The Chicago Blackhawks have won the Connor Bedard sweepstakes
By Cam Lewis6 months ago
For the first time since they selected Patrick Kane in 2007, the Chicago Blackhawks will have the first overall pick in the 2023 NHL draft.
The Blackhawks had their name drawn at the NHL’s draft lottery on Monday and they jumped from third to first overall. Chicago finished the season with 59 points, good for third-last in the league behind the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets. Anaheim had the best odds at winning the lottery at 25.5 percent, while Columbus and Chicago were at 13.5 and 11.5 percent respectively.
The Blackhawks will be able to select phenom Connor Bedard with the top pick in this summer’s draft. Bedard is coming off of an absurd season in which he scored 71 goals and 143 points over 57 games for the Regina Pats of the WHL. He also put up nine goals and 23 points a few months ago playing for Canada in the World Juniors.
For Chicago, this gives a miserable, aimless franchise a game-changing talent that the team can rebuild around in the coming years.
The Blackhawks have been in full seller mode for the past year. They traded away Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach for draft picks last summer and they moved Patrick Kane to the New York Rangers at the trade deadline. Jonathan Toews also announced that he wouldn’t be returning to the Blackhawks next season so there’s nobody left from their three Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013, and 2015.
It’ll be a busy day for the Blackhawks after they select Bedard. They also have the first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning from last season’s Brandon Hagel trade and they have the second-round picks of the Rangers, Lightning, and Ottawa Senators.
This also comes just over one year after word came out that the Blackhawks were complicit in covering up a sexual assault regarding a former player. There has been criticism that the league handed out more harsh penalties to the New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes for less significant wrongdoings. Both the Devils and Coyotes had to forfeit first-round draft picks while the Blackhawks were fined $2 million.
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