The Competition to Finish Last is Tough for the Blackhawks

2023 Kubota CHL Top Prospects Game - Practice
2023 Kubota CHL Top Prospects Game - Practice / Dennis Pajot/GettyImages

With just 5 games left in the regular season, the Blackhawks are in a 3-way tie in terms of fewest points. Anaheim, Columbus, and Chicago all look to finish the season "strong" by not budging from their 56 point efforts thus far.

Chicago (along with Arizona whom has surprised many this year) has long been favored to have a dreadful season, while the Blue Jackets and Ducks were considered fringe playoff teams before the season.

Anaheim had been viewed as a team with elite young talent and a veteran netminder while also spending in free agency on defenseman John Klingberg. It obviously did not work out the way the Ducks anticipated and now they find themselves at the bottom of the league.

Columbus has just plainly not been handled correctly from top to bottom as well as on the ice. This was a team on the rise, a group that looked ready to compete. Veteran forwards, a true #1 defenseman, young talented forwards, and a star free agent signing all looked to catapult the Jackets into contention quickly. This did not happen.

The injury to Zach Werenski was really the springboard that doomed the season for Columbus. You can then start to add up the other factors like the regression of Sillinger or injuires to Laine, but in my view it all started with them not having their only true top 4 defenseman on the roster. Sure there are some young blue liners with promising futures, but Werenski was the key to holding the group to an above average standard all year.

That leaves us with a race to finish with the best odds at landing generational talent Connor Bedard. Which team will claim that prize, we will find out shortly. Will it matter is the bigger question? Only 1 time in NHL history has the team with the best odds secured the top selection 3 years in a row after all. If you are looking at history, maybe it's best not to finish last. Franchise legend Patrick Kane, the #1 pick in the 2007 draft, was only a Blackhawk because we moved up from the 5th best odds remember...

There are points still to be had for all 3 teams left on their schedules and the players certainly aren't worried about a draft in 3 1/2 months that doesn't affect how they play this season. I anticipate that this race will come down to the final game of the season. Do we want the best odds, of course... but will it ultimately matter is the bigger domino yet to fall.