NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Matvei Michkov is the agent of chaos for the 2023 NHL draft. Or the X factor. Or the player with the highest ceiling outside of Connor Bedard, the generational talent expected to be the first overall pick.

“He’s the mystery man,” said Matthew Wood, a right wing from UConn who is expected to go in Wednesday night’s first round.

“Nobody has seen him. He’s a ghost,” Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong said. “We have not met with him at this point. But you never know. That’s top-secret information. Not quite sure I can answer that completely.”

If Bedard is the draft’s best player, Michkov is undoubtedly its most fascinating one. The 18-year-old Russian phenom is the hottest topic on the ground in Nashville, as teams and pundits and his fellow prospects openly wonder where he’ll be drafted.

“I guess it’s kind of a little bit of a guessing game,” said Ryan Leonard, a right wing from the U.S. national team development program.

Michkov won’t go at No. 1, as the Chicago Blackhawks will certainly take Bedard first, having already sold thousands of tickets next season after winning the draft lottery. It could be at No. 2 overall, as there’s been scuttlebutt that the Anaheim Ducks could forgo drafting Michigan star center Adam Fantilli in favor of Michkov. It could be anywhere in the first 10 picks. It’s a mystery.

“I mean, I guess I know just as much as you guys do,” Fantilli said. “I’ve never gotten to meet him. At the end of the day, it comes down to what a team needs and what a team wants. He’s a great hockey player.”

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Why Matvei Michkov is the NHL draft’s ultimate X factor