Will Next Month's Draft Lottery Speed Up the Chicago Blackhawks' Rebuild?

2024 Hobey Baker Memorial & Mike Richter Award Ceremonies
2024 Hobey Baker Memorial & Mike Richter Award Ceremonies / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

Around this time last year, it was a common thought that whichever team won the first overall selection, they could theoretically shave a few years off of that franchise's rise back towards NHL contention. The Blackhawks used an 11.5% chance to win the draft lottery and draft Connor Bedard. A true franchise talent, that would play an entire NHL season while being eighteen, Bedard has indeed taken at least a season or two off of what could have been a longer rebuild.

This upcoming draft lottery (May 6th or 7th), while no Connor Bedard level prospect available, could see two such players enter the league as rookies and play vital roles for a rebuilding team. Macklin Celebrini, who won the Hobey Baker award as the NCAA's most outstanding player, and Artyom Levshunov, a two way defender for Michigan St., represent the best chaces at yet again speeding up the rebuild timeframe.

While there are no guarantees that either player will enter the NHL right away at this moment, both players appear to be ready from both a physical standpoint and a skill trait outlook. Conversely, some of the other highly thought of prospects are more likely to continue their play either in Juniors (CHL, NCAA) or to stay overseas (KHL, SHL).

Two players like Berkly Catton and Cayden Lindstrom are probable for returns to their current teams, while some interntational draftees (Demidov, Silayev, Helenius) are expected to continue their play where they are at currently.

Whereas Celebrini and Levshunov have already played NCAA hockey, some are yet to enter their first season of college hockey (like Cole Eiserman) making any selection of a player like this a future Blackhawk possibility instead of an immediate addition.

So while the Blackhawks will have a 27.6% chance at one of the top two picks (very likely to be Celebrini and Levshunov) there is also the chance (72.4%) they draft third or fourth and have to wait on that slotted selection longer to help out the NHL franchise.

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