2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft
NHL Public Relations
April 18, 2023
NEW YORK (April 18, 2023) – Connor Bedard (North Vancouver, B.C.), a center from the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats, held his position as the No. 1 prospect for the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft as the NHL Central Scouting Bureau today released its final rankings presented by BioSteel. Bedard, who can become the first WHL player selected first overall since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011, finished the 2022-23 season with 71-72—143 in 57 GP to lead the WHL in goals, assists and points.
Bedard led all Canadian Hockey League players across the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in goals, points and points per game (min. 50 GP). He had more games in which he recorded five or more points in the 2022-23 regular season (10x) than he did games in which he failed to register a point (5x).
Bedard produced numbers the WHL has not seen in nearly a quarter of a century. His 71 goals were the most by a WHL player in 24 years (Pavel Brendl: 73 in 1998-99) and his 143 points the highest single-season total by a WHL skater in 27 years, when three players topped the number: Mark Deyell (159), Frank Banham (152) and Hnat Domenichelli (148).
At age 17, Bedard is already a two-time gold medal winner at the World Junior Championship including a breakout performance at the 2023 tournament where he led all skaters in goals (9), assists (14) and points (23). Those totals allowed him to set a Team Canada record for points in a single World Junior tournament and post the highest single-tournament total by any player at age 17 or younger. He was named Most Valuable Player, Best Forward and a Tournament All-Star at the 2023 tournament.
“Connor Bedard is one of those unique, elite talents who belongs in the same category as other generational talents before him such as Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby,” said Dan Marr, Vice President of NHL Central Scouting. “He has been in the spotlight for the past three years and during that time he has risen to impact and impress on every occasion while often being the youngest member of the team. He is an exceptional young man on and off the ice and has constantly shown all season long that he is the No. 1 prospect for the 2023 NHL Draft.”
“In addition to Bedard, there are many other intriguing high-end talents in the 2023 Draft Class,” says Marr. “They include elite prospects such as Adam Fantilli, the remarkable freshman from the University of Michigan who won the Hobey Baker Award while leading his school to a Big 10 title and topping all NCAA skaters in goals and points in what was a college season for the ages, as well as Leo Carlsson, an exceptional prospect and star in the making who performed like a veteran with Orebro in the Swedish Hockey League.”
CLICK HERE for #NHLStats: 10 Things to Know About Connor Bedard – a mix of on-ice achievements and off-ice storylines including the time he brought a hockey stick while on vacation in Hawaii and how a broken wrist helped make him a better player.
Adam Fantilli (Nobleton, Ont.), a standout freshman at the University of Michigan and another member of Team Canada’s gold-medal winning entry at the 2023 World Junior Championship, ranks as the No. 2 North American Skater. As a draft-eligible freshman, Fantilli (30-35—65 in 36 GP) led all U.S. College Hockey skaters in goals, points and points per game (1.81 P/GP) and was named the recipient of the 2022-23 Hobey Baker Award.
Joining Bedard and Fantilli among the top-five North American skaters are No. 3-ranked William Smith (Boston, Mass.), a center from USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program Under-18 Team; No. 4 Matthew Wood (Lethbridge, Alta.), a right wing for the University of Connecticut who grew up in Nanaimo, B.C. as a friend and teammate of Bedard; and No. 5 Ryan Leonard (Northampton, Mass.), a right wing from the USA Hockey NTDP Under-18 Team.
Leo Carlsson (Karlstad, Sweden), a center for Orebro of the Swedish Hockey League, ranks No. 1 among international skaters. Carlsson spent the entire 2022-23 season in Sweden’s top men’s league where he recorded 10-15—25 in 44 GP – the highest assist and point totals by a teenager in the Swedish Hockey League last season.
Players from six different countries make up the top-10 international skaters. Joining Carlsson in the top five are No. 2 Matvei Michkov (Perm, Russia), a right wing from the KHL in the Ska St. Petersburg organization; No. 3 Dalibor Dvorsky (Zvolen, Slovakia), a right wing playing for AIK in Sweden’s second division; No. 4 Eduard Sale (Brno, Czechia), a left wing for Brno in the Czech Extraliga; and No. 5 David Reinbacher (Hohenems, Austria), a defenseman for Kloten in Switzerland’s National League.
Carson Bjarnason (Brandon, Man.) of Brandon (WHL) is the No. 1-ranked North American goaltender and Alexander Hellnemo (born in Boblingen, Germany), a Swedish national who plays for Skelleftea’s junior team, tops the list of international goaltenders.
The final rankings feature the top 224 skaters and 32 goaltenders in North America as well as the top 144 skaters and 12 goaltenders internationally.
In its 48th year of operation, NHL Central Scouting provides evaluation and scouting of draft-eligible players to NHL member clubs. Headed by Vice President of Central Scouting Dan Marr, NHL Central Scouting employs eight full-time scouts throughout North America. To report on prospects playing internationally, the NHL employs the services of Goran Stubb and his staff at European Scouting Services based in Finland.
The 2023 NHL Draft is scheduled from June 28-29 and will be hosted by the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
For NHL Draft history visit https://records.nhl.com/draft.
2023 NHL CS Final Rankings – NA Skaters.pdf
2023 NHL CS Final Rankings – ITL Skaters.pdf
2023 NHL CS Final Rankings – NA Goalies.pdf
2023 NHL CS Final Rankings – ITL Goalies.pdf