Canucks officially enter the top five of the Connor Bedard sweepstakes: Draft Lottery Watch 2023

Photo credit:Hockey Canada on Twitter
Lachlan Irvine
1 year ago
On Sunday night, the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets clawed their way back from a 2-0 deficit against the Arizona Coyotes to force overtime. The game was televised in the Vancouver area, so as the clock ran down and both teams earned a crucial standings point, more Canucks fans began to realize the door opening for them.
Once Barrett Hayton netted the overtime winner for Arizona, the Canucks were suddenly sitting in the top five of the NHL’s Draft Lottery standings.
It’s been a wild week in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes, and it’s only going to get crazier. This week, a new challenger joins the battle; the Nashville Predators have been slipping of late and suddenly find themselves in a tie with the Senators at 58 points apiece. It frankly makes sense to include them regardless, since the top eleven are the only teams eligible to land the first overall pick.
This brings us to another team worth mentioning: the Florida Panthers, albeit due to the Montreal Canadiens owning their pick.
Because they sit in 14th, right now Panthers remain out of our rankings. However, they’ve also played five more games than the Predators with just a four-point gap between them, and they may end up on our list later.
The Canadiens own Florida’s first-rounder thanks to the Ben Chiarot trade last season, meaning Montreal’s odds of landing the first overall pick are actually closer to 10%, which would put them fourth in our standings. For the sake of ease, we’ve chosen to keep our list based on current point totals rather than winning percentage, but that should just cement just how important it is for the Canucks to work their way into that top three.
And it’s far from out of the question. As of today, the Canucks are just seven points behind the Blue Jackets and Blackhawks, with Chicago even holding a game in hand. Even the new pace car, the Anaheim Ducks, are sitting only four games in front, a distance Vancouver is more than capable of catching up to.
And right now’s the time to do it. With the trade deadline next week, the great teams will only get better and the bad teams will only get worse. The more points you can get before next Friday, the better.
Time to kick things into high gear.
The Standings
#TeamRecordPts.GROdds#1 OVRChange
1Anaheim Ducks17-33-6402618.50%25.50%▲3
2Columbus Blue Jackets18-34-5412513.50%13.50%▼1
3Chicago Blackhawks18-32-5412711.50%11.50%▼2
4San Jose Sharks17-29-1145259.50%9.50%▲5
5Vancouver Canucks22-30-448268.50%8.50%▲6
6Arizona Coyotes20-28-949257.50%7.50%▼4
7Montreal Canadiens23-29-450266.50%6.50%
8Philadelphia Flyers22-25-1054256.00%6.00%▲10
9St. Louis Blues24-24-355265.00%5.00%▼8
10Ottawa Senators27-24-458273.50%3.50%▼9
11Nashville Predators26-22-658283.00%3.00%▲NR
Lottery odds courtesy of tankathon.com.
Canucks Breakdown
The Canucks made decent gains in the race this week with a 1-2-0 record, but they had an extremely good week on the out-of-town scoreboard.
The Arizona Coyotes, who seemed like a shoo-in for the lottery’s top three a month ago, have jumped over the Canucks and out of the top five, thanks to a stunning nine-game points streak and a 5-1-4 record in their last ten. The Blue Jackets and Blackhawks have also found surprising ways to win, with victories over the Jets, Stars, Senators and Leafs.
The only group that’s truly cruising right now are the Ducks, who’ve been thumped by a combined score of 26-11 in their last four games. They currently sit eight points in front of the Canucks with a murderer’s row of Eastern teams awaiting them on the road this week, including the Lightning, Hurricanes, and Capitals.
Luckily for the Canucks, they have the chance to close in on the four teams in front of them this week, but it’s going to be tricky. Rick Tocchet’s crew will head onto the road for a pair of games against teams in our rankings, the Predators and Blues, before returning home for a Saturday night matchup with the league-leading Boston Bruins. While it’s doubtful that the Canucks will have a perfect week on the tanking front — the Blues without Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly look especially vulnerable — another 1-2-0 week would at least keep them on the right pace.
Games of the Week
(4) Sharks vs. (11) Predators – Thursday, 7:30 PM
Don’t let their fourth-place spot fool you; the Sharks are a dark horse pick to win the top spot, and if they trade Erik Karlsson at next week’s deadline, those odds will only get larger. They need points right now, and the Predators’ wobbly play of late might be their best shot at earning some upset points.
(8) Flyers vs. (7) Canadiens – Friday, 4 PM
The Flyers and Habs picked up a lot of surprise points early on in the season, but the grind of the year is starting to take its’ toll on each of them. A three-point game between these two teams could keep the gap between the Canucks and the back half of the pack.
(4) Sharks vs. (3) Blackhawks – Saturday, 7 PM
This game is as crucial as it gets for the top four. The Blackhawks have been picking up points all over the place lately, but the rise of Sharks goalie Kaapo Kähkönen might be the difference maker in getting Team Teal to pick up a valuable win.
(6) Coyotes vs. (11) Predators – Sunday, 11 AM
The Coyotes have been incredible at home this season, going 13-8-2 at the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena. And with 18 of their remaining 25 games on home ice, Arizona could drop even farther down the tank standings with reckless abandon.

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