The 2023 NHL Draft Lottery has come to an end, and the Chicago Blackhawks will pick first overall. Chicago had an 11.5% chance of winning the lottery at the beginning of the night. The last time the Blackhawks had the first overall pick was in 2007 when they took Patrick Kane. Kane played 1,161 games with Chicago in 16 years with the team. He scored 446 goals and made 779 assists.
The Columbus Blue Jackets fell to the third overall selection, while the Anaheim Ducks dropped one spot and hold the second overall pick. The Phoenix Coyotes have the Ottawa Senators’ first-round pick as part of the trade for Jakob Chychrun.
Here are the full 2023 NHL Draft Lottery results:
Columbus Blue Jackets
San Jose Sharks
Detroit Red Wings
St. Louis Blues
Arizona Coyotes (via Ottawa Senators)
Let’s look at six of the top first-round prospects for June’s NHL Draft.
All For Bedard
Connor Bedard is discussed as a once-in-a-generation talent and is likely to be the first pick in this year’s NHL Draft. Following his MVP performance at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships earlier this year, Bedard sold-out arenas across the Western Hockey League.
The 17-year-old recorded 71 goals and 72 assists in 57 games this past season with the Regina Pats, leading the league in both categories. Bedard scored ten times and finished with 20 points in Regina’s first-round playoff series against the Saskatoon Blades.
With the Blackhawks having the first overall pick, Bedard will become the new face of the franchise and could provide the spark Chicago needs as they search for their first winning season since 2019-20. The addition could not have come at a better time as the team traded Patrick Kane to the New York Rangers and long-time Blackhawk Johnathan Toews will not return to Chicago next season. If he can continue to amaze in the NHL, Bedard has a chance at becoming one of the league greats.
Five Top Prospects
Outside of Bedard, there are many talented prospects in this year’s NHL Draft. Matvei Michkov, Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson, Will Smith and Zach Benson are five other names predicted to go early on draft night.
Michkov has had plenty of early-career success in Russia and now turns his attention to the NHL. The Perm native scored nine goals in the KHL last season with Sochi and finished with 20 points.
Adam Fantilli scored 30 goals for the Michigan Wolverines during the 2022-23 season, including ten on the powerplay. He was named First-Team All-American and won the Tim Taylor National Rookie of the Year Award.
Carlsson is an extremely talented forward from Karlstad, Sweden. He played last season in Orebro and racked up 25 points. In 13 postseason games, Carlsson scored one goal and got eight assists.
Will Smith was second on the United States National U18 team with 127 points and was named MVP of this year’s U18 World Championships. Smith is committed to playing at Boston College next season, but that won’t hold any NHL team back from selecting him early in the first round.
Forward Zach Benson finished third in WHL points with 98 and had eight game-winning goals. The Winnipeg ICE finished with a league-best record of 57-10-1 and will compete for the championship later this month.
Connor Bedard has a lot to live up to in the NHL. At 14, he was granted exceptional player status in the WHL, becoming only the seventh player to do so. However, his ability to create plays and shoot the puck at a high success rate makes him an exciting NHL storyline. Playing on an original-six team will only make his legend grow.