NHL 22 Franchise Mode Draft: Best Prospects and Top Draft Steals 2023 (Second Draft)

There’s a potential Franchise-tier talent lurking in the second draft of Franchise Mode in NHL 22, but who should you have on your draft board?


Even for teams competing for the Stanley Cup, the yearly draft in NHL 22 is an essential component of creating a solid team. In Franchise Mode, you need to harvest the greatest amount of value possible from your picks to ensure the longevity of your club.

On this page, we’re having a look at the 2023 draftees who reach the highest overall ratings by the 2026/27 campaign. At the foot of the page, you’ll find the list of all of the highest potential prospects and draft steals of the second draft in NHL 22.


Kaden Flinn, Left Wing (91 OVR)

Potential: Elite med
Position (Type): Left Wing (Sniper)
Selected: 3rd Overall, 1st Round

Kaden Flinn is one of the high-end, Elite med prospects that every team outside of the top half of the draft hopes falls to the later picks. In this case, the left wing went third overall, but his rapid development to 91 overall in just three seasons makes him one of the best prospects in Franchise Mode.

Boasting ratings of 98 slap shot and wrist shot accuracy, as well as 97 slap shot and wrist shot power, at just 21-years-old, Flinn is already one of the best goalscorers in NHL 22. Adding to his lethality on the puck is his skating, with his 93 speed, 93 agility, and 93 acceleration making the left-shot winger nearly unstoppable.

Connor Bedard, Center (90 OVR)

Potential: Franchise med
Position (Type): Center (Sniper)
Selected: 1st Overall, 1st Round


Given the highly sought-after Franchise med potential, Connor Bedard stands as the best draft prospect in 2023 of NHL 22’s Franchise Mode. As would be expected, he gets taken first overall in the simulation, and he grows close to his potential in just a few seasons, hitting 90-overall by the start of the 2026/27 campaign.

For a Sniper, Bedard’s shooting accuracy and power are a bit lacking, but his potential means that there’s still room to grow. Still, at the age of 21, the center already features 99 deking, 98 hand-eye, 98 passing, 98 puck control, 99 offensive awareness, 90 speed, 90 acceleration, and 99 offensive awareness.

Outside of NHL 22, Connor Bedard has long been touted as the next great superstar of the sport, making his national debut at 15-years-old at the IIHF U18 World Championship. Sporting the number 98, the 5’9’’ center is embarking on his first full season with the Regina Pats in the WHL, scoring six points in the first nine games of the season.


Darius Corvo, Right Wing (88 OVR)

Potential: Elite med
Position (Type): Right Wing (Power Forward)
Selected: 2nd Overall, 1st Round

He might not make it to the very top of this list of the best draft prospects in the second year of Franchise Mode, but Darius Corvo might just be the best in terms of usability. With Elite med potential, the right wing’s already favourable ratings will only improve as his 88 overall ticks up.

At 21-years-old, the Power Forward is already a speedster, a brute, and a master marksman. The right-shot winger can score from anywhere with his 93 wrist and slap shot accuracy, as well as the 94 slap and wrist shot power. He can push around anyone with 91 strength, 94 body checking, and can fly past the most fleet-footed defenseman with 91 acceleration, 91 speed, and 91 agility.

Vojtech Cechmanek, Center (87 OVR)

Potential: Elite med
Position (Type): Center (Playmaker)
Selected: 7th Overall, 1st Round

NHL 22 is loaded with Playmaker centers, and Vojtech Cechmanek joins the pile as the seventh-overall selection of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. Joining the Buffalo Sabres in this simulation, he was quickly given ample game time to allow him to grow to a hefty 87-overall by the 2026/27 season.

By this point, Cechmanek is a pure puck-mover, boasting very high puck skills ratings but relatively low shooting ratings. His 94 deking, 95 hand-eye, 94 puck control, and 95 passing all make him the centrepiece of an offensive move, as do his 90 acceleration and 89 speed.

