As soon as the 2022-23 season kicked off, different teams were said to be looking to tank for projected first overall pick Connor Bedard. With his impressive run at the 2023 World Junior championship, all eyes are turned to him and teams are dreaming of what they could achieve if they get their hands on the first round pick this upcoming summer.
On TSN’s Insider Trading last night, the three experts discussed on how some general managers are e-evaluating what they do over the next couple of months. Chris Johnston explained how it will impact the trade deadline on March 3rd:
“There’s kind of a push pull when it comes to the situation because you also want to get something back for your assets. And specifically, the best assets at this deadline are mostly all going to be asking for at least a first-round draft pick in return. And that goes for the high-profile forwards that are out there, but also a couple defencemen. I think if the Montreal Canadiens are to move Joel Edmundson at this deadline, you’re looking at a first-round pick, plus. Same in Columbus with Vladislav Gavrikov - their defencemen. These are similar returns that we’ve seen with other defencemen at previous deadlines. And so maybe that doesn’t come up right away. And there may be one other wrinkle in the Gavrikov situation. Lots of teams out there like him, but Columbus does too. And I don’t believe the Blue Jackets have yet determined if they are going to sell this player.”
His colleague Darren Dreger pointed to other teams who might get in the mix by placing top assets on the market ahead of the deadline.
“I’m also looking at the St. Louis Blues who are in a precarious position right now. They’ve got injuries to three key pieces in Ryan O’Reilly and [Vladimir] Tarasenko and Torey Krug is also on the sideline now. Those guys are going to come back before the trade deadline, but [general manager] Doug Armstrong has a decision to make. He’s just not under pressure right now to make that decision any time soon. It seems likely that he is going to think hard on the trade value, the return of Ryan O’Reilly, especially because we know that he is a hot commodity, but there has to be an extension with or conversation of extension with O’Reilly, maybe with Tarasenko, and then you make that call closer to the deadline.”
At the moment, the Chicago Blackhawks are in the best spot to land the first overall pick at the Draft lottery, and they could get more picks especially if they do end up moving Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane ahead of the deadline.
All eyes are on Bedard, especially the ones of the league’s general managers.