The NHL Draft Lottery is tonight, which means we’ll finally know which organization will have the opportunity to draft Connor Bedard with the first overall pick in the 2023 Entry Draft. Bedard is a truly generational talent, and getting lucky in tonight’s lottery could completely change a team’s trajectory for the future. There are certainly teams that need him more than others, but in the NHL, there’s no guarantee for the bottom dwellers like in other leagues. With so much still up in the air, here are the three teams from the bottom ten we’d like to see him play for most next season.
1 – Columbus Blue Jackets (2nd best odds)
The Jackets may not have seen the immediate results they were looking for after the Johnny Gaudreau trade, but it may end up being a blessing in disguise. With a roster full of young, exciting talent, Connor Bedard would make an immediate impact and learn a lot from Gaudreau right away. Also, David Jiricek, Denton Mateychuk, Kent Johnson and Cole Sillinger are all Top-15 draft picks under the age of 21 currently in the organization already.
With the addition of Bedard, Columbus would have a fantastic opportunity to build an exceptional core for years to come. It may not be the biggest hockey city now, but with building blocks like those, the buzz will be there for the Blue Jackets.
2 – Detroit Red Wings (9th best odds)
There’s not much of a chance here, but it sure would be awesome to see the city of Detroit bounce right back to NHL relevance in a single night. The team is already trending upwards and building around guys like Dylan Larkin, Lucas Raymond, Mo Seider and Simon Edvinsson. Plus, they’ve got five draft picks in the first two rounds this year. If Connor Bedard is headlining the class and they hit on one or two more picks, the Wings will be in great shape for the future.
Detroit is a storied franchise on the way back up with tons of money to spend right now and a great GM in Steve Yzerman. Who wouldn’t want to watch Bedard thrive in that situation?
3 – Philadelphia Flyers (7th best odds)
They’re not very young and their future isn’t as bright as others, but a stroke of good luck tonight could change a lot in Philadelphia. Much like the Red Wings, the league is better when the Flyers are good. Recently, however, they’ve been far from good, and the fans are growing tired of it. Despite another tough year this season, people do forget that they had some brutal injury luck and were without Ryan Ellis, Sean Couturier and Cam Atkinson for the whole season. Although Ellis will likely never play again, getting Couturier and Atkinson back next year will certainly help the depth at forward for the Flyers.
This isn’t one of our favorite spots based on the current roster, but the idea of what Connor Bedard could do for a historic organization like Philadelphia sure is exciting. They may not turn into immediate contenders, but it’s hard to imagine any organization failing to build something around such a talented player.
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