NHL Draft Lottery Results: Chicago Is The Landing Spot for Generational Talent Connor Bedard

Results of the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery Has Created Tons of Backlash

Chicago Blackhawks Blatant Tanking Is Rewarded in a Big-Time Way

With the way the events transpired during the NHL Draft Lottery on Monday night, perhaps it would have been a wise choice to have former New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing doing the honors of pulling the Chicago Blackhawks’ card and giving Chicago the honor of selecting the much ballyhooed Connor Bedard with the top pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

There might not have been a draft lottery that came with more of a stench of a preordained than the one on Monday when looking at the NHL Draft Lottery Results.

The final three teams were the Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks.

Once Montreal secured the No. 5 pick, it seemed pretty clear that the rights to Bedard weren’t going to land in cities that had the 24th and 29th best attendance figures.

Not all NHL teams are created equal when it comes to the NHL. That was evident when the New York Rangers secured the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft with just a 2.5% chance of that happening. or when New Jersey, with 11.5% odds to secure the top pick, and the Rangers coming in with a 7.8% likelihood to land the No. 2 selection, miraculously ended up with the first and second picks in a draft featuring dynamic American-born forward Jack Hughes.

The last player hyped as much as Bedard is Connor McDavid and he is already playing out west with the Edmonton Oilers and that means later start times and less national exposure.

Bedard suiting up in Chicago will give the NHL a signature star in one of the largest media markets with the puck being dropped during prime time on the East Coast. When looking at the 2022-23 NHL standings, Anaheim finished last with 58 points, Chicago and Columbus had 59 points each with San Jose ending up with 60 points.

Tanks For the Effort

There has been plenty of backlash since Chicago won the lottery. Anaheim had the best odds at 25.5% to secure the first overall pick for the first time, followed by Columbus at 13.5% and Chicago at 11.5%. When looking at the NHL Draft Lottery Results, that is not how the final three picks played out.

It could be argued that not since the 1983-84 Pittsburgh Penguins has there been a team that was so blatant in its attempt to secure the No. 1 overall selection.

That worked out pretty well for Pittsburgh with Mario Lemieux, taken with the No. 1 pick in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, leading the Penguins to the 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup titles.

Beginning with Chicago trading 20-something winger Brandon Hagel to Tampa Bay during the 2022 trade deadline, the Blackhawks began dismantling the roster.

Five of the seven forwards with the most points for Chicago during the 2021-22 NHL season played elsewhere this season.

Alex DeBrincat is now in Ottawa, Dylan Strome had 23 goals and 42 assists for Washington, Hagel moved to Tampa Bay, Dominik Kubalik is a member of the Detroit Red Wings and Kirby Dach was traded to Montreal.

Patrick Kane, who led the Blackhawks with 92 points last season, was shipped off to the New York Rangers earlier this year. Meanwhile, longtime captain Jonathan Toews played fewer than 55 games for just the second time in his 15 seasons with the Blackhawks. He played in his final game for the franchise on April 13 as he had a goal in an overtime loss to Philadelphia.

From March 17 until the end of the regular season, the Blackhawks finished 2-11-1 and only Anaheim had a lower points percentage during the stretch.

What Are the Blackhawks Getting?

Bedard is being mentioned in the same breath as McDavid and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins as a can’t-miss product going into the draft. That is why the NHL Draft Lottery Results resulting in Bedard almost certainly becoming a member of the Blackhawks is getting so much attention.

He had nine goals, 14 assists and a +14 rating in seven games at the 2023 World Juniors. His numbers in 71 games with the Western Hockey League ‘Regina Pats’ were 81 goals and 92 assists in 64 games.

It is not a total loss for Anaheim as Adam Fantilli would be a potential No. 1 pick in many drafts. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Fantilli had 30 goals and 35 assists in 36 games as a freshman at the University of Michigan. He will join a group of talented young players with the Ducks.

When looking at the NHL Draft odds, Bedard and Fantilli are joined by Swedish center Leo Carlsson and Russian winger Matvei Michkov. The top American-born prospect could be center Will Smith, who is expected to play at Boston College next year.

There was no change in the order of picks 4-16. There has been some pushback when ESPN’s Kevin Weekes announced that Columbus fell to No. 3 in the lottery before the card was shown. That is more of a case of ESPN knowing the order before it was revealed than it was proof of a rigged lottery. Still, much like the events that led the Ewing landing in media-crazy New York rather than Indiana in the 1985 NBA Draft, there will always be a sense of some shenanigans when it comes to Bedard becoming the newest member of the Chicago Blackhawks. **(“87.8% of the handle @BetMGM was on the Blackhawks to get the No. 1 pick (+650) in tonight’s NHL Draft Lottery”)~Action Network on Twitter

What’s Next?

The focus will turn back to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Seven players taken first overall are still alive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

John Tavares, picked first by the New York Islanders in 2009, and Auston Matthews, the top pick in 2016, play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who must win on Wednesday against the Florida Panthers to avoid being eliminated.

The Edmonton Oilers feature 2011 top pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and McDavid, who went No. 1 overall in 2015. Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad joins New Jersey Devils forwards Hughes and Nico Hischier as former No. 1 selections still playing.

Nashville will be the host to next month’s NHL Entry Draft.

Ten first-round picks have already changed hands. Five of those selections will be decided as the Stanley Cup Playoffs continue with Dallas, Edmonton, Toronto and New Jersey using those picks to acquire players for a playoff run.

The No. 12 overall pick will move from Ottawa to Arizona as a result of the trade that sent defenseman Jakub Chychrun to the Senators. The Panthers will send their first-round pick to Montreal, the Islanders’ top pick belongs to Detroit and Chicago also has Tampa Bay’s first-round selection after having three first-round selections in the 2022 draft.

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