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NHL Draft

Rangers, Blackhawks climb order at NHL Draft Lottery

New York at No. 2, Chicago at No. 3 behind Devils at No. 1

by Dave McCarthy / NHL.com Correspondent

Top three Draft Lottery winners

Draft Lottery: Devils win, Rangers and Hawks rise

The Devils earn the top pick for the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver, as the Rangers earn the second selection and the Blackhawks rise to third

  • 01:52 •

TORONTO -- The New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks each made a significant jump at the NHL Draft Lottery on Tuesday and will select No. 2 and No. 3 behind the New Jersey Devils at the 2019 NHL Draft.

The Blackhawks, who finished six points out of a Stanley Cup Playoff berth in the Western Conference, had the 12th-best odds of winning the lottery and an 8.5 percent of moving up nine spots into the top three.

"I'm thrilled. You always hope something like that might happen, you don't know if it ever will, but here we are and it's exciting," Chicago general manager Stan Bowman said. "It was our turn there, and it was the 12th pick, and when they turned over [the card for the Minnesota Wild], I knew we were in the top three. You're hoping for No. 1, but I feel like we won no matter what getting from 12 to 3."

 

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The last time the NHL Draft was held in Vancouver, in 2006, the Blackhawks also picked No. 3 and chose forward Jonathan Toews.

Bowman said this rise makes a big difference in terms of assuring the Blackhawks, who hold five draft picks this year, will be able to add a quality young player to complement forwards Alex DeBrincat, 21, Dylan Strome, 22, Patrick Kane, 30, and Toews, 30.

"It's a different pool of players picking at 3 than it is at 12," Bowman said. "I've seen a lot of the prospects recently this year and I'm very confident we're going to get a special player. Alex had 41 goals in his second year in the League and 28 his first year. Dylan seemed to find his stride when he got to Chicago, the way he finished the last 40 games, he was a point-per-game player for us. The other side of it is, Jonathan and Patrick had their best seasons at the age of 30, which isn't that common, but when you look at those guys, they're special players. That along with getting this pick bodes well for next year."

Video: Bowman reacts to Blackhawks' No. 3 pick

The Rangers, who had the sixth-best odds of winning the lottery, moved up four spots. It is the first time they will pick in the top three since the NHL expanded to 12 teams for the 1967-68 season.

"Very excited about getting the second pick overall, it's going to help the Rangers moving forward," New York general manager Jeff Gorton said. "It's just a good night all around. To think about the Rangers never having had a top three pick in their franchise, that's incredible. The opportunity to get a player of the caliber we're going to get is a great opportunity to move this thing along. My phone is in my back pocket buzzing."

The top two picks are expected to be Jack Hughes of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program under-18 team in the United States Hockey League; and right wing Kaapo Kakko of TPS in Liiga, Finland's top division.

Players possibly worthy of the No. 3 pick are Kirby Dach, a center for Saskatoon of the Western Hockey League; Vasili Podkolzin, a left wing for SKA St. Petersburg 2 in Russia, and Bowen Byram, a defenseman for Vancouver in the WHL.

Gorton was not ready to commit to whom the Rangers would select but said it will help significantly accelerate their rebuild after finishing 20 points from playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. New York has 10 draft picks this year, including possibly four in the first round.

The Rangers own the Winnipeg Jets' first-round selection and could add the Tampa Bay Lightning's if Tampa Bay wins the Stanley Cup, and the Dallas Stars' based on Dallas reaching the third round of the playoffs and the playing time of forward Mats Zuccarello.

"If you look around the League and how some of the successful teams have done it and teams that have won the Cup, there's not much of a secret to their success in terms of where they've taken their players," Gorton said. "It's going to help, there's no question about that. There's a lot to grow through and figure out who's going to be No. 2, or who is even going to be No. 1, but I know from our scouts and having seen some of these players that it's a great draft. It's a deep draft."

Following the lottery, Gorton revealed a good luck charm he carried with him: the badge of New York City Police Department detective Steven McDonald, who passed away in 2017. The Rangers give out the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award in his honor to a player each year.

"We weren't going to show it, but since we made such a big move up, we wanted to share that we had Mr. McDonald's badge with us tonight, which we think brought us a little extra luck," Gorton said.

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