The 2023 NHL draft lottery is scheduled for May 8. That's when we'll find out which team has earned the right, perhaps through self-immolation or blind luck, to draft Connor Bedard, the 17-year-old Regina Pats center who is expected to be no less than a franchise savior.
Which is, admittedly, a pretty high bar to clear for a rookie.
I had a conversation not too long ago with the venerable Bob McKenzie of TSN about that perception of Bedard's potential.
"I was just thinking to myself, and I didn't say it publicly, that we should just pump the brakes a little bit," he said, laughing. "I've learned that over the years with these 'phenoms.' It's in fairness to them. Our society and social media and everybody wants to make everyone the biggest thing ever and hype it. Let's just be sensible a little bit here. Recognize that there's something special in these kids, but don't set the bar unsustainably high."
What would help Bedard: If he didn't have to be a franchise's savior right off the hop, but a star player who bolsters what is already in place.
Since I watch copious amounts of home improvement shows on TV, let me put it this way: There's a difference between Bedard joining a fixer-upper, Bedard joining a gut renovation and Bedard walking into an empty lot where they haven't even poured the concrete yet.
Here's a look at which teams can contend the earliest with Bedard on their roster. Please note that we've taken the teams currently eligible to secure the first overall pick -- a team can jump only 10 spots by winning the first draft lottery, so only the top 11 teams are eligible.
Which teams are best positioned to make the most out of Connor Bedard in the shortest amount of time?