Hockey Prophets

Hockey Prophets Top 32 Prospects For The 2023 NHL Draft


The 2023 NHL draft will always be known for Conor Bedard first and foremost, but it could also become one of the deepest group of high-scoring, NHL superstars of the last decade. Beyond the generational talents of Conor Bedard, there are two or three others--Fantilli, Carlsson, Michkov--who could easily be considered as first-overall talent in any other draft year, and another ten or so that could be top-five prospects. This is a great class that will likely be talked about for years to come.



Conor Bedard




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Height: 5’10 (177 cm)

Weight: 179 (81 kg)

Age At Draft: 17.95

Points per Game (normalized): 2.51

A/P Score: -5.29 (2nd)

Key Strength: Tremendous scoring ability

Key Question: Can he prove his generational potential?


There is so little left to say about Connor Bedard that has not already been published in a hundred different articles everywhere on the web. However, one key point that will not be mentioned anywhere else is Bedard’s Age/Production Score©, which in his case puts him second all-time among forwards, behind only Sidney Crosby and—remarkably—ahead of Conor McDavid. What that means is that of the nearly three thousand forwards in the dataset, only Crosby has a better overall draft-year point production normalized by age. Better than McDavid, better than Patrick Kane, better than Aleksander Barkov, better than Auston Matthews.

Bedard's off-the-charts scoring drive and competitive nature are bested only by his actual scoring ability. His shot comes ripping off the blade of stick with such devastating speed and accuracy that many times goalies are just frozen, seemingly hoping that the puck will just hit them. He can slip through traffic with or without the puck, finds the empty gaps in coverage, and the punishes every small mistake that his opponents make.  

One aspect of Bedard’s game often overshadowed by his raw scoring ability is his physical play. Despite his size, Bedard can often be seen battling against much bigger players at both ends of the ice. He uses his elite balance and strength on his skates to leverage bigger players out of position, and his non-stop effort means that he can often outwork his opponents and again take advantage of the little spaces he creates.

Bedard is a complete hockey player with a generational-level skillset and work ethic, and no amount of description can adequately encompass just how good he is.


Brian’s Favorite In-Game Note: “Starts in his own end, hits the blue line with speed, dekes a defender, then snaps a shot from the circle that beats the goaltender over his glove for his first WHL goal.”


Hockey Prophets Top 32 Prospects For The 2022 NHL Draft


Below are the top 32 prospects for the 2022 NHL Draft as ranked by Hockey Prophets. The 2022 class has an interesting mix of talents at the top end, and a predominant European flavor. There are some true two-way skilled forwards at the top of the list, several high-quality transition defenseman and a sniper or two thrown in for good measure. Slovakia has sent one of their best draft classes in years, with three potential top 20 players, and perhaps as much as half of the top 20 will be comprised of European players. What makes this draft class most interesting, however, are a handful of highly skilled forwards that could be drafted as high as the top ten, or fall into the second or third round. Critics say they are too small, not dynamic enough on their skates, too selfish or too one-dimensional. Supporters say they are so skilled, so smart and have such a dynamic talent on the ice that failing to draft them in the first round could ultimiately seen as an organizational mistake. What do the Hockey Prophets think? Take a look below and find out. Enjoy!


Notes on metrics:

Age At Draft is measured against June 30th of the draft year, regardless of when the draft is actually held. In this way, the age of each player can be measured with the same standard.

A/P Score is a measure of the players age and league-normalized production, scored on a standard distribution (forwards and defenseman rated separately). As such, the smaller the number, the better. The top score overall in the forward database belongs to Sidney Crosby (-5.89) and the best score for defenders is Ryan Ellis's -4.66. The rank of each player in the Draft Year Database is shown in parentheses (ranking out of more than 3,400 players). Note that for some players, the A/P score may be worse than expected due to the league in which they played. For example, normalizing production in the DEL is difficult due to the relatively rarity of draft-eligible players spending the season playing in the German men's league.



Shane Wright




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Height: 6'0 (183 cm)

Weight: 199 (90 kg)

Age At Draft: 18.48

Points per Game (normalized): 1.49

A/P Score: -2.16 (80th)

Key Strength: Excellent hockey attributes in all categories

Key Question: Is the high floor enough to warrant the first overall pick?


