Here are some Overrated Players in the 2023 NHL Draft.
Related: Under the Radar Players
1. Calum Ritchie, Oshawa Generals, OHL
Some scouts feel like Calum Ritchie has the potential to be a top 5 player given his size, ability, and awareness. He’s just got that instinct and drive that just matches anybody else on the ice. As a rookie playing for the Oshawa General in the OHL, Calum scored 19 goals and 45 points in 65 regular season games, then had 4 goals and 7 points in 6 playoff games. Ritchie already has an NHL-caliber release on his shot, and it’s a deceptive shot too. Ritchie played a starring role on Canada’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup team that won Gold, scoring 4 goals and 10 points in 5 games. Many people expect him to be a star as he has all the raw physical traits that scouts look for in an NHL prospect and he has tremendous hockey smarts. However, I project him to be more of a power forward at the NHL level, rather than the star player that other scouts have him projects as.
2. Ryan Leonard, US National U18 Team, USDP
Ryan Leonard played prep school hockey at the prestigious Pope Francis in Springfield, MA. In the 2019-20 season, he scored 24 goals with seven assists, pacing all skaters with 31 points. Leonard followed up with another impressive showing in 2020-21 for Pope Francis, scoring 20 goals with seven assists, again leading the team in points (27). He spent this past season at the USNTDP in Plymouth, Michigan. Leonard saw time between the U17 and U18 clubs, finding a home on the U18 club; Between the two, Leonard tallied a combined 26 goals and 17 assists for 43 points in 62 games. He added ten goals and five assists in USDP Junior play as well. Leonard joined Team USA at the U18 World Juniors, scoring five goals with one assist in six games en route to a silver medal. Leonard is a tremendous 200-foot player with a great hockey IQ, which makes up for his lack of high-end offensive skills. Despite the fact, that he doesn’t put up that many points, his ability to play alongside star players make him a valuable asset. Some scouts have Leonard going in the middle of the first round, but I think that might be too early for him.
3. Kalan Lind, Red Deer Rebels, WHL
After scoring 6 points in 15 points in his rookie season with the Red Deer Rebels, Kalan Lind had a solid season in his first full season with the club, putting up 20 goals and 38 points
in 61 games, along with 6 points in 10 playoff games. Lind also played a minor role on Canada’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup Gold Winning team, scoring 1 point in 5 games. Kalan is an excellent skater and is capable of getting up and down the ice very easily due to his high-end speed, and he is also a great goal scorer. He scored 68 goals and 52 assists in 27 games in his draft year with the Swift Current Broncos U15 AA group. It was certainly an adjustment for him going from Midget AAA to the WHL, but he certainly started to learn how to score goals by the end of the season. Kalan is projecting to be a borderline first-round pick but he is more likely to be a second-round pick because it will take time for him to adjust to the NHL level.
4. Caden Price, Kelowna Rockets, WHL
In his first season with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL, Caden Price emerged as an impact defenseman right away, putting up 21 points in 47 games, while logging some heavy minutes
towards the end of the season. Price was part of Canada’s Gold Medal team in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where he put up 5 points in 5 games. Caden has already proven to be a very capable puck-moving defenseman due to his excellent Skating, and ability to transition the puck up and down the ice. Beyond his skating and puck-moving ability, Price is also a good passer, and can find his teammates even through the narrowest of windows. After Cameron Allen, the Rankings for defensemen vary drastically, so it is possible for Price to get taken as early as in the early 20s. Despite his obvious offensive upside, Price needs to prove that he is reliable defensively as well, in order for him to be a top 4 defenseman in the NHL. For this reason, it would be a risk to draft him in the first round.
5. Hunter Brzustewicz, Kitchener, OHL
Hunter Brzustewicz is currently the top-ranked US-born defenseman in the 2023 draft. He played on the US National U18 team, where he put up a solid 20 points in 55 games; he also played for the USNTDP Juniors of the USHL, tallying 9 points in 25 games. At the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, Brzustewicz was an Alternate Captain for Team USA, where he put up 3 points in 4 games, and 2 points in 5 games in the U18 WJC. Hunter is a Hit or miss pick for me because he has displayed flashes of his high offensive upside while playing a good defensive game, but his production has been spotty. Hunter has all the tools to be an effective top 4, two-way defenseman at the NHL level, but it will take some time as his offensive game is still pretty raw at this point in time. Brzustewicz will be playing for the Kitchener Rangers next season, where he looks to improve his skill set in hopes of becoming an effective two-way defenseman. Scouts are divided on Brzetwewicz, with some thinking he should a lock for the first round, while some see him as a raw talent, hence he should be a risky second-round pick.
6. Samuel Urban, Team Slovakia U18, Slovakia U20
Samuel Urban was a Standout for Slovakia at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, where Slovakia ended up winning a Silver in their loss to Canada. In the tournament, Urban had a 1-3 record with a 4.64 GAA and .889 SV%, which is pretty good considering Slovakia was outplayed the majority of the tournament. Urban spent the majority of the season with MSK Puchov U18, where he put up a 1.70 GAA and .947 SV% in 21 games, which was tops for all goaltenders in the Slovakia U18 league. In addition, he also played 10 games in the U20 league for Slovakia U18, where he put up a 2.05 GAA and .928 SV%; his .928 SV% was the best amongst goalies in the U20 league. Although Urban is a pretty good goaltending Prospect, he has yet to be tested against pro-level competition, as the highest level he has played at was in Slovakia2, and did not far too well in that league. Many scouts are very high on the Slovakian goaltender and have him going in the 3rd round but I think that might be too early, as there are better options available at that point in the draft.