Greetings readers! My name is Chris, I’m a new contributor here at Fantasy Six Pack. And I'm excited to bring you my 2023 NHL Draft Steals.
But don't worry, I'm not some random rube. I’ve participated in fantasy hockey leagues for just about fifteen years now, and once upon a time wrote for Dobber Hockey. I hope to provide you with helpful insight throughout this coming season in your quest for league dominance.
Soon enough, you’ll be preparing for your fantasy hockey drafts. And now that the real-life NHL draft is complete, let’s take a look at a few players who may provide great value down the line.
The 2023 NHL draft has been compared to the heralded 2003 draft for quite some time with regard to its depth. Take a look at 2003's names and you’ll see a bevy of round-one selections who went on to become prolific everyday NHL players. Whilst we can't look into a crystal ball to see exactly what the future holds, the following names at the very least should tantalize fantasy managers.
2023 NHL Draft Steals
Matvei Michkov, RW
7th overall: Philadelphia Flyers
NHL arrival: 2026
Matvei Mitchkov scores a Michigan Goal!
Russia U18 vs. Germany U18
Our coverage of the 2021 @IIHFHockey U18 World Championship continues throughout the weekend!
— HockeyTV (@MyHockeyTV) April 30, 2021
The perfect selection for a team at the beginning of a rebuild. Michkov was the second-best talent in this draft, but his KHL contract through 2026 scared teams off.
Make no mistake, this is an offensive dynamo who could very well become the actual best player in this class. Touted as the best Russian prospect since Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin in 2004, if this was baseball he would be what is called a five-tool player.
Much like the wait by the Minnesota Wild for Kirill Kaprizov to arrive, once he’s here the impact will be instantaneous.
Brayden Yager, C
14th overall: Pittsburgh Penguins
NHL arrival: 2025/26
Sooner rather than later the Pittsburgh Penguins will lay arguably the greatest core of all time to rest. Replacements for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin must be found and Yager fits the bill. A sniper with a lethal release, strong/quick skating, and disciplined play speak to number one center potential.
To land this player in the middle of the round makes for an excellent first pick by newly appointed GM, Kyle Dubas. Coupled with the imperative need to find centers to replace the faces of the franchise, this pick may turn out to be a home run. Yager will need to gain mass to have a chance in the faceoff dot but the shot alone is worth bringing him into your fantasy prospect pool.
Axel Sandin Pellikka, D
17th overall: Detroit Red Wings
NHL arrival: 2025
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) June 29, 2023
The most offensively gifted defenseman in the draft at seventeenth overall sounds pretty good if you ask me.
Defenders tend to take longer to reach their potential but with Moritz Seider already in Detroit, the Wings won’t have to rush the Swede's development whatsoever. The defensive side of his game absolutely needs work. However, Axel projects as a top-pair blueliner with his John Klingberg-like ability to walk the blue line.
Add in his right-handedness which is always in high demand and Hockeytown is sitting pretty at the position with Seider, Simon Edvinsson, and Pellikka.
Gabriel Perreault, RW
23rd overall: New York Rangers
NHL arrival: 2026
As far as talent level and team needs, this may be the best “fit” pick. With teams picking for their respective needs ahead of them, New York had an offensive force fall in their lap. Perrault was the third wheel to the absolutely dominant U18 USA Hockey National Team Development Program top line, alongside Will Smith (4th overall) and Ryan Leonard (8th overall). Moreover, he is actually the program’s most prolific scorer of all time in one season (132.)
That’s right, he scored more points in a single season than Auston Matthews (117), Patrick Kane (102), and Jack Hughes (112). Son of longtime NHL'er Yanic Perreault, what he lacks in fleet footedness he makes up for with his cerebral play. Touted as the “smartest” player in the draft by ESPN analysts, Gabe fills a big hole at the RW position in Manhattan.
Quentin Musty, LW
26th overall: San Jose Sharks
NHL arrival: 2025
Quentin Musty is a SHARK! ?? pic.twitter.com/wmY6Ur9JEW
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) June 29, 2023
After the departure of Timo Meier, San Jose has a large hole to fill on the wing. They get a player in the Swiss power forward's mold with Musty. He’s a multi-faceted winger, with size, and an edge to his game. But he also possesses adequate skill plus great vision, making for an intriguing prospect. Because of the Sharks' glaring need for talent, he may very well make it to the dance sooner rather than later.
The Sharks aren’t going to be great anytime soon. But upon Musty's arrival, he will be afforded more opportunities to thrive than on a deep-contending squad.
None of these players are expected to make an immediate impact at the NHL level in 2023-24. For those of you in dynasty/keeper leagues with prospect slots, you'd benefit to nab at least one of these 2023 NHL Draft steals in your incoming drafts.
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