NHL playoff watch: Connor Bedard lottery reset

There have been some incredibly busy nights on the NHL schedule recently, with many playoff contenders battling it out for those precious points. Tonight is not one of those nights.

Six of the eight teams in action are in draft lottery positions right now, and while two of them — the Buffalo Sabres and Washington Capitals — can almost see a pathway to a wild card if they squint their eyes a certain way, the other four have a combined playoff chance percentage of about 4%. But that just means it’s time for another dive into the NHL draft lottery projections!

For those who haven’t been paying close attention to draft prospects yet, a franchise-altering forward named Connor Bedard is tearing up the WHL this season, and will be the first name off the board this June. Unlike some other leagues, the worst team doesn’t automatically get the first pick; instead, a weighted lottery occurs, where teams can move up a maximum of 10 spots via two draws. In other words, any team that finishes 11th or worse has a crack at drafting Bedard, thus accelerating their rebuild/retool.

Tonight’s slate features two of the bottom four teams — the Columbus Blue Jackets (49 points, 15 regulation wins in 67 games) and Anaheim Ducks (54, 12 in 68) — squaring off in SoCal. Meanwhile, the aforementioned Sabres and Capitals will play the Philadelphia Flyers (59, 22 in 67) and the St. Louis Blues (63, 21 in 67), respectively.

There could be movement in the Bedard standings by tomorrow morning, and be sure to set your calendar for May 8 at 7 p.m. ET, when the draft lottery will be broadcast live on ESPN.

As we enter the final stretch of the regular season, it’s time to check all the playoff races — along with the teams jockeying for position in the 2023 NHL draft lottery.

Note: Playoff chances are via FiveThirtyEight.

Jump ahead:
Current playoff matchups
Today’s games
Last night’s scores
Expanded standings
Race for No. 1 pick

Current playoff matchups

Eastern Conference

A1 Boston Bruins vs. WC2 New York Islanders
A2 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. A3 Tampa Bay Lightning
M1 Carolina Hurricanes vs. WC1 Pittsburgh Penguins
M2 New Jersey Devils vs. M3 New York Rangers

Western Conference

C1 Dallas Stars vs. WC1 Seattle Kraken
C2 Minnesota Wild vs. C3 Colorado Avalanche
P1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. WC2 Winnipeg Jets
P2 Los Angeles Kings vs. P3 Edmonton Oilers


Friday’s games

Note: All times Eastern. All games not on ESPN, TNT or NHL Network are available via NHL Power Play, which is included in an ESPN+ subscription (local blackout restrictions apply).

Buffalo Sabres at Philadelphia Flyers, 7 p.m.
Carolina Hurricanes at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. (NHLN)
St. Louis Blues at Washington Capitals, 7 p.m.
Columbus Blue Jackets at Anaheim Ducks, 10 p.m.


Thursday’s scoreboard

Watch “In the Crease” on ESPN+ for highlights from every game.

Florida Panthers 9, Montreal Canadiens 5
New York Rangers 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 2
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, New Jersey Devils 3 (SO)
Colorado Avalanche 5, Ottawa Senators 4
Chicago Blackhawks 2, Nashville Predators 1
Boston Bruins 3, Winnipeg Jets 0
Edmonton Oilers 4, Dallas Stars 1
Arizona Coyotes 3, Vancouver Canucks 2
Calgary Flames 7, Vegas Golden Knights 2
Los Angeles Kings 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 1
Seattle Kraken 2, San Jose Sharks 1 (OT)


Expanded standings

Atlantic Division

Points: 107
Regulation wins: 44
Playoff position: A1
Games left: 15
Points pace: 131
Next game: @ MIN (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 100%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 89
Regulation wins: 34
Playoff position: A2
Games left: 15
Points pace: 109
Next game: vs. CAR (Friday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 88
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: A3
Games left: 13
Points pace: 105
Next game: vs. MTL (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Points pace: 90
Next game: vs. NJ (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 52%
Tragic number: 25

Points: 72
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Points pace: 88
Next game: @ PHI (Friday)
Playoff chances: 13%
Tragic number: 24

