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Button Ranks Smith Over Michkov, Has Mukhamadullin in Top-50 NHL Prospects



Credit: Dean Tait/Hockey Shots

Craig Button has ranked two San Jose Sharks prospects in his list of the top-50 NHL-affiliated prospects.

Will Smith—the Sharks’ fourth-overall pick in 2023—was ranked third, behind only Anaheim’s Cutter Gauthier and Carolina’s Alexander Nikishin. Smith, who has 16 goals and 46 points in just 29 games with Boston College this season, was also listed as an ‘elite’ player on Button’s list.

Of note, Button had Smith just ahead of high-scoring winger Matvei Michkov, who’s enjoying a spectacular KHL season. For some San Jose Sharks fans, Michkov and not Smith was the popular choice for the No. 4 pick. The Philadelphia Flyers took Michkov at No. 7.

Shakir Mukhamadullin, ranked 31st by Button, has shown glimpses of greatness in his brief NHL stint and AHL All Star-worthy season. The 6-foot-4, 22-year-old defenseman has six goals and 27 points in 45 games in his first full AHL season. Button projected him as a future top-four defensemen in his list.

Of course, there were snubs, notably Quentin Musty, who seems to be outplaying his 26th-overall in 2023 draft slot by tallying 28 goals and 69 points in 39 OHL games as an 18-year-old.

But it’s good to see Smith and Mukhamadullin get their due!


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