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Which NHL Team Will Get Connor Bedard? Betting Odds Favor Chicago & Columbus

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in NHL Hockey

Updated Jan 17, 2023 · 11:30 AM PST

Connor Bedard in front of the net versus Finland
Aug 20, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN;Team Canada forward Connor Bedard (16) looks for a pass in font of Team Finland goaltender Juha Jatkola (31) during the second period in the championship game during the IIHF U20 Ice Hockey World Championship at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Chicago Blackhawks are the favorites to win the NHL Draft Lottery for the right to draft Connor Bedard
  • Just four of the last 12 teams to finish last during the regular season have won the Draft Lottery
  • The complete set of odds to win the Draft Lottery and select Bedard 1st overall are listed below

Connor Bedard’s World Juniors performance put to rest any doubt about who should be selected with the number one pick in the upcoming NHL Draft.

Bedard led Team Canada to another gold medal, earning tournament MVP honors and breaking the scoring record in the process.

Now, with the NHL Draft only five months away, it’s time to start thinking about which franchise is going to have its fortunes changed forever by selecting the 17-year-old.

Odds to Draft Connor Bedard

Team Odds
Chicago Blackhawks +290
Columbus Blue Jackets +300
Anaheim Ducks +500
Arizona Coyotes +800
San Jose Sharks +850
Montreal Canadiens +950
Vancouver Canucks +1100
Ottawa Senators +1100
Philadelphia Flyers +1400
Florida Panthers +2000
Detroit Red Wings +2500

*Odds as of January 17th. Browse the top online NHL betting sites

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The Chicago Blackhawks currently have the worst record, making them the favorites. They’re followed by the Columbus Blue Jackets and Anaheim Ducks, who have earned just two and three more points respectively so far this season.

Unlike the NFL, finishing last in the standings doesn’t automatically earn you the number one pick. It does, however, give you the best odds to land Bedard, who looks like the league’s next generational talent.

The Front Runners for Bedard

The Draft Lottery system has changed multiple times throughout the last 28 years. Now, it appears the league has settled on a format they like.

Only the top two spots in the Draft are now determined by the lottery. Unlike previous years, a team can only move up 10 spots. That makes just 11 of the 16 non-playoff teams eligible for the number one pick. That’s significant because back in 2020, the Rangers landed the top selection, and subsequently Alexis Lafreniere, despite making the postseason.

Over the last 12 years, only four teams to finish last in the standings have won the lottery. However, each of the last two cellar dwellers were awarded the top pick, giving Blackhawks fans hope.

Make no mistake, Chicago certainly deserves the pick. A staple near the top of the Stanley Cup odds for most of the last 13 years, the Blackhawks have the fewest regulation wins, and nine fewer goals than anyone else. Their -60 goal differential is tied for second worst, and it appears like they’re getting set to unload all their top assets.

A Patrick Kane trade is reportedly inevitable, while earlier this week captain Jonathan Toews hinted at a change of scenery for himself. Chicago is also reportedly looking to unload Connor Murphy and Jake McCabe, two of their top-four defensemen.

If you’re looking for a reason to fade the Blackhawks in this market one does exist. They have the 14th easiest schedule over the remaining 40+ games.

NHL Remaining Strength of Schedule

Team SOS
Montreal Canadiens 1.168
NY Rangers 1.158
NY Islanders 1.155
Buffalo Sabres 1.138
New Jersey Devils 1.138
Ottawa Senators 1.137
Tampa Bay Lightning 1.136
Carolina Hurricanes 1.134
Detroit Red Wings 1.130
Florida Panthers 1.130

The Blue Jackets meanwhile, have the league’s 12 toughest schedule remaining. That sets them up in good shape to tank, but it doesn’t appear they’re as eager to unload their stars for a chance to select Bedard.

Columbus has been ravaged by injuries this season, so the team never got a good sense of how good they can be with a healthy roster. They’ve also been snake bit around the opposing net. They rank fifth worst in converting high-danger scoring chances.

Patrick Laine seems like the obvious name to be dealt, but given the enormous contract he just signed, it will be hard to find a taker. Consider bypassing the Blue Jackets for the options further down the board.

The Longshots to Land Bedard

A pair of Canadian teams stick out in this department. First, the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs have the easiest remaining schedule of any team in the league and virtually zero playoff hopes. They’ve dropped 12 of their last 16 contests, and have multiple key contributors on IR. That’s going to prolong their slump, and increase their Draft Lottery chances.

Montreal will have every reason to sell at the deadline, and how good would Bedard look alongside the nucleus of Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Co. Now, the Canadiens did win the Draft Lottery last season, and no team has gone back-to-back since the Florida Panthers in 2002-2003.

The most intriguing longshot in this market is the Vancouver Canucks. Bedard grew up in Vancouver, and the league would love another generational star in a Canadian market. The Canucks have the eighth shortest odds to land Bedard, but the sixth-best chance according to moneypuck.com’s metrics.

Vancouver is going to be a seller at the trade deadline, with Bo Horvat being their most coveted player on the block. GM Jim Rutherford told the media earlier this week his roster needs major surgery, suggesting a tank down the stretch is inevitable.

The Canucks are certainly trending towards the bottom of the West standings, having lost seven of nine. If their slump continues, Vancouver’s odds to draft Bedard are going to shorten drastically. Consider buying them now at a favorable price.

 

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