What Are The Odds Connor Bedard Ends Up in the Central Division…And NOT With the Blackhawks?
The Blackhawks aren’t the only team in the Central Division in the NHL Draft Lottery this year. The Arizona Coyotes, St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators also failed to qualify for the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, meaning each of them will also have their eyes on the NHL Draft Lottery.
Each of these four teams is at a different place in their individual approaches to winning.
We assume there is an approach to winning in Arizona; they love dead money to get to the salary floor and haven’t been good in years. But they have some solid, young players starting to show signs of being really good players, specifically Clayton Keller.
The Blues sold at the trade deadline, but were firm that they weren’t going to rebuild. They’re in retool mode; the Blues already signed their two future faces — Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou — to long-term extensions.
And for the first time in the history of their franchise, the Preds will go into a draft with someone other than David Poile as their general manager. Long-time coach Barry Trotz is now calling the shots in their front office. But Trotz already said the thing they have been missing for years is an alpha center.
So there’s intrigue around what each team will do in this year’s draft. We already know the odds of winning the draft lottery for each of these four teams. But each of the four teams has different options in not only this draft, but in future drafts thanks to trades.
Here’s what the first three rounds of the next three drafts offer each of these teams.
The Coyotes finished sixth in the Bad for Bedard Sweepstakes. They have a 7.5 percent chance of picking first, 7.7 percent chance of picking second and 0.2 percent chance of picking third (according to Tankathon).
They also own Ottawa’s first-round pick this year from the Jakob Chychrun trade. That selection does carry top-five protection, however. So if Ottawa wins the lottery, the pick would remain with Ottawa and move to an unprotected pick in 2024.
No team in the NHL owns as many picks in the coming three years as the Coyotes. They’re clearly loaded with second-rounders in 2024 and 2025, with four picks coming in the third round this season. If they ever get to a place to buy and add, they could be significant players in the trade market with that many picks.
St. Louis Blues
The Blues finished tenth in the Bad for Bedard Sweepstakes, putting them barely in the window to win the best prospect in years. St. Louis has a 3.5 percent chance of picking first, 3.7 percent chance of picking second and 0.1 percent chance of picking third.
They are the only team in the league with three picks in the first round this year, though. They received Toronto’s first-round pick in the Ryan O’Reilly trade. St. Louis acquired a first-round pick from the Rangers in the Vladimir Tarasenko trade. That pick, however, will be the lower/worse of either the Rangers’ or Stars’ pick; the Rangers also owned Dallas’ first-round pick from the Nils Lundqvist trade.
St. Louis does not have as many picks as the Blackhawks or Coyotes, but their three picks in the first round and their established players make them a team to watch in the draft this year.
The Preds finished outside the Bad for Bedard Sweepstakes (the 11 worst teams in the league), so they cannot win a pick in the top four selections. They have a 1.1 percent chance of moving up as high as the fifth overall pick.
Nashville added a second pick in the first round from Edmonton in the Mattias Ekholm trade. They have seven picks in the first three rounds this year for Trotz to work with in his first draft as an NHL general manager. They acquired Tampa’s picks in the third, fourth and fifth rounds in this year’s draft (as well as Tampa’s second in 2024 and top-ten protected first in 2025) in the Tanner Jeannot trade.