Listening to The Athletic Hockey Show Podcast this morning with Corey Pronman (www.theathletic.com) and it really hit home: People do not want Chicago to get Connor Bedard. The narrative has always been there though and this is just the latest example.
The reasons are many; They just won 3 cups! The Kyle Beach scandal! They need to go through rebuild hurt like the rest of us! To all that I say..... Isn't it a lottery? Isn't it luck of the draw? Why not Chicago, if it just so happens to be our numbers that come up.
You can go all you want into the frozen ping pong balls, weights, magnets conspiracy theories. You can say well Gary Bettman isn't going to allow Chicago to get this Canadian generational talent. Some say Arizona is going to get him. Others; he will stay home and play for his favorite team the Canucks.
Whichever way you slice it the narrative is clear: the Chicago Blackhawks aren't going to get Connor Bedard. From our standpoint wouldn't it be good for the league and the growth of this sport? We are an American original 6 franchise in a huge market with a massive international reach. How many european prospects interviewed say that Patrick Kane is their favorite player?
How about the growth of hockey and viewership from the middle of the country? I'm pretty sure both of those things would increase if Chicago had a #98 on skates at the United Center for 41-55 games a year. Would the average fan out of market buy a Blue Jackets' #98 or a Blackhawks' #98 if given the choice?
To me it's almost as if it's a for-gone conclusion that Connor Bedard will not end up in Chicago. Even tankathon (www.tankathon.com) sims seem to be against Chicago. If we have a 25.5% or an 11.5% odds I'll run a 10x sim to see how accurate the odds are. It has been under the odds each time up to 30 spins in each scenario. Could just be a fluke, but it is interesting to note that our computer over lords of chance are apparently saying no to Bedard to Chicago as well.
I believe that the Blackhawks will be just fine no matter which player we select at the top of this draft. I have faith in Kyle Davidson and his hockey operations team. They have shown the ability to stay on track with the type of player they like. So if it's not Bedard and instead we draft one of Fantilli, Michkov, Carlsson, Smith, Benson, or Dvorsky fear not Blackhawks' fans we'll be just fine.