results of the 2023 NHL draft lottery are in and, big surprise, the Blue Jackets did not win the 1st ov..."/> results of the 2023 NHL draft lottery are in and, big surprise, the Blue Jackets did not win the 1st ov..."/>

Columbus Blue Jackets Picking Up the Pieces from 2023 NHL Draft Lottery

NEW YORK - APRIL 07: The balls are readied for placement in the lottery machine during the 2008 NHL Draft Drawing on April 7, 2008 at the National Hockey League headquarters in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images for the NHL)
NEW YORK - APRIL 07: The balls are readied for placement in the lottery machine during the 2008 NHL Draft Drawing on April 7, 2008 at the National Hockey League headquarters in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images for the NHL) /
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The results of the 2023 NHL draft lottery are in and, big surprise, the Blue Jackets did not win the 1st overall pick. In ten draft lotteries, the ping pong balls have never fallen in favor of the Blue Jackets. While the Blue Jackets did not have the best odds to win the lottery, they had the second best odds overall (13.5% chance) and higher odds than the lottery winner (Chicago – 11.5% chance). The results of the lottery seemed like a punch to the gut after a long and trialing season.

To make matters worse, the snafu that slipped during the NHL Draft Lottery show confused everyone. The way that the show works is that all the teams and their draft positions are revealed via flipping cards up with a specific team logo on it during that draft position. The show begins with pick 16, followed by 15, and so on all the way to the 1st overall pick. The card for the San Jose Sharks was flipped up for the 4th overall selection.

Before announcing the top 3 picks, the show was going to commercial break. Right before the break, Kevin Weekes (the ESPN commentator) let it slip that Columbus had the 3rd overall pick and that Chicago or Anaheim would pick 1st. This was said before any of the cards for the top 3 picks were revealed. This led a frenzy of people to believe that the lottery is rigged in favor of certain teams. While the lottery is not rigged, it was not a good look for the NHL. The league has dealt with controversies of fairness in the past. This mistake did not aid in their quest to show transparency.

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY – JULY 23: Broadcaster Kevin Weekes prepares to work the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft at the NHL Network studios on July 23, 2021 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY – JULY 23: Broadcaster Kevin Weekes prepares to work the first round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft at the NHL Network studios on July 23, 2021 in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

At the end of the day, the Blue Jackets will be picking a really good player. The organization has picked in the top 3 on three separate occasions:

1. 2002: Rick Nash – 1st overall

2. 2012: Ryan Murray – 2nd overall

3. 2016: Pierre-Luc Dubois – 3rd overall.

All three players were very effective for the organization. This year’s draft selection should be no different. The belief is that the organization will select a center due to the lack of center depth in the prospect pool. This year’s draft is deep with center icemen. With Connor Bedard and Adam Fantilli projected to go 1st and 2nd overall, the likely candidates to be taken by the Blue Jackets are Leo Carlsson or Will Smith. Both are projected to be top line centers in the NHL.

BASEL, SWITZERLAND – APRIL 30: Will Smith of United States in action during final of U18 Ice Hockey World Championship match between United States and Sweden at St. Jakob-Park at St. Jakob-Park on April 30, 2023 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jari Pestelacci/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
BASEL, SWITZERLAND – APRIL 30: Will Smith of United States in action during final of U18 Ice Hockey World Championship match between United States and Sweden at St. Jakob-Park at St. Jakob-Park on April 30, 2023 in Basel, Switzerland. (Photo by Jari Pestelacci/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Historically, a plethora of good players have been taken at 3rd overall: Leon Draisaitl, Jonathan Toews, Marian Gaborik, Olli Jokinen, just to name a few. Not to insinuate that Carlsson or Smith will become any of those players. But history has shown that very good (potential hall of fame) players can be drafted at 3rd overall. The pain from the 2023 NHL draft lottery results will linger for some time. But, 5 years from now, the rewards of drafting and developing a talented player will sooth that pain.

Next. How the Blue Jackets Fared in Our Lottery Sims. dark