Reaction to the 1st round of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft

Photo credit:Elliotte Friedman / Twitter
Liam Horrobin
11 months ago
The first round of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft is in the bag.
There was no surprise with who went 1st overall but after that teams decided to go off script. Considering we are all Edmonton Oilers fans, this was a draft that had some unexpected turns and left us wondering what was going on, especially early on.
Tomorrow is going to be more exciting for Oilers fans, but for now, let’s dive into a few things that happened in round one.

The Connor Bedard Era Begins

To the shock of nobody, Connor Bedard goes 1st overall to the Chicago Blackhawks and now becomes the new face of that historic franchise. Bedard’s level of hype is the same as when Connor McDavid entered the league in 2015. He is an exciting player that is going to create endless moments in NHL. When you see him in your team’s rink just sit back and enjoy the magic.

Pat Verbeck Shakes It Up

I never thought I would say this, but thank you to the Anaheim Ducks. Pat Verbeek steps up at 2nd overall and goes with Leo Carlsson, despite everyone saying Adam Fantilli was destined to become a Duck. Many might remember something similar happening in the 2013 Draft when Aleksander Barkov went 2nd to Florida and Seth Jones dropped to Nashville at four. Fantilli didn’t fall as far though going 3rd to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Ducks really couldn’t go wrong with the pick – both Carlsson and Fantilli project to be excellent NHLers one day.

Michkov and Ovi were so close

Matvei Michkov’s saga coming into the draft was a wild one. He was arguably the 2nd best player in the draft yet nobody knew where he was going because of his KHL contract. The running joke was that Alex Ovechkin was the only man that could get him out of that KHL deal and to the NHL early. Well, we now will never know after the Philadelphia Flyers went ahead and ruined it by taking one pick ahead of Washington. Instead, we get to see Michkov and Ovechkin possibly go head to head in the Metropolitan Division, if Ovi is still around when the newest Flyer makes his way to North America.


Yotes Gonna Yote

The Arizona Coyotes showed up in style to the NHL Entry Draft, with their entire staff wearing the same Yotes-coloured suites. The suits weren’t the only talking point on the night for Arizona after they took Dmitry Simashev with the 6th overall pick. The biggest shock wasn’t that they took Simashev but it was that Michkov wasn’t the 1st Russian off the board. Did the Coyotes reach on this one? Steven Ellis had Simashev 15th on his final draft rankings and third defenceman on his list. Then with the 12th pick, they took another Russian in Daniil But. It just feels so Arizona to take two Russians but neither was Michkov, despite being available.

Trades?! Never heard of them! said the NHL

We were teased with trades but gifted with nothing. Despite the St Louis Blues having three 1st round picks, Alex Debrincat being available and the Montreal Canadiens supposedly dangling the 5th overall pick, we got zero trades. Was this draft class just that good or did nobody want to give up to get something in return?

Who’s Still Available For Edmonton?

Quickly before you leave us, let’s take a look at who is still available and could possibly become an Edmonton Oiler tomorrow.
21. Andrew Cristall, LW (Kewlona, WHL)
22. Riley Heidt, C (Prince George, WHL)
27. Gavin Brindley, LW (University of Michigan, NCAA)
28. Gracyn Sawchyn, C/RW (Seattle, WHL)
29. Ethan Gauthier, RW (Sherbrook, QMJHL)
32. Oscar Fisker Mølgaard, C (HV71, SHL)
33. Lukas Dragicevic, D (Tri-City, WHL)
34. Nick Lardis, LW (Hamilton, OHL)
37. Kasper Halttunen, RW (HIFK, Liiga)
38. William Whitelaw, C (Youngstown, USHL)
If you want to see more players that could possibly be taken with the 56th overall pick, head over to Daily Faceoff and take a look at Steven Ellis’ list.

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