It’s all but guaranteed at this point that Regina Pats centerman Connor Bedard will be the first overall pick in the 2023 Draft, and NHL teams are doing whatever it takes to get a better chance at winning the first overall pick in the draft lottery. He has the potential to be a franchise altering superstar with game breaking offensive skills that already rival some of the very best NHL players despite him being just 17 years old.
I decided to try something new with this piece, ranking the best teams for Bedard to join while keeping his best interest in mind. That means the top team must have a spot in the depth chart perfect for him, a chance to win important games in the near future, quality teammates/prospects to play with, have a sensible rebuilding timeline that Bedard fits into, among a few other factors. There isn’t a team in the NHL that wouldn’t absolutely love to add him, but some teams would be much better destinations for him than others.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
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I will be ranking each of the 14 teams with picks in the top-16 (Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens each have two) as of Monday, March 13, since they have the best chances at potentially landing the first overall selection. The new NHL Draft lottery rules mean that only the NHL’s bottom 11 teams even have a chance so some of these teams won’t even be in the running when the lottery comes around. I will also be assuming that Bedard makes it as a center in the NHL for most of these because of the value of that position and my belief that his skating/compete combo gives him a good shot at sticking there. Without further ado, let’s take a look at which NHL teams would make for the very best landing spots for Bedard.
14. Philadelphia Flyers
After firing Chuck Fletcher and naming Danny Briere interim general manager, it has become clear that the Flyers are finally committing to a rebuild. However, that also means that they’re likely to be trading away more of their good players and have very few quality young players to use when trying to build a great team around Bedard in the near future. Cutter Gauthier (5th overall in 2022 Draft) could very well be a great second-line center behind Bedard someday, but there aren’t a lot of exciting young wingers or defenders coming up in Philly so their future is a bit murky.
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