The NHL Draft started with no surprises, but then there were. Ample!
So, and as expected, the Chicago Blackhawks picked heavy favorite Connor Bedard with the first overall pick, a move that came as no surprise to anyone across the league.
“It’s unbelievable,” the young forward told Sportsnet. It’s a dream come true. I’m chosen by Chicago, which is a team with a rich history… I can’t wait to get to work. It’s special to wear this logo, it’s a team that won three Cups when I was young and watched hockey on TV. With all the players on this team who have been there before me, it’s incredible. I could hardly have asked for better. »
The choice of Bedard had been in doubt for a long time already, he who had just had a season of 71 goals and 143 points in 57 games with the Regina Pats, in the Western Hockey League (WHL). Obviously, the Chicago Blackhawks’ return to the elite will have to go through Connor Bedard.
Then, with the second overall pick, the Anaheim Ducks got their hands on forward Leo Carlsson.
The 18-year-old Swede is coming off a 25-point, 44-game season in the Swedish Elite League, and was No. 1 among international prospects according to NHL Central Scouting.
“It’s something that doesn’t feel real to me,” the young man said on Sportsnet. I feel so many things right now. I got two interviews with the leaders of Anaheim, I felt good with them. I am enthusiastic. »
With the third pick overall, the Columbus Blue Jackets got their hands on forward Adam Fantilli, who probably wasn’t expecting to be the third pick. But it will be his reality. The Ontario player had 65 points in 36 games with the University of Michigan last season.
“There are a lot of phenomenal hockey players in this draft,” Fantilli said when asked if he was surprised the Ducks didn’t pick him. A lot of players deserved to be drafted as high as possible. Leo is an excellent hockey player. He’s a wonderful boy. I wish him the best. I got to know him, it was great.
“I’m very happy for him. »
Then, with the fourth overall pick, the San Jose Sharks also caused an upset by picking forward Will Smith, who was presumably in the Canadiens’ line of sight.
Smith, an 18-year-old center, had a 42-point, 20-game season with the American development club.
1— Connor Bedard, centre, Chicago
2— Leo Carlsson, center, Anaheim
3- Adam Fantilli, center, Columbus
4— Will Smith, centre, San Jose
5— David Reinbacher, defender, Montreal
6— Dmitri Simashev, defender, Arizona
7— Matvei Michkov, winger, Philadelphia
8— Ryan Leonard, ailier, Washington
9— Nate Danielson, centre, Detroit
10— Dalibor Dvorsky, center, St. Louis
11—Tom Willander, defenseman, Vancouver
12— Daniil But, winger, Arizona
13— Zach Benson, forward, Buffalo
14— Brayden Yager, centre, Pittsburgh
15— Matthew Wood, ailier, Nashville
16— Samuel Honzek, centre, Calgary
17— Axel Sandin-Pellikka, defender, Detroit
18— Colby Barlow, ailier, Winnipeg
19— Oliver Moore, centre, Chicago
20— Eduard Sale, ailier, Seattle
21— Charlie Stramel, ailier, Minnesota
22— Oliver Bonk, defenseman, Philadelphia
23—Gabriel Perreault, winger, New York Rangers
24— Tanner Molendyk, defenseman, Nashville
25— Otto Stenberg, centre, St. Louis
26—Quentin Musty, winger, San Jose
27— Calum Ritchie, centre, Colorado
28— Easton Cowan, centre, Toronto
29— Theo Lindstein, defenseman, St. Louis
30— Bradley Nadeau, forward, Carolina
31—Mikhail Gulyayev, defender, Colorado
32—David Edstrom, defenseman, Vegas