NASHVILLE — The NHL Awards ceremony held inside Bridgestone Arena on Monday night served up a casual country, chummy comedic vibe.
Expect things to be more businesslike when the NHL entry draft takes over the home arena of the Nashville Predators for two tense decision-filled days.
The draft consists of seven rounds, with the opening round taking place Wednesday night. Rounds 2 to 7, covering all 224 player selections, is held Thursday.
The Chicago Blackhawks will make the first overall pick just after 7 p.m. ET Wednesday and are expected to grab teen phenom Connor Bedard of North Vancouver, B.C., who played for the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats this season where he had 71 goals and 72 assists in 57 regular-season games.
The Anaheim Ducks select second, followed by the Columbus Blue Jackets, San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens.
The Vancouver Canucks will have the 11th pick, followed by the Calgary Flames at 16th, Winnipeg Jets 18th and the Toronto Maple Leafs 28th. Round 1 ends after 32 players are selected.
Players expected to be drafted early include centre Adam Fantilli of the University of Michigan, centre Leo Carlsson of the Swedish Hockey League, forward Samuel Honzek of the Vancouver Giants, forwards Will Smith and Ryan Leonard of the U.S. National Team Development Program, forward Matvei Michkov of St. Petersburg in the KHL, and Nanaimo, B.C. product Matthew Wood of the UConn men’s hockey team.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2023.
The Canadian Press