Flyers Draft Profile: Will Smith

Note: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links, Schneps Media may earn a commission.
2022 NHL Entry Draft
Hockey team participate during the second day of the 2022 NHL Draft on Friday, July 8, 2022 in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)
(Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)

Daniel Briere and the Philadelphia Flyers have a plethora of young, talented prospects to choose from with the seventh overall pick in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

Whoever the Flyers select will help usher in a new era of hockey in Philadelphia, hopefully developing into a franchise cornerstone.

Connor Bedard isn’t the only prospect with elite NHL potential. The draft class is deep with quality prospects able to become franchise players. After the Chicago Blackhawks select Bedard, the real fun begins.

Will Smith

Among the top prospects eligible for the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, Smith is a product of the USNTDP, ranked third in Bob McKenzie’s draft rankings. Smith climbed three spots, initially ranked sixth. NHL Central Scouting ranked him third among North American skaters.

Smith had an out of this world season with the U18 USNT in 2022-2023. He totaled 127 points (51G, 76A) in 60 games. In the U18 World Junior Championship, Smith scored 20 points (9G, 11A) in seven games. The United States defeated Sweden for the gold medal.

In the USNTDP all-time single-season ranks, Smith is second in points. At the end of his USNTDP career, he cleared Auston Matthews and Jack Hughes by double-digits.

Smith is one of the most dynamic centers and forwards in general in this year’s draft class. He’s committed to play at Boston College in 2023-2024.


Smith is a creative skater, playing as effectively off the puck as he does with it on offense. He has the speed and vision to create space around him, opening passing lanes to him or other teammates.

He always tries to make a play. Smith has shifty stickhandling and knows how to make defenders vulnerable. Deceptive with the puck, Smith can change his body position, deking opponents. His teammates on the U18 USNT were as dynamic, contributing in part to his dominant season.

A few NHL players compared to Smith are Mika Zibanejad, Trevor Zegras, William Nylander, and Tage Thompson.


Smith doesn’t play a perfect game; no one does. He shows high-end talent on offense, but isn’t the strongest two-way player. John Tortorella would hound his forechecking.

In the USNTDP, those players developed together, building an organic chemistry. Smith gels with those teammates, but to make an impact, he must resolve his defensive shortcomings to become a more well-rounded skater. In Philadelphia, establishing a two-hundred foot game is a priority.

It isn’t uncommon for Smith to attempt the highlight reel play instead of making the right read. It’s happened often enough, a teammate open for a pass, but Smith elects the hesitation deke on a scoring chance. His creativity, while a prominent strength, could override ideal decision making in the offensive zone.

However, at Boston College, Smith said he wanted to frequent the penalty kill to become more well-rounded.

Does he fit Philadelphia?

Yes, without a doubt. Smith is an absolute fit in Philadelphia. At Boston College, he’ll become familiar with Cutter Gauthier, gaining chemistry with the fifth overall selection for the Flyers at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.

Additionally, Smith provides quality depth down the middle. He could be a game changing C, which the Flyers need.

His recent surge up the draft rankings make him a risk to be taken off the board between the third and seventh overall pick. If he is on the board when the Flyers are on the clock, it would be a brilliant selection.

(Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)