The 2023 NHL Draft Lottery will take place Monday night at 8:00 PM ET, and it’s one of the most anticipated lotteries in recent memory. Teams are practically salivating at the chance to draft Connor Bedard, the most hyped draft prospect since Connor McDavid, and for good reason. Bedard’s game-breaking abilities will terrorize his opponents for the next decade plus.
However, with new lottery rules in place, there are some teams in the pool who could “win the lottery” but still not end up with the top pick. Here, we’ll explain the process and odds, why getting Bedard is so important, and who some of the other names to know are at the top of the board.
NHL Draft Lottery Odds and Process
The league recently implemented rules that would prohibit a team from winning the NHL Draft Lottery more than twice in a five-year period. Those changes first took effect in the 2022 Draft, so the Montreal Canadiens, who won the top pick last season, would not be allowed to win over the next three years if they move up again on Monday.
Additionally, teams are prohibited from moving up more than 10 spots in the lottery, so the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators, and Calgary Flames are all unable to win the first overall selection even if they win the lottery.
Because the lottery only covers the top two picks, the Anaheim Ducks can select no lower than third overall, the Columbus Blue Jackets fourth, and the Chicago Blackhawks fifth.
Here is a full look at the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery Odds.
The Bedard Factor
Barring something horrifically off-schedule, Connor Bedard will be the top selection in the Entry Draft in late June (tentatively set for June 28-29 in Nashville). A 5’9” center, Bedard has been heralded as a top prospect since as early as 2018, when The Hockey News magazine called him “The Future of Hockey.”
At every level of play and in every competition he’s entered, Bedard has dominated his opponents. He finished this past season with 71 goals and 72 assists for 143 points in 57 games for the Regina Pats. Bedard also scored nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points in seven games while leading Team Canada to a gold medal at World Juniors.
Bedard’s quick, deceptive release on his shot looks almost effortless. The puck explodes off his stick, and if you blink, you’ll miss it. He constantly finds open areas on the ice, can facilitate the offense in setting up opponents, and comes through with clutch goals in big moments.
However, the biggest asset is his skating ability. Bedard generates good speed, and his edgework shows he’s already NHL ready.
CONNOR BEDARD CALLED GAME!
What a goal in overtime to get Canada the 4-3 win and secure a place in the semis.
🎥: @TSN_Sports pic.twitter.com/n1aysPJVwy
— EP Rinkside (@EPRinkside) January 3, 2023
Who Goes Next?
After Bedard, the clear #2 prospect in this class is Adam Fantilli, the 6’2” center from Michigan. Fantilli won the Hobey Baker award as college hockey’s best men’s player as a freshman, becoming the third freshman ever to receive the honor. He led all Division I skaters with 65 points (30 goals, 35 assists) but saw his season come to an end in a loss to Quinnipiac in the Frozen Four. All indications are that Fantilli will turn pro and join the NHL ranks next season.
After that, things get a little more complex. The general consensus is the third pick will be Leo Carlsson, a forward from Sweden who can play either center or wing. However, some recent reports indicate a few teams at the top prefer USNTDP forward Will Smith ahead of Carlsson. Smith is the top U.S.-born prospect and is committed to Boston College for next season.
Finally, the wild card in all of this is Russian winger Matvei Michkov, who is a better goal-scorer than any of the others listed in this section, but who also comes with some heavy risks. Michkov is under contract in the KHL until the end of the 2025-26 season, so it would be a long time before he’s able to join the North American ranks. He’s also a bit smaller and doesn’t have the same blazing speed most scouts would want from a winger his size (5’10”, 159lbs.).
With that in mind, don’t be surprised if a team like the Arizona Coyotes, who aren’t under the same pressure to win immediately as teams like Chicago and Columbus at the top of the draft, decide to roll the dice with Michkov.
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