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My First 2023 NHL Rankings (the top 16)

My First 2023 NHL Rankings (the top 16)

Draft Class: 2022
Created By: christianyog
Published: Jul. 21 at 12:16 p.m.
Description
I don't know much about each player's upside and/or draft stock so my order might be off.

Let me know any feedback and insight in the comments! Enjoy.
ROUND 1TEAMORIGINALPLAYERDETAILS
1Logo of the Montreal Canadiens-
Connor Bedard
For years Bedard has made a huge impact in juniors, giving him first overall consideration. As of now he’s the best player in the draft, but his stock is neck-and-neck with Fantilli and Michkov. Bedard is an excellent sniper as he can score through traffic and in different areas. He’s also a wizard with the puck, making the harder passes look easy. Bedard has shown excellent execution in making passes in all three zones of the ice. Overall, just a solid 3-zone player who will make an immediate impact in the NHL after being drafted. Already putting up great production in the CHL for Regina, 100 points on the dot (51G, 49A). Skating is fluid, Bedard is able to skate in super tight corners. Despite the small frame at 5’9’’, Bedard has a decent 200-ft game. Able to beat defenders in the o-zone as well as neutral ice. Overall, Bedard has Hall of Fame potential. I see a lot of Auston Matthews in this kid.
2Logo of the New Jersey Devils-
Matvei Michkov
Like Bedard, Michkov has been an impactful player, given that he was named MVP of the 2021 U18 tournament. Unfortunately there’s a good chance Michkov could fall in the draft because of the Russian factor. Also his KHL contract doesn’t expire until 2026, so his NHL debut will be a long wait. But still, this is another pure sniper. Still undersized, but one inch taller than Bedard at 5’10’’. Michkov also doesn’t have the agility of Bedard, but he does have the explosiveness. Overall, just a menace in the o-zone, mostly behind and front of the net. You do not wanna play against him at the net. Michkov has a lot of Kirill Kaprizov in his game. There are areas of minor improvement, while his neutral zone plays are above average, the plays he makes in the d-zone are questionable and the wrong ones. He doesn’t show any signs of defense, but then again he was playing in the MHL, which is a non-physical and defense league. Also while his team has puck possession, Michkov’s positioning is also head-scratching. But now that he is playing in the KHL, let’s hope the defense will be more present. Like Bedard, Michkov has Hall of Fame potential, but once again his NHL debut will be a long wait until 2026.
3Logo of the Arizona Coyotes-
Adam Fantilli
Fantilli would be a rare find for GMs. Power forwards who play the center position are hard to come by. Fantilli also has the rare combo of size and skill. The offensive potential is high for Fantilli, he is an excellent puck carrier, making him effective on the breakout and o-zone entry. His decision making during offensive situations is speedy as Fantilli is always one step ahead of the play. His skating is very dynamic, Fantilli possesses the ability to blow defenders off, resulting in a guaranteed goal. His 4-way mobility with the puck is astounding and he’s a menace between the hash marks and o-zone blue line. The size at his young age is surprisingly NHL-ready at 6’3’’, 192 lbs. There are no major fixes that Fantilli needs to address apart from his aggressiveness. During the opposition breakout, Fantilli goes overaggressive against the puck carrier, leaving passing options wide open. Overall, I see a lot of Evgeni Malkin in his game and cornerstone potential for Fantilli, no matter which team drafts him.
4Logo of the Seattle Kraken-
Dalibor Dvorsky
Dvorsky is a skilled center who will play full-time against men this season. He has NHL-caliber size already at 6’1’’ and near 200 lbs (190 to be exact). Also a very solid 3-zone player, has solid hockey IQ, balance on his feet, and speed. He’s able to beat defenders and set himself up on easy breakaways using his acceleration. However, Dvorsky could work on becoming more agile as he’s a straight-line player. Its mostly evident during time spent in the o-zone, Dvorsky doesn’t like getting into the middle portion of the zone. Dvorsky has a rocket of a wrist shot and quick release that he could even pull off while being pressured. He utilizes the NHL frame very well, and once the 4-way agility improves upon itself, Dvorsky could become a solid generational player for whoever drafts him next year. Overall, excellent center who is dynamic all-around.
5Logo of the Philadelphia Flyers-
Brayden Yager
