Battle for Bedard: Blackhawks making strong push for No. 1 overall pick in 2023 NHL Draft

Connor Bedard is placing on a program at the IIHF World Junior Championship, and it’s simple to see why numerous fan bases are hoping their group lands the No. 1 total choice in the 2023 NHL Draft.

In Monday night’s quarterfinal video game versus Slovakia, Bedard led group Canada to an overtime win with among the objectives of the year at any level. With a skill like this at the top of the draft board, tanking is tough to withstand.

The 2022-23 NHL season is nearing its middle, and the draft lotto image is ending up being much clearer. Teams like the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks remain in a heated sprint to the bottom, however a couple of more are prowling simply north of them with hopes of landing Bedard.

Here is the NHL’s upgraded fight for last location and the very best possibilities at the No. 1 total choice.

1. Chicago Blackhawks | 8-24-4 | 20 points

This was constantly the prepare for the Blackhawks, and it is coming together marvelously. They have actually won 4 video games in the last 2 months and sit alone in last location. Being 4 points behind the Anaheim Ducks is nearly remarkable, provided how bad they have actually been this season, however that is where the Blackhawks are nowadays.

Chicago is last in objectives scored (79) and 26th in objectives permitted (137). That amounts to a minus-58 objective differential. To put it clearly, the Blackhawks are bad at whatever, and it might just worsen. Patrick Kane and a number of other gamers might be on their escape ahead of the NHL trade due date, which would just speed up the tank.

2. Anaheim Ducks | 10-24-4 | 24 points

The Ducks need to be a little disappointed at this moment. They have actually done whatever they can to be in last location, however they are still simply ahead of the Blackhawks in the standings. Anaheim is dead last in objectives permitted (158) and objective differential (-70). The Ducks have actually been getting beat regularly, and they have actually managed simply 40.12% of the anticipated objectives at five-on-five.

Despite all their best shots, the Ducks still do not have the very best possibility of landing the No. 1 total choice. That’s since they may have simply enough skill, consisting of budding stars Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras, to take out a couple of more wins than Chicago. Still, if the NHL Draft Lottery was held today, Anaheim would have a good chance at the leading choice and Connor Bedard.

3. Columbus Blue Jackets | 11-22-2 | 24 points

Between injuries and bad goaltending, the wheels have actually come off in a rush for the Blue Jackets. As an outcome, they are now in the thick of the race for the No. 1 total choice. At this point, it might remain in the Blue Jackets’ benefit to keep the losses coming rather of attempting to right the ship and push for an extremely not likely playoff berth.

I’m unsure if tanking right after finalizing Johnny Gaudreau to a long-lasting offer was the initial prepare for the Blue Jackets, however if it was, it was quite fantastic. Even with Gaudreau on the lineup, Columbus was not going to be a competitor, however including a gamer like Bedard to the mix might alter that in a rush.

4. San Jose Sharks | 12-20-7 | 31 points

The Sharks’ 2022-23 season has actually gone as anticipated up until now. They are among the worst groups in the NHL, however they aren’t rather bad enough to complete last in the NHL, a minimum of not yet. What wasn’t anticipated was a resurgent season from defenseman Erik Karlsson, who appears like a Norris Trophy competitor once again.

Because of Karlsson’s unexpected bounce-back, there is an opportunity the Sharks may be able to dump his huge agreement in a trade. Between Karlsson and Timo Meier, who remains in the last year of his agreement, San Jose has a number of really gifted gamers it might trade for a massive haul in return. If the Sharks do move both of those gamers, they would be genuinely rank.

5. Arizona Coyotes | 13-17-5 | 31 points

Things have actually gone badly incorrect for the Arizona Coyotes. They have actually been winning video games versus a few of the very best groups in the NHL. In the last number of weeks, the Coyotes have actually beaten the Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, and the New York Islanders. That was not part of the group’s strategy entering the 2022-23 season.

In all severity, it has actually been great to see the Coyotes going toe-to-toe with a few of the league’s finest, particularly in the house. However, this current run of success has actually not assisted their possibilities of preparing Connor Bedard, unless he in some way falls a number of areas in the 2023 draft. There is still a lot of time for Arizona to go ice cold and sink like a stone.

6. Montreal Canadiens | 15-19-3 | 33 points

The Canadiens are actually in a great area here. Some of their young skill has actually revealed development with gamers like Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield entering their own. At the very same time, Montreal is rapidly insinuating the standings with 2 wins in its last 10 video games.

If the ping pong balls do bounce Montreal’s method, that would put the group in an exceptional position moving on. In Suzuki and Caufield, the Canadiens currently have a number of foundation gamers in location, and they have a great quantity of cash coming off the books after this season. If Montreal can turn a couple gamers for future properties at the trade due date, it will be sitting quite in June.

7. Philadelphia Flyers | 14-17-7 | 35 points

The Flyers left to a good start under John Tortorella in his very first year in , however that has actually rapidly vaporized, regardless of the group’s present three-game winning streak. As Philadelphia has actually wandered towards the bottom of the standings, its hopes of calling Connor Bedard’s name next summertime have actually increased.

This is a restoring year for the Flyers, and a high-draft choice would offer some optimism to a company that frantically requires it. Philadelphia isn’t overflowing with elite young skill, and it is up versus the wage cap, so landing a phenom like Bedard would fix a few of those issues.

8. Vancouver Canucks | 16-17-3 | 35 points

The Canucks have not had the ability to dig themselves out of an early hole, and they remain in no male’s land. With each passing day, reconstructing looks increasingly more like the very best course forward for Vancouver. The group might begin by trading away gamers on ending offers like Bo Horvat, Luke Schenn, and Ethan Bear.

If the Canucks are going to tear everything down, they require to make that choice faster instead of later on. Right now, Vancouver may be a little too great to land among the premier choices in the 2023 draft, however that might alter with a couple of significant workers relocations.

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