Joaquin Pavelski, Left Wing (86 OVR)

Potential: Top 6 high
Position (Type): Left Wing (Sniper)
Selected: 4th Overall, 1st Round

There were plenty of Snipers with high upside in the second draft of this simulation of Franchise Mode, with Joaquin Pavelski getting snapped up just one pick after the highest-rated prospect on this list, Kaden Flinn. As you’d expect, his strengths are in his shooting ratings.

The left-shot winger is reasonably fast, with 90 acceleration and 89 speed, and has good offensive awareness with a rating of 90. However, the point of playing Pavelski is to spot him open, pass him the puck, and then let his 95 slap shot accuracy, 94 slap shot power, 95 wrist shot accuracy, and 94 wrist shot power do the rest.

Bradley Matvichuk, Left Wing (86 OVR)

Potential: Elite med
Position (Type): Left Wing (Two-Way Forward)
Selected: 6th Overall, 1st Round

Much more offence-heavy than you’d tend to expect from a Two-Way Forward, Bradley Matvichuk still ranks as one of the best prospects to draft in NHL 22’s Franchise Mode. His speedy development to an 86-overall left wing, and his Elite med potential, make him a top pick in the second season’s draft.

Matvichuk’s 85 body checking, 83 strength, 85 stick checking, and 83 shot blocking are a bit lower than most would like from a defensive forward. Still, he’s very useful to have on the ice, with an 89 in each shooting category and a 90 in each puck skills attribute.

Spencer Downie, Goaltender (81 OVR)

Potential: Elite med
Position (Type): Goaltender (Hybrid)
Selected: 54th Overall, 2nd Round

It’s always risky to spend an early-round pick on a goaltender due to their inherent low value and the time that it takes for them to develop into their potential. Still, taking Spencer Downie in the second round of this simulation was a wise move, with him rapidly developing into a netminder capable of contending in the NHL.

Even at 22-years-old, Downie reaches an 81 overall rating, with his only lacking attribute that matters being his 67 poise – which will develop with more experience. Still, the left-glove goalie also has some incredibly high ratings, including his 92 breakaway, 90 glove high, 91 glove low, 91 five hole, and 90 durability.

All of the best 2023 draft picks and steals in NHL 22 Franchise Mode

In the table below, you’ll find all of the top prospect and draft steals of 2023 in Franchise Mode listed by their overall rating three seasons after the draft.

PlayerPotential2026 OVRPositionTypeDraft Pick
Kaden FlinnElite med91LWSniper3rd (1st Round)
Connor BedardFranchise med90CSniper1st (1st Round)
Darius CorvoElite med88RWPower Forward2nd (1st Round)
Vojtech CechmanekElite med87CPlaymaker7th (1st Round)
Joaquin PavelskiTop 6 high86LWSniper4th (1st Round)
Bradley MatvichukElite med86LWTwo-Way Forward6th (1st Round)
Brayden YagerElite med85CTwo-Way Forward8th (1st Round)
Ruslan TarasovElite med85RWPlaymaker5th (1st Round)
Aaron RamseyTop 6 med82CPlaymaker10th (1st Round)
Spencer DownieElite med81GHybrid54th (2nd Round)
Clinton GoldmannTop 4 med79LDDefensive Defenseman31st (1st Round)
Fredrik AnderssonTop 9 med79CPlaymaker37th (2nd Round)
Stuart SimpsonTop 6 med79RWTwo-Way Forward11th (1st Round)
Landen IronsElite low79RW/LWPlaymaker48th (2nd Round)
Cristiano PietrangeloElite med79RWTwo-Way Forward90th (3rd Round)
Andre GrierTop 6 high79LDTwo-Way Defenseman18th (1st Round)
Ladislav MihalikElite low77LWPlaymaker24th (1st Round)
Evan ShelleyFringe Starter med77GButterfly94th (3rd Round)
Viktor VorobyovElite low74CPlaymaker47th (2nd Round)

If you spot any of these top prospects on the board when it’s your time to pick in Franchise Mode’s second draft, be sure to snap them up!


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Ben Chopping

Will give almost any game a chance, particularly those that include wildlife, monsters, or prehistoric creatures of any kind.

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