Several surprises in Craig Button's new prospect rankings, including one in the top five
BY MARCO MARCH 29, 2023 (9:26)
We're talking about a draft that has a lot of talent and the CH could have two picks in the top 15, which would be excellent. Unless they win the lottery, they will probably have to say goodbye to a top 3 pick. The CH has been too good this year for that to happen. A 5th-8th pick could still yield a great player, especially if Craig Button's last prospect ranking is any indication.
The top 4 remains the same. Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson and Matvei Michkov. Michov could slip since he is Russian and won't be making the jump to the NHL right away, but the other three will certainly not be available at #5 anymore.
But that's where we get the first surprise on Button's list. Because Eduard Sale is at #5 ahead of Will Smith and Zach Benson. Sale isn't in the top five of any other major list, even sometimes being left out of the top 10.
Next, young defender Axel Sandin-Pellikka is in the top 10. He has the advantage of being seen as the best defenseman of the crop by many, which could boost his popularity by a lot. It would be very surprising to see a top 10 without a defenseman, even if the forwards are excellent.
The right-handed defenseman that many see landing in Montreal, David Reinbacher is ranked 26th. Some are talking about selecting him with the Canadiens' top 10 pick. If this is really the case, it would mean that the Tricolore is extremely confident in the young man's abilities and that they see something special in him. That would still be a huge risk.
Also, young Dalibor Dvorsky, who was in the top 10 of some lists at Christmas, is now at #19. He could be an interesting pick with the Panthers draft or with a 3rd round pick, if Kent Hughes is able to pick up another.
Finally, the highest ranked Quebecer is still Ethan Gauthier, who is ranked 15th.