This draft is very deep. Yager is another player who could become the face of any franchise. He’s a very intriguing player as he started the year playing as a power forward. He brought a lot of size and offensive prowess to the ice, but as the year went on, the defensive aspects of the game took a big step in improvement. Now he’s playing more of a two-way game. He’s a contender for the top 3, but not first overall as the upside doesn’t match Bedard’s well. However, he’s blossomed into becoming an impactful asset for the future. Yager has amazing hockey IQ and overall smarts in his game as he’s often seen thinking one step ahead of the play. He also brings some physicality to the table, though there are moments where he takes a lot of dumb infractions, mostly with the body. Also, the agility could be improved upon as he’s more of a straight-line player. Yager plays at a fast pace as he often is able to blow by defenders and score nasty goals. Good speed, but lackluster agility. Yager’s overall size is close to NHL-ready (6’0’’, 161), and it should get better in 2022-23. Once again, solid potential as Yager has blossomed into a future franchise center.
6Logo of the Columbus Blue JacketsLogo of the Chicago Blackhawks
Zach Benson
In terms of upside, I would say that Benson is tied with Yager. I have Yager above based off the size and overall speed that he brings. Benson also solid acceleration, but has worse size (5’10’’, 150 lbs) and its nowhere near NHL-ready unlike Yager’s. I would say that Benson has a big chance of being a top 3 selection, and he’s the draft’s best playmaker. He plays a high tempo game with great first-step acceleration. Benson has solid offensive awareness and passing, but it’s his close-quarter shot that adds that extra dimension to his game. Just an overall threat to play against in the offensive zone, especially up close to the goalie. Benson also can read the play, being one step ahead of certain defenders and scoring goals off that. Overall, Benson has the same amount of anticipation as fellow teammate Matt Savoie, just the potential to become a mainstay in the top line.
7Logo of the Chicago BlackhawksLogo of the Ottawa Senators
Leo Carlsson
This is the most NHL-ready 2023 prospect out of anyone outside my top 3. Carlsson already has NHL-caliber size (6’3’’, 185 lbs) and tons of experience against men. He dominated last season while playing in Sweden’s second division (J20 Nationell), but he also spent a fair share of games in the SHL, already playing on average at least 12 minutes a night, which is outstanding for a player his age. Normally young SHL players find themselves playing only 5 minutes a night. Carlsson is a big center, but can also play on the wing. He’s a worse version of Fantilli, just a big, bodied power forward. The big and only difference between the two is that Carlsson doesn’t play defensive. His game is all about offense, the defensive potential has a lot of question marks and could be solved during the 2022-23 season. Along with the promising size, Carlsson has a lot of skill. He has great hands and can often utilize it well during rushes, more specifically against defenders. Like most prospects ranked above Carlsson, he’s able to blow by defenders with blazing speed and score nasty goals. Skating wise, the 4-way mobility is there, especially during o-zone time, as well as the speed is also fast. Carlsson also has a heavy shot that he can score from anywhere in the o-zone. If he continues to play dominant in the SHL, chances are that he will move up in the rankings and be in contention for the top 3. Carlsson has elite potential, could be a high-end top liner in the big leagues.
8Logo of the Detroit Red Wings-
Charlie Stramel
This is a very intriguing player. Stramel honestly has the most NHL-ready frame in the NHL (6’3’’, 216). He’s dangerous to play against in the middle lane of the ice and excels during net front situations in the o-zone. His shooting, particularly his wrist shot, shows a lot of promise as he’s able to score from anywhere. Just a solid 3-zone forward, who can play winger or center. In terms of skating, Stramel is mostly a straight-line player but he improved on being more agile with the puck. Without the puck, the agility could improve as he is often rough around the edges. Nothing much to scout here with this player, but Stramel has shown enough potential to be a top liner in the big leagues.
9Logo of the Buffalo Sabres-
Nate Danielson
Danielson adapted to the high-scoring Wheat Kings team and produced at a decent rate. Unlike many 2023 draft eligible players, Danielson already has pro size (6’1’’, 181 lbs) and utilizes it well. He normally plays a defensive two-way game. Often he’s seen using his body during zone entries and while crashing the net. The o-zone effort is solid, Danielson goes for the smart play rather than the flashy one. He has a booming shot and elite pokechecking ability in the d-zone. Just a solid three-zoner, whichever team drafts Danielson will get a guy who can do everything with the puck. He can often be slow with the puck as he’s often getting pressured by a defender while crashing the net (mostly he uses the body rather than his feet). Also Danielson tends to shy away from being agile in the o-zone, in the d-zone he’s not afraid to use it.
10Logo of the Anaheim Ducks-
Mikhail Gulyayev
