The Chicago Blackhawks have won the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery and hold the number one overall selection in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
It’s expected that Regina Pats captain Connor Bedard will be taken with that pick.
The Anaheim Ducks will select in the second spot in the draft and the Columbus Blue Jackets now hold the third overall selection.
Last month, Bedard was named the top North American skater in the Central Scouting rankings. The last time a member of the Pats was taken with the first overall selection was in 1980 when Doug Wickenheiser was taken by the Montreal Canadiens.
It’s been awhile since a player from the Western Hockey League (WHL) was taken with the first pick in the NHL Draft. The Edmonton Oilers took former Red Deer Rebel Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the first pick back in 2011.
This past season was a memorable one for Bedard. After he failed to register a point in the team’s season opening contest against the Moose Jaw Warriors, the Pats captain would go on to register a point in his next 35 games with Regina.
Bedard ended the 2022-23 season leading the WHL in in goals (71), points (143), shots on goal (360), points per game (2.51) and goals per game (1.24) in 57 regular-season games.
In seven playoff games, the 17-year-old recorded 20 points (10G-10A) in seven games as the Pats were eliminated by the Saskatoon Blades in the first round of the WHL Playoffs.
During the holiday season, Bedard all players at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship with 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) and was named the tournament’s top forward and most valuable player, helping Canada win a second straight gold medal.
The 2023 NHL Entry Draft will take place on Wednesday, June 28 in Nashville.