On Monday, the Chicago Blackhawks were the big winners at the NHL Draft Lottery. They went into the night trailing both the Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets for the best odds to win the lottery’s top prize, but it was Chicago that came out on top.
With that top pick, their first time selecting No. 1 overall since 2007, they will undoubtedly take 17-year-old phenom Connor Bedard. With the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League this year, he led the league in scoring with 143 points.
Bedard also has helped the Canadian Under-20 National Team win two gold medals, and his 36 career points at the World Junior Hockey Championships is a new Canadian record. During this year’s gold medal run, he scored 23 points and was named the tournament’s MVP.
Bedard is the NHL draft pick. Even at only 17, he is already drawing comparisons to Connor McDavid of the Oilers and Sidney Crosby of the Pens. He has that kind of scoring ability. But who will go second to the Ducks? Who will go third to the Blue Jackets?
Those picks are not nearly as black-and-while as Bedard at No. 1.
NHL Draft Odds – Second Overall Pick
Adam Fantilli (-420)
There is no one in the NHL draft class like Bedard, but Adam Fantilli will be an excellent consolation prize for the Ducks if he is who they select. He won the Hobey Baker Award as a freshman at Michigan for being the NCAA’s best men’s hockey player this year. He is only 18, and he scored 63 points in 36 games.
Leo Carlsson (+680)
Leo Carlsson is a Swedish center who is also 18 and already 6-foot-3. In 15 international games this year for Sweden’s Under-20 National Team, he scored ten goals and had seven assists. His coaches and members of the media have compared him to Mats Sundin, a fellow Swede who was taken No. 1 overall in 1989.
Matvei Michkov (+730)
At one time, Matvei Michkov was a challenge to Bedard for the No. 1 overall NHL draft pick. Bedard has put distance between himself and the young Russian but at no fault of Michkov’s. He’s a great scorer who broke Alex Ovechkin’s record for being the youngest player to suit up for the Russian National Team at only 16.
Brayden Yager (+2800)
The last of the top-four for the second pick, and top-five overall, is one of the best shooters of the bunch in Brayden Yager. This past season with the Moose Jaw Warriors, he scored 28 goals and 78 points. Yager was on the gold medal-winning Canadian Under-18 team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in 2022 and scored nine points in the five games.
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