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Get To Know Smith, Fantilli, Other Top Draft Prospects



Will Smith in media scrum at NHL availability
Credit: JD Young

Yesterday morning, many of the top prospects were made available to the media, in a building overlooking Bridgestone Arena. Most players sat on a chair with a scrum around them while projected first-overall pick, Connor Bedard, was given his own stage. Most players were asked the usual questions about their time in Nashville, if they were excited about the Draft, and their thoughts on mystery man, Matvei Michkov.

Here are some highlights from the availability, from San Jose Sharks possibilities Will Smith to Leo Carlsson, to Adam Fantilli to more, including Oliver Moore.

Will Smith

Will Smith on if he’s met Matvei Michkov and what he knows about him.

I don’t know anything about him. I’ve never seen him. It’s obviously different, but I’m pretty sure he’s here [in Nashville]. I saw he posted in New York. I haven’t seen him yet. I’ll probably meet him tomorrow.

Smith on if he’s watched Michkov

I have TikTok, so I have. I watched him win a few U-18s three years ago. He’s obviously a great player, and I look forward to meeting him.

With all the USNTDP guys going to Boston College, what was the internal kind of recruiting like?

I think the more of us want to go, the more of us want to join. We just want to win. We all love each other, so we’ve been around every single day for two years. Why not for the next couple?

With the growth of the U.S. National Team, you’ve seen a lot more players getting drafted higher and higher each year. What does that mean to you to be part of this program that just continues to grow and get better and better every year?

It’s really special to see the NHL’ers that’s been through the program. It’s pretty unbelievable. So I think it’s an honor to play for the US and to be here. Also, getting to wear that jersey today, it’s pretty cool.

Did you ever get any face-off tips from Gabe Perreault’s dad [Yanic Perreault]?

No, he was supposed to come in I think, but he’s a little too busy and he’s obviously a busy guy too. Gabe knows all the tips from him, so he can tell me. When I don’t want to take a faceoff, I’ll let Gabe take one on the power play.

Leo Carlsson

Leo Carlsson was scheduled for the event but didn’t make it for obvious reasons:

Oliver Moore

Oliver Moore played many sports growing up outside of hockey, including soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and track. Can confirm that he is very fast.

Adam Fantilli

Presumed second overall pick, Adam Fantilli has been enjoying his time in Nashville:

Connor Bedard

While everyone who follows hockey knows Connor Bedard will be drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks, he still has to pretend like there could be a surprise. When asked about the potential of playing with newly acquired Taylor Hall, Bedard took the safe answer.

Matthew Wood

While Wood is projected to be a middle-of-the-first-round prospect, he is confident in his ability to swing a sword.

Ryan Leonard

Ryan Leonard is another one of the top US-born players in the Draft. When asked who his dream linemate would be, he answered his brother John. John Leonard, of course, was once a San Jose Sharks prospect who was traded last season to the Nashville Predators along with a third round pick for Luke Kunin.

While it would be considered a slight reach to take Ryan at No. 4, it would make for a very awkward moment for the Leonard family to see John traded by the San Jose Sharks and Ryan drafted by the Sharks in less than a season.

Zach Benson

After Matvei Michkov, Zach Benson is one of the biggest Draft day stories. He has been compared to Brayden Point and is one of the most skilled players in the draft, but at 5-foot-9, teams will overlook him. He has had so many meals with teams, he’s starting to forget who is who.

Penguins Draft Potentials: Zach Benson is Small Risk, High Reward


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