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NHL Draft Lottery: Connor Bedard’s Presence Makes Draft Lottery Must-See TV

NHL Draft Lottery Set for Monday Night

The NHL Draft Lottery is set for Monday. While some years that might be met with an indifferent yawn from U.S. based sports fans, with Connor Bedard going to the team that earns the No. 1 pick, there will be more interest when it comes to the NHL news cycle.

It doesn’t hurt that the draft lottery, expected to start shortly after 7 p.m. ET, will air live on ESPN in the U.S. and Sportsnet in Canada.

NHL Betting: Connor Bedard's Presence Makes Draft Lottery Must-See TV
Minas Panagiotakis / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Bedard had 71 goals and 72 assists in 57 games during the regular season with the Regina Pats in the WHL and added 10 goals and 10 assists in seven playoff games. The NHL predictions have Bedard as the overwhelming choice to go first overall.

He is being mentioned in the same breath as Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby as other franchise-changing players out of Canada.

When looking at the NHL picks, some other players to keep an eye on include Michigan forward Adam Fantilli, the No. 2 rated North American skater in the NHL’s Central Scouting database with US-18 forward William Smith another top prospect. Leo Carlsson, a center out of Orebro HK in Sweden, is another prospect attracting the attention of the teams in the lottery.

The NHL adjusted the lottery in 2021 so that the most a team can move up in the lottery is 10 spots. As a result, Ottawa, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Calgary and Nashville can’t move up to the No. 1 spot.

Anaheim and Columbus are both looking for new coaches. According to the NHL betting lines, Joe Sacco (+250) is the front-runner to land the Ducks’ job with Bruce Boudreau (+250) the favorite to be the new coach in Columbus.

Here’s a look at the teams in contention to earn the No. 1 pick with four of the teams in contention to land Bedard never having picked first overall. Back in January, Chicago was the leader in the lottery odds followed by Columbus and Anaheim.

Anaheim Ducks

  • Odds For No. 1: 18.5%
  • Highest pick: Defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky, No. 2 in 1994, Forward Bobby Ryan, No. 2 in 2005

Anaheim has the best chance to secure the No. 1 overall pick and is one of the favorites according to the sportsbook as well.

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📺: #NHLDraft Lottery Monday, May 8 at 8p on @espn, @sportsnet, and @tvasports pic.twitter.com/NBiPxpQ6CH

— NHL (@NHL) May 5, 2023

If that happens, Bedard would join former top-10 picks Trevor Zegras and Mason McTavish to give the Ducks plenty of offensive punch.

It wouldn’t hurt to have a dynamic player like Bedard playing in one of the largest media markets in the U.S.

Columbus Blue Jackets

  • Odds for No. 1 pick: 13.5%
  • Highest pick: Forward Rick Nash, No. 1 in 2002

Columbus scored the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference even with the addition of Johnny Gaudreau to go with Patrik Laine and Boone Jenner. Kent Johnson, the No. 5 pick in 2021, is among the young players being counted on to make the Blue Jackets relevant once again.

Chicago Blackhawks

Odds for No. 1 pick: 11.5%

Highest pick: Forward Patrick Kane, No. 1 in 2007

The Blackhawks couldn’t have made it more obvious that the main goal in the 2022-23 was to put the franchise in position to get a top selection in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

With the trade of Kane to the New York Rangers, six of the top eight scorers from the 2021-22 team ended this season playing elsewhere. One of the top returning scorers was Jonathan Toews and his impressive run with the Blackhawks is also over.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Las Vegas NHL odds favored Chicago to land the No. 1 pick for the first time in 16 years.

San Jose Sharks

  • Odds for No. 1 pick: 9.5%
  • Highest pick: Forward Pat Falloon, No. 2 in 1991; Defenseman Andrei Zyuzin, No. 2 in 1996; Forward Patrick Marleau, No. 2 in 1997

San Jose lost its last six games to finish with 60 points. One of the top offensive threats (Timo Meier) was dealt to New Jersey. The Sharks did see defenseman Erik Karlsson finish with 101 points. However, there is not much in the way of up-and-coming offensive talent to build around.

