The Chicago Blackhawks are set to pick No. 26 overall in the first round of the 2017 NHL draft, which will be hosted at the United Center in Chicago. This is the first time that the Blackhawks have their own first-round pick since 2014 as a result of midseason trades.
The NHL draft order each year is determined by a combination of regular season results, postseason results, and the lottery. The New Jersey Devils are picking No. 1 overall this year after winning the lottery despite having just the fifth-best odds of any team.
The Blackhawks will be picking No. 26 because they won the Central Division, but failed to reach the conference finals in the playoffs. Teams that were eliminated in the first two rounds and failed to win their division get to pick ahead of division winners that were knocked out early.
So the Blues will be picking No. 20 despite advancing further in the playoffs because they were a wild card team that didn’t reach the conference finals. The Wild also pick ahead of the Hawks at No. 23, although their selection is now owned by the Coyotes as a result of the Martin Hanzal trade.
The only division winner to get knocked out before the conference finals with more regular season points than the Hawks was the Capitals, so they’re picking No. 27 overall (with the Blues receiving that selection from a past trade). We hit an odd number there because of the inclusion of the Vegas Golden Knights, who are picking No. 6.
Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman is used to drafting in the bottom half of the first round, if at all. He’s never picked higher than No. 18 since taking over the front office in 2009. Since drafting Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews with back-to-back top-three picks in 2006-07, the team hasn’t had a top-10 pick.
But it at least has its first-rounder this year, along with nine other picks that make this draft a sizable opportunity for the Hawks to replenish their farm system. And between the draft being held in Chicago and this being the Hawks’ highest selection in three years, there will be extra attention on what Bowman does during draft weekend.
Still, for now, we know that the Blackhawks will be picking No. 26 overall in the first round and No. 57 overall in the second round. The final four spots in the first round will be determined by the remaining results of the playoffs.