NHL commissioner Gary Bettman held a media session on Wednesday morning and the most pertinent news related to the Chicago Blackhawks was the selection of a date for the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery — aka the right to draft Connor Bedard.
The NHL's draft lottery has been set for May 8 and 7 p.m.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 15, 2023
It's a big event with Connor Bedard available to the team that wins the No. 1 spot.
Following Tuesday night’s wild win over the Boston Bruins, the Blackhawks have 52 points in 67 games, good for the No. 3 spot in the draft lottery odds at 11.5 percent. The San Jose Sharks are ahead of the Hawks with 51 points in 68 games, with their odds at 13.5 percent. The Columbus Blue Jackets maintain the best odds (25.5 percent) with just 49 points in 66 games. Columbus and San Jose played on Tuesday night, with the Blue Jackets winning in overtime — the best possible outcome for the Hawks in that game.
A few other league-wide news and notes from Bettman’s media session, including the expectation of a mild increase in the salary cap that’s expected for next season. One part of that involves escrow negotiations as detailed below by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. From a Blackhawks perspective, a small increase in the salary cap ceiling for next season increases the possibility of Chicago being able to add another pick or prospect or two by absorbing bad contracts from cap-strapped teams:
Players negotiated a six per cent escrow cap over the last three seasons of the current CBA. That’s great for them, probably a big stumbling block for league— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 15, 2023
There’s also this update on the progress of a potential sale of the Ottawa Senators:
It’s a question of weeks-Gary Bettman on @Senators being officially sold.— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) March 15, 2023
Bettman was also asked about any potential changes to the postseason format and opted for his usual response of ignoring legitimate arguments that a change should be, at a minimum, entertained as a possibility:
Gary Bettman on the NHL's divisional playoff format: "This is working well."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 15, 2023
Chicago is not practicing on Wednesday as it prepares for a lengthy road trip but one roster move was made after Petr Mrazek departed from Tuesday’s game after appearing to reaggravate his groin injury:
Blackhawks recall Anton Khudobin. Luke Richardson said Petr Mrazek's latest groin injury doesn't appear too serious, but that he'd likely miss at least the start of the five-game road trip.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) March 15, 2023