Blackhawks News

Chicago Will Host The 2017 NHL Draft

By Sean Fitzgerald
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Colin White shakes hands with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman after being selected as the number twenty-one overall pick to the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Colin White shakes hands with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman after being selected as the number twenty-one overall pick to the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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The NHL draft is vitally important to the success of an NHL franchise. The Blackhawks took Jonathan Toews with the third overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft, and Patrick Kane was the first overall pick in 2007 NHL draft. Those two picks setup the franchise for their three Stanley Cup Championships in the past 6 seasons.

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With the Chicago Blackhawks garnering so much of the NHL spotlight in recent years, it only make sense that the NHL draft would come to Chicago. It has been reported by numerous sources that Chicago will host the NHL draft in 2017. The official announcement is expected Thursday 2/11/16 at 3pm. The “special announcement” is to feature Ed Olczyk, Blackhawks Color Analyst, Commissioner Gary Betmman, Blackhawks Owner Rocky Wirtz and CEO John McDonough. This will be the second draft the city of  Chicago has hosted in recent years. Chicago hosted the 2015 NFL draft with great success.

This will be the first time Chicago will host the NHL draft. The draft began in 1963 and was held in Montreal till 1985. The draft then moved to Toronto in 1985. From 1985 on, it has been held in a different city each year. Last year it was held in Florida at the home rink of the Panthers. In 2016, it will be held in Buffalo at the First Niagara Center, and Buffalo will also host the World Junior Championship in 2018, a bid Buffalo was awarded over Chicago.

Despite not winning the World Junior Championship bid in 2018, 2017 will be a big year for Chicago and Hockey. In addition to hosting  the NHL draft, Chicago will also host the NCAA Frozen Four. The United Center will team up with Notre Dame to host the Division 1 Men’s Hockey Frozen Four. The Frozen Four will take place from April 6th-8th. The NHL draft is usually slated for June.

The current top prospect for 2017 NHL draft is Gabriel Viladri from the OHL Windsor Spit Fires. He was the second pick in the OHL amateur draft. In 45 games with the Spitfires, he has 12 goals and 16 assists this season. Vildari is 6’2 and 185lbs. He has good skating skills and should continue to improve before the NHL draft in 2017. He was named the 2015 HockeyNow’s Minor League players of the year at 15.

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Other names to consider are Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Timothy Liljegren, a defenceman with Rogle in Sweden. TSN has pegged Patrick and Liljegren as their top prospects.

Could Vilardi, Patrick, or Liljegren be the first pick in Chicago?? Fans of Hockey better start saving your money.

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