Is it Better for the Blackhawks to Lose this Year's Draft Lottery?

Hold up now, hear us out!
U18 Five Nations Tournament
U18 Five Nations Tournament / Michael Miller/ISI Photos/GettyImages

In 2010 the Edmonton Oilers won the draft lottery and selected current Blackhawk Taylor Hall (in a closely followed debate with Tyler Seguin being the other worthy prospect considered). 2011, the very next season Edmonton would again be rewarded with the top pick (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins). 2012, the trifecta happens and they decided to just phone that one in I suppose (Nail Yakupov).

The 4th year in (after Taylor Hall) they would draft all the way back at #7 (Darnell Nurse) before taking Leon Draisaitl at #3 in 2014. Obviously though the big win via the NHL Draft Lottery would be in 2015 where they would again win and select Connor McDavid. That would mark 4 times in just 6 draft lotteries where 1 team would win. Something needed to change, something did change:

Starting with the 2022 draft new rules were implemented in order to not have this scenario play out again. Teams were now restricted from moving up more than 10 spots in a drawing meaning that only the bottom 11 teams had a chance to win the lottery. The bigger news though was that a team could now not win the lottery more than twice in a 5 year period.

Connor Bedard
Chicago Blackhawks v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Last year the Blackhawks used an 11.5% chance to secure the right to draft Connor Bedard and start off their rebuild with an ace up their sleeve. If they win it again this year however, it would preclude them from the #1 spot in 2025, 2026, and 2027. Now, while we all hope that by then they are more competitve and challenging for the playoffs... questions remain about forfeiting a chance at drafting some truly franchise level talents.

Macklin Celebrini is an outstanding prospect and a worthy #1 overall selection. There is no doubt about it, but if the Blackhawks (they are the only team in this scenario) win the 1st pick again then the likelihood of landing James Hagens (2025), Gavin McKenna (2026), or Elliot Daigneault / Landon Dupont (2027) becomes zero.

So question is, do you want Macklin Celebrini (instead you have a Lindstrom, Levshunov, Demidov, or Catton) at the cost of a 0% chance at any of the next 3 top picks? While most (and correctly so) will say give me the top 2 center now so that you can build earlier around talent.. It's worth asking the question at this stage of the rebuild.

Note: While James Hagens and Gavin McKenna are the early favorites to go #1 in their respective draft years, the draft classes (especially 2025) looks to be loaded with NHL talent.

Gavin McKenna
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