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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Battle for Bedard: Sharks, Blue Jackets, Geese amongst groups battling for No. 1 decide in 2023 NHL Draft

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As we hit the house stretch of the 2022-23 NHL season, some fan bases are wanting ahead to the postseason, and others are looking forward to the draft lottery.

Connor Bedard, the presumptive No. 1 prospect within the 2023 NHL Draft, is a tantalizing prize for whichever crew winds up with the highest decide. That makes the battle for one of the best odds within the draft lottery much more fascinating than typical this season.

As has been the case for a lot of the season, the Columbus Blue Jackets are within the driver’s seat to land the No. 1 decide. Nevertheless, a few of the different groups within the NHL’s basement offered off key items forward of the commerce deadline, and that can give Columbus some severe competitors over the following six weeks.

Let’s check out what the Battle for Bedard seems like after the NHL commerce deadline.

Columbus Blue Jackets | 20-37-7 | 47 factors

The Blue Jackets have been the favorites to land the No. 1 decide for a while now, and I would not essentially count on that to vary between now and the top of the common season. Columbus traded away its solely constant goaltender, Joonas Korpisalo, and one in all its top-four defensemen, Vladislav Gavrikov. Scoring objectives towards the Blue Jackets wasn’t precisely a tall activity earlier than the commerce deadline, however they need to be much more porous on the again finish shifting ahead.

The one concern the Jackets might need relating to ending with one of the best draft lottery odds is that different groups close to the underside of the standings offered off extra necessary items. Korpisalo and Gavrikov performed important roles, however the crew will not be all that a lot worse with out them. Actually, on Tuesday night time, Columbus jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier than imploding and dropping in extra time, 5-4. Disaster averted.

San Jose Sharks | 19-34-12 | 50 factors

The Sharks had been main sellers on the commerce deadline, and they’re making a push to complete the 2022-23 season in final place. San Jose has received two of its final 11 video games, and eight of the 9 losses have are available regulation. They’re avoiding factors just like the plague proper now.

Issues ought to solely worsen (or higher) for the Sharks with out Timo Meier, Nick Bonino, and Jaycob Megna, all of whom had been traded forward of the deadline. San Jose did not handle to maneuver defenseman Erik Karlsson although, and he’s taking part in at a Norris Trophy degree this season. Karlsson may be a thorn within the aspect of the Sharks’ tank if he continues to pile up factors and hold them in video games.

Chicago Blackhawks | 22-36-5 | 49 factors

In case you’re searching for a crew that may simply fully crater between now and the top of the common season, it may be the Blackhawks. After buying and selling away Patrick Kane, Max Domi, Sam Lafferty, and Jake McCabe, they’ve probably the most barren roster within the NHL.

Caleb Jones, Jarred Tinordi, and Connor Murphy are all taking part in top-four roles on the blue line. Taylor Raddysh, Cole Guttman, and Tyler Johnson make up the second ahead line. Chicago ought to have a number of hassle discovering wins in its remaining 19 video games, however a few issues may get in the way in which of a full-on tank.

First-year head coach Luke Richardson appears to have executed a good job at getting what he can out of the roster. On high of that, Alex Stalock has performed surprisingly effectively in objective. Nonetheless, even with Richardson and Stalock making an attempt to maintain the Blackhawks afloat, that No. 1 decide is certainly on the desk in Chicago.

Anaheim Geese | 21-35-8 | 50 factors

Anaheim traded John Klingberg and Dmitry Kulikov earlier than the commerce deadline, however I am undecided how a lot harm that might probably do to a membership that was already one of many worst defensive groups in current reminiscence.

The Geese did win a recreation over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night time, which harm their possibilities, and their gifted younger forwards give them the next ceiling than a few of the different groups on this listing. Which may make it tougher for Anaheim to win this race to backside within the final 20% of the season.

Do not get me incorrect. When the Geese lose, they lose large. Their minus-99 objective differential is the worst within the league by 17 objectives, however having the worst objective differential would not get you an additional ping pong ball within the draft lottery.

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Arizona Coyotes | 22-32-10 | 54 factors

Coming into the season, the Coyotes appeared like a secure guess to complete with the worst report within the league, however the magic of Mullett Enviornment has given them a couple of extra wins than anticipated.

Arizona lastly traded Jakob Chychrun, however he hadn’t performed for the crew shortly anyway. Nick Bjugstad and Shayne Gostisbehere had been additionally on the transfer, however Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz, Lawson Crouse, and Karel Vejmelka make the Coyotes a aggressive crew now and again. Whereas that hurts their possibilities at drafting Connor Bedard, it’s good for the franchise to see progress from all these gamers.

It is also laborious to see the Yotes falling aside down the house stretch once they have gamers like Shea Weber and Jakub Voracek within the group. We’ll see if these two can get Arizona again within the playoff race.

Montreal Canadiens | 26-33-5 | 57 factors

The Canadiens are one other crew that I may simply see sinking to the underside of the standings by the point the common season is over. Nick Suzuki is a lonely man within the high six as a result of there is not a lot assist round him. Mike Hoffman, Jonathan Drouin, Raphael Harvey-Pinard, and Jesse Ylonen are a few of the gamers round Suzuki up entrance.

Montreal might need some hassle scoring objectives down the stretch, and the goaltending duo of Jake Allen and Sam Montembeault has had its share of struggles as effectively. With video games towards the Rangers, Devils, Avalanche, Penguins, Panthers, Lightning, and Bruins arising, the Canadiens may take an expeditious dive within the standings.

They have already got a head begin in that regard with 4 consecutive losses.

Vancouver Canucks | 26-32-5 | 57 factors

By way of the Canucks’ pursuit of the No. 1 total decide, the commerce deadline wasn’t terribly profitable. Neither Brock Boeser nor J.T. Miller bought traded, and Vancouver even made a win-now transfer by buying former Detroit Pink Wings defenseman Filip Hronek.

Even when the Canucks did transfer these gamers, there is not any denying that there’s some expertise on this roster. Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, and Andrei Kuzmenko are all high quality gamers, and Vancouver could be powerful out when it will get sufficient goaltending.

In the end, the Canucks are in place right here. They have already got some foundational items, and it is believable that they find yourself with the No. 1 total decide too.

Philadelphia Flyers | 24-29-11 | 59 factors

A lot to the dismay of their followers, the Flyers weren’t terribly energetic on the commerce deadline, and James van Riemsdyk will stay on the crew till he turns into an unrestricted free agent in the summertime.

Consequently, Philadelphia might not be dangerous sufficient to maximise its possibilities of touchdown the No. 1 total decide, however one thing tells me John Tortorella would not have curiosity in that anyway. Add in robust seasons from Travis Konecny and Carter Hart, and the Flyers have been extra aggressive than anticipated in 2022-23.

For these hoping to see the Flyers slip a couple of spots within the standings earlier than the top of the common season, the excellent news is that they play a troublesome schedule over the following few weeks. 



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