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Get To Know Michkov, Carlsson, Smith Off the Ice

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Credit: MHL

We’ve learned a lot about Leo Carlsson, Matvei Michkov, and Will Smith on the ice, but what are they like off the ice?

The San Jose Sharks have the fourth-overall pick of the 2023 NHL Draft, putting Will Smith, Matvei Michkov, and Leo Carlsson in their crosshairs.

It’s presumed that Connor Bedard and Adam Fantilli will go first and second, respectively. Then, the Columbus Blue Jackets will the No. 3 pick. They’ve said they’re looking for a center:

Blue Jackets on No. 3 Pick: ‘We will get a center’

Anyway, all three prospects have fun personalities and interests that are sure to fit in with the young core of the San Jose Sharks.

Will Smith

The American forward has been shooting up Draft boards recently. Especially, after Smith’s tournament-leading 20 points helped the United States win gold at the U18 World Junior Championships. Those 20 points tied Jack Hughes for the American record at the tournament.

Smith is behind teammate Gabe Perreault for second-most points in a single season for the USNTDP. Smith and the gold medal-winning team recently took in a Detroit Tigers game together.

The 18-year-old announced his commitment to Boston College two years ago. According to The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler, Smith is the 14th member of the Smith family to attend BC. Interestingly, no one in the Massachusetts-based Smith clan has ever played hockey seriously.

Off the ice, Smith can often be found pictured with his dog Rigney (Rigs) Smith. By often, I mean all the time. Rigs even has his own Instagram:

Smith even makes sure to take Rigs on the ice every once in a while.

He also paid a touching tribute to his childhood dog Molly a few years ago:

Matvei Michkov

In 2020-21, Matvei Michkov put up 12 goals and 16 points in seven games at the U18s at just 16 years-old. The Russian winger also put up 38 points in 22 MHL (Russian junior league) games and slotted into 13 KHL games during the 2021-22 season. Then, he put up 20 points in 30 games in the KHL this past season, second all-time in league scoring by a draft-eligible, behind only Vladimir Tarasenko’s 24 points in 42 games in 2009-10.

There’s no doubt that Michkov is a hockey prodigy, but worries about how long he’s contracted to KHL side SKA (until 2025-26), Russia’s increased isolation from the West because of their president Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine, and some whispers about character concerns are damaging his stock.

Scouts Talk Michkov, Carlsson, Smith’s Strengths, Weaknesses

The 18-year-old does appear committed to coming to North America eventually. As he said in a recent interview with NHL.com: “It is my dream to play in the NHL one day. But for now, I will continue to work on my game and develop as a player at home.”

Regardless of when he makes that jump, editing Michkov into a San Jose Sharks jersey will not be difficult. His HC Sochi jerseys already in an eerily similar color scheme to the Sharks.

Like Smith, Michkov is a big fan of dogs as well:

The youngster also took a sunny vacation last season while sporting a bold outfit.

Michkov has also trained with Russian hockey legend Alexander Ovechkin.

Though he did say in 2020 that his favorite player was Artemi Panarin!

Leo Carlsson

The Swede has been on NHL Draft boards since he put up three goals and nine points in 35 SHL games in his D-1 season. In his Draft year, he played solely in the SHL and netted 10 goals and 25 points in 45 games.

Carlsson played in the U18’s last season, pictured below with San Jose Sharks first-rounder Filip Bystedt. The two re-joined forces at the most recent World Junior Championships and skated on the same line for a majority of the tournament.

As one of the three youngsters of SHL side Örebro, Carlsson can often be found posing alongside teammates Elias Pettersson and Milton Oscarson:

Carlsson has also been public about his struggles with stuttering. He moved away to play junior hockey at 15.

“The first months at Örebro were hard on him,” Wheeler wrote in a story about Carlsson. “The childhood nerves that most brought out his stutter — which they call ‘stumbling’ in Sweden — returned in full force when he met new people or was around the club’s pro players.”

But Carlsson is dealing with it: “I’m proud of myself, I think I’ve had it my whole life, so I’m kind of used to it.”

He’s also got a TikTok where he posts funny videos:

@easymoneymaker999

The real mclovin #foryou @user9599916836343

♬ original sound – Peacock

Will the San Jose Sharks select one of Michkov, Carlsson, or Smith with the No. 4 pick? We’ll find out on Jun. 28 in Nashville.

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