NHL Draft

NHL mock draft: Expert predictions on Sharks' No. 4 pick

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With the 2023 NHL Draft set to begin Wednesday night, the Sharks still have some time before they're on the clock with the No. 4 overall pick.

Along with the fourth pick, the Sharks also own the No. 26 overall selection from their Timo Meier trade with the New Jersey Devils in February. But for now, we'll focus on No. 4.

So, who will San Jose target? What's their mindset? NHL experts around the league have weighed in, and we've rounded up the internet's top mock drafts so fans can prepare for the big event.

Here's who top NHL writers believe the Sharks will take No. 4 overall:

San Jose Hockey Now

Will Smith, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)

"While Matvei Michkov is tempting here, there are obviously a lot of questions surrounding him, in terms of when he’ll be able to come over to North America. Smith is a safer pick in that regard, but still owns top-of-the-lineup offensive upside." - Sheng Peng


Will Smith, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)

"Smith is a game-breaking offensive talent with a well-rounded game that can be the best player on the ice whether he has a hat trick or doesn't get a point. He saved his best hockey this season for the biggest moment, helping the United States win the gold medal at the 2023 IIHF Under-18 World Championship in April with a tournament-best 20 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in seven games, matching the U.S. record set by Jack Hughes at the 2019 tournament. Smith (6-foot, 180) will play at least one season at Boston College, but will be more than worth the wait." - Adam Kimelman

"The right-handed center creates scoring chances and can handle the puck at top speed to drive offense and make players around him even better." - Mike G. Morreale

The Athletic

Leo Carlsson, C, Örebro HK

"The Sharks are the team that the folks I’ve talked to believe are the most likely of the top five to take Michkov. They could stand to add a premium talent on the wing, whereas the Blue Jackets and Canadiens are more well-positioned there. They have a recent history of recruiting and signing Russian players. Mike Grier and Co. seem like they’re willing to play the long game in their process, if the payoff is right. And they just need a star. I think had the Sharks picked one spot lower in the draft and the Canadiens one spot higher, the choices for both teams would have been simpler. Where they are, though, I still think the Sharks are more likely, push comes to shove, to take whoever of the other consensus top four guys the Blue Jackets don’t take, especially if Carlsson is left to them. After taking Filip Bystedt, likely to offset all of the 5-foot-11ish kids in their pool, last year, Carlsson would continue to add a little more size to a system that could use it, while still providing top-of-the-lineup skill and playmaking sense." - Scott Wheeler


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

"San Jose's window to challenge for a playoff spot is not as close as Columbus' or Montreal's. The Sharks are still disassembling in order to rebuild. When you draft a player like Michkov, you want to get him in your fold but are going to have time to make that happen. My understanding is that he intends to honor his three-year deal in Russia. The Sharks are a team that can be patient and get an elite talent after that deal is up." - Kevin Weekes

Yahoo Sports

Will Smith, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)

"A record-breaking U-18 World Championship was hard to overlook. Smith sees the ice so well and is an elite level playmaker. San Jose is in the early stages of trying to turn around its roster, and allowing Smith a season (or two) to marinate with Boston College in the NCAA fits its timeline." - Ian Kennedy


Will Smith, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)

"If not for the depth at the top of this draft class Smith would be a first overall candidate in other years. Motion player. Playmaker. Exceptionally dangerous on the power play. Wants the puck on his stick every shift. Difference maker offensively." - Jason Bukala

USA Today

Leo Carlsson, C, Örebro (SHL)

"The Sharks are happy to land a player who is probably the most pro-ready of the bunch. Carlsson has already proved he can play, and excel, against men, and instantly upgrades them down the middle." - Kyle Woodlief

SB Nation

Matvei Michkov, RW, Sochi (KHL)

"Matvei Michkov could easily fall much lower. This is a really difficult pick to project. There’s no doubt he’s an elite talent who could be a Top 3 pick in any draft (including this one), but Russia’s war with Ukraine, paired with the fact he can’t come over until 2026-27 at the earliest might mean he’s a risk too big for a team to take inside the Top 5." - James Dator

The Sporting News

Leo Carlsson, C, Örebro HK (SHL)

"While Matvei Michkov makes a ton of sense for the Sharks at No. 4, if Carlsson is still on the board, there should be no hesitation to take him. The Swedish center is big, he's skilled and he's got speed to pair. Carlsson is a talented playmaker that carries a high hockey IQ. He makes a lot of plays look effortless and never seems to be phased, no matter the competition. He's a great get for San Jose, who can be the No. 2 center behind Tomas Hertl while the team rebuilds." - Bryan Murphy


Will Smith, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)

"The Sharks would love Fantilli, but they also love Will Smith. Smith has a lot of fans around the hockey world, and it's easy to see why. He has turned heads with the US National Team Development Program.

Smith is an incredible passer and a very shifty puck handler. He has an impressive ability to manipulate the play with just his eyes. He does need a bit of refinement, but he is just as much an elite center as the three going before him." - Tristin McKinstry

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