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Blackhawks to enter 2021 NHL Draft Lottery with 12th-best odds at No. 1 pick

It’s technically 12th place but effectively in 11th place overall. We can explain.

2020 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Taylor Wilder/NHLI via Getty Images

By virtue of Calgary’s win over Vancouver on Wednesday afternoon in the 2021 NHL regular season finale, the Blackhawks will enter the 2021 NHL Draft Lottery with the 12th-best odds at securing the No. 1 overall pick.

Chicago is technically in 12th place. But it’s effectively in 11th place because Arizona forfeit its 2021 first-round pick as part of the punishment for violating the NHL’s combine testing policy last year.

The 2021 NHL Draft Lottery will be held on Wednesday, June 2.

One rule has been changed with this year’s draft lottery: instead of three drawings, there will only be two, which was done to reduce the potential for the worst team in the standings to miss out on the No. 1 overall pick. There will be one lottery drawing for the No. 1 overall pick, a second for the No. 2 overall pick, and then teams 3-16 will occupy the remaining 14 spots out based on their point totals at the end of the season.

Starting with the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery, two other changes will be implemented:

  • Teams are restricted from moving up more than 10 spots
  • Teams cannot win the lottery more than twice in a 5-year period

Those two rules will not be in place this time around, though, so Chicago could still conceivably end up with the No. 1 draft pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. The odds aren’t great, though.

The No. 12 overall pick hasn’t been the best spot for Chicago, historically. Its best selection there was forward Tony Tanti in 1981, who scored 560 points in 697 games — although he played just three in Chicago before being traded to the Canucks for Curt Fraser. The Blackhawks also landed playoff hero Sergei Krivokrasov No. 12 overall in 1992, who had 195 points in 450 NHL games, including 83 in 225 games with Chicago.

The No. 11 overall spot isn’t much better. The two most recent examples are Pavel Vorobiev (2000) — who played just 57 NHL games — and Kyle Beach (2008), who never reached the NHL.

Chicago cashed in during the 2019 lottery, jumping from No. 12 to No. 3, leading to the draft pick that became Kirby Dach.

The NHL Draft is scheduled for July 23 and 24.