The first defender on my board. Also another big riser. Gulyayev is the best Russian defensive prospect I’ve seen in a while, he reminds me a lot of a lefty Cale Makar. Undersized at 5’10’’, but makes up for it with his elite edgework and overall dynamic skating. Gulyayev is a complete offensive defender with strong hockey IQ. He’s a menace in the neutral zone and from there he excels at carrying the play into the o-zone. That will be seen often. Gulyayev also plays with such fast pace and can score from anywhere in the o-zone. He’s also not afraid to pinch to the slot and/or close quarters to the net and shoot the puck through a screen. The only setback Gulyayev has is the height, but that should improve as he starts to play against bigger competition. It will be a longer wait for Gulyayev to make his NHL debut, just like Michkov. But given the skillset Gulyayev has, he’s the best defender in the draft and has top pair potential in the NHL.
11Logo of the Arizona CoyotesLogo of the San Jose Sharks
Hunter Brzustewicz
Slightly undersized at 5’11’’, this American-born defender has the best mobility in the draft by far, unless you count Bedard. Just a solid two-way defender who is effective in all three zones, Brzustewicz always makes the smart plays defensively. In the o-zone, he’s dangerous around the blue line and can carry the puck very smooth around the zone. Reason why I don’t have Brzustewicz above Gulyayev is because of the injury troubles he had this season. Injuries kept Brzustewicz out of the lineup for a good chunk of the season. Because of this, good chance he falls low in the draft, this is another Kemell situation. Also he doesn’t really shoot the puck as often as I would like him to. But none of the less, this is a high-upside player and the amount of upside Brzustewicz has is proving that this is a very deep draft. I still see a lot of potential in this kid, could be a low-end top pair defender in the NHL.
12Logo of the Columbus Blue Jackets-
Calum Ritchie
Now we have the well-disciplined centerman in Calum Ritchie. Best prospect to come out of the Oshawa Generals in a long time. He’s a major threat to play against in the o-zone, the skating is very shifty and fluid, ready to excel against NHL competition. With the feet, Ritchie is able to avoid simple stick checks and get around high-traffic areas. He can be at a standstill from anywhere on the ice, including the dirty areas and score goals from there. The shot is heavy, and Ritchie isn’t afraid of going for the flashy play. But most of the time he goes for the smart route. There’s a lot of question marks surrounding his defense, but that should be scouted more upon this upcoming season. Overall, there’s a lot to look forward to when watching this player, I think Ritchie has the potential to become a low-end top liner in the NHL.
13Logo of the Chicago BlackhawksLogo of the New York Islanders
Riley Heidt
One of the bright spots on the Prince George Cougars last season. Heidt is the best skater in the draft, next to Bedard. He’s very fluid on his feet and always active. He’s never at a standstill while on-ice, you will never know where he is. The playmaking is very dynamic as Heidt doesn’t shy away from passing the puck from anywhere, including the dirty areas. He also has a booming shot, which he can use to score many highlight-reel goals. The puck handling is very slick, often you see Heidt being able to put defenders flat-footed and sometimes able to create open space and/or passing lanes. Whoever drafts Heidt will get skill up front and a high-end top line center option in the NHL.
14Logo of the Winnipeg Jets-
Quentin Musty
Another power forward here. Musty is known for his big frame, which is already NHL-ready (6’2’’, 203 lbs). In terms of skating, with the puck Musty is speedy and is able to blow by defenders along the boards and get into the high slot and get opportunities from here. Without the puck, there could be minor improvement. Despite his size, Musty isn’t explosive on his feet as most of his linemates are ahead of him during plays. Luckily it isn’t that noticeable as he’s a winger but if he wants to continue the speed he brings in the NHL, the explosiveness needs to improve. Also, he needs to get better at keeping his emotions in check as Musty is often seen taking too many dumb infractions with the stick and body. Overall, another top line option in the future.
15Logo of the Vancouver Canucks-
Eduard Sale
