Of late, the Chicago Blackhawks have had a pretty full slate of games to keep me busy. However, make no mistake about it my passion is in the drafting and development side for the Hawks. For over 2 decades I've been writing, talking, and debating about whom they should take and why. Until June 28th in Nashville, I will be releasing information on prospects, draft projections, and what the Blackhawks may do on that day.
Today, I'd like to dive into the last 20 years of the lottery and how that ties into "where" the Blackhawks could be at season's end. This would be for draft years 2003-2022 and I'm going to exclude the 05' and 20' drafts as they were different situations not typical with normal draft rules. If you remember correctly those were the Crosby (draft after lockout, all non playoff teams had equal odds) draft and the Lafreniere (shortened year, 2-phase lotto) draft.
So looking at those 18 true to form drafts, exactly half of the "best odds" took home the #1 selection. Keep in mind too that per the NHL offical site (www.nhl.com) the new rule kicks into place this year as "teams cannot win the lottery more than twice in a five-year period". That means that Edmonton can't get 4 (!) #1 selections in just 6 seasons like it did 2010-2015.
Ok, so we know that recent history says half of the teams with the worst record have gotten the #1 pick... Also, that this year the new rule states that the team with the worst record can't fall below selecting 3rd overall (it used to be 4th). The other 9 overall top selections all were awarded to teams finishing in the top 5 best odds except for one year. Note: In 2011 the Devils actually won the lottery, however the rules were not in place for a team outside the top 5 to win the #1 overall pick.
In 2023, with the new lottery rules, a team can move up a maximum of 10 places meaning that only the teams with the 11 best odds can win the top spot. This just so happens to be the Hawks slot on 11-3-22. Historically though, 18 drafts tell me you need to be in the top 5 in order to draft 1st overall. The top 5 odds typically make over 60% of the chances at the top selection.
The Blackhawks are currently a .500 team and are competing and playing hard. How long will that last before GM Kyle Davidson gets a phone call he likes? I know we need to grow the chemistry we have seen already, I also know that Davidson will NOT hestitate to make a tough decision. This is the most likely scenario that contributes to the Blackhawks being in that class of the 5 worst point totals for the year.
This is a draft that, in my opinion, is maybe the best draft class I've seen in at least 20 years. Also, while I know the narrative from alot of media is that if the Blackhawks do not get into the top 3 that the year will be a failure. This is not true. Yes I agree that Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli, and Matvei Michkov are outstanding talents. So is Leo Carlsson. So are Brayden Yager and Zach Benson. So is Dalibor Dvorsky. I'd also put about 10-12 more prospects in that as well.
As we move forward as Blackhawks fans and start to watch those overall standings ebb and flow just know the history:
1. 9/18 #1 selections were made by the worst team
2. Other 9 selections were all made by teams with bottom 5 records
3. New rules this year complicate these trends only slightly
Blackhawks face the Kings tonight with two .500 record teams trying to identify their trajectories. It should be high scoring as the Kings have some good goal scorers yet two goalies giving up 3.44-4.3 goals per night. Prediction: Kings 5 Blackhawks 3.