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2023 NHL Draft

Capitals’ Odds To Win NHL Draft Lottery, Generational Talent Bedard



Projected top NHL draft choice Connor Bedard speaks to the media.

With Monday’s NHL Draft Lottery drawing near, the future of the Washington Capitals’ may soon become a little more clear.

After finishing the 2022-23 season in 24th place, the team has the eighth-best odds of securing the top choice in next month’s NHL Draft. The top prize is Connor Bedard, a 17-year-old Canadian center widely viewed as a generational talent.

“Bedard has the elite skills and attributes that elite NHL players have, and it’s the precision in which he reads the play, is always in the right place and how he executes and capitalizes on plays,” NHL Central Scouting vice president Dan Marr said in April. “What places him in that Connor McDavid-special category is his natural presence of mind and instincts that allow him to channel all these attributes to dominate when the opportunity is there and when it’s needed most by his team.”

While the idea of pairing Bedard, who tallied 143 points in 57 WHL games, with Alex Ovechkin has Capitals fans salivating, it’s more likely to be a pipe dream than a reality come the lottery. The team may ultimately land at No. 1, No. 2, No. 9 or No. 10, but the most likely result is that the team remains at No. 8 — far from Bedard’s anticipated landing spot.

“The challenge has always been that we’ve been a good team and you’re picking late and you’re trying to hit on a good player — the odds are a little different from where we’re picking,” general manager Brian MacLellan said last month.

If Washington was to remain in that spot, it would be the team’s highest pick since 2007 — when the team selected defenseman Karl Alzner fifth overall — and would still allow the Capitals to take advantage of a draft class viewed as one of the deepest in recent memory.

Hobey Baker Award winner Adam Fantilli, a center at the University of Michigan, led the college ranks with 65 points this past season and is expected to go off the board not far after Bedard. Leo Carlsson, a center who tallied 25 points in 44 SHL games, is rated as the top international skater by NHL Central Scouting. They are two of a handful of prospects jostling for position in the top 10.

“We want to finish out a couple careers of important players in our organization and we want to stay competitive, but we also want to get younger,” MacLellan said. “It’s a challenging position to have all three of those things, but we’re gonna try it.” 

The NHL Draft Lottery will take place Monday at 8 p.m., with the results being broadcast on ESPN. The NHL Draft is scheduled for June 28-29.

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