The 2023 NHL Draft is shaping up to be top-heavy when it comes to the talent coming out of New England. USA Hockey NTDP teammates Will Smith (Lexington, Mass.) and Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) rightfully will steal most of the headlines, as the forward pair have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the pack in the region.
The two Boston College commits enjoyed a successful first season with the NTDP, earning both a call-up for the IIHF World U18 Championship. Will McDonough (Duxbury, Mass.), Sean Keohane (Milton, Mass.) and Will Vote (Arlington, Mass.) round out the top five, but it gets light quickly after that.
The recent Massachusetts Hockey CCM High-Performance Festival emphasized the lack of high-end players remaining in the ’05 birth year, once you take away the four players skating outside of the region in the USHL.
There are still 12 months for an under-the-radar prospect to make a name for himself ahead of the 2023 NHL Draft, but it looks like local NHL scouts will be left with slim pickings.