2023 NHL draft prospects 40-21: Oscar Fisker Mølgaard, Beau Akey, Tom Wilander, Brayden Yager, and more
By Zach Laing2 months ago
Over the days heading into the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, we’re going to be diving into the Top 100 prospects as ranked by Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis.
We’re diving into prospects ranked from numbers 40 to 21 today: Oscar Fisker Mølgaard, Caden Price, Kasper Halttunen, Gracyn Sawchyn, Daniil But, Beau Akey, Charlie Stramel, David Edstrom, Nick Lardis, Gavin Brindley, Tom Willander, William Whitelaw, Otto Stenberg, Lukas Dragicevic, Oliver Bonk, Ethan Gauthier, Cal Ritchie, Mikhail Gulyayev, Quentin Musty, and Brayden Yager.
Fisker Mølgaard is a left-shot centre standing 6’0, 163 lbs and is committed to play next season in Sweden.
Scouting Report: “Mølgaard didn’t produce much in the SHL, but the fact that a 2005-born played more than 40 games against some of the best competition in Europe is nothing to sneeze at. He was excellent against U-20 competition, and, honestly, the smart, controlled center could end up becoming one of the biggest steals of the draft given his pro-ready tools.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Price, a 6’1, 181 lb left-shot defenceman, had a strong season with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets last year.
Scouting Report: “His game-to-game play varies, but when Price is on, he can take over and be the best player on any given shift. He’s a strong skater who throws hits with purpose and loves to rush the puck.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Halttunen spent last season in Finland, and is set to play in the Finnish Elite League next year. The 6’3, 207 lb. right-shot, right-winger scored in bunches in junior this year.
Scouting Report: “Halttunen produced nothing against men but was too good for HIFK’s U-20 team. He’s big, has a powerful wrister and has produced at all levels up until Liiga. Next year will be a big one. A bit more maturity will help take his game up another level next year.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Sawchyn has room to grow at 5’11, 165 lbs., but scored at a point per game in the WHL.
Scouting Report: “Sawchyn left the USNTDP in 2022 and used it as a chance to earn more ice time and opportunity with Seattle. After scoring at a point-per-game pace, it worked, but he’s just incredibly smart and deceptive with the puck. He’ll be a solid playmaker one day.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
But is a massive 6’5, 203 lb right-shot, left-winger who played junior hockey in Russia last year. He’s moving up the ranks to the KHL next year.
Scouting Report: “The big, skilled winger was a point-per-game player between Yaroslavl’s MHL teams this year and even scored a pair in 15 KHL games. He can do a lot of damage around the crease, both with his shot and how he pushes players around.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Akey, a 6’0, 170 lb. defenceman, saw a nice upstick in his offensive production this year with the OHL’s Barrie Colts.
Scouting Report: “While most eyes have been on Brandt Clarke in Barrie this year, it’s hard to ignore Akey jumping up 30 points this year. He does an excellent job of rushing the puck down the ice from his own zone and he panic-passes the puck far less these days.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Stramel, a 6’3, 216 lb. forward, played for the NCAA’s University of Wisconsin last year.
Scouting Report: “After a strong World Junior Championship performance, Stramel capped things off with a good second half with Wisconsin. There’s no shortage of teams that want the services of the 6-foot-3, 216-pound forward with a high hockey IQ. Sure, the offence didn’t follow, but he’s a pain in the rear end to play against.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Edstrom, a 6’3, 187 lb. centre, showed well in the Swedish J20 league last year scoring over a point per game.
Scouting Report: “Edstrom wasn’t previously ranked, so this is a huge jump, for sure. Getting to see him in person really opened my eyes to his skating and hockey IQ, and he’s a strong dual threat as a shooter and a passer. Edstrom has a big frame at 6-foot-3 and uses it to his advantage, and he scored everywhere he played this year. Scouts really sold me on him.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
This right-winger turned it on late last year with the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs while standing at 5’11, 168 lbs.
Scouting Report: “Late-season dominance can be very misleading, but there might not have been a more interesting forward down the stretch than Lardis. After putting up just 19 points in 36 games with the Petes, he blew up with 25 goals and 46 points in 33 games with Hamilton before going on a tear in the playoffs.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Brindley, a 5’9, 157 lb. right-winger, played last season with the University of Michigan. Small in stature, he put up some big numbers.
