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Soon, all 32 NHL teams will have more than 200 collective opportunities to welcome the latest crop of young talent into their ranks through the seven rounds of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. The decisions these teams make will have lasting effects on their futures, for better or for worse, and provide an exclamation point for hundreds of young athletes who have spent years working incredibly hard to hear their names called.
There are many important questions that every front office will have to answer in the draft. There are also many important questions that fans have about the draft. This is where we come in.
When Is the NHL Draft?
The 2023 NHL Entry Draft will happen over the course of two days this summer. It will begin with only the first round on Tuesday, June 28 at 7 p.m. ET. The other six rounds of the draft will occur on Wednesday, June 29 starting at 11 a.m. ET and be an all-day affair. It will be the 61st NHL Entry Draft.
2023 NHL Draft FAQs
1: How Can I Watch the Draft?
In the United States, the first round of the 2023 draft will air live on ESPN and ESPN+. Rounds 2 through 7 on June 29 will be shown on NHL Network and ESPN+. SportsNet and TVA Sports will carry coverage in Canada.
2: Where Is the 2023 NHL Draft?
The 2023 NHL Draft will be held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the second time ever that the city has housed the event, previously welcoming the hockey world back in 2003. Now exactly 20 years later, the Predators are again the hosts of the NHL Draft.
3: What Happened in the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery?
On May 8, the NHL held its draft lottery to determine the order of this summer’s top-two selections. The Chicago Blackhawks were the lucky winners, jumping up from third position to claim the No. 1 overall pick. The Anaheim Ducks, who had the best odds after finishing last in the 2022-23 regular season standings, dropped back one to the No. 2 spot, and the Columbus Blue Jackets also moved down one to No. 3. Every other entrant remained in the same slot they had before the lottery.
Every non-playoff team was included in the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery. These were their weighted odds, including their probability of leaping up into the top pick:
1: Anaheim Ducks, 18.5% (25.5% at No. 1 overall)
2: Columbus Blue Jackets, 13.5% (13.5% at No. 1 overall)
3: Chicago Blackhawks, 11.5% (11.5% at No. 1 overall)
4: San Jose Sharks, 9.5% (9.5% at No. 1 overall)
5: Montreal Canadiens, 8.5% (8.5% at No. 1 overall)
6: Arizona Coyotes, 7.5% (7.5% at No. 1 overall)
7: Philadelphia Flyers, 6.5% (6.5% at No. 1 overall)
8: Washington Capitals, 6.0% (6.0% at No. 1 overall)
9: Detroit Red Wings, 5.0% (5.0% at No. 1 overall)
10: St. Louis Blues, 3.5% (3.5% at No. 1 overall)
11: Vancouver Canucks, 3.0% (3.0% at No. 1 overall)
12: Ottawa Senators, 2.5% (0% at No. 1 overall)
13: Buffalo Sabres, 2.0% (0% at No. 1 overall)
14: Pittsburgh Penguins, 1.5% (0% at No. 1 overall)
15: Nashville Predators, 0.5% (0% at No. 1 overall)
16: Calgary Flames, 0.5% (0% at No. 1 overall)
4: What Is the Draft Order?
The entire draft order will not be determined until after the Stanley Cup Playoffs have concluded and a champion is declared, but we do know most of it at this point. The draft order in the first round will be as follows:
1: Chicago Blackhawks
2: Anaheim Ducks
3: Columbus Blue Jackets
4: San Jose Sharks
5: Montreal Canadiens
6: Arizona Coyotes
7: Philadelphia Flyers
8: Washington Capitals
9: Detroit Red Wings
10: St. Louis Blues
11: Vancouver Canucks
12: Arizona Coyotes (via Ottawa Senators)
13: Buffalo Sabres
14: Pittsburgh Penguins
15: Nashville Predators
16: Calgary Flames
17: Detroit Red Wings (via New York Islanders)
18: Winnipeg Jets
19: Chicago Blackhawks (via Tampa Bay Lightning)
20: Seattle Kraken
21: Minnesota Wild
22: Columbus Blue Jackets (via Los Angeles Kings)
23: New York Rangers
24: Nashville Predators (via Edmonton Oilers)
25: St. Louis Blues (via Toronto Maple Leafs)
26: San Jose Sharks (via New Jersey Devils)
27: Colorado Avalanche
28: Toronto Maple Leafs (via Boston Bruins)
29: St. Louis Blues (via Dallas Stars) or Vegas Golden Knights
30: Carolina Hurricanes
31: St. Louis Blues (via Dallas Stars) or Vegas Golden Knights or Montreal Canadiens (via Florida Panthers)
32: St. Louis Blues (via Dallas Stars) or Vegas Golden Knights or Montreal Canadiens (via Florida Panthers)
The order in the other six rounds of the draft will mirror that of the first round, except at the start – the Ducks, Blue Jackets, and Blackhawks will have the initial three picks of every other round this summer, in that order, as the lottery only affects the organization for the first selections of the draft.
