Welcome to the 2023 Community Draft Board
Kicking off draft season once again!
It's that time of year again, folks! The Flyers are out of the playoffs once again, finished down in the basement of the league standings again, and that was all pretty difficult for all of us to watch. But because of that, the Flyers have gotten themselves the seventh overall pick, and the door remains open for the Flyers to get themselves a very good player in this year's draft, so there is some consolation to be found there.
Things are looking a little different here at BSH this year, but there are some things that we simply cannot bring ourselves to change. The Community Draft Board has been rolling for longer than I've been here, and we're bringing it with us to BSH 2.0!
If you've been around the block with us before, you know the drill by now, but for anyone who's new to this whole thing, here's your rundown: Over the next month or so, we'll be profiling one player per day, working our way through the whole of the first round, and what order are those players going in? Well, that's up to you (yes, you!) to decide. We're all coming together here to collaborate a bit and learn a whole lot about these top draft prospects, with the aim, of course, of becoming the smartest person at our draft party. What more could you want?
We'll kick things off with our first overall pick tomorrow, and while we have an inkling of who that's going to be, it's still up for voting. Let's meet our first options, shall we?
Bedard’s statistical profile speaks for itself: 28 points in 15 games as a 15-year-old in the WHL, two points per game at U18 worlds as a double underager, 51 goals and 100 points on a dreadful team at 16, six goals in four games at U18 Worlds as an underager this time (in what wasn’t even his best hockey), 13 goals and 31 points in 14 world juniors games (after forcing his way onto the first of those three teams by torching the selection camp), and now, as a 17-year-old who won’t turn 18 until July (we can almost forget that!), the CHL’s leader in goals per game, assists per game, points per game, and shots per game.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Bedard can do things with the puck that nobody else in the sport can replicate. I’m not talking about him compared to other prospects in this draft. I’m talking nobody. As in, you could put him on the ice with the world’s best shooters (say, Auston Matthews, Nikita Kucherov, Patrik Laine, Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos) and they wouldn’t be able to load up just off of their lead skate and fire it off balance like he does. He’s got one of the best shooting actions in motion I’ve ever seen. - Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
Fantilli has the skillset of a first-overall pick and has shown it multiple times in the NCAA for the high-powered Michigan Wolverines. As an 18-year-old playing with and against players sometimes two or three years older than him, he looks like a seasoned veteran. With an unprecedented 25 goals in 31 games, he already has matched Paul Kariya’s total from 1992-93 and could conceivably finish in the top-five all-time for goals by a college freshman.
Fantilli possesses everything a scout looks for in a top-line center. From his size, speed, and playmaking ability to his hockey IQ, puckhandling, and accurate shot, he has all the tools to be a massive difference-maker in the NHL one day. It’s only his first year in the NCAA and he’s already dotting the highlight reels with his slick one-on-one dekes, snipe show of a shot, power moves to the net and most of all, beautiful end-to-end rushes. - Matthew Zator, The Hockey Writers
Leo Carlsson is a competitive two-way forward with all the tools needed to excel, He is very athletic, a quick and fluid skater, strong on the puck and effective in battles. A very consistent performer capable of making the game look easy with his deceptive smarts and skills. He generates chances at crucial times and is capable of changing the momentum of games. - Dan Marr, NHL Central Scouting
Michkov is one of the very best first-year draft eligibles I’ve ever seen from inside the offensive blue line. He has truly special offensive skill and hockey sense. His mind operates differently from other players in how he sees the play develop and always seems to find ways to figure into scoring chances despite not being the biggest or fastest. His mind is special, but he’s freakishly skilled with the puck too and can make elite stickhandling plays seem routine. He can make plays at a high level, but Michkov is a finisher who will score a lot of goals as a pro. His skating is more elusive than fast and I wouldn’t call him a high-energy type, although he gets to the net to create. He’s signed in the KHL through the 2025-26 season, but when he arrives in the NHL he projects as a game-breaking elite scoring winger in the NHL. - Corey Pronman, The Athletic
Smith is a versatile centerman with a high offensive floor and plays a reliable two-way game. Many scouts believe he’ll be valuable as a middle-six forward that can hold his own physically and set players up on the rush while putting up 20-plus goals consistently. And they especially love how he thinks the game.
It doesn’t take many viewings to know he’s deceptive and handles the puck well on the rush. Smith drives a lot of the play on his line and his confidence to make quick dekes is sky-high. Nothing specifically makes Smith stand out compared to someone such as Bedard or Matvei Michkov. Smith isn’t the most skilled player out there, and he isn’t going to blow you away speed-wise. But there are very few weaknesses in Smith’s game, and he can play just about any role needed quite reliably. - Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
And there we have it! And all that’s left is for you to cast your vote. First overall pick, who’ve you got?