The Chicago Blackhawks will be in contention for the top overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft during the draft lottery (6 p.m. Wednesday; NBCSN), which determines the order for the first 16 picks in the first round.
The first round of the draft will be July 23, with rounds 2-7 on July 24.
The Buffalo Sabres, who finished last in the regular-season standings, hold the best odds (16.6 percent) of winning the No. 1 pick. The Anaheim Ducks have the second-best odds (12.1 percent). The expansion Seattle Kraken, who begin play next season, and New Jersey Devils, who finished with the third-worst record, each have the third-best odds (10.3 percent).
The Blackhawks have the 12th-best odds (2.7 percent) and a 5.6 percent chance at drafting in the top two. If they don’t receive a top-two selection, they will likely draft No. 11 because the Arizona Coyotes forfeited their first-round selection for NHL Combine Testing violations.
There are two draws — one for each of the top two picks, with every non-playoff team eligible to win, except for Arizona. The 14 teams that do not receive a top-two pick will be assigned picks 3-16 in reverse order of their regular season point totals. Seattle has the same lottery placement as the Vegas Golden Knights prior to their first season in 2017, and are guaranteed to pick no lower than No. 5 in the first round.
No. 1 Pick Options
Chicago Steel alum Owen Power, a defenseman from Michigan, is No. 1 in Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters, and could be the No. 1 pick. William Eklund, a left wing from Djurgarden in the Swedish Hockey League, who is No. 1 in Central Scouting’s final ranking of International skaters, is another candidate.
Power scored 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in 26 games during his first NCAA season, and was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team. The 18-year-old has three assists and is averaging 17:09 in six games for Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Championship.
Only two college players have been selected No. 1, Boston University goalie Rick DiPietro by the New York Islanders in 2000 and Michigan State center Joe Murphy by the Detroit Red Wings in 1986.
Eklund scored 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) while averaging 15:29 of ice time in 40 games. The 18-year-old was named the SHL Rookie of the Year.
Michigan centers Matthew Beniers and Kent Johnson, along with USA Hockey National Team Development Program U-18 defenseman Luke Hughes, might also be possibilities at No. 1.
Blackhawks’ Lottery Success
Chicago has won the lottery three times before in 1999, 2007, and 2019.
In 1999, Chicago moved up from the eighth spot to the fourth overall pick. The Hawks traded the pick to the Vancouver Canucks for defenseman Bryan McCabe and the Canucks’ first-round picks in 2000 and 2001. The New York Rangers acquired the pick in a trade with Vancouver and Tampa Bay, to select Pavel Brendl.
In 2007, the Blackhawks jumped from fifth to first with an 8.1 percent chance to select forward Patrick Kane, who has become one of the top players in franchise history.
In 2019, Chicago climbed up nine spots to third to select forward Kirby Dach.
Chicago’s Draft History: Nos. 1-2, 11-13
Here’s a list of Chicago’s history with picks Nos. 1, 2, 11, 12 and 13:
1. Patrick Kane (‘07)
2. Andy Culligan (‘65)
11. Wayne Davidson (’63), Dave Manson (’85), Alex Roberts (’89), Pavel Vorobiev (’00), Kyle Beach (’08)
12. Dan Spring (‘71), Tony Tanti (‘81), Sergei Krivokrasov (‘92)
13. Jean-Pierre Bordeleau (‘69), Phil Russell (‘72), Darcy Rota (‘73), Todd Wolf (‘88), Daniel Cleary (‘97)
How to Watch
What: NHL Draft Lottery
Time: 6 p.m. CDT Wednesday
TV: NBC Sports Network