The suspense is over. The Chicago Blackhawks will speak first overall in the upcoming National Hockey League (NHL) draft.
The annual NHL lottery to determine the order of the first selections for the June auction took place on Monday and it had a special cachet. Indeed, the winning team would be able to benefit from the possibility of drafting Canadian forward Connor Bedard, a generational talent.
“I’m in shock, but I’m very happy for the city and the organization,” Hawks GM Kyle Davidson said. I heard all the employees in the next room screaming with delight when Bill Daly turned the box over. I do not know what to say. »
“Anytime you can add such talent, it’s monumental for an organization. It’s very exciting for the fans and the city, but it’s only one piece. A big piece, but only one piece to rebuild this team. It’s a beautiful day. »
Luck smiled on the Blackhawks, who had an 11.5% chance of winning the lottery.
The Montreal Canadiens will speak in fifth place.
The Canadian finished 28th overall last season.
He held an 8.5% chance of winning the lottery. The Habs had their best odds with sixth place with a 44% chance.
Last year, the Canadian drafted Juraj Slafkovsky first overall.
The Anaheim Ducks were the favorites to get the first pick, with a 25.5% chance, including an 18.5% chance of winning the draw, ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets (13.5%) and the Blackhawks ( 11.5%). The Ducks will have to settle for talking second and the Blue Jackets third.
After trading forward Patrick Kane to the New York Rangers and learning that Jonathan Toews won’t be back with the team, the Blackhawks can get their hands on a generational talent in Bedard.
Bedard is considered the best prospect available since Connor McDavid in 2015. He had a sensational campaign with 143 points, including 71 goals, in 57 games with the Regina Pats.
A native of suburban Vancouver, Bedard also shone at the World Junior Hockey Championship, breaking a Team Canada Junior record with 23 points, including nine goals, in just seven games.
Ontario forward Adam Fantilli is considered the second-best prospect available, but the gap between him and other prospects is less than that between Bedard and everything else.
Swedish center Leo Carlsson, American striker Will Smith and Russian winger Matvei Michkov are also among the best prospects available this year.
The draft will take place on June 28 and 29 in Nashville.
– With The Canadian Press