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Will Smith could cause a surprise at the next draft
The NHL Draft is an event that many fans look forward to, especially when the Habs get the chance to add a top prospect to their organization.

Already, several young players have done very well with the big club this year. These include Kaiden Guhle, Arber Xhekaj and company, who surpassed expectations in their rookie season.

This summer, NHL clubs will be in for a treat with the 2023 crop of very well-endowed prospects.

Apart from Connor Bedard and Adam Fantilli, who are expected to go #1 and #2 respectively, nothing is guaranteed for the rest of the selections. There could even be a big surprise in the top 3.

Fantilli had an excellent first season in the NCAA, where he won the Hobey-Baker Trophy.

However, even though Leo Carlsson is playing against men in Sweden and having a very good season, there’s one name that’s been circulating more and more lately. It’s Will Smith.

The 17-year-old center is having a sensational tournament at the Under-18 World Junior Championship. He and his hellish line are completely dominating the tournament.

Saturday saw the semi-final between the USA and Slovakia, and Smith had a field day, scoring a hat trick.

Smith took his point total to 19, including nine goals, in just 6 games. Simply incredible.

According to David Ettedgui of BPM Sport, he believes there is now a four-way race for positions 2 to 5 in the draft.

Smith has the talent and energy to move up the rankings and could cause a surprise by coming out in the top 3, or even second.

Should he emerge in the top three, this means that Fantilli and Carlsson should emerge #3 and #4 respectively.

In the event that the Montreal Canadiens keep their #5 draft spot, they’ll have a choice between Matvei Michkov, Zach Benson and other excellent players.

Smith’s trio mates, Ryan Leonard and Gabriel Perreault, are expected to fall outside the top 10, but anything can happen in this draft.

According to Ettedgui, the current top 5 of Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Matvei Michkov, Leo Carlsson and Will Smith would be better than Juraj Slafkovsky.

Slafkovsky probably wouldn’t have come out on top had it not been for the Olympics, where he scored 7 goals in as many games.

As much as I like Slafkovsky, we have to face the fact that the 2022 crop was far weaker than the 2023 one. If we exclude the Olympics, I think Slafkovsky probably wouldn’t make this year’s top 10.

On this Sunday afternoon, the grand final took place between the USA and Sweden for the U18 World Championship. Earlier today, there was the bronze medal match between Canada and Slovakia.

After 50 minutes of play, the Americans finally got on the scoreboard to reduce the gap to 2-1. Will Smith didn’t pick up any points on the play, but he came back with an assist on Cole Eiserman’s late goal to tie the game with his 10th of the tournament.

Smith collected his 20th point of the tournament in his 7th game. He also tied Jack Hughes’ tournament record for points.

In the end, it was the Americans who won the tournament, with a 3-2 victory. Ryan Leonard scored the golden goal. Cole Hutson picked up an assist on the game, his 12th point of the tournament, at just 16 years of age.

During the tournament, Sweden’s Axel Sandin Pellikka proved he can be more than a traffic-oriented defenseman.

Cam Robinson of Elite Prospects commented that Sandin Pellikka was very solid defensively.

Sandin Pellikka is seen as one of the best defensive prospects alongside David Reinbacher, and is buying himself valuable points ahead of the draft. In 7 tournament games, he totals 11 points.

Few quality defensemen will be available in the first round, but the talent on attack, specifically at center, is very high. Whoever the CH selects, there’s a good chance he’ll become an impact player.

In gusto

– Interesting.

– What a slap in the face from Bo Bichette.

– Too bad for the Avalanche.

– Don’t miss the final between the St-Hyacinthe Gaulois and the Séminaire Saint-François Blizzard on RDS.

– What a game.

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