Skip to content
Best hopefuls: Craig Button places Axel Sandin-Pellikka fifth

A huge, huge smile came over my face when I saw Craig Button’s most recent Top Prospects ranking.

Basically, the top-4 is made up of Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson and Matvei Michkov, which isn’t necessarily a surprise in itself…

But, instead of putting Will Smith in fifth place like most other experts, Button instead put Axel Sandin-Pellikka’s name.

Who’s he?

Sandin-Pellikka is a right-handed offensive defenseman, probably the best offensive defenseman available at this year’s draft. He stands 5’11 and weighs 180 lbs.

I started the text by telling you about my smile, and that’s as far as I went. Basically, Sandin-Pellikka is a player I’ve loved watching this year. We had a chance to see him at the Junior Championship in early 2023…

And more recently, the Swedish defenseman completely dominated the competition at the Under-18 tournament, collecting eleven points (two goals) in just seven games.

What stands out from his game is probably his fluid skating stroke.

At times, he looks like he’s flying across the rink… And he reminds me of Erik Karlsson when he was younger.

If you’re a little less familiar with him, here’s a video of his highlights:

I really, really like the young defenseman. But…

From there to place him in front of Will Smith, I don’t think it’s necessarily “legit”.

After all, the American is a sure bet and we know he’ll become quite a field hockey player. Sandin-Pellikka is a little more of a risk, even if it’s still quite tempting…

And in reality, I’d be really surprised to see the CH draft a defenseman in the fifth spot. I think the organization will be looking to get its hands on the best player available when it comes time to talk about the podium in Nashville, and if that’s the case, the Habs should technically choose a forward.

In short.

All this to say that Button’s list is a bit surprising. I was also surprised to see Zach Benson left out of the top-10.

In short

– To be followed with interest.

– That’s saying a lot.

– My god.

– No worse.

More Content