This is the most dominant player in the draft by far, I mean really dominant. Sale has scored points at a super impressive rate, in just 39 games he has 89 points (42G, 47A). However, that’s only against U20 competition. Sale has played a small sample of games in the top Czechia league and scored 3 points (1G, 2A) in 10 games. The dominant production continued in the U18’s as well. The biggest sleeper pick for the top 10, Sale has pro height at 6’1’’, but should use his developmental year to bulk up as he’s only 168 lbs, which is severely underweight for his height. Skating wise, Sale plays with blazing speed across all three zones, however he shies away from being agile while he has the puck. Whenever he is agile, its mostly in the net front area in the o-zone. However, without the puck, Sale plays with a lot of agility in all three zones. Also very often he would be seen attacking the middle lane and generating scoring opportunities there. Most of his goals are scored in that lane. Sale can shoot the puck and score in a variety of areas. However, while his shot is accurate, it definitely isn’t all that powerful. Most of the goals I see are scored in the lower half of the net, Sale’s shot isn’t exactly booming by any means. He is a shoot-first forward, I’ve barely seen him pass the puck to his other linemates. However, Sale is a talented player and checks all the boxes to become a low-end top liner.
16Logo of the Buffalo SabresLogo of the Vegas Golden Knights
Theo Lindstein
This is my second sleeper pick for the top 10. Actually months ago he was the best defender in the draft by miles, but his statistical numbers last year weren’t worth that particular range, so he’s much lower. However, there’s a high chance he could come back into the top 10, Lindstein has bounce-back potential. The main reason the statistics weren’t promising was because Lindstein was playing with a low-scoring J20 Brynas team. Lindstein is molded in as a two-way defender. The height could be slightly better, Lindstein is exactly 6’0’’ on the dot. However he makes up for it with the bulk of 176 lbs. The height should become better as he’s getting prepared to play against top Swedish competitors this season. Lindstein already has pro level skating, he’s fluid in all three zones. Plays with such great poise and excels at puck carrying. Just a solid 3-zone player, Lindstein also excels at the breakout as he makes the smart pass then skates to the correct position. The only minor setback Lindstein has is the ability to pinch inside close quarter during o-zone time. Other than that, there is solid potential for Lindstein. Once again, he has bounce-back potential but that will happen if the whole team scores more goals.
17Logo of the Nashville Predators-
18Logo of the Dallas Stars-
19Logo of the Minnesota WildLogo of the Los Angeles Kings
20Logo of the Washington Capitals-
21Logo of the Pittsburgh Penguins-
22Logo of the Anaheim DucksLogo of the Boston Bruins
23Logo of the St. Louis Blues-
24Logo of the Minnesota Wild-
25Logo of the Chicago BlackhawksLogo of the Toronto Maple Leafs
26Logo of the Montreal CanadiensLogo of the Calgary Flames
27Logo of the San Jose SharksLogo of the Carolina Hurricanes
28Logo of the Buffalo SabresLogo of the Florida Panthers
29Logo of the Arizona CoyotesLogo of the Edmonton Oilers
30Logo of the Winnipeg JetsLogo of the New York Rangers
31Logo of the Tampa Bay Lightning-
32Logo of the Edmonton OilersLogo of the Colorado Avalanche
Completely unrelated to the rankings, but who do you think won the Tkachuk trade?
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Jul. 21 at 12:16 p.m.
#1
power forward
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Jul. 21 at 12:16 p.m.
#2
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@BruinsFan35 @Dzinger18 @deto
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Jul. 21 at 12:16 p.m.
#3
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power forward
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Jul. 21 at 12:17 p.m.
#4
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power forward
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Jul. 21 at 12:17 p.m.
#5
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power forward
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Jul. 21 at 12:17 p.m.
#6
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power forward
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Jul. 21 at 12:17 p.m.
#7
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power forward
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Saskleaf liked this.
Jul. 21 at 12:17 p.m.
#8
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power forward
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Jul. 21 at 12:17 p.m.
#9
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power forward
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Jul. 21 at 12:17 p.m.
#10
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power forward
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Jul. 21 at 12:23 p.m.
#11
KFTW
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I’ve only looked quickly at the 2023 draft class but yeah the top 6 checks out. Those would be my top 6 too
Jul. 21 at 12:24 p.m.
#12
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And it begins. I don't know enough about these guys to give you a solid opinion lol.
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Jul. 21 at 12:27 p.m.
#13
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I have Cameron Allen in the Top 16 as well as Kasper Halttunen.

