasons, and the only one they drafted to play for them was Jiri Patera, who played his first two NHL games this season. Taking a goalie here could be a reach, but Hrabal (6-7, 215), who will play at the University of Massachusetts next season, has the size and athleticism to develop into a franchise goalie.

Morreale -- Danny Nelson, C, USA U-18 (NTDP): Nelson (6-3, 212) can play forward or defenseman, though he prefers center. He's responsible in all zones, is versatile, fast, has a hard, heavy shot and can create offense in tight spaces. He's got the makeup and size that fits the Vegas profile. He'll attend the University of Notre Dame in the fall.

Listen: Video: 'NHL Tonight' talks expectations for Connor Bedard

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