The Chicago Blackhawks were awarded the first pick in the 2023 NHL Draft following the lottery drawing on Monday night. Here we’re going to go over their options with the first overall pick and who they should take.
Who should Blackhawks select with first pick in 2023 NHL Draft?
Connor Bedard. That’s it. That’s the article. No but really. This is perhaps the easiest No. 1 overall selection since Auston Matthews by the Maple Leafs back in 2016. That’s because like Matthews, and Connor McDavid at No. 1 overall before him, Bedard is a generational talent. He has the potential to be the next great NHL superstar and really there’s no reason for the Blackhawks to think much here.
Bedard turns 18 in July and should be able to make the jump to the NHL right away. He had an insane 71 goals and 72 assists for 143 points for the Regina Pats in the WHL this past season. The Pats were unable to advance far in the WHL playoffs, but Bedard had 20 points in seven games. Bedard projects to be a franchise, first-line center for pretty much his entire career.
Since we’re here already and have some time, we’ll go over the other “option” for Blackhawks at No. 1. Bedard is the pick but going with Michigan center Adam Fantilli probably wouldn’t be that bad an idea either. Fantilli has similar upside as Bedard but is older and has a bit more size. Fantilli is more of your prototypical center in terms of size and ability. He had 30 goals and 35 assists in 36 games for Michigan, winning the Hobey Baker award for most outstanding college hockey player.
The 2023 NHL Draft is likely the closest we’ll get to a McDavid-Eichel situation at 1-2. Both centers. Both generational talents. One from the CHL and the other from the NCAA (though Fantilli is Canadian and not American like Eichel).