The Vancouver Canucks’ tank is broken, but not out of fuel: Draft Lottery Watch 2023

Photo credit:Hockey Canada on Twitter
Lachlan Irvine
1 year ago
They did it again.
The Vancouver Canucks tank is on the side of the road, surrounded by seven-foot-tall flames as fans try to put it out with a fire extinguisher. Patrik Allvin bought at the deadline by sending two potentially Top 40 draft picks to the Red Wings for Filip Hronek, and now with the Canucks on a three-game win streak, to fans, the race is all but done. The chase for Connor Bedard is over.
Or is it?
As we stressed at the beginning of this series, Bedard might be the ultimate goal, but the consolation prizes are fantastic in their own right. The Canucks might be twelve points behind the Blue Jackets with only eighteen games left to play, but there’s still plenty to play for.
Adam Fantilli has 56 points in 36 games for the University of Michigan. Leo Carlsson has 25 points as an 18-year-old in the SHL. And even with Matvei Michkov’s complicated contract situation, he’s had a great season in the KHL as a teenager playing for HK Sochi.
There are some tremendous players at the top of this draft that aren’t named Bedard, and the higher your odds of winning the first overall pick are, the more likely you’ll be guaranteed to bring home one of these other three. That’s what this journey is really about.
Right now, the Canucks’ odds are at 6.5 percent for all four. But that can change with a little bit of luck and strategery.
The odds are extremely long now, but you never know.
The Standings
#TeamRecordPts.GROdds#1 OVRChange
1Columbus Blue Jackets20-37-7471818.50%25.50%
2Chicago Blackhawks22-37-5491813.50%13.50%▲3
3San Jose Sharks19-34-12501711.50%11.50%▲4
4Anaheim Ducks21-35-951179.50%9.50%▼2
5Arizona Coyotes22-32-1054188.50%8.50%
6Montreal Canadiens26-33-557187.50%7.50%▲7
7Vancouver Canucks27-32-559186.50%6.50%▼6
8Philadelphia Flyers24-29-1159186.00%6.00%
9St. Louis Blues27-31-559195.00%5.00%
10Detroit Red Wings29-26-967183.50%3.50%▲NR
11Washington Capitals31-28-668173.00%3.00%
Lottery odds courtesy of tankathon.com.
Canucks Breakdown
The Canucks have wound up on a three-game winning streak at the worst possible time, and things aren’t looking like they’ll get better anytime soon. On tap to visit Rogers Arena over the next week and a half includes the inconsistent Ottawa Senators, a Dallas Stars team Vancouver already beat recently, and the fifth-seeded Coyotes who suddenly sit five points behind the Canucks.
Perhaps the more worrying issue for the Canucks is not how many games they’ll win, but rather what the cost might be for trying to win every night like it’s a playoff Game 7. Rick Tocchet spoke around the time of his hiring about almost using the rest of the season as an extended training camp, but right now his best skaters are playing a heck of a lot for that scenario.
Watching Quinn Hughes, J.T. Miller, and Elias Pettersson play over 20 minutes a night might be fun on the surface, but it’s also a potential recipe for disaster. Playing that much on a nightly basis takes an aggressive toll on the human body and can leave you a lot more susceptible to injury. Not the kind where Hughes takes a freak puck to the face for the 2,567th time, but one that could put you out of commission deep into the offseason.
And if anyone should be aware of this possibility, it’s the Canucks. Because it happened to them just last season, when the team overplayed Thatcher Demko in pursuit of a playoff berth. Demko’s injury in the last weeks of 2021-22 brought him into this year a step behind, and both he and the team struggled out of the gate as a result. If the Canucks want to avoid a repeat of October’s debacle, Tocchet should seriously consider scaling things back and letting some of the younger guys take on some bigger responsibilities from here on out.
Tanking might end up being a side effect of rolling four lines and giving some of the Canucks’ supporting cast more chances to shine, but the guaranteed prize would be limiting the risk for star players you absolutely need for when the games truly count in 2023-24.
Even in a losing season, there are win-win scenarios.
Games of the Week
(5) Coyotes vs. Predators – Thursday, 7:00 PM
The Predators sold like crazy at the deadline, but as long as they have Juuse Saros, they have a shot at winning. The Coyotes have fallen back to earth slightly since their red-hot February, but anything is possible at Mullett Arena.
(9) Blues vs. (3) Sharks – Thursday, 5:00 PM
Another team that made a lot of changes before the trade deadline was the Blues. They’ve been reeling with just two wins in their last ten games, but so have the Sharks. Out of all the games that could be a war of attrition, this is the one you should probably only keep a browser tab open for.
Penguins vs. (8) Flyers – Saturday, 12:30 PM
The Penguins might not be competing for lottery positioning, but they certainly haven’t been good this year. With their playoff hopes hanging on by a thread, there’s zero doubt in my mind that the Flyers wouldn’t be driven to spoil their chances in the subsequent Battle of Pennsylvania.
(3) Sharks vs. (1) Blue Jackets – Tuesday, 7:30 PM
Fun Fact: Did you know that San Jose has only won six games at home all season? It’s true! SAP Center has been an absolute house of horror for the Sharks, but maybe the Blue Jackets can provide the tonic for that.
(4) Ducks vs. (1) Blue Jackets – March 17, 7:00 PM
These two times are fighting for honour, but they’re also fighting for a shot at Connor Bedard. Both the Jackets and Ducks have found some incredible ways to lose of late, but when they’re playing each other someone has to win.

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