NHL mock draft 2023: Experts predict Sharks' pick at No. 4 overall

2023 NHL mock draft: Experts predict Sharks' pick at No. 4 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Sharks will be the fourth team on the clock in the 2023 NHL Draft.

Monday night's draft lottery put all hopes to bed that consensus top pick Connor Bedard could be heading to the Bay Area in June, but there still will be plenty of intriguing prospects to choose from when Sharks general manager Mike Grier makes a big decision at No. 4 overall.

Who will arise as the Sharks' first-round pick? Here's what NHL experts and pundits are predicting:

Ian Kennedy, Yahoo Sports

Leo Carlsson, C/LW, Orebro (SHL)

"Carlsson is big (6-foot-3) and only got better throughout the year. He packs punch in his game, whether he stays at center, or more predictably gets shifted to the wing is yet to be seen. ... The Sharks are building from the bottom up, and Carlsson is a piece that will add literal and metaphorical bite to their lineup."

Corey Pronman, The Athletic

Matvei Michkov, RW, Ska St. Petersburg (KHL)

"The message from first-year Sharks GM Mike Grier has consistently been that he wants to engineer a turnaround as soon as possible, but he also doesn’t want to skip steps, wants the right players in place and doesn’t want to rush into anything for a short-term gain. This pick could be a true test of the two sides of his plan. Michkov is the best player available. He can be a foundational offensive talent, but the Sharks might have to wait three years for him."

Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff

Will Smith, C, U.S. National U18 Team

"After putting up one of the best seasons in USNTDP history, Smith was one of the most consistent producers in 2022-23. Smith had 51 goals and 127 points, good for second behind linemate Gabe Perreault in a single season in USNTDP history. Smith was often the brains of the organization, a big reason why Jack Hughes (227 points) is the only player to register more than Smith’s 128 over a two-year span."

Logan Horn, The Hockey Writers

Matvei Michkov, RW, Ska St. Petersburg (KHL)

"Matvei Michkov could very well be the biggest wild-card in the first round of the 2023 Draft. ... I think the Sharks are in the perfect place to take a little bit of a gamble on Michkov while they take another step back next year in hopes of building a new core of young players."

Bryan Murphy, Sporting News

Matvei Michkov, RW, Ska St. Petersburg (KHL)

"San Jose hasn't shied away from adding Russian players to the organization, plus the club used their first two picks last year on centers. Michkov is signed with SKA until the 2025-26 season, which is why some experts and scouts feel he could drop in the draft. The Russian winger is a bit undersized, but he is overflowing with elite skill. He's been a consistent producer no matter where he has played."

The Score

Will Smith, C, U.S. National U18 Team

"The Sharks land a much-needed offensive stud in Smith. The USNTDP star thrashed the U18s en route to tournament MVP and the gold medal, matching Jack Hughes' American record for scoring at the event. Smith is a well-rounded threat with a quality shot and passing ability, but it's his elite puck skills that truly make him a dynamic player."