Skip to content

McBride’s Tanner Molendyk picked in first round of the NHL draft

Tanner Molendyk
Six WHL players have been selected in the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft, held Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, including McBride’s Tanner Molendyk.
Regina Pats captain Connor Bedard was the first-overall selection by the Chicago Blackhawks. Hailing from North Vancouver, B.C., Bedard was named the WHL and Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year after leading the League with 71 goals and 143 points during the 2022-23 WHL Regular Season.
Bedard becomes the ninth WHL player, and third Regina Pats skater, to be selected first overall in the NHL Draft.
Saskatoon Blades blueliner Molendyk was the first WHL defenceman selected in the 2023 NHL Draft after being picked 24th overall by the Nashville Predators. Molendyk, who hails from McBride, totalled 37 points (9G-28A) in 67 games for the Blades during the 2022-23 WHL Regular Season before helping the Club reach the Eastern Conference Championship for the first time in 29 years, collecting three goals and eight points along the way.
Brandon Wheat Kings co-captain Nate Danielson joined Bedard among the top 10 selections in the 2023 NHL Draft after he was taken ninth overall by the Detroit Red Wings. A product of Red Deer, Alta., Danielson was named to the WHL East Division Second All-Star Team in 2022-23 after leading the Wheat Kings in scoring with 78 points (33G-45A) in 68 games.
The WHL earned three picks in a four-selection span midway through the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft, beginning with forward Zach Benson, selected 13th overall by the Buffalo Sabres. Benson, who hails from Chilliwack, B.C., led the Winnipeg ICE with 98 points (36G-62A) in 60 games. Benson earned WHL East Division First All-Star Team honours in 2022-23 and is joined in the Sabres organization with ICE linemate Matthew Savoie, the ninth-overall selection in the 2022 NHL Draft.
At 14th overall, the Pittsburgh Penguins claimed Moose Jaw Warriors forward Brayden Yager. The product of Saskatoon, Sask. put up a career best 78 points (28G-50A) for the Warriors during the 2022-23 WHL Regular Season, earning the Brad Hornung Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player.
The Calgary Flames added WHL talent to their organization with the 16th-overall pick, selecting Slovak forward Samuel Honzek from the Vancouver Giants. Honzek, who represented his country at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, collected 56 points (23G-33A) with the Giants in his first season in North America despite being limited to 43 regular season contests.
The 2023 NHL Draft marks the 15th time in the past 17 years in which the WHL has seen five or more players selected in the first round of the NHL Draft. With six more WHL players chosen in the first round of the NHL Draft, the WHL’s all-time total number of first-round NHL Draft selections sits at 339 since the 1967 NHL Amateur Draft.
The 2023 NHL Draft resumes Thursday morning at 9 a.m. MT. For more information on WHL players at the NHL Draft, please visit
2023 NHL Draft – WHL Players
Overall – Player (Pos.) – NHL Team; WHL Team; Hometown
#1 Connor Bedard (F) – Chicago Blackhawks; Regina Pats; North Vancouver, B.C.
#9 Nate Danielson (F) – Detroit Red Wings; Brandon Wheat Kings; Red Deer, Alta.
#13 Zach Benson (F) – Buffalo Sabres; Winnipeg ICE; Chilliwack, B.C.
#14 Brayden Yager (F) – Pittsburgh Penguins; Moose Jaw Warriors; Saskatoon, Sask.
#16 Samuel Honzek (F) – Calgary Flames; Vancouver Giants; Trencin, Slovakia
#24 Tanner Molendyk (D) – Nashville Predators; Saskatoon Blades; McBride, B.C.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *