NHL Draft Betting: Who Will the Columbus Blue Jackets Select With the Third 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.
The 2023 Draft is deep with potential franchise-altering talents, and that definitely extends to the third pick, where the Columbus Blue Jackets will be on the clock.
Leo Carlsson, C, Orebro (Swedish Hockey League)
Leo Carlsson would be the third center selected in a row if the favored selection from each of the first three picks holds. The Jackets selected two centers in the top-12 picks just two years ago, but it's unlikely to scare them off from drafting another this year.
Carlsson would be a better prospect than Kent Johnson or Cole Sillinger were when they were selected. Sillinger also had a really disappointing season, and the team may not look at him as a top-six center for the future.
Leo played well in both his men's professional league and at the World Juniors. Columbus definitely could use a highly-skilled center to play with John Gaudreau and Patrik Laine, and Carlsson could be that center. His stock has been on the rise throughout the process, and it wouldn't be too surprising to see Columbus select him.
William Smith, C, USA National Team Development Program
William Smith is another player who has seen his stock shoot up. He had a record-breaking season with the USA National Development Program.
Smith had more points than any of the elite American prospects before him; the only player ever to record more points for the team was his linemate, Gabe Perrault, this season. This includes beating the likes of Jack Hughes, Auston Matthews and Patrick Kane from previous years.
There is some overlap in skillset between Smith and Carlsson, and obviously, they play the same position. Smith is thought to be a better skater than Carlsson but is also four inches shorter. A point in Carlsson's favor is that he likely has the chance to make the team out of training camp; Smith is committed to Boston College for at least a year.
There's a feeling that the Blue Jackets favor American players, which would obviously help Smith. In The Athletic's latest mock draft, Smith was the pick in this spot, so it may be worth taking a shot on him at +240 odds.
Matvei Michkov, W, St. Petersburg (Kontinental Hockey League)
Matvei Michkov is the most interesting domino to fall in this draft. His skill warrants a top-three pick, but the circumstances may see him fall.
Michkov is one of the most impressive prospects we've seen from Russia. He set the record for the most points as a 16-year-old in the Russian Junior League, and he led his KHL team in points as a 17-year-old.
Many experts have Michkov ranked second, but it seems unlikely that Columbus will select him. We know they have a few scoring wingers who will be around for a few years, which could lead them to other positions.
The other evidence we have that Michkov might not be the pick here is that Columbus has already made moves to improve their team for next season. This seems like Jarmo Kekalainen may be feeling his seat getting warm and wants to have a competitive team next season. If that is the case, he can't wait for Michkov's KHL contract to expire in 2026.
If Michkov was to go third, it could be because another team trades up to get him. Otherwise, +650 seems like not enough of a price if they keep the pick.
Adam Fantilli, C, University of Michigan
Adam Fantilli had a fantastic freshman season at the University of Michigan, winning the Hobey Baker as the best college hockey player.
He's unlikely to go here at number three because he's a big favorite to go second. With the uncertainty surrounding Michkov's future, Fantilli is a good enough prospect for the Anaheim Ducks to feel comfortable selecting him and putting him on their team right away.
If the Ducks were to shock everyone by passing on Fantilli, he almost certainly would go here. The Athletic's Corey Pronman believes there are some internal debates in the league about Fantilli and Carlsson.
If Fantilli is to get picked here, Carlsson or Michkov likely went second, so betting either of those two to go second and then Fantilli to go third would pay off nicely. The most likely scenario is still for Fantilli to go second, but crazier things have happened in drafts before.
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