A lot has already been written and said about Shane Wright, who started his OHL career at 15 years of age after receiving the league's approval for exceptional status. Shortly thereafter he was christened the all-but unanimous choice to be the top overall prospect for the 2022 draft, and his early results confirmed the initial adoration. Kingston named Wright an alternate captain in his rookie season and he subsequently put up 66 points in 58 games, was named to the OHL First All-Rookie team, won the Emms Family Award as the OHL's top rookie, and won CHL Rookie of the Year. Then the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the OHL, and Wright--like many others--lost his entire pre-draft season. However, in April 2021, Wright returned to hockey and captained Canada's team to a gold medal in the U18 World Championships while scoring 14 points (with nine goals and five assists) in just five games. Wright then banged out 32 goals and 62 assists in 2021-2022, for 94 total points in 63 games as captain for Kingston. However, despite finishing second on his team in scoring, Wright's 32 goals were only enough to rank him fifth in goal scoring among his Frontenac teammates, and now hockey analysts across the country are wondering if Wright is still the clear cut top prospect of the 2022 draft. 

Wright brings a complete hockey skillset onto the rink every game: size, speed, hands, determination, intelligence, physicality, a sniper's shot and as much NHL certainty as a player can carry. 

Wright's straightline skating stride mechanics are powerful, with long leg extension and a low, quick return, giving him excellent speed over distance. In addition, his leg strength and cooridination means that his first step acceleration is also top level. Strong edgework gives him maneuverability and quickness in turns, and he has a solid foundation for balance. Whatever he needs from his feet he gets, whether that means an immediate change of direction or speed to the corner for a loose puck. Wright uses his skating ability in so many facets of his game: speed on the forecheck or backcheck to close gaps to the puck carrier and pressure them into mistakes; in traffic to get to open space first; stabiity on his feet to battle at the net or along the walls, quickness to unsettle defenders. He is not the fastest in his draft class, and not the most agile, but few skaters in the class can match his combination of power, speed and dexterity. 

As good as his feet are, Wright's hands are better. He is an excellent puck distributor who holds pucks in a loaded position until defenders commit, then he fires crisp passes to his teammates' sticks. He favors a deceptive backhand pass when carrying the puck so that he appears to be attacking one lane, then--like moving a queen across the chessboard--he changes the angle of attack before the defenders can adjust. He also uses his feet and patience to buy extra time, drawing in defenders and then stepping out to create a new passing lane. Another major weapon in Wright's passing arsenal is his formidible shot, which demands attention from goaltenders and defenders and allows teammates more time and space to free themselves for scoring chances. Wright's excellent awareness and vision means that he knows exactly where he wants the play to go, and he consistently puts the puck where it needs to be to execute his plan.

Wright's shot brings his game up to a still higher level, with a wrist shot that has as much power as most prospects's slap shot, andis far more accurate. His laserbeam wrist shot regularly beats goaltenders from the top of the circles, but he does far more damage closer to the net by moving into scoring positions without the puck. The entire picture is that of a player who can dominate an offensive zone with his hands, his feet and his anticipation, creating problems for the defense that they simply cannot solve. He is a creative puck possession player that can pull apart an opposing defense brick by brick.

On the defensive side of the puck, Wright relies on his feet, work rate and intelligence. He is quick on the forecheck to smother defenders trying to break out, and fast on the backcheck with excellent lines to track down puck carriers. In his own end, he uses intelligent positioning to disrupt attacks, and although he is not a crunching hitter in open ice, along the boards he will lean into puck battles and shoulder opponents off the puck. He supports the play all over the ice, and sees ice time in all situations. He is a killer on faceoffs, consistently winning draws in his own end. His support of the play wherever he is on the ice, is without match among his peers. 

In summation, Wright is simply the best hockey player in this draft class and although some of the players ranked below him may be better at certain aspects of the game, Wright's sum-of-the-parts hockey ability is unparalleled this year.

Brian's favorite in-game note: "Dumps the puck carrier with a good, clean hit. What can this kid not do perfectly? And as I wrote that note, he blocked a shot."


Jordan Dumais Might Be The Most Underappreciated Player In This Year’s Draft Class

At 109 points in 68 games, Jordan Dumais has joined the highly exclusive club of 100-point Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft-year scorers. Dumais ended his pivotal season with 39 goals and 70 assists, good enough for sixth all-time in draft-year scoring among the nearly 1,500 eligible players since the 2000-2001 season. The five players above him on the list (Sidney Crosby, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Derick Brassard, Jason Pominville and Alex Lafreniere) have a combined 3,847 NHL games played with 3,066 total NHL points scored, and of them, only Pominville (55th!) was selected outside of the top ten. Dumais has scored more points in his draft year than previous NHL stars and first-round picks like Jonathan Huberdeau (3rd overall), Nikolai Ehlers (9th), Claude Giroux (22nd) and Pierre-Luc Dubois (3rd).

Yet despite the elite level of scoring and play that Dumais has shown this season, he still appears to be wildly underappreciated by the draft-watching community.