Some other names probably worth mentioning in a very early Top 16-discussion are William Whitelaw, Gabe Perreault (brother of Ducks' prospect and former 1st Rounder Jacob Perreault), Colby Barlow, Oliver Moore, Will Smith and Lukas Dragicevic.
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Jul. 21 at 12:39 p.m.
#14
Ovchinnikov 137
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Quoting: TZ11
I have Cameron Allen in the Top 16 as well as Kasper Halttunen.

Some other names probably worth mentioning in a very early Top 16-discussion are William Whitelaw, Gabe Perreault (brother of Ducks' prospect and former 1st Rounder Jacob Perreault), Colby Barlow, Oliver Moore, Will Smith and Lukas Dragicevic.


I can't wait for this draft, soooooo many good players. I add to your list Matthew Wood, Koehn Ziemmer, and Riley Heidt. Plus next years goalie class has a legit prospect, Yegor Zavragin.
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Jul. 21 at 12:47 p.m.
#15
T.N.T.
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Quoting: MatthewsFan
I can't wait for this draft, soooooo many good players. I add to your list Matthew Wood, Koehn Ziemmer, and Riley Heidt. Plus next years goalie class has a legit prospect, Yegor Zavragin.


I can't wait for the Start of the 26-27 Season when we get our first taste of Bedard vs Michkov. Sucks we have to wait untill Michkov is 21.
Jul. 21 at 12:55 p.m.
#16
v5 CBJ GM
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Quoting: nickthehabsfan
And it begins. I don't know enough about these guys to give you a solid opinion lol.


Same, not even going to put effort into the 2023 draft until September/October
Jul. 21 at 1:35 p.m.
#17
Habs4Ever
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Best mock draft I've seen on CapFriendly
Really like what I just read
Bedard #1 but Fantilli could go #2 easily
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Jul. 21 at 2:47 p.m.
#18
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power forward
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Quoting: TheRealisticGuy
Best mock draft I've seen on CapFriendly
Really like what I just read
Bedard #1 but Fantilli could go #2 easily


Michkov is the better prospect, but Fantilli will go earlier than him. Bold prediction: Michkov falls out of the top 5 because of the Russia situation and the fact that he stays in the KHL till 2026.
Jul. 21 at 2:49 p.m.
#19
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power forward
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Quoting: A_Habs_fan
Same, not even going to put effort into the 2023 draft until September/October


Quoting: nickthehabsfan
And it begins. I don't know enough about these guys to give you a solid opinion lol.


I totally see that. Even I had tough times finding highlights for each specific player, the most it took me was 10 minutes. But later I should be releasing my full first round ranking.
Jul. 21 at 2:50 p.m.
#20
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power forward
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Quoting: BuFfaLOFaN
I can't wait for the Start of the 26-27 Season when we get our first taste of Bedard vs Michkov. Sucks we have to wait untill Michkov is 21.


Yea it does suck that we have to wait such a long time. Its like waiting for Dimitri Rashevsky to make his NHL debut for the Jets.
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Jul. 21 at 3:26 p.m.
#21
Twitter improved
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Beyond Bedard, Mitchkov and Fantilli I don’t know anything about any of the other guys lol, but it’s good to finally see a 2023 mock draft.
Jul. 21 at 3:35 p.m.
#22
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Quoting: MatthewsFan
I can't wait for this draft, soooooo many good players. I add to your list Matthew Wood, Koehn Ziemmer, and Riley Heidt. Plus next years goalie class has a legit prospect, Yegor Zavragin.


Thought Wood was in this lol. But yeah, him and Heidi are probably somewhere in my Top 20, haven't heard anything about Ziemmer.
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Jul. 21 at 6:30 p.m.
#23
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Matthew Wood should be in consideration for top-5. He will likely be the best pure shooter in draft and will get a ton of comparisons to Auston Matthews.
Jul. 21 at 8:41 p.m.
#24
Yzerman would never
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Great stuff!
Jul. 22 at 10:56 a.m.
#25
Canes fan
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Quoting: christianyog
BruinsFan35 Dzinger18 deto


Great draft rankings! Another banger as always with the great insight.

I think that Kasper Halttunen, Matthew Wood, and Cam Allen would also be some noteworthy guys for this range. Yegor Zavragin and Scott Ratzlaff would be some solid goalie prospects that could go at some point in the first round as well. I'll try to work on my 1st round rankings for 2023 soon too.

And just a heads up, I changed my username from @Dzinger18 to @Zinger for next time you tag me.
 
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