September 12, 2023, 11:34 pm
Staying in the West, we move from Calgary to Chicago, where a full-on rebuild is well underway (for the last few years). They finished the previous season at the bottom of the league standings, only surpassed by the Anaheim Ducks. The Hawks would not be outdone in the draft lottery, however, and would turn their good fortune of being handed the first overall pick into phenom-prospect Connor Bedard. The league has experienced this level of hype for a player before and Chicago has lucked into a few of their own in the last couple of decades – Jonathan Towes, Patrick Kane and now Connor Bedard. The excitement is palpable and rightfully so – Bedard put up 143 points in 57 games while playing for Regina last year.
They’ll be better than last year but are still a year or two from serious playoff consideration. They have a top 5 prospect pool and I’m hoping we get to see some of them get ice time this year. We’ll obviously see Bedard and Lukas Reichel, but there are a few 20-year-olds that should be pushing for a call-up, given that Chicago will most likely be out of playoff contention and potential trade candidates that the Hawks added to their roster this past off-season.
FWs Connor Bedard, Taylor Hall, Nick Foligno, Corey Perry, Ryan Donato
– Taylor Hall is the only added veteran that should garner fantasy talk seeing as Donato, Foligno and Perry will be bottom-6 players. Once again, Hall battled both inconsistency and health issues a year ago while totaling just 36 points. Good health assumed (scary proposition), I could see Hall approaching double his ’22-23 point output.
– Transitively, if Hall creeps toward the 65-point plateau, Bedard should be able to approach the 70-point threshold. His other projected linemate, Taylor Raddysh crossed the 20-goal mark and was 4th on the team in scoring. The Hawks were dead last in goal scoring, but I would hedge a good amount of coin that mantle will be passed this upcoming season. The team will struggle to compete with the top-end teams for contention, of course, but they should be able to generate much more scoring, at the very least.