What NHL team would be the best landing spot for Connor Bedard?

What’s that expression Ken Holland always uses? That the NHL standings by American Thanksgiving usually tell us who the playoff teams will be?

Maybe that’s why we’re seeing so much talk about tanking among the struggling franchises. Tanking for Connor Bedard, of course.

So the question for the Daily Faceoff Roundtable this week is: Where would you like to see Connor Bedard land? From a pure fun/good of the sport perspective. Realistic answers only, please, based on current standings and projected number of ping-pong balls…

MATT LARKIN: My pick: The Ottawa Senators. I’m envisioning an exciting franchise makeover here – Ryan Reynolds as owner and the most scintillating talent coming out of the draft since Auston Matthews in 2016. Nation’s capital, new arena coming in LeBreton Flats, celebrity owner, potentially generational prospect. I love it. Ottawa is long overdue to be relevant again. Let’s go!

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STEVEN ELLIS: The Ottawa Senators would be fun, and, hey, don’t discount the Pittsburgh Penguins here either. But I’m going with the Anaheim Ducks. Bedard is a human highlight reel, which reminds me of a certain No. 11 causing havoc on the top line. Could you imagine another 15-20 years with Bedard and Trevor Zegras inflicting pain every night? One of Zegras’ issues is that he has never played with someone who can really keep up with his skill, but Bedard can. They still need to figure out what the deal is long-term with this group, but Bedard would be a nice centerpiece for a team and a market that I’d love to see soar.

NICK ALBERGA: I love chaos, so give me the Vancouver Canucks. But honestly, who doesn’t love the hometown kid narrative? My thinking is logical, too: The Canucks have had zero lottery luck in recent memory. I think it’s time for the hockey gods to flip the script. Bedard would mean everything to that team, fanbase and city. For now, they have to find a way to put themselves in a position to do it, so it’s time to go full scorched earth.

FRANK SERAVALLI: Before the season started, I predicted Bedard would land in Chicago based on the way the odds might play out. It could happen – and you can almost envision the passing of the torch from Jonathan Toews to Bedard down the middle. That said, like Nick, I root for chaos – and it would be pure chaos to see Bedard end up with the Buffalo Sabres. That would give them three No. 1 overall pick in a five-year span (2018 Rasmus Dahlin, 2021 Owen Power). It’s chaotic because the NHL actually put a rule in place that now limits a team to a maximum of Draft Lottery wins in any five-year span now. However, the rule wasn’t instituted until 2022 and beyond, so … the Sabers winning it twice already is all good. Why Buffalo? I keep thinking of the disappointment in GM Tim Murray’s face when they lost the Connor McDavid sweepstakes and ended up with Jack Eichel. He’s already gone. The Sabers are trending upward, Bedard would be a huge boost, and I think the NHL in general is better when the Buffalo market is cooking with gas.

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