2023 NHL Top-5 Mock Draft 1.0

The NHL Draft Lottery is behind us and the Chicago Blackhawks were the big winners. They will have a chance to select Connor Bedard with their top pick and at this point, after Bedard is anyone's guess. Now with the top-16 teams set in stone, here's our first mock draft for the 2023 selections:

1. Chicago Blackhawks: Connor Bedard (Regina Pats, WHL)

The Blackhawks rebuild just got expedited by at least two years as Bedard is a generational talent and has the potential to make an impact in his first season. One problem, the Blackhawks have absolutely nobody else. It will be interesting to see what free agents sign in Chicago this summer now that Bedard has landed.

2. Anaheim Ducks: Adam Fantilli (Michigan University, NCAA)

A huge consolation prize to Bedard, the poor Anaheim Ducks have now missed out on Sidney Crosby and now Bedard, but get a chance to select Adam Fantilli from the University of Michigan. Fantilli has potential to be a franchise leader and a number one center, coming off a Hobey Baker season as the NCAA's best player, something that's quite the feat for a freshman. The Ducks fanbase will be disappointed by the news, but Fantilli will quickly make them forget.

3. Columbus Blue Jackets: Leo Carlsson (SHL)

One player who is certainly NHL ready immediately, Leo Carlsson is a Swedish star who continues to put up points. Some of his best attributes are his size and work ethic and as he's been playing against pro players, it will be an easy jump for Carlsson to the NHL. The number one center the Jackets need so bad is on the way.

4. San Jose Sharks: Will Smith (USNTDP)

A player who continues to break records, Will Smith has all the tools. He put up an impressive 51 goals and 127 points this season and will be everything the Sharks need and more in the very near future. Not likely to make the jump immediately, if the Sharks have patience Smith could be in their top-six by 2025/26.

5. Montreal Canadiens: Ryan Leonard (USNTDP)

A player perfect for the re-tooling Canadiens, Leonard is a sniper who plays the game the right way and very hard. Leonard plays on the line and on the edge but is smart enough to stay within himself. Canadiens fans will quickly fall in love with Leonard's game, this could be the perfect fit for Montreal.

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