Chicago Blackhawks Receive First Pick in NHL’s Draft Lottery
The National Hockey League hosted its Draft Lottery on Monday, and the Chicago Blackhawks came away as the big winner. Chicago went into the night with the third-highest odds to get the first pick (11.5%), but wound up bypassing the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets. The Ducks will now pick second and the Blue Jackets will pick third.
The last and only other time the Blackhawks picked first overall was 2007, when they selected Patrick Kane. He helped lead them to three Stanley Cup wins in 2010, 2013, and 2015. Kane was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 2013 (playoff MVP) and the Hart Memorial Trophy winner in 2015-2016 (season MVP).
The prize for this year’s No. 1 overall pick might be even better.
Connor Bedard Expected With Top Pick
He’s only 17-years-old, but Connor Bedard is already drawing comparisons to stars Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguin great Sidney Crosby. Bedard spent this past season playing for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League, and he led the league in scoring with 143 points.
In just seven playoff games this year he scored 20 points, and in seven games at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships, he scored nine goals and had 14 assists. He led Canada’s Under-20 National Team to the gold medal and was named the tournament MVP by the International Ice Hockey Federation.
Bedard’s 23 points at the World Junior Hockey Championships was the most scored since Peter Forsberg scored 31 points in 1993. Forsberg went on to win two Stanley Cups and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014.
Bedard also broke the record for most points scored by a player under 19, previously held by all-time great Jaromir Jagr. His 36 career points at the World Juniors is a new Canadian record.
Chicago embraced a rebuild this season, trading Kane to the Rangers and letting captain Jonathan Toews leave in free agency. And now that look to the future gets the biggest boost of all with the expected addition of Bedard.
In fact, there is such little doubt that Bedard will be drafted first overall that BetOnline.ag only begins its draft day props with the second overall pick. Adam Fantilli is the favorite to go to Anaheim. As a freshman at Michigan, Fantilli won the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA’s top men’s player. The 18-year-old Toronto native scored 63 points in 36 games.
“You never want to move down in the draft and not retain the first spot, but the top players this year give us an opportunity to select an elite player with the second overall pick,” said Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek.
Other possibilities for the Ducks include Swedish center Leo Carlsson, Russian winger Matvei Michkov, and US Under-18 National Team center Will Smith from Massachusetts.
2023 Draft Lottery Results
1. Chicago Blackhawks
2. Anaheim Ducks
3. Columbus Blue Jackets
4. San Jose Sharks
5. Montreal Canadiens
6. Arizona Coyotes
7. Philadelphia Flyers
8. Washington Capitals
9. Detroit Red Wings
10. St. Louis Blues
11. Vancouver Canucks
12. Arizona Coyotes
13. Buffalo Sabres
14. Pittsburgh Penguins
15. Nashville Predators
16. Calgary Flames
The NHL Entry Draft will be held June 28-29 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.