Blackhawks win draft lottery, get rights to select Bedard

Regina Pats forward Connor Bedrard is considered the best prospect since Connor McDavid.

Regina Pats forward Connor Bedrard is considered the best prospect since Connor McDavid.

Sam Mendlowitz

The Chicago Blackhawks won the NHL draft lottery Monday night, and got the rights to select Connor Bedard. The Blackhawks, who finished the year with a record of 26-49-7, had the third best odds to win the lottery at 11.5%. The Blackhawks will be able to get a “generational talent” in Bedard. In juniors last season with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League, he had 71 goals, 72 assists, for 143 points in just 57 games. He had 20 points in seven playoff games. Back in December, he posted 23 points in seven games at the World Junior Championship, leading Canada to a gold medal. He had one of the most incredible seasons for a junior player ever and is widely regarded as the next Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby. The Vancouver native  had 271 points in 134 games with the Pats. He is just 17 years old. He turns 18 in July. 

“He seems to be like a sponge,” NHL Central Scouting Bureau vice president Dan Marr said. “He takes it all in and he takes his game to the next platform. He’s just a very fun player to watch and he’s one of those guys that takes you off the edge of your seat. Every game he does something.”

“”I’m a little bit speechless to be honest, but really, really excited,” Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said. “Anytime you can add elite talent like we’ll be able to add in this draft with the first overall selection, it’s a monumental thing. I’m really excited for the fan base and the city. But in the end, it’s one piece. It’s a big piece, but it’s one piece that will go into building this team.”

The last time the Blackhawks selected first overall was in 2007. They selected Patrick Kane who led them to three Stanley Cups and is second on the Blackhawks all time points list. Many Blackhawks fans are hoping that selecting Bedard will lead them on a similar path. The team has already sold $1.9 million in season tickets in the first hour since the lottery.

The Anaheim Ducks, who had the best odds of selecting first at 18.5%, got the number two pick. The team has been selected twice in franchise history, most recently with Bobby Ryan in 2005. They have never been selected first overall. They will most likely take Adam Fantinelli. The Michigan Wolverines forward had 65 points this season and won the Hobey Baker Award as the top college player. “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,” Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek said. “We are now in the unique position to draft one of the best players available and add to the exciting young players already in our organization.”

The Columbus Blue Jackets have the first pick. They had the second best odds to land the number one pick at 13.5%. They have been extremely unlucky in lotteries in recent years. The third pick is their highest since they chose Pierre Luc Dubois third in 2016. 

Behind Bedard and Fantinelli, this is expected to be one of the deepest drafts in years. Leo Carlsson, Matvei Michakov, Will Smith, Ryan Leonard, Oliver Moore, Dalibor Dvorsky, and David Reinbacher. Carlsson and Michakov are the top European prospects and will be selected high. Michakov, however, is still under contract with SKA Petersburg in the KHL (Kontinental Hockey league) through the 2025-26 season. So whoever selects him will do so understanding that he won’t be an NHLer for at least three more seasons. 

The San Jose Sharks will pick fourth while the Montreal Canadiens will pick fifth. The draft will be at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on June 28 and 29.