An Early Look Ahead at the Teams in Contention for the Next #1 Overall Selection

Orange and turquoise oh my....

U18 Ice Hockey World Championship 2023 Bronze Medal Game - Canada v Slovakia
U18 Ice Hockey World Championship 2023 Bronze Medal Game - Canada v Slovakia / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

A series of "fortunate" events led to the Blackhawks landing the #1 overall selection and the right to draft Connor Bedard. Andreas Anthanasiou's 19th goal of the year against a "win and in" Penguins team to help take a big lead on the road... only to be followed up with a late goal to tie it up with the Flyers in game 82 highlight these events for me. You could almost say that Athanasiou was directly responsible for 3 late season points that made the Blackhawks go from the best odds to the third best odds.

Low and behold those events actually gave us the winning numbers despite the (assumed) groans of many to end the season. Make no mistake though, Chicago's roster was built to lose last season. So whom are the teams that will be in this same outline for the likes of Macklin Celebrini or Cole Eiserman?

San Jose: This is my #1 (or #32) team that I think will be built to lose a lot of games this season. The trade of Meier kicked off the rebuild and last week the move of Karlsson seemed to all but scream out that Mike Grier was fully stripping down the roster. The other factor is that all of their best prospects will likely not play (or play much) this season as they are still needing development seasons.

Philadelphia: The give-away of Kevin Hayes and the drafting of Matvei Michkov (at least 3 seasons away) tell a story of rebuild as well. Ivan Provorov was dealt to Columbus and Cutter Gauthier (their #1 prospect) is still just 19 years old. This will likely be a year in which the Flyers are at the bottom of the league.

Those are the main 2 teams that are clearly going to be fighting for better odds. The rest of the teams that will likely be inside that top 11 (only the 11 worst teams have odds at drafting 1st overall) are not so easy to predict though.

In no particular order I'm looking at the Coyotes, Ducks, Blackhawks, Blues, Predators, Islanders, Canadiens, Blue Jackets, Senators, Canucks, and Capitals as some of the teams I expect to fall in that 3-13 range if their seasons go as expected (roster in August). Then there are of course the eventual teams that no one expected to be bad join them.

Could Winnipeg "implode" and tumble down the standings this season? Maybe Calgary has too many injuries to contend with in a year? Even if a key goalie misses too much time and the Rangers can't climb out of a losing streak... Then there are the teams that added that maybe can't find the chemistry like Pittsburgh perhaps. With all of these possibilities to take note of it's nice to know that the Blackhawks already have that player these teams covet already on the roster.