Points: 70
Regulation wins: 26
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Points pace: 84
Next game: vs. TOR (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 2%
Tragic number: 20

Points: 69
Regulation wins: 24
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Points pace: 85
Next game: vs. COL (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 2%
Tragic number: 21

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 18
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 71
Next game: @ TB (Saturday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 8


Metropolitan Division

Points: 96
Regulation wins: 33
Playoff position: M1
Games left: 16
Points pace: 119
Next game: @ TOR (Friday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 95
Regulation wins: 32
Playoff position: M2
Games left: 14
Points pace: 115
Next game: @ FLA (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 88
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: M3
Games left: 14
Points pace: 106
Next game: vs. PIT (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 78
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 14
Points pace: 94
Next game: @ NYR (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 70%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 78
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 12
Points pace: 91
Next game: @ SJ (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 50%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 87
Next game: vs. STL (Friday)
Playoff chances: 12%
Tragic number: 21

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 22
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Points pace: 72
Next game: vs. BUF (Friday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 11

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 15
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Points pace: 60
Next game: @ ANA (Friday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 1


Central Division

Points: 87
Regulation wins: 31
Playoff position: C1
Games left: 13
Points pace: 103
Next game: @ CGY (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 86
Regulation wins: 28
Playoff position: C2
Games left: 14
Points pace: 104
Next game: vs. BOS (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 84
Regulation wins: 27
Playoff position: C3
Games left: 15
Points pace: 103
Next game: @ DET (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 79
Regulation wins: 29
Playoff position: WC2
Games left: 13
Points pace: 94
Next game: @ NSH (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 59%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 16
Points pace: 93
Next game: vs. WPG (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 26%
Tragic number: 28

Points: 63
Regulation wins: 21
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Points pace: 77
Next game: @ WSH (Friday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 14

Points: 63
Regulation wins: 19
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 75
Next game: vs. CHI (Saturday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 10

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 16
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Points pace: 65
Next game: @ ARI (Saturday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 3


Pacific Division

Points: 90
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: P1
Games left: 13
Points pace: 107
Next game: vs. CBJ (Sunday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 89
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: P2
Games left: 13
Points pace: 106
Next game: vs. VAN (Saturday)
Playoff chances: >99%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 84
Regulation wins: 36
Playoff position: P3
Games left: 13
Points pace: 100
Next game: @ SEA (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 98%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 83
Regulation wins: 30
Playoff position: WC1
Games left: 14
Points pace: 100
Next game: vs. EDM (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 93%
Tragic number: N/A

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 25
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 90
Next game: vs. DAL (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 26%
Tragic number: 23

Points: 63
Regulation wins: 18
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 15
Points pace: 77
Next game: @ LA (Saturday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 14

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 12
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 14
Points pace: 65
Next game: vs. CBJ (Friday)
Playoff chances: <1%
Tragic number: 3

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 14
Playoff position: N/A
Games left: 13
Points pace: 62
Next game: vs. NYI (Saturday)
Playoff chances: 0%
Tragic number: E


Race for the No. 1 pick

The NHL uses a draft lottery to determine the order of the first round, so the team that finishes in last place is not guaranteed the No. 1 selection. As of 2021, a team might move up a maximum of 10 spots if it wins the lottery, so only 11 teams are eligible for the draw for the No. 1 pick. Full details on the process can be found here. Sitting No. 1 on the draft board for this summer is Connor Bedard, who has been lauded as a generational talent.

Points: 49
Regulation wins: 15

Points: 52
Regulation wins: 14

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 12

Points: 54
Regulation wins: 16

Points: 59
Regulation wins: 22

Points: 60
Regulation wins: 18

Points: 63
Regulation wins: 18

Points: 63
Regulation wins: 19

Points: 63
Regulation wins: 21

Points: 69
Regulation wins: 24

Points: 70
Regulation wins: 26

Points: 72
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 73
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 25

Points: 75
Regulation wins: 29

Points: 76
Regulation wins: 25

Notes on traded picks impacting the top 16:

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