Scouting Report: “Small but feisty, Brindley went under the radar in Michigan, largely due to Fantilli’s heroics. He’s as competitive as it comes, and he’s a solid straight-line skater, but there’s still some room to improve from an overall puck skill and hockey sense standpoint. Another year of college will help.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Willander, a 6’1, 179 lb. defenceman, spent last year in the SHL, but is heading to North America to play at Boston University.
Date of Birth: February 9, 2005
Weight: 179 lbs
Scouting Report: “Willander’s consistency at the U-20 level was good, and I liked how confident he looked rushing the puck during the World Junior A Challenge, in particular. Willander has been one of the biggest risers in the top 60 for me, and I think he still has quite a bit of room to improve. He could be a nice pickup for a team that’s already in a contention window.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Whitelaw is committed to play for the University of Wisconsin next year. He was on a strong Youngstown Phantoms USHL team last year where the 5’9, 172 lb. centre scored a point per game.
Scouting Report: “Whitelaw hasn’t let his small frame stop him from putting a beating on goalies across the United States. His 5-foot-9 frame will be the thing that tears him down the most, but the skill is apparent.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Stenberg, a 5’11, 181 lb. centre, played in the J20 Swedish league last year and is set to play there against next year.
Scouting Report: “Scouts are completely mixed here. The highs are high. The lows are low. He looked out of place in the SHL but was excellent against kids his own age. The raw talent is there, especially as a 200-foot threat that can be dangerous around both nets. His biggest asset might be his play-reads.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Dragicevic spent last year with the WHL’s Tri-City Americans where the 6’1, 194 lb. defenceman scored over a point per game.
Scouting Report: “Dragicevic loves joining in on the attack and getting involved in the play any way he can. There aren’t many draft-eligible defenders that can set plays up like him, using as much available time as possible to make the correct play. He needs to work on his foot speed if he’s going to excel in the NHL.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Bonk has NHL bloodlines but plays defence unlike his father, Radek, who was a forward. The younger Bonk put up strong numbers with the OHL’s London Knights scoring 10 goals and 40 points.
Scouting Report: “The son of former NHLer Radek Bonk, Oliver played a ton of minutes this year thanks to his strong own-zone play. He’s capable of creating damage in the O-zone, too. He fits the mould of a modern-day defender who can do some of everything.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Gauthier spent last season with the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix, but was traded to the Drummondville Voltiguers in a massive deal involving three first round draft picks. The 5’11, 183 lb. right-winger scored 30 goals and 69 points last year.
Scouting Report: “One of my favourite players from a style perspective, Gauthier is fierce, aggressive and never stops moving. He saw his offensive output jump by 30 points to a nice 69 this year, establishing himself as a strong goal-scorer. His power-forward style suits him well in a middle-six role.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Ritchie, a 6’2, 187 lb. centre, was the assistant captain of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals where he scored 24 goals and 59 points in 59 games.
Scouting Report: “What Ritchie lacked in high-end offence this year, he made up for in extra defensive responsibility and more willingness to engage physically. And while he only had a point per game in the OHL, he decimated the Hlinka Gretzky with Canada before the season started. He’s going to be a dependable two-way center in the NHL.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Gulyayev, a 5’10, 170 lb. defenceman, split time between the KHL, VHL and MHL last season. He played the most in the MHL scoring two goals and 25 points there.
Scouting Report: “Gulyayev had confidence to burn in the MHL this year, looking like a man among kids. He uses the open space to his advantage and is fairly quick in bursts. He’ll bring value as a puck-moving transitional defender.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Musty, a 6’2, 190 lb. left-winger, spent last year with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves. The team’s assistant captain, he scored 26 goals and 78 points in 53 games.
Scouting Report: “While I’d love to see Musty produce a bit more, he has enough pro qualities – quick release, high top-speed and active scanning – that I’m confident in the right team turning him into a great top-six scoring winger. He’s just physically built like a tank, too.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Yager had a great 2022-23 season with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors scoring 28 goals and 78 points in 67 games.
Scouting Report: “Statistically, 78 points in a draft year is solid. He had 50 assists and showed he can be a highlight-reel machine. But there have been enough off-games to get some scouts concerned. He can play all situations, but he rarely engages physically and most scouts wanted to see more goals out of him. I like him as a complementary winger more than a center down the road.” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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