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Updating the Blackhawks biggest threats for the No. 1 overall pick in 2023

We know what this season about. Here’s what’s going on at the bottom of the NHL standings.

Chicago Blackhawks v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

Back before this season started, we detailed the biggest threats standing between the Chicago Blackhawks and the best odds at landing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

That was all based on preseason projections, though. Now that we have about a month of actual hockey as evidence, let’s check in on the threat levels from other teams hovering near the bottom of the standings.

First, we’ll check in with the Blackhawks’ record and current point pace.

Current record: 5-5-2, 12 points (tied for 19th in the league overall)
Current pace: (12 / 12 * 82) = 82.0 points

Since the Blackhawks are up higher than expected, there are plenty of teams below them that we’ll classify as “mild threats” for now, because they should figure things out soon enough and be removed from this series. The other two classifications follow.

Mild threats

Washington Capitals (5-6-2, 12 points, t-19th in NHL)
Calgary Flames (5-4-1, 11 points, t-21st)
Minnesota Wild (5-5-1, 11 points, t-21st)
Nashville Predators (5-6-1, 11 points, t-21st)
Pittsburgh Penguins (4-6-2, 10 points, 25th)
Ottawa Senators (4-7-0, 8 points, 30th)
St. Louis Blues (3-6-0, 6 points, 31st)

As hilarious as the Blues’ awful start has been, they shouldn’t be dwelling this low in the standings for too much longer. Ottawa has had some tough puck luck and should also be soaring soon. The other five teams were in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs and should find form similar to that in the near future.

Medium threats

Montreal Canadiens

Current record: 5-6-1, 11 points (t-21st)
Current pace: (11 / 12 * 82) = 75.2 points

That top line of Cole Caufield, Nick Suzuki and Kirby Dach has sparked some early success but how far that trio can carry the Canadiens is something to be watched.

Arizona Coyotes

Current record: 4-6-1, 9 points (t-26th)
Current pace: (9 / 11 * 82) = 67.1 points

Clayton Keller is probably the only reason this team is not down in the category below. But any drops in play from him would send Arizona down the NHL standings and up that threat level.

Anaheim Ducks

Current record: 4-8-1, 9 points (t-26th)
Current pace: (9 / 11 * 82) = 56.8 points

The next time this series appears, Anaheim may be viewed as a higher threat. But the Ducks have won three of five after a seven-game losing skid, so perhaps this ship has been righted — for now.

High-level threats

Vancouver Canucks

Current record: 3-6-3, 9 points (t-26th)
Current pace: (9 / 12 * 82) = 61.5 points

The Canucks lost their first seven games of the season, triggering some talk about a fire sale in Vancouver. Winning three of five has temporarily cooled the fiery rhetoric and Brock Boeser’s potential return could help Vancouver win some games. Still, an 0-5-2 start is too bad to ignore.

San Jose Sharks

Current record: 3-8-3, 9 points (29th)
Current pace: (9 / 14 * 82) = 52.7 points

San Jose went to Europe for its first two games, lost both and haven’t really recovered yet. If Erik Karlsson’s insane production levels subside — look out.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Current record: 3-9-0, 6 points (32nd)
Current pace: (6 / 12 * 82) = 41.0 points

A five-game losing streak with an aggregate score of 28-8? Yeah, it’s time to worry about Columbus. Save them, Johnny Hockey.