draft 2023

Live Results:

June 29 – 2:50 p.m. 

June 29 – 2:26 p.m. 

June 29 – 2:23 p.m.

June 29 – 2:18 p.m.

June 29 – 2:04 p.m. 

June 29 – 1:53 p.m. 

June 29 – 1:32 p.m.

June 29 – 1:11 p.m. 

June 29 – 12:19 p.m. 

June 29 – 12:05 p.m. 

June 29 – 11:54 a.m. 

June 29 – 11:53 a.m. 

June 29 – 11:48 a.m. 

June 29 – 11:46 a.m. 

June 29 – 11:43 a.m.

June 29 – 12:11 a.m.

June 28 – 1:05 p.m.

Draft Preview:

Flint, Mich.  – The Flint Firebirds’ streak of having at least one player drafted every year of the NHL Draft since their move to Flint in 2015 will continue this week as the 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft is set to take place tonight and tomorrow at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. Round 1 begins Wednesday, June 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET, available to watch on ESPN and ESPN+ in the U.S. and on Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada. Rounds 2-7 take place Thursday, June 29 at 11:00 a.m., available to watch in the U.S. on NHL Network and ESPN+ and on Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.

Tristan Bertucci, Coulson Pitre, Ethan Hay, Blake Smith, and Nathan Day were all included on NHL Central Scouting’s final draft rankings. Five Firebirds being listed not only led the OHL but also set a franchise record for the most players in the final rankings ahead of the NHL Draft.

Bertucci soared up the rankings all year and checks in at #32 for North American skaters in the final draft rankings, which projects him to go in Rounds 2-3. The Firebirds’ first-round pick in the 2021 Priority Selection is coming off a career year finishing with 50 points (11 G, 39 A), which was tied for 12th among OHL defensemen and the second most among OHL draft-eligible blueliners.

Coulson Pitre burst onto the scene in his first year in Flint producing 44 points (23 G, 21 A) in 52 GP while being named to the OHL First All-Rookie Team. He followed that up with a successful 2022-23 season, adding 60 points (25 G, 35 A) in 59 GP for the Firebirds. The Stouffville, Ont. native checked in at #37 among North American skaters which also projects him to also go in Rounds 2-3.

Two-way forward Ethan Hay finished the year ranked 83rd for North American skaters after scoring 17 G and adding 11 A in 64 GP. He was awarded the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award as OHL’s Top Academic High School Student and was named the second-best in faceoffs and second-best defensive forward in the Western Conference in the end-of-season OHL coaches poll. He projects to go in Rounds 3-6.

6-foot-4, 202-pound defenseman Blake Smith rounds out the Firebirds skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s final draft rankings, checking in at #155 overall. The Oshawa, Ont. native was acquired by Flint back in November and quickly made a shutdown impact on the blue line. In 41 GP with the Firebirds, he had 6 A while finishing +2 on the year, including going +10 over the final two months of the year. Smith is projected to go anywhere in Rounds 5-7.

Nathan Day was the top-ranked OHL netminder in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings partly due to a strong finish to the season. The Grimsby, Ont. native finished the season going 9-1-0 with a .916 SV% in his final 11 games of the year. For the 2022-23 campaign Day finished 17-10-0 with a 3.91 GAA and .874% and came in at #14 overall among North American netminders. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound goalie projects to go in Rounds 4-7.

The 2023 NHL draft is first-year 2005-born prospects are eligible to be drafted. Additionally, select 2003 and 2004-born players will be eligible as well. To be eligible, players must be 18 years old by Sept. 15 and under 20 years old by Dec. 31 in the draft year.

Flint’s best showing at an individual NHL Draft is two players selected, which has happened in five of the seven NHL Drafts since the Firebirds have been a member of the OHL. Flint can set a franchise record this week if three or more Firebirds hear their name called.

Last year, the 2022 NHL Draft once again saw multiple Firebirds get drafted as both Gavin Hayes (Chicago – 3rd round, 66th overall) and Amadeus Lombardi (Detroit – 4th round, 113th overall) were selected by Original Six franchises. Both players went on to sign their entry-level contracts this past season after careers years that saw Hayes become just the third Firebird in history to score 40+ goals in a season and Lombardi set the record for single-season points with 102.

Since the Flint Firebirds’ inception seven seasons ago in 2015, the club has already had 25 drafted or NHL-signed players on its roster consisting of Will Bitten (Montreal), Dennis Busby (Arizona), Nick Caamano (Dallas), Connor Chatham (New Jersey), Will Cranley (St. Louis Blues), Ty Dellandrea (Dallas), Artem Guryev (San Jose), Fedor Gordeev (Toronto), Gavin Hayes (Chicago), Kyle Keyser (Boston Bruins), Ethan Keppen (Vancouver), Braeden Kressler (Toronto), Vladislav Kolyachonok (Florida), Dmitry Kuzmin (Winnipeg), Amadeus Lombardi (Detroit), Nick Mattinen (Toronto), Brent Moran (Dallas), Alex Nedeljkovic (Carolina), Evgeniy Oksentyuk (Dallas), Brennan Othmann (NY Rangers), Alex Peters (Dallas), Vili Saarijarvi (Detroit), Kole Sherwood (Columbus), Jalen Smereck (Arizona), Tyler Tucker (St. Louis) and Josh Wesley (Carolina).

For more information, contact:

Jack Sznewajs
Director of Broadcasting & Communications
Flint Firebirds Hockey Club
[email protected]