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Welcome to this week’s edition of DP Draft Reports! This week features snapshots of Matvei Michkov, Will Smith, Ethan Gauthier, Ondrej Molnár, and Lenni Hämeenaho.
Even the most casual observers have probably heard plenty about Russian phenom Matvei Michkov. Coming into the season, he was considered the clear number two prospect behind Connor Bedard for the 2023 draft class but a lack of playing time due to various injuries, combined with strong play from several other top prospects, have raised questions about his current standing.
Will Smith of the US National Team Development Program is a highly skilled offensive creator who plays a well-rounded game in all three zones. He has had a stellar start to his season with six goals and 13 assists in his first 10 games.
The son of former NHL defenseman Denis Gauthier, Ethan plays the same bruising style that his dad brought over his 10-year NHL career. He blends that tenacious style of play with a high degree of offensive skill, evidenced by his six goals and 10 assists in his first 10 games of the season with Sherbrooke in the QMJHL.
Ondrej Molnár split time between the top Czech pro league and the junior circuit last season but looks to have carved out a permanent role at the top level in his draft year. He is a playmaking winger who brings energy on the forecheck and has potted a goal and an assist through 10 games to start the season.
Lenni Hämeenaho plays a straightforward, hardworking game. He is getting his first taste of pro hockey in Liiga this season and has performed well for a player his age, picking up four assists through 14 games while playing around 17 minutes per game.
Let’s get to it.