The Chicago Blackhawks’ rebuild got a major boost on Monday night when the franchise won the NHL lottery. The Blackhawks will now get to select first overall in the upcoming 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
The Blackhawks finished the 2022-23 NHL season with a 26-49-7 record and had the third-best odds in the NHL lottery at 11.5%. The Anaheim Ducks, who had the best odds for the No. 1 pick at 25.5%, will select second, while the Columbus Blue Jackets (13.5%) got the third overall pick.
After missing out on the playoffs in consecutive seasons, the Chicago Blackhawks opted for a rebuild in 2022-23, moving away from several veterans. This included trading the franchise legend Patrick Kane ahead of the NHL trade deadline and opting against re-signing captain Jonathan Toews.
The Blackhawks now have the opportunity to select the future franchise cornerstone they can build around and work towards returning to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 2014–15.
Center Connor Bedard is considered the top prospect in the 2023 class. Bedard played the 2022–23 season with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League, totaling 143 points (71 goals and 72 assists) in just 57 games. The list of other notable talents includes Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson, and Will Smith.
“I’m a little bit speechless to be honest, but really, really excited,” said Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson after the lottery. “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.”