The 2023 NHL Draft had a series of events that enabled speedy forward Zach Benson to be selected by the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday. The primary reason for the talented winger being there was the Arizona Coyotes drafting two players much higher than they were projected.
— sportsology (@sportsology) June 29, 2023
Arizona picked big Russian defenseman Dmitriy Simashev sixth overall after the Montreal Canadiens took Austrian David Reinbacher at #5, and then took 6’5″ Russian left winger Daniil But at #12. Simashev was projected in most pre-draft analyses to go in the middle of the first round, while But was considered a project that would sneak into the end of the first.
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Briere Bold With Pick Of Michkov
The Philadelphia Flyers under the new regime of GM Daniel Briere went in a direction that previous management teams would never have gone, selecting Russian phenom Matvei Michkov seventh overall. The pick was right before the Flyers division rival Washington’s pick at #8, who had been rumored to be coveting what most experts projected as the second-best player in the draft.
Philadelphia interviewed Michkov before the draft and were not dissuaded by the prospect of the speedy winger staying in Russia for up to three years.
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