Amid wild news involving the Chicago Blackhawks, the 2017 NHL Entry Draft will roll on beginning tonight at the United Center
The Chicago Blackhawks may have tried to steal the spotlight today with multiple big-name trades, but the 2017 NHL Entry Draft will go on as scheduled beginning tonight at the United Center.
While this draft isn’t as highly anticipated as the previous two, in which Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid went to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers, respectively, there’s still plenty of intrigue.
Among items worth noting is, of course, who will be taken first overall in the draft. Final rankings have forward Nolan Patrick and forward Nico Hischier as the consensus top-two selections, but it’s not a slam dunk that one or the other will go to the New Jersey Devils with the top choice.
Patrick, a native of Winnipeg, tallied 46 points in 33 games last season for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League. He comes from a family of hockey players, with father Steve Patrick and uncle James Patrick both seeing extended NHL time.
Hischier could surpass Nino Niederreiter as the highest draft choice in Switzerland’s history. Niederreiter was taken fifth overall in 2010 by the New York Islanders. Hischier led all QMJHL rookies last season with 86 points in 57 regular-season games.
Here’s the first-round draft order:
- New Jersey Devils
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Dallas Stars
- Colorado Avalanche
- Vancouver Canucks
- Vegas Golden Knights
- Arizona Coyotes
- Buffalo Sabres
- Detroit Red Wings
- Florida Panthers
- Los Angeles Kings
- Carolina Hurricanes
- Winnipeg Jets
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- New York Islanders
- Calgary Flames
- Toronto Maple Leafs
- Boston Bruins
- San Jose Sharks
- St. Louis Blues
- New York Rangers
- Edmonton Oilers
- Minnesota Wild
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- Montreal Canadiens
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Washington Capitals
- Ottawa Senators
- Anaheim Ducks
- Nashville Predators
- Pittsburgh Penguins
Now, even though this is the draft order, it’s worth noting not all of these teams will pick in these slots. The Rangers took the Coyotes’ No. 7 pick today in a trade, while the Knights have the Islanders’ and Jets’ opening-round selections. Also, Arizona holds Minnesota’s pick, St. Louis has Washington’s selection and Dallas holds Anaheim’s choice.
What will the Blackhawks do?
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- Blackhawks: What’s the plan for the 2021 NHL Draft?
- Blackhawks: What position does the team need to focus on at the draft?
There was speculation earlier today the Blackhawks were trying to move up to No. 7 in the draft with the Coyotes’ pick. While that wound up instead being a trade involving Niklas Hjalmarsson and no draft picks, that doesn’t mean general manager Stan Bowman will stand pat tonight.
The Blackhawks have nine picks as of right now for the two-day draft. They moved one of their picks in the Artemi Panarin–Brandon Saad deal this morning, leaving them with a first-round choice, a second-round pick, a third-round selection, a fourth-round choice, three fifth-round picks, a sixth-round selection and a seventh-round choice.
Four of the Blackhawks’ picks are not their own. The third-rounder is from the Ottawa Senators, two of the fourth-rounders are courtesy the Carolina Hurricanes and St. Louis Blues, and the seventh-rounder is from the Anaheim Ducks.
The Blackhawks, in my opinion, should be focusing on defense first during this draft. They have a fair number of solid offensive prospects, but their defensive prospect pool is currently weak. I’d also like them to seek out a potential goaltender of the future among their draft picks.
2017 NHL Entry Draft viewing information
Start times: 6 p.m. tonight; 9 a.m. Saturday
Where: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBC Sports Network
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra
The first round will be held tonight, while Rounds 2-7 will be held Saturday. There will be plenty of opportunities for Blackhawks and hockey fans to boo Commissioner Gary Bettman throughout the proceedings, though you can also expect to see some legendary hockey faces as well.
It will be most interesting to see what the Blackhawks do tonight and Saturday, but that also goes for a team like the Vegas Golden Knights, which just stocked its roster earlier this week through the expansion draft. There are plenty of fun storylines to look forward to this weekend.