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Bad for Bedard? Flyers in Hunt, But Will Smith Seems More Realistic



Connor Bedard, Philadelphia Flyers

Who will finish with the NHL’s worst record and therefore have the best chance to win the draft lottery and select Connor Bedard with the No. 1 overall pick in June?

At the holiday break, the Chicago Blackhawks are the leaders, but Anaheim is a close second, and don’t sleep on Columbus, San Jose, the Philadelphia Flyers or Arizona.

Based on points per game, Chicago has an 18.5% chance to finish with the worst record, followed by Anaheim (13.5%), Columbus  (11.5%), San Jose (9.5%), the Flyers (8.5%), and Arizona (7.5%).

Chicago has 20 points, while the Flyers have 29.

Based on Tankathon’s current draft projections, the Philadelphia Flyers would get center Will Smith with the No. 5 overall pick.

Tankathon rated the top five this way: 1. center Connor Bedard; 2. center Adam Fantilli; 3. center/winger Leo Carlson; 4. right winger Matvei Michkov; and 5. Smith.

Boston College-bound

Smith has committed to Boston College, which is where the Philadelphia Flyers’ top prospect, center Cutter Gauthier, is starring as a freshman. Gauthier could be in the Flyers’ lineup next season.

Smith, who turns 18 on March 17, is a 6-foot, 174-pound Massachusetts native. In eight games with the U.S. National Team Development Program Juniors in the USHL this season, Smith has 10 points, including four goals. For the U18 U.S. team, he has a staggering 47 points (18-29) in 26 games.

Russ Cohen, a Philly Hockey News writer and contributor and a draft expert for and SiriusXM NHL radio, gave this report on Smith: “He’s a gifted skater. He’s fast with the puck as a playmaker or scorer. Smith can score with a one-timer or wrist shot, or use his speed to get past the defense and get to the net. He’s always noticeable on the ice and impacts the game.”

Craig Button, draft guru for TSN in Canada, said Smith has “subtle excellence” in his game. He likes his speed, shot and passing ability.

“You better know where he is on the ice because if you don’t, chances are you’re about ready to get slayed,” Button wrote on TSN. He ranks Smith at No. 6 overall.

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