Day one of the 2023 NHL Draft is in the books, and the start of day two is just mere hours away. With the overnight pause, now is the perfect time to look at some winners and losers from the first day of the draft.
Obviously every team probably thinks they did a great job to start the draft. Well, that is teams that actually drafted players on Wednesday night. Well only time will tell how teams truly did at the draft, there are some different winners and losers that can be discussed before things start back up today.
The winners and losers from day one of the 2023 NHL Draft
Winner: Chicago Blackhawks
Obviously the Blackhawks were the team to watch to start things off at the 2023 NHL Draft. There was little doubt who they were going to take first overall, Connor Bedard is officially a member of the Blackhawks.
But it was their second first round pick that really merits their win here. If there is one thing fans heard a lot about when the Hawks drafted Oliver Moore with the 19th overall pick it was that he is the fastest player available at the draft. The broadcast was even trying to say he is as fast if not faster than McDavid, but even Moore was trying to cool that talk.
The Hawks have a lot of players with speed. Their rebuild seems to be revolving around skilled players who can skate. In a few seasons the Blackhawks could be one of the fastest teams in the NHL.
Loser: Fans of trades
If you expected to see any trades to kick off the NHL Draft you missed out on Wednesday night. That was one of our major takeaways from the first round, teams valued their picks more than any return. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long before the trades start coming in with round 2.
Winner: Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets landed Adam Fantilli and could very well be a competitive team this upcoming season. The Jackets have a very deep group of center-men in their prospect pool, something they have arguably never had. Now we will have to wait and see what they do during the rest of the draft.
Loser: Toronto Maple Leafs
If you woke up this morning to check the news on the Maple Leafs it does not take long to realize not many are happy with the team’s first round pick. The Maple Leafs took Easton Cowan with the 28th overall pick. While I do think many like who Cowan can be as a player, spending a first round pick on him might have been a bit too rich as he could have been available later in the draft.
Winner: Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche did something they haven’t done in a while, restocked their farm system with a few quality first round picks. The Avalanche had two first round picks this season, the 27th and 31st overall picks. They took Calum Ritchie and Mikhail Gulyayev, and the organization has to feel pretty good about adding some quality prospects into their pipeline.
Loser: Arizona Coyotes
The final team that deserves a shoutout are the Arizona Coyotes. Arizona drafted sixth and 12th overall and landed Dmitri Simashev and Daniil But. Both are quality prospects but for where the Coyotes were picking it feels as though they could have moved down and still landed these prospects.
The Coyotes are in the midst of a long rebuild and while they did land two good prospects, this is an underwhelming return for a team that thought they could land Bedard when the 2022-23 season began.