Miss out on Connor Bedard? You’ll still get a big consolation prize

Rebuilding the Black Hawks is no secret. The potential impact is not available at the top of the 2023 NHL Draft.

Every team is drooling about the possibility of unanimously landing the expected No. 1 pick, Conor Bedard (as it should), but that has obscured the fact that the rest of the class is filled with prospects of the caliber of other NHL stars. Having the top pick is never a team lock-in (there is a lottery, after all), so the availability of other exciting prospects (albeit not Bedard’s level) should be music to your ears.

One such player is Adam Fantelli. And for Blackhawks fans, it may be easier for him to keep tabs on it than most.

Adam Fantelli It is the center of a large body that plays with power. He was dominant with the Chicago Steel in the USHL last season, scoring 37 goals and 37 assists in just 54 games. Fantilli is listed at 6-3,192 pounds as he embarks on his freshman year of college at the University of Michigan, where he will be on the same blackhawks prospect list. Frank Nazar.

Here’s some of what Scott Wheeler in The Athletic had to say about Fantilli in his August book Probability Rankings for the 2023 NHL Draftwhich made him third overall:

Fantilli is a big, strong and powerful kid who takes pucks from the wall in with strength and ease. He can hit you along the wall in the course. He can hit you while holding the disc alternately around the perimeter of the attack area.

He can defeat you by pushing through the lanes into the middle third, driving the net, or dropping his shoulder to take up non-existent space. He can beat flying away. He stunned me away in Calgary at the Summer Show in Canada last year, and although I thought he was forcing me to in the U18s in Germany (I actually think he can be a bit selfish/his decisions seem immature at times) there Moreover. When he keeps his feet moving, he has a lot to put up with. It’s not often that we see players of his size who can move like him.

Honestly, he might be the best skater I’ve seen in this draft so far. His skate is balanced. It’s strong when you need it and lightweight and adjustable when you need to. Within its movement patterns, it can handle pinching on a string. It would be a transitional beast. On top of that, he’s physical, strong on the showdown circuit, can score from mid-range consistently with his wrestler off low kicks, has the ability to pinch and shade in and out of coverage, is boxed, dragged and dangerous, and is comfortable in traffic. When he plays, he can completely take over the game. If he can learn to make better choices (choose better shots, reduce exaggeration, use teammates better), he has the tools to become number one in the squad. I can’t wait to see him on college level with the Wolverines this season.

He is expected to be in the top three in next year’s draft, and comes with fewer complications than the third player expected to be in the top three conversation, Matvey Michkov. He’s another player with a star written all over it. However, Mitchkov under Contract with KHL SKA in Saint Petersburg until 2026.

Fantilli told TSN He thinks he can challenge Bedard For Best Overall Pick in 2023 NHL Draft, the kind of brag you’d love to see in Top Draft picks. He also provided some self-exploration for TSN, he said He designs his game after Nathan McKinnon with a mixture of Patrice Bergeron. Super offensive power combined with the best defensive striker of his generation? Where do we register?

Early on, ahead of the 2023 NHL Draft Top 40 potential rankings season, hockey news Fantilli was second overall. Here’s what they have to say about him and how his game differs from the other two best possibilities:

Bedard and Mikoff are both smaller stars, but Fantilli has the size (6ft-2,190lbs) and impressive speed to be a force, even though he will be one of the younger players in college hockey this season. Fantilli was a huge producer, and was the MVP of the USHL Playoffs in 2021.

McCain also had Fantilli second in the Early 2023 NHL RankingsAnd they were strong in their comments on his game. Here is some of what they said:

The thing about Fantilli is that he may already be NHL ready. Born in October 2004, had he been born a month earlier, he would have been the most prepared NHL player in the 2022 NHL Draft crop. Fantilli played for the Chicago Steel of the USHL, was a member of the league’s first All-Star team and one of its top players. At 6’3, and nearly 200lbs already, he’s the perfect powerhouse every NHL team covets and builds around him…

In many ways, Fantilli is a disappointment to Bedard. It was very interesting to see them play together in U18, as Canada’s attack was electric…but their defense was in absolute disarray. Ventili blends strength and grace. It may be corny, but he plays like a 6’3 guy with a size advantage. He likes to use his speed and power on the disc to lead the middle and he constantly puts pressure on the opposing defenders. However, unlike Bedard, Fantilli is already a polished two-way player. It stands out as the dominant bi-directional center in the mold of Alexander Barkov, Anzi Kopetar.

Fantilli showed well for Canada at the U18 World Championships last year, producing six points in five matches. As you can see in the video above, he is emerging as a dominant force forward. And unlike the last time the Blackhawks used a top three pick for a top position, Fantilli will have a season of highly competitive Big Ten hockey under his belt. Before It is available in draft.

One of the questions raised by McCain’s assessment is the criticism that followed Kirby Dash during his time in Chicago. “[He] He plays like a 6’3 guy with a size advantage. But unlike Dach, who dominated the juniors and then jumped straight into the NHL, Fantilli should benefit from skating in a very good Big Ten Conference in a strong pro-production program in Michigan.

What have we learned about the traits Kyle Davidson values ​​in players so far? He wants players who play hard and play fast. You constantly hear about “rivalry” from the Blackhawks’ front office and coaching staff. And when you look at the players you targeted in the 2022 NHL Draft, it’s clear that speed was way above its value.

Fantilli checks those boxes. He has said and shown that he places great importance on being an all-rounder, working on defense as much as he does in attack. If you’re looking for a future No. 1 spot on an NHL team, Fantilli is the man in the 2023 draft class for the circuit. The Blackhawks would certainly benefit from having this player join the system.