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 the very best odds within the draft lottery much more fascinating than regular 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. However, among the different groups within the NHL’s basement offered off key items forward of the commerce deadline, and that may give Columbus some critical competitors over the subsequent 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 tip 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 job earlier than the commerce deadline, however they need to be much more porous on the again finish transferring ahead.
The solely concern the Jackets might need in the case of ending with the very best draft lottery odds is that different groups close to the underside of the standings offered off extra vital items. Korpisalo and Gavrikov performed important roles, however the crew will not be all that a lot worse with out them. In truth, on Tuesday night time, Columbus jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier than imploding and shedding in additional time, 5-4. Crisis averted.
San Jose Sharks | 19-34-12 | 50 factors
The Sharks have 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 gained two of its final 11 video games, and eight of the 9 losses have are available in regulation. They are avoiding factors just like the plague proper now.
Things ought to solely worsen (or higher) for the Sharks with out Timo Meier, Nick Bonino, and Jaycob Megna, all of whom have been traded forward of the deadline. San Jose did not handle to maneuver defenseman Erik Karlsson although, and he’s enjoying at a Norris Trophy degree this season. Karlsson is perhaps a thorn within the facet of the Sharks’ tank if he continues to pile up factors and maintain them in video games.
Chicago Blackhawks | 22-36-5 | 49 factors
If you are on the lookout for a crew which may simply utterly crater between now and the tip of the common season, it is perhaps the Blackhawks. After buying and selling away Patrick Kane, Max Domi, Sam Lafferty, and Jake McCabe, they’ve essentially the most barren roster within the NHL.
Caleb Jones, Jarred Tinordi, and Connor Murphy are all enjoying 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 whole lot of hassle discovering wins in its remaining 19 video games, however a few issues might get in the way in which of a full-on tank.
First-year head coach Luke Richardson appears to have achieved a good job at getting what he can out of the roster. On high of that, Alex Stalock has performed surprisingly nicely in aim. Still, even with Richardson and Stalock attempting to maintain the Blackhawks afloat, that No. 1 decide is unquestionably on the desk in Chicago.
Anaheim Ducks | 21-35-8 | 50 factors
Anaheim traded John Klingberg and Dmitry Kulikov earlier than the commerce deadline, however I’m unsure how a lot injury that might probably do to a membership that was already one of many worst defensive groups in current reminiscence.
The Ducks did win a recreation over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night time, which harm their probabilities, and their proficient younger forwards give them a better ceiling than among the different groups on this record. That may make it tougher for Anaheim to win this race to backside within the final 20% of the season.
Don’t get me unsuitable. When the Ducks lose, they lose huge. Their minus-99 aim differential is the worst within the league by 17 objectives, however having the worst aim differential does not get you an additional ping pong ball within the draft lottery.
Arizona Coyotes | 22-32-10 | 54 factors
Coming into the season, the Coyotes appeared like a protected wager to complete with the worst report within the league, however the magic of Mullett Arena has given them just a few extra wins than anticipated.
Arizona lastly traded Jakob Chychrun, however he hadn’t performed for the crew shortly anyway. Nick Bjugstad and Shayne Gostisbehere have been additionally on the transfer, however Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz, Lawson Crouse, and Karel Vejmelka make the Coyotes a aggressive crew once in a while. While that hurts their probabilities at drafting Connor Bedard, it’s good for the franchise to see progress from all these gamers.
It’s additionally laborious to see the Yotes falling aside down the house stretch after 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 might 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 among 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 nicely. With video games towards the Rangers, Devils, Avalanche, Penguins, Panthers, Lightning, and Bruins developing, the Canadiens might 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
In phrases of the Canucks’ pursuit of the No. 1 general 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 Red Wings defenseman Filip Hronek.
Even if 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 will be robust out when it will get enough goaltending.
Ultimately, the Canucks are in an excellent place right here. They have already got some foundational items, and it is believable that they find yourself with the No. 1 general decide too.
Philadelphia Flyers | 24-29-11 | 59 factors
Much to the dismay of their followers, the Flyers weren’t terribly lively on the commerce deadline, and James van Riemsdyk will stay on the crew till he turns into an unrestricted free agent in the summertime.
As a consequence, Philadelphia might not be dangerous sufficient to maximise its possibilities of touchdown the No. 1 general 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 just a few spots within the standings earlier than the tip of the common season, the excellent news is that they play a troublesome schedule over the subsequent few weeks.
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