Monday night was the NHL Draft Lottery and a number of teams were anxiously awaiting the results of what the lottery balls would reveal. Elliotte Friedman noted before the draft results were revealed, “Aside from the Stanley Cup, it’s the most franchise-altering night on the NHL schedule.” For a number of franchises, it was particularly true this year.
With the first overall pick, it was announced the Chicago Blackhawks would be the team with the opportunity to draft a generational talent in Connor Bedard.
Bedard was asked before the draft if he was nervous and noted that he was more excited than nervous. He was asked about who he idolized and answered Sidney Crosby. When asked about what he finds the most impressive about his own game, he noted it’s a bit hard to give his own scouting report, but said it was his willingness and desire to get better that he was most proud of.
The Anaheim Ducks had the best chance to win the lottery with an 18.5 percent chance. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks.
No. 16 went to the Calgary Flames. That meant no change to the bottom of the order. No. 15 went to Nashville Predators. No. 14 went to the Pittsburgh Penguins. No. 13 went to the Buffalo Sabres. Again, no change so far in the standings and where these teams would pick.
No. 12 overall in 2023 went to the Ottawa Senators. The pick transfers to Arizona as a condition of the Jakob Chychrun trade. No. 11, went to the Vancouver Canucks. That took Bedard’s hometown team out of the running. No. 10 went to the St. Louis Blues. No. 9 overall went to the Detroit Red Wings. No. 8 went to the Washington Capitals. No. 7 went to the Philadelphia Flyers. No. 6 went to the Arizona Coyotes.
At the top five, there were about to be many happy teams in such a deep draft. Still, everyone wanted No. 1. The Montreal Canadiens got No. 5. No. 4 went to the San Jose Sharks.
Going into the commercial break, the top three remained the same. It would be some combination of Anaheim, Columbus, and Chicago. There was some confusion going into the commercial because it seemed to be that host Kevin Weekes said Columbus dropped out of the top spot. That said, the card flip was not shown so it was hard to know if that change was actually official.
Back from the break, it was confirmed that the leak did happen as the Blue Jackets dropped to No. 3, Anaheim got No. 2 and the Chicago Blackhawks were the winners of the 2023 Draft Lottery. The question now would be what the Blackhawks intend to do to build around Bedard. They were one of the few teams that don’t really have a ton of young pieces that have a ton of raw talent and would mesh well with Bedard from the get-go.
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