And the winner is…the NHL Draft Lottery results


Photo taken by Kaiser Matias

Andrew Forsyth, Sports Writer

As the NHL Playoffs continue, the 16 teams that did not qualify for the dance finally got their moment in the spotlight. The NHL introduced the draft lottery to decrease purposeful tanking from teams to encourage competition. It’s worked to a certain extent, but a handful of teams will still tank for the next big thing.

Especially this year when the first-place prize is the best prospect since Connor McDavid. Connor Bedard is the trophy for the parade of tanks this season. Among the teams tanking were the three with the best odds—Anaheim, who had an 18.5% chance of winning the lottery, Columbus was the second best at 13.5%, and then Chicago had an 11.5% chance to win the pick.

The actual NHL Draft Lottery show was, at best, a disaster. Multiple leaks of the order and announcing Columbus’s draft position before they even revealed the card as they headed to commercial. The lottery is never that great of a watch, but this year was particularly embarrassing for the NHL. Constant mistakes and pure confusion for fans.

So who won the coveted first-overall pick? Well, it wasn’t the team with the best or second-best odds. Nope, the Chicago Blackhawks won the opportunity to draft one of the best prospects of all time…again.

It isn’t a secret that the lottery is most likely rigged every year by Gary Bettman. There’s just been a few moments that are too convenient for the teams who’ve won the lottery in years past. Some of the most famous was the Penguins in 2005, facing bankruptcy and the team disbanding, and Sidney Crosby headed to Pittsburgh to team up with Mario Lemieux. In 2020 the Rangers jumped up to the first overall pick when they were originally slated in slots 8th-15th, despite only having a 2.5% chance of winning. Could it be a coincidence? Sure, but I highly doubt that the biggest market in the NHL just happened to jump up that much.

Another piece of evidence that it might be rigged is that Edmonton won the #1 lottery pick three times in only six years, in which they picked Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent Hopkins, and Connor McDavid, respectively. Again, it could be a coincidence, but those odds are unbelievably lucky.

This year is particularly suspicious, along with the jumping of the gun on the announcement of Columbus in the third spot. A star was next to the Chicago Blackhawks logo before the pick was announced.

I think the NHL rigs some winners to ensure a big market gets a player. I was especially looking at the history of lottery winners. In the past decade, most lottery winners have been for huge markets or passionate fan bases, apart from Florida in 2014. Although I don’t think they rig games or Stanley Cup winners as in the East, we are one win and two wins away from a Florida VS Carolina Eastern Conference Finals matchup.

The worst part of this year’s lottery is that Chicago even had the chance to win the lottery. If this proved anything, the NHL honestly does not care about the Kyle Beach situation. One of the biggest markets in the league gets a slap on the wrist in the form of a minuscule fine that doesn’t accomplish anything. Meanwhile, teams are losing draft picks for having players work out too early before the draft or signing a player to a once-legal contract; they lose a first rounder.

Although when you cover up sexual abuse for a decade for the sake of championships, you’re rewarded with Connor Bedard. Conveniently right after Patrick Kane and Jonathon Toews possibly have played their last games for the Blackhawks. God forbid the league holds literal scum accountable in a truly measurable and consequential way. The Blackhawks should not have had a first-round pick this year. It is that simple.

It is painfully apparent that they rigged this for Chicago. It is genuinely an embarrassment that they were even allowed to make a first-round selection. If this accomplished anything for the league, it shows that, realistically, you can do the worst of the worst as an organization, and you’ll go unpunished.

Truly just a night of embarrassment for the NHL as they try to prove they are just as big as the NBA, NFL, and the other main sports leagues. Teams will continue to tank; if there are no consequences, they’ll break morals and other rules. The final hope is that Bedard pulls an Eric Lindros and says he won’t play for Chicago if they draft him. He probably won’t, and we’ll see Bedard in the Chicago Blackhawks red this October.