The Blues will have the No. 10 pick in the upcoming NHL draft, as their position did not change in Monday night’s draft lottery.
Chicago will pick firstoverall, while Anaheim will select second in the draft on June 28 in Nashville. Columbus dropped to the No. 3 pick.
The Blues entered the night with a 73.3% chance of retaining their spot at No. 10. It had just a 3.5% chance of moving up to No. 1, a 3.7% chance of receiving No. 2 and a 0.1% chance of getting No. 3. There was a 19.4% chance that the Blues would fall to No. 11 or No. 12.
The lottery determined the slot of the Blues’ own first-round pick, but the team still owns two more selections in the first round: the Stars’ as part of the Vladimir Tarasenko trade and the Maple Leafs’ as part of the Ryan O’Reilly deal. The results of Dallas and Toronto’s postseasons will determine when the Blues will pick later in the first round.
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The best-case scenario for the Blues is for Seattle, Florida and Edmonton to win their second-round series, leaving Dallas at No. 23 and Toronto at No. 24. If Dallas and Toronto advance to the Stanley Cup Final, the Blues will have the last two picks (No. 31 and No. 32) in the first round.
Despite not winning the lottery on Monday night, the Blues still will have their highest draft pick since 2008, when they took Alex Pietrangelo at No. 4.
The Blackhawks won the right to select Connor Bedard, the unanimous top prospect in this draft and widely regarded as the best draft-eligible player since Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby. Bedard led the Western Hockey League with 143 points in 57 games, which was 36 more points than the next-closest player. He also won a gold medal with Team Canada at the World Junior Tournament.
The Blues will see a lot of Bedard in the years to come as the Blackhawks transition from the Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews era into the Bedard one. The Blues could get its first look at Bedard in this summer’s prospect tournament with Minnesota and Chicago.
This summer’s draft could be an inflection point in the Blues’ retooling or rebuilding — or retrenching, as general manager Doug Armstrong has previously called it. They enter the draft with three first-round picks, plus an extra one in the third round. Their second-rounder was sent to Detroit as part of the Nick Leddy trade.
The Blues haven’t made three picks in the first round since 2007, when they selected Lars Eller, Ian Cole and David Perron. In years when the Blues have had multiple first-round picks, they never have selected as high as they will in June. Armstrong will have both the quality and quantity of picks in the first round to replenish the Blues’ system with highly-skilled players for the future.
Armstrong instead could also opt for a quicker turnaround for the Blues, who missed the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18 by going 37-38-7. While he said at the end of the season the Blues would most likely be using their own selection in the top 10, the pair of late first-round picks could be used as capital to try and improve their current roster.
As Armstrong did in acquiring Brayden Schenn from Philadelphia, he could use an excess first-rounder to land an impact roster player. That time, one first-rounder was the Blues’ own in 2018 and the other was a 2017 first acquired from Washington in the Kevin Shattenkirk deal.
The Blues could try to move up in the draft with their excess first rounders. They could try to dump a bloated salary by sweetening the pot with a first-rounder. With three picks worth of draft capital, the options are there for Armstrong.
But thanks to the lottery results on Monday night, Bedard won’t be available for the Blues this summer.