With generational talent Connor Bedard up for grabs, was Monday night's NHL Draft Lottery a turning point for the Chicago Blackhawks?
The consensus is that the Blackhawks will use the top pick to select Connor Bedard, a highly touted prospect who some are already comparing to Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby.
The 2023 NHL Draft begins on Wednesday, June 28th.
Bedard, a 17-year-old center from Canada, has already made waves in the hockey world despite his youth.
He was granted exceptional player status by Hockey Canada, allowing him to play in the Western Hockey League (WHL) as a 15-year-old. He has since become a dominant force in the league, earning Rookie of the Year honors in the 2020-21 season and the league MVP this past season (2022-23).
He has been praised for his exceptional skill, speed, and hockey IQ, as well as his ability to make plays and score goals in a variety of situations. However, some have expressed concerns about his size and physicality, suggesting that he may struggle against larger and more physical opponents at the NHL level.
If the Blackhawks do select Bedard with the #1 overall pick, they would be getting a player with the potential to be a franchise-altering talent. Bedard's offensive skills are already among the best in the draft class, and his ability to make those around him better could make him an ideal fit for a team that is looking to rebuild and create a winning culture.
The last time the Blackhawks had the #1 overall pick in the NHL draft was in 2007, where they selected 9x All-Star and 3x Stanley Cup Champion Patrick Kane.
There is no doubt that the Blackhawks have some major rebuilding to do if they hope to compete for a Stanley Cup in the near future. After winning three championships in six years between 2010 and 2015, the team has fallen on hard times in recent years, missing the playoffs in each of the past four seasons.
However, with a talented young player like Bedard in their system, they could be well on their way to building a winning team once again.