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Good News for Sharks? McKenzie Says Will Smith Now Among Draft’s Elite

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Credit: USNTDP

Bob McKenzie’s Draft rankings are still the industry standard, and he’s got good news for the team that gets the No. 5 pick.

That could include the San Jose Sharks, fourth-worst record in the NHL, who have roughly a 35 percent chance at a top-four pick and a 65 percent of dropping to No. 5 or 6 in Monday’s Draft lottery.

The 2023 Draft has long been considered a class with an elite top-four, comprised of presumptive first-overall Connor Bedard, then any order of Adam Fantilli, Matvei Michkov, or Leo Carlsson following, and a little bit of a drop-off after that.

McKenzie’s list today is a clear sign that there’s now a cream of the crop top-five in the Draft now:

That’s Will Smith at No. 3, a USNTDP center who recently starred for gold medal-winning Team USA at the U-18’s, leading all scorers with 20 points in just seven games.

“One scout who ranked Smith at No. 2 said that, outside of Bedard, Smith has been most dominant in the second half of the season, and he plays and thinks the game at a pace that no one can keep up to,” McKenzie wrote.

Obviously, the San Jose Sharks, it can be assumed, want Connor Bedard at No. 1 – they have a 9.5 percent chance of winning the top pick on Monday – but staying put at No. 4 or even falling to No. 5 doesn’t sound so disastrous anymore.

Anyway, Monday, Monday, Monday.

Want to celebrate or commiserate with fellow San Jose Sharks fans about the biggest Draft lottery in team history? San Jose Hockey Now is hosting a Draft lottery party at local brewery Narrative Fermentations!

Bedard & Beer? You’re Invited to SJHN’s Draft Lottery Party!

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