One of the most highly anticipated nights on the NHL calendar has finally arrived as the annual NHL Draft Lottery was held to determine which team would have the honor of selecting first and second overall at the 2023 NHL Draft. The 16 teams that failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs all had a chance to win the lottery, though teams can only move up a maximum of ten slots, so the bottom 11 teams in the NHL standings all had a chance of landing the top draft pick.
The results are now in and the Chicago Blackhawks have won the first overall selection in the 2023 NHL Draft. They had the third best odds entering the night, but jumped ahead of the Anaheim Ducks and the Columbus Blue Jackets to win the top pick. The Ducks won the second overall pick and will now step to the podium second at the draft after entering the lottery with the best odds at winning the first overall pick. The Blue Jackets had the second best odds of winning the lottery, but have dropped to third overall.
The now official order of the first 16 picks in the 2023 NHL Draft will go as follows:
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Anaheim Ducks
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- San Jose Sharks
- Montreal Canadiens
- Arizona Coyotes
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Washington Capitals
- Detroit Red Wings
- St. Louis Blues
- Vancouver Canucks
- Arizona Coyotes (via Ottawa Senators)
- Buffalo Sabres
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Nashville Predators
- Calgary Flames
The prize for winning the first overall pick is a big one this season. Connor Bedard is slated to go with the top selection at the 2023 NHL Draft and he promises to be an exceptional NHL player.
Bedard will not turn 18 years old until July, but he did lead the WHL in goals, assists and points this past season. He scored 71 goals, 72 assists and 143 points in just 57 games. He was away from the team for a few weeks around Christmas to suit up at the World Juniors where he brought his world-class skills to the biggest stage yet. He was named MVP of the tournament after scoring nine goals and 23 points in just seven games, helping Canada claim a gold medal.
Adam Fantilli is likely to be the second player off the board at the draft, but he is an exceptional consolation prize. He won the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey during his freshman season. Fantilli scored 30 goals and 65 points in just 36 NCAA contests, showing he is ready to take the next step to the NHL immediately after being drafted.
The 2023 NHL Draft will be held in Nashville, Tennessee on June 28.