Clubs building for the future at 2023 NHL Draft

Thirty-two National Hockey League teams are preparing to take part in this week’s 2023 NHL Draft, and their top affiliates are ready and waiting for the next wave of young American Hockey League stars to begin their professional careers.

In 2022-23, a total of 238 former first- and second-round draft picks played in the American Hockey League, including nine players from the 2023 Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears: Connor McMichael (25th overall in 2019), Hendrix Lapierre (22nd in 2020), Vincent Iorio (55th in 2021), Henrik Borgstrom (23rd in 2016), Lucas Johansen (28th in 2016), Gabriel Carlsson (29th in 2015), Zach Fucale (36th in 2013), Aaron Ness (40th in 2008) and captain Dylan McIlrath (10th in 2010).

Eleven first- and second-rounders from last summer’s NHL Draft skated in the AHL this past season, led by Utica’s Simon Nemec (2nd overall), Cleveland’s David Jiricek (6th) and Rochester’s Jiri Kulich (28th), who all earned spots on the AHL Top Prospects Team. Others included Coachella Valley’s Shane Wright (4th), Jagger Firkus (35th) and David Goyette (61st); Milwaukee’s Joakim Kemell (17th); Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Owen Pickering (21st); Laval’s Filip Mesar (26th); Manitoba’s Brad Lambert (30th); and Hartford’s Adam Sykora (63rd).

Other first-round picks in the AHL in 2022-23 included:

2021 selections Simon Edvinsson (6th overall), William Eklund (7th), Brandt Clarke (8th), Cole Sillinger (12th), Isak Rosen (14th), Sebastien Cossa (15th), Chaz Lucius (18th), Jesper Wallstedt (20th), Fabian Lysell (21st), Xavier Bourgault (22nd), Mackie Samoskevich (24th), Corson Ceulemans (25th) and Oskar Olausson (28th);

2020 picks Quinton Byfield (2nd overall), Alexander Holtz (7th), Marco Rossi (9th), Yaroslav Askarov (11th), Dylan Holloway (14th), Lukas Reichel (17th), Shakir Mukhamadullin (20th), Yegor Chinakhov (21st), Hendrix Lapierre (22nd), Tyson Foerster (23rd), Connor Zary (24th), Justin Barron (25th), Jake Neighbours (26th), Jacob Perreault (27th), Ridly Greig (28th), Brendan Brisson (29th), Mavrik Bourque (30th) and Ozzy Wiesblatt (31st);

2019 choices Alex Turcotte (5th overall), Philip Broberg (8th), Vasily Podkolzin (10th), Victor Soderstrom (11th), Spencer Knight (13th), Cam York (14th), Thomas Harley (18th), Lassi Thomson (19th), Ville Heinola (20th), Sam Poulin (21st), Tobias Bjornfot (22nd), Simon Holmstrom (23rd), Phil Tomasino (24th), Connor McMichael (25th), Jakob Pelletier (26th), Nolan Foote (27th), Ryan Suzuki (28th), Brayden Tracey (29th) and John Beecher (30th);

and 2018 selections Grigori Denisenko (15th overall), Martin Kaut (16th), Ty Smith (17th), Rasmus Kupari (20th), Ryan Merkley (21st), Filip Johansson (24th), Jacob Bernard-Docker (26th), Nicolas Beaudin (27th) and Alex Alexeyev (31st).

The Chicago Blackhawks, parent club of the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs, own the first pick in this year’s draft, which gets underway on Wednesday night in Nashville.