BASEL, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 29: Will Smith of United States celebrates his 1-0 during the semi final of U18 Ice Hockey World Championship match between United States and Slovakia at St. Jakob-Park on April 29, 2023 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jari Pestelacci/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Hockey's next wave of talent will be welcomed this week at the 2023 NHL Draft, and the class is incredibly strong at the top. Plenty of prospects are worth getting to know before their names are called Wednesday in Nashville β€” including Will Smith, who is projected to go No. 4 overall to the San Jose Sharks in Bally Sports' Mock Draft Consensus.

Will Smith | Ranking: 3rd (North American skaters)
Ht Wt Pos Age Team
6-0 180 C 18 USA U-18

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Smith has drawn some comparisons to fellow American forward Trevor Zegras, for better and also for worse.

Like Zegras, Smith is a highly entertaining skill player who has a variety of weapons in his toolbox to grab your attention. He is a playmaker and is capable of making the highlight-reel move with relative ease, whether he's scoring himself or setting up a teammate.


Will Smith highlights – 2023 NHL Draft prospect 

However, also similar to Zegras, Smith is not the most well-rounded or safe player.

There are concerns about his willingness to get to the dirty areas and play a hard-nosed game, and there are questions about his abilities on the defensive end of the ice. Still, he is capable of putting butts in seats and drawing constant eyeballs, so there is value there.

Some teams will love his offensive upside enough to overlook his deficiencies, and one of them is going to commit to developing him into a more complete player.

A big thanks goes to Elite Prospects for their scouting database. For more in-depth coverage on the NHL Draft, I highly recommend scouring their coverage and tools.

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