5: Who Will Be Picked First?
Connor Bedard is the popular choice to be the top pick in the 2023 NHL Draft. The forward born in North Vancouver, British Columbia, has some seriously lofty expectations heading into his draft.
As a member of the Regina Pats, Bedard has torn the WHL apart, amassing 71 goals and 72 assists for 143 points in 57 regular season games in the 2022-23 season, plus 20 points in seven playoff outings. His numbers this year bettered his ones from last, which consisted of 51 goals and 49 assists for 100 points. Bedard also holds the Canadian records for most career points (36) and goals (17) at World Juniors, both set in 2023.
At just 17 years old (he will be 18 on July 17), Bedard is considered a generational-level talent, and with the Blackhawks winning the lottery, it appears as though he will be donning the red and black of Chicago when he begins his National Hockey League journey.
6: Who Are the Top Prospects in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft?
There are plenty of other players with hype around them in this draft class.
Adam Fantilli won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the best college player this past season. The Michigan forward had the most goals (30) and points (65) of anyone in the NCAA. Before Michigan, Fantilli played two seasons for the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League (USHL), where he amassed 55 goals and 55 assists for 110 points across the two regular season campaigns.
Leo Carlsson put up 10 goals and 15 points in 44 regular season contests for Örebro HK in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) in 2022-23. The 18-year-old first appeared in the SHL during the 2021-22 season, leapfrogging out of the club’s under-20 outfit as a teenager. Carlsson was also important to Sweden’s gold medal triumph at the 2022 World Under-18 Championship.
Will Smith is yet to play a second of collegiate hockey, but scouts love what they’ve seen from the North American skater already. In total, Smith scored 66 goals and assisted on 103 more for 169 total points across 80 games in 2022-23 with the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP). The center won MVP at the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship in April after potting nine goals and 20 points in seven games while helping the United States claim gold. He is committed to play at Boston College next season.
Matvei Michkov scored 70 goals in the 2019-20 season at the Russia U-16 level, then set a record for the most goals in the MHL (the KHL’s minor league) by a 16-year-old the following campaign with 38. He hasn’t put up numbers that gawdy since, but Michkov is still viewed as one of the best prospects in the 2023 NHL Draft. The winger made his KHL debut in 2021-22 and played in another 30 of the league’s contests in 2022-23. He is slated to play for SKA St. Petersburg in 2023-24.
Dalibor Dvorsky had a combined 30 goals and 31 assists for 61 points in 43 games for Swedish club AIK’s under-20 team in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 campaigns. At the 2023 IIHF U18 World Championship, Dvorsky finished sixth in points among all players in the competition with 13 in seven games, leading the way for Slovakia to finish in fourth, the country’s best result in the event since 2003. He will play for AIK in Sweden’s HockeyAllsvenskan this coming campaign.
7: Who Could Be Traded on Draft Day?
Draft day is always hot with trades. Last year, the Senators gave their first-round pick – the No. 7 overall selection – and two more draft picks to the Blackhawks in exchange for Alex DeBrincat, which was one of seven trades made during the first round. James Neal became a Predator during the 2014 draft, P.K. Subban moved to New Jersey in the midst of the 2019 draft’s second day, and the Jackets and Blackhawks completed a massive deal during the 2021 draft to send Seth Jones to Chicago. It’s a near guarantee that something will go down when the draft comes around.
You can never know for sure who will be included in these deals, even though you know they’re coming. But context can give us some clues. A player like John Gibson, Anaheim’s long-time goalie who isn’t getting any younger or cheaper while the Ducks are undergoing a complete rebuild, is ripe for the picking. The Canucks were major sellers at the deadline, and it would make sense for that to continue with players like Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller looking like valuable trade bait available to the front office to dangle. With unrestricted free agency just one calendar year away, Winnipeg could look to get something in return for Pierre Luc-Dubois this summer before his uncertain future becomes a further distraction.
8: Who Won the 2022 Lottery?
The Blackhawks were this year’s big winners, but it was the Canadiens the last time around. Montreal won the lottery for the first time in its history in 2022, fully capitalizing on having the best odds at the No. 1 pick. The Habs used the opportunity to make Juraj Slafkovsky the first selection of the 2022 NHL Draft. In 39 NHL games as a rookie this past season, Slafkovsky netted six goals and chipped in four assists for 10 points.
9: Where Will the 2024 NHL Draft Be?
The location for the 2024 NHL Draft has not yet been determined. The NHL announced Nashville as its 2023 host in August 2022, so it is likely that later this summer is when we will learn where next year’s draft will be held.
Put Your Hockey Knowledge to the Test!
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