NHL Draft Betting: Is Adam Fantilli a Lock to Be the Second Pick?

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz
NHL Draft Betting: Is Adam Fantilli a Lock to Be the Second Pick?

With the Stanley Cup Finals over, the next big date on the NHL calendar is the NHL Draft. The first round of the draft will take place on June 28th at 7:00 PM Eastern Time on ESPN.

Betting on the draft has become big in other sports, and now, the NHL has its turn. NHL Draft betting odds are available on FanDuel Sportsbook now.

The first pick in this year's draft has been known to be Connor Bedard for about two years now. The real intrigue starts with the second pick with the Anaheim Ducks on the clock. Here are the current odds to be that selection:

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Adam Fantilli, Center, University of Michigan

Adam Fantilli had one of the best freshman seasons we've seen in college hockey. He led the nation in goals and points while playing in the toughest conference. This saw him take down the Hobey Baker Award for the best player in the country, joining Paul Kariya and Jack Eichel as the only freshmen to ever win the award.

Fantilli would likely be the first overall pick in most other seasons. He just happens to be draft eligible in the same year as a generational talent in Conor Bedard. It's easy to see why he's drawn comparisons to Eichel for those same reasons.

Looking at the excellent mock draft tool developed by Prashanth Iyer, we can see that the most likely outcome is Fantilli being drafted second. However, it's not considered to be a lock -- especially after the IIHF World Championships.

Leo Carlsson, Center, Orebro (Swedish Hockey League)

Leo Carlsson has made his case to be considered for this pick and, at worst, a top-five selection. His stock has been on the rise throughout this season and could continue that trend to this spot.

Carlsson put up 25 points in 44 games in Sweden's men's league, which is very good production for a draft-eligible player. He then performed well for Sweden at the World Championships while playing on the top line.

Standing at 6'3', Carlsson's size is attractive to any team -- and could be for the Ducks. The Athletic's Corey Pronman said he believes there's a real debate between Fantilli and Carlsson around the league. He ultimately says the Ducks are more likely to pick Fantilli, but it's likely closer than these odds suggest.

Matvei Michkov, Right Wing, St. Petersburg (Kontinental Hockey League)

The most interesting prospect in the draft is Matvei Michkov. He's arguably the second-best player available, but circumstances make him a long shot to be picked here.

Michkov set all kinds of records playing in Russia's leagues. He had the most points ever as a 16-year-old in the MHL junior league, breaking Nikita Kucherov's record. He spent time on loan at HC Sochi, the worst team in the KHL, but still set a record for the best points-per-game average for a draft-eligible player.

The situation with Michkov's contract makes this a dilemma. He's signed in the KHL until the 2025-26 season. Russian teams are strict about honoring their contracts, and it's unlikely that he will get out of his deal ahead of time to go play in the NHL.

This would leave a team potentially selecting him without a top prospect for three seasons. A general manager who needs to win now might not want to select him. Someone like Pat Verbeek who has only been on the job for just over a year in theory could have a long enough leash to wait if he feels like he is getting the best player available.

If there is any smoke around Michkov potentially going higher than expected, +2300 is an interesting price for him to get selected here.

William Smith, Center, USA Hockey National Team Development Program

Another long shot would be William Smith. He had an excellent season with the United States' domestic development program and soared up draft boards because of that.

Smith is a different type of player from the other centers with shorter odds. His game is more based on speed and beating players with stick handling. The Ducks already have a player like that at center withTrevor Zegras, and he's been good since getting drafted in 2019.

It seems highly unlikely that the Ducks would want to go with Smith over Fantilli and Carlsson if they do want a center. According to Iyer's tool, Smith isn't going second in any mock draft and his median outcome is sixth.

As unpredictable as the NHL Draft can be at the top compared to other sports, taking a longshot bet in the draft has merit, but perhaps betting Smith to go second overall is a bit too long.

The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.