The National Hockey League Draft Lottery will be held on Friday. Six clubs know they are currently in contention for the first overall selection. Under the rules for this year’s one-of-a-kind circumstances, several other teams could win one of the top three picks, which would be a tremendous consolation prize for being eliminated from a Stanley Cup Qualifiers series later this summer.
The first seven selections of the 2020 Draft will not include any current Waterloo players, but all of the teams with the best chances to own those slots have picked a Black Hawk at some point in the past. They will also have the earliest picks in the subsequent rounds and could come looking for a Waterloo player again at some point. NHL Central Scouting has identified Wyatt Schingoethe, Ryder Rolston, and Gabriel Carriere as the top draft prospects from the 2019/20 Black Hawks roster.
Here are the teams with the best chance to win this year’s Draft Lottery, with details about their prior Waterloo picks and connections:
Detroit Red Wings (#1 Pick Odds – 18.5%)
Black Hawks Picks: 1…Tom Bissett, 1986
The Wings are due to pick a Waterloo player after more than three decades without a Hawks selection. Tom Bissett was a scoring star in the mid-1980s. During the winter of 1984/85, he finished second in the league with a Waterloo single-season record of 103 points. Detroit drafted Bissett following a successful freshman season at Michigan Tech. Shortly after graduating, he had a brief stint with the Wings during the 1990/91 season. Bissett is one of 16 Black Hawks to later make his NHL debut with the same team that drafted him.
Ottawa Senators (#1 Pick Odds – 13.5% + 11.5%)
Black Hawks Picks: 1…Shane Bowers, 2017
Ottawa has the chance to win two lottery picks: their own, plus another acquired from the San Jose Sharks. Just three years ago, the Senators made Shane Bowers one of just three first round selections in Waterloo history. Since then, Ottawa traded Bowers to the Colorado Avalanche, where he signed last summer. In 2019/20, Bowers played for the Avalance’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Colorado Eagles. Former Hawk John Gruden also had ties to Ottawa, where he skated during the winter of 1999/2000.
Los Angeles Kings (#1 Pick Odds – 9.5%)
Black Hawks Picks: 4…David Meckler, 2005; Josh Turnbull, 2007; Nick Ebert, 2012; Mikey Anderson, 2017
Few teams have drafted more Black Hawks than Los Angeles. In February, Mikey Anderson became that first member of the group to make his NHL debut with the club. However, two other former Waterloo players have started their careers with the Kings. Jason Blake was undrafted and signed with L.A. following his college career at North Dakota. He later became the first Hawks alum to earn NHL All-Star honors. Cal Petersen was originally drafted by the Buffalo Sabres, but signed with L.A. in 2017. Just over a year later, he became the first Waterloo goalie to appear in a regular season NHL game.
Anaheim Ducks (#1 Pick Odds – 8.5%)
Black Hawks Picks: 3…Nick Pryor, 2008; Brandon Montour, 2014; Garrett Metcalf, 2015
More Waterloo players have taken the ice for the Ducks than have been chosen by the club, and the numbers in both categories are noteworthy. Blake was the first to play there when Anaheim acquired him in a midseason trade from Toronto in 2010. J.T. Brown and Justin Kloos also had brief stints with the Ducks after playing their first NHL games elsewhere. Meanwhile, Brandon Montour was both drafted and developed by Anaheim in the wake of winning the USHL’s Player of the Year award in 2014. Montour was traded to the Buffalo Sabres in 2019.
New Jersey Devils (#1 Pick Odds – 7.5%)
Black Hawks Picks: 1…Scott Swanjord, 1994
Like Detroit, the last time the Devils picked a Black Hawks player, none of Waterloo’s current skaters had been born. For that member, only 10 members of the current New Jersey roster were alive prior to that year’s draft.
Buffalo Sabres (#1 Pick Odds – 6.5%)
Black Hawks Picks: 2…Drew MacKenzie, 2007; Cal Petersen, 2013
The Sabres ran out of time to sign Petersen after he completed his college tenure at Notre Dame. Although it didn’t work out, Buffalo brought over one of Petersen’s Waterloo teammates via the trade for Montour. If the Sabres are able to work out a long term deal with the offensively-capable defenseman this summer, there’s a chance Montour could still be there when a 2020 Buffalo pick from the Black Hawks is ready to join the team. Montour is a restricted free agent this offseason. He and Derek Whitmore are the two Waterloo alumni who have skated for the Sabres.
Where Are They Now features are presented by Karen’s Print Rite.
Photo of Mikey Anderson courtesy of the Los Angeles Kings.