Players admit to having a chip on their shoulder, actively trying to screw their organization out of the 1st overall pick

Mike Armenti
January 29, 2023  (12:09)

This past week, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made waves when he revealed that it is his belief that there are no teams in the NHL who actively tank for the 1st overall pick. Now, obviously, that's just not true. GM's do initiate scorched earth protocol to put their teams at a distinct disadvantage, but it would appear as though Bettman isn't entirely wrong. GM's can control the team that their coaches can ice by taking away a lot of the skill. What they can't do, however, is guarantee that the players who end up playing won't spoil their plans by exceeding expectations.

According to a number of Chicago Blackhawks players, their plan this season is to put as much distance between the 1st overall pick and their GM as possible. Nobody was overly thrilled about the idea of a total rebuild in Chicago - including Seth Jones, who signed in Chicago to win.. not to lose.
"That's why we play the game, right? We're trying to win every game we play. We've got to control what we can control in here, and obviously the front office, they control that."

-Seth Jones on defying management's plans of icing a losing team every night

MacKenzie Entwistle is another player in Chicago who is doing his best to help the Hawks play spoiler in the organization's pursuit of landing the 1st overall pick and a shot at Connor Bedard.
"No, no, definitely not. Your goal is to win the Stanley Cup. Where we pick and stuff, that's something that we can't control. Every single guy in here doesn't want to lose. If you get the first-overall pick, chances are you lost and you had a pretty bad year. So every guy in this room wants to win. The higher we place, the better for us."

Entwistle on the team not being under the impression that a teenager will immediately right the ship in Chicago

While Connor Bedard is certainly an excellent player and perhaps even a generational talent, there are no guarantees in hockey. We have seen first hand that one player can't carry a team to victory. Case in point, Connor McDavid in Edmonton. He's on pace to post the highest point total since the days of Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky and the Oilers are still not even a lock to make the playoffs through 50 games.
The Hawks are trying to rebuild the culture in Chicago. They want everyone in the locker room to have the same level of buy-in and they want to push each other as hard as they can to finish as high as they can to play the spoiler. Maybe there is some truth to the fact that no team actively wants to be labelled the worst in the league.
Players admit to having a chip on their shoulder, actively trying to screw their organization out of the 1st overall pick

Will the Hawks win the draft lottery even if the players are actively trying to win?

Yes3338.8 %
No5261.2 %
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