Friday, December 1 2023

The 2023 NHL Draft is set to begin Wednesday night in Nashville, and there has already been plenty of intrigue surrounding the proceedings.

While the consensus is that the Chicago Blackhawks will snatch up Connor Bedard with the No. 1 pick, what happens beyond that remains to be seen.

Here are the latest happenings and information from Nashville –

The Blackhawks are not the only team looking to take on salary during draft week.

The Vegas Golden Knights, fresh off winning the Stanley Cup, have sent Reilly Smith to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a third-round draft pick.

Smith carries a $5 million cap hit, and his contract runs through the conclusion of the 2024-25 season.

Could the Ducks surprise with their No. 2 pick?

The consensus going into this week’s draft is that Michigan forward Adam Fantilli is going to be the second player taken, but could Ducks GM Pat Verbeek go in a different direction?

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Verbeek has other GM’s “guessing” about what he will do with the pick.

If the Ducks don’t take Fantilli, then there are likely three other options they could consider. They could grab Will Smith or Leo Carlsson, both of whom have been projected as top-five picks, or he could surprise the NHL world and draft Russian forward Matvei Michkov, even in spite of his contract issues in the KHL and the ongoing tensions with Russia over the war in Ukraine.


Could Nashville get into the top-10?

The Predators currently have the No. 15 pick in the draft that they are hosting, but according to Friedman, they could be angling to get into the top-10.

The challenge will be finding a team willing to move their pick. The Capitals could be angling for a gamebreaking player to take advantage of the twilight of Alex Ovechkin’s career, and the Detroit Red Wings do have two first-round picks, but likely aren’t wanting to move down six spots.

JT Compher set to hit free agency

Blackhawks fans always rally behind the local guy (think Ryan Hartman and Scott Darling), and they could potentially have another player to get behind.


According to The Athletic’s Peter Baugh, Colorado Avalanche center JT Compher is expected to hit free agency this summer after skating with the Avs since 2016.

Compher, who was born in Northbrook, had 17 goals and 35 assists last season for the Avalanche. He has 88 career goals in 423 games.

Amid reports that Alex DeBrincat isn’t interested in a long-term extension with the Ottawa Senators, trade speculation is heating up around the former Blackhawks winger.

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported that DeBrincat would welcome a trade to the Detroit Red Wings, while other reports have linked him to the Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars and even the Golden Knights after they were able to shed Reilly Smith’s contract.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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