CHICAGO – Perhaps the one thing that Blackhawks fans were disappointed about when it came to the team making the NHL’s 24-team tournament concerned the draft.
Unlike in 2019, where the team got some lottery luck to move up to the third overall pick after missing the playoffs, it appeared that the Blackhawks didn’t have a shot for that top selection when they qualified for the restart.
But the NHL had a wrinkle ready for their lottery on Friday night, and it gives some teams a chance to pick No. 1 in the draft.
The NHL stunned fans and a few teams left out of the running for the return to play tournament by announcing that the No. 1 pick would come from the teams that lose in the first round of the Stanley Cup qualifier.
So that would potentially include the Blackhawks – who are one of 16 teams that are playing a five-game first round series to qualify for the traditional Stanley Cup Playoffs. The eight teams that are eliminated would each have a 12.5% chance to get the top overall selection in a second draft lottery that will be held after the elimination round.
The Blackhawks have only picked in that spot once in their long history – selecting All-Star forward Patrick Kane in 2007. Of course, for them to have a shot at the pick, they’d have to lose to the Oilers in their preliminary five-game series.
A new date for the NHL Draft, which was originally scheduled for June, has yet to be determined.
At least fans of the Blackhawks know that if things don’t go well once the tournament begins, at least they’ll be something to hope for as a bizarre 2019-2020 season continues.