Where will Bedard have the biggest impact?

Forward Connor Bedard’s name will be on everyone’s lips during the 2023 Draft Lottery to be held May 8 (7 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVAS) at NHL Network Studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Bedard is considered the best prospect of the 2023 vintage and one of the most promising players to enter the NHL in recent decades.

He was the Western Hockey League’s leading scorer with 143 points (71 goals, 72 assists) in 57 games with the Regina Pats, in addition to accumulating 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists ) in seven playoff games.

Bedard also stood out at the World Junior Hockey Championship with 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in seven games to help Canada win the gold medal. The 17-year-old forward was named the tournament’s most valuable player, in addition to capturing the points per game record in a Canadian uniform.

Bedard appears first in NHL Central Scouting’s final North American prospect rankings.

“Bedard has the skills of an elite player in the NHL,” said NHL Central Scouting vice-president Dan Marr. “He reads the game perfectly, he is always in the right place, he executes plays well and he takes advantage of his chances. What puts him in the category of special players like Connor McDavid are his natural instincts which allow him to channel all of his attributes to dominate when the opportunity presents itself and his team needs it most.

Only one team can win the NHL Draft lottery, but in every city that ends up in the abacus, fans are already thinking about what the forward would look like in their team’s jersey and with which players it could evolve.

Why not help them? Although 16 teams end up in the lottery, only 11 have a chance of taking the first choice, since it is impossible to advance more than 10 ranks. Here is an overview for each.


Odds : 18.5 percent

Who could he play with? : A reunion of Bedard and Trevor Zegras on the same line could make the Ducks one of the most entertaining teams in the NHL.

The skills of Bedard combined with the creativity of Zegras on a first line completed by Troy Terry could make this unit one of the most explosive in the NHL.

Bedard would thus find himself at the top of the list of a group of very promising hopefuls within which are also found the defenders Olen Zellweger, Tristan Luneau and Pavel Mintyukov and the attackers Mason McTavish , Sasha Pastujov and Jacob Perreault.


Odds : 13.5 percent

Who could he play with? : The Nationwide Arena cannon might just sound like a machine gun if Bedard and Johnny Gaudreau end up on the same line.

Gaudreau, who just played the first year of a seven-year contract with an average annual value of $9.75 million, led the Blue Jackets with 74 points (21 goals, 53 assists) despite no a true No. 1 center in Columbus. Bedard would immediately change that, with his vision, creativity, and skating ability creating opportunities for a great passer like Gaudreau. The latter could thus regain a level of production like that of his last season with the Calgary Flames.

The two players aren’t the biggest, but Bedard (5-foot-10, 180 pounds) could learn from Gaudreau (5-foot-9, 165 pounds), who knew how to find success in the NHL by avoiding the big bets in check.


Odds : 11.5 percent

Who could he play with? : What better way to replace a franchise player like Patrick Kane than by welcoming another who has the potential to become one in Bedard.

The Blackhawks are in a full rebuild after trading Kane and announcing Jonathan Toews won’t be back. That rebuilding will come through the draft, and Chicago has ammunition in that department.

The Blackhawks have spoken three times in the first round in 2022, and they will do so twice in the first round in 2023, they could draw eight times in the first three rounds. They also have two first-round picks in 2024 and 2025.


Odds : 9.5 percent

Who could he play with? : Bedard, a right-hander, could get along very well with the Sharks’ best prospect, left-winger William Eklund.

The Swede, the seventh pick of the 2021 draft, has shown his talent a few times this season, as he amassed 41 points in 54 games with the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League, in addition to amassing two goals and one assist in eight games with the Sharks in March.

With Bedard and Eklund on one line, and Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl on another, the Sharks could count on two lines capable of generating offense.


Odds : 8.5 percent

Who could he play with? : Having Bedard and Cole Caufield on the same line could scare several teams. Caufield has proven he doesn’t need a lot of space to use his fearsome shot. Now imagine what he could do if he was allowed more time off as the focus is on Bedard.

What if Bedard ended up with Juraj Slafkovsky , the first pick in the 2022 draft? Slafkovsky had 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 39 games this season, but was used in a minor role the majority of the time before suffering a lower-body injury and missing the final 39 games of the season. With his impressive stature (6 feet 3 inches, 238 lbs), Slafkovsky could create a lot of space for Bedard, in addition to waiting for his passes in front of the net or even blocking the goalkeeper’s view there.