Montreal Canadiens

  • Odds for No. 1 pick: 8.5%
  • Highest pick: Forward Garry Monahan, No. 1 in 1963; Goalie Michel Plasse, No. 1 in 1968; Forward Rejean Houle, No. 1 in 1969; Forward Guy Lafleur, No. 1 in 1971; Forward Doug Wickenheiser, No. 1 in 1980; Forward Juraj Slafkovsky, No. 1 in 2022.

Montreal is no stranger to having the No. 1 pick land in its lap. The Stanley Cup championship teams in the late 1970s featured multiple No. 1 overall selections. The jury is still out on Slafkovsky, the top pick in last year’s draft.

The last time a team had the top overall pick in back to back seasons came in 2012 when the Edmonton Oilers selected Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov in consecutive drafts.

Arizona Coyotes

  • Odds for No. 1 pick: 7.5%
  • Highest pick: Forward Kyle Turris, No. 3 in 2007; Forward Dylan Strome, No. 3 in 2015; Forward Logan Cooley, No. 3 in 2002.

This franchise is a mess and the Coyotes play in the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena. A generational talent like Bedard landing in Arizona would not be an ideal move for the NHL.

Former top-10 picks Clayton Keller and Barrett Hayton are among the forwards that Arizona is building around.

Philadelphia Flyers

  • Odds for No. 1 pick: 6.5%
  • Highest pick: Forward Mel Bridgman, No. 1 in 1975

The Flyers haven’t had back-to-back top 10 picks in more than 30 years. Peter Forsberg, the No. 6 pick in 1991, was a key piece of the trade that brought Eric Lindros to Philadelphia while Ryan Sittler, the No. 7 selection in 1992, never played in the NHL.

Cutter Gauthier, picked fifth in 2022, had 37 points in 32 games as a freshman at Boston College and adding one of the top forwards in this year’s draft will be part of the rebuilding process.

Washington Capitals

  • Odds for No. 1 pick: 6.0%
  • Highest pick: Defenseman Greg Joly, No. 1 in 1974; Defenseman Rick Green, No. 1 in 1976; Forward Alex Ovechkin, No. 1 in 2004.

Things worked out pretty well the last time Washington had the No. 1 overall pick as Ovechkin is second only to Wayne Gretzky on the NHL career scoring list.

The veteran Washington team could use an influx of young talent and this draft could help in that quest.

Detroit Red Wings

  • Odds for No. 1 pick: 5.0%
  • Highest pick: Forward Claude Gauthier, No. 1 in 1964; Forward Dale McCourt, No. 1 1977; Forward Joe Murphy, No. 1 in 1986

The first player chosen by the Red Wings in each of the last three drafts came from Sweden. The last time Detroit began a draft by taking a player from either Canada or the United States came in 2017 when forward Michael Rasmussen was the ninth overall pick.

Detroit has had top-10 picks in each of the last six drafts. Will the streak extend to seven this year?

St. Louis Blues

  • Odds for No. 1 pick: 3.5%
  • Highest pick: Defenseman Erik Johnson, No. 1 in 2006

This is another team not accustomed to picking early in the draft.

One of the best first-round picks by St. Louis in recent years is Tage Thompson, who has scored 38 and 47 goals over the last two seasons with the Buffalo Sabres.

Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas are among the young forwards on the Blues. However, they need plenty of help.

Vancouver Canucks

  • Odds for No. 1 pick: 3.0%
  • Highest pick: Forward Trevor Linden, No. 2 in 1988; Forward Petr Nedved in 1990; Forward

Daniel Sedin No. 2 in 1999

With Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Brock Boeser and Andrei Kuzmenko, there is talent on the Vancouver roster. The Canycks held onto forward J.T. Miller at the trading deadline so it is not a complete rebuild for the Canucks.

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