NASHVILLE – Nine current and incoming NCAA players were selected in the first round of the 2023 National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft on Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The nine first-round selections represented the third-most in college hockey history, topped only by the 11 taken in both 2016 and 2007.
Michigan rising sophomore forward Adam Fantilli, the reigning Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner, was the first collegian taken, going third overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Incoming Boston College freshman forward Will Smith went one pick later to the San Jose Sharks, becoming the highest-drafted player in school history. He was joined in the first round by fellow incoming BC forwards Ryan Leonard (Washington Capitals) and Gabe Perreault (New York Rangers), who went eighth and 23rd overall, respectively. The trio were among the six selections from Hockey East, the most of any NCAA conference.
Incoming Boston University defenseman Tom Willander went 11th overall to the Vancouver Canucks, while Connecticut rising sophomore Matthew Wood, who topped the Huskies in scoring last season, went four picks later to the host Nashville Predators.
Minnesota incoming freshman Oliver Moore (Chicago Blackhawks), Wisconsin rising sophomore Charlie Stramel (Minnesota Wild) and Maine incoming freshman Bradly Nadeau (Carolina Hurricanes) rounded out the nine NCAA players taken in the opening round.
Also of note:
- It marked the third straight year in which multiple NCAA players were taken in the first five selections.
- Boston College and Minnesota have had at least one player selected in 28 consecutive drafts, the longest such streak in NCAA history. Minnesota enjoyed a 27-year streak from 1974 to 2000.
- Boston College’s trio of selections marked the second time in three years that a single school boasted at least three first-rounders. Michigan had a NCAA-record five players (Owen Power, Matty Beniers, Luke Hughes, Kent Johnson, Mackie Samoskevich) taken in the first round in 2021.
- There have been 61 first-round picks from the NCAA over the last eight NHL Drafts (2016-23) compared to 35 first-rounders over the previous eight drafts (2008-15).
- A total of 201 NCAA players all-time have been selected in the first round of the NHL draft, dating back to St. Lawrence’s Alex Campbell, who was taken second overall by Boston in 1964.
Rounds two through seven of the 2023 NHL Draft will be held Thursday beginning at 10 a.m. CT. Broadcast coverage will be provided by NHL Network and Sportsnet.
|NCAA Selections in the First Round|
|No.||Name||Pos.||NHL Team||NCAA Team||2022-23 Team|
|4||Will Smith||F||San Jose||Boston College||U.S. NTDP|
|8||Ryan Leonard||F||Washington||Boston College||U.S. NTDP|
|11||Tom Willander||D||Vancouver||Boston University||Rogle BK Jr.|
|19||Oliver Moore||F||Chicago||Minnesota||U.S. NTDP|
|23||Gabe Perreault||F||NY Rangers||Boston College||U.S. NTDP|
|30||Bradly Nadeau||F||Carolina||Maine||Penticton (BCHL)|