Odds : 7.5 percent

Who could he play with? : Bedard could be the perfect element to allow the Coyotes to attract crowds to their new Tempe arena, as Sidney Crosby did with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the late 2000s, taking them from a struggling team to an NHL powerhouse.

The Coyotes haven’t had a true No. 1 center since Jeremy Roenick, from 1996 to 2001, but suddenly, with the addition of Bedard and Logan Cooley, the third pick in the 2022 draft, things would look a whole lot better for the Coyotes.

Bedard would have some great options to play alongside him, starting with Clayton Keller , who had his career-best season in 2022-23 with 37 goals, 49 assists for 86 points. Mattias Maccelli finished second in NHL rookie scoring this year, while Dylan Guenther, drafted ninth in 2021, made his team debut this season before being sent back to the Hockey League. ‘West.


Odds: 6.5 percent

Who could he play with? : Bedard could be the first generational player to end up with the Flyers since Eric Lindros in 1992.

Before acquiring Lindros from the Quebec Nordiques, the Flyers had missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons. Following the big forward’s arrival, the Flyers reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 1995 and played in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997.

The Flyers already have some good stuff, and adding Bedard could lift the team like Lindros did.

If Sean Couturier regains his health, he who hasn’t played this season due to a back injury, he could be the veteran who helps Bedard when he arrives, in addition to preventing him from facing the best opposing forwards. Philadelphia also has quality wingers like Travis Konecny , who has scored 31 goals this season, Owen Tippett , 27, and Tyson Foerster, the team’s first pick of 2020 (23rd), who made his debut with the team on March 9 and who had seven points in eight games.


Odds : 6.0 percent

Who could he play with? : Connor Bedard with Alex Ovechkin ? Take our money! Ovechkin could overtake Wayne Gretzky’s record 894 goals even faster with the arrival of the centre. Ovechkin is 73 goals from the mark.

Bedard’s hockey sense is one of his greatest qualities, and he should quickly learn how to slow down the game and play in a way that allows Ovechkin to be successful. He can also find it in his office on the power play.

Ovechkin will be 38 at the start of the next season, but the possibility of playing with a prodigy like Bedard should be a good source of motivation. After missing the playoffs this year, the Capitals could benefit from Bedard’s impact among an aging core, with the Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom (35), TJ Oshie (36), Evgeny Kuznetsov (30) and John Carlson (33).


Odds : 5.0 percent

Who could he play with? : With players in the middle like Bedard and Dylan Larkin , the Red Wings may well have their best center line since Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg played in Hockeytown a decade ago.

Bedard could find success with another strong prospect in the organization, Marco Kasper , the first pick of the 2022 draft (8th), while Larkin and Lucas Raymond could continue to evolve together as they have for two seasons. Bedard’s arrival would speed the rebuilding of the Red Wings, which haven’t made the playoffs in seven years.


Odds: 3.5 percent

Who could he play with? : Bedard, Robert Thomas and Brayden Schenn , that would give a lot of ammunition to the center for the Blues.

Bedard could take advantage of the quality of the Blues wingers to stand out, starting with Jordan Kyrou , who scored 37 goals last year. Pavel Buchnevich , Brandon Saad , Jakub Vrana and young Jake Neighbors add to this list. The Blues’ first choice of 2021 (17th), Zachary Bolduc, could join the party, he who has just had two seasons of 50 goals in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The Blues traded veterans this year, turning the page on the 2019 Stanley Cup champion squad, in order to properly surround their young core, but the addition of Bedard could make them Cup contenders right now .


Odds : 3.0 percent

Who could he play with? : Bedard, who was born in North Vancouver, would immediately get the label of local hero if he allows the Canucks to revive after a disappointing season.

He should immediately slot in behind Elias Pettersson in the center, a duo that could allow the Canucks to have a striking force in this position worthy of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh or Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl with the Edmonton Oilers .

Bedard could find himself on a line with Brock Boeser , which could help the forward get his old self back, or with Andrei Kuzmenko , who just scored 39 goals in his first NHL season. Conor Garland , with his speed and tenacity, is another option for young Bedard.

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