Thursday night’s outstanding playoff hockey slate gave us four potential elimination games. Only one team was knocked out, which is awesome for fans because we get three Game 7s on Saturday. Get your popcorn ready!
However, that one elimination has direct implications on the immediate future of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Earlier this week, after the Hawks failed to win the Draft Lottery, we outlined the picks Chicago owns in the 2022 NHL Draft. There are two picks that include playoff performance-based caveats, and one of those was answered last night.
Chicago’s second-round pick (No. 38 overall)
Minnesota’s second-round pick*
The Blackhawks got the pick from Minnesota in the deal that sent goaltender Marc-André Fleury to the Wild. This pick also has a caveat attached: if Minnesota advances to the Western Conference Final (wins two rounds) and Fleury wins four games in the first two rounds, this pick becomes Minnesota’s first rounder. So… go Wild!
Well, not only was Fleury replaced in net by Cam Talbot last night by the Wild, but Minnesota’s golf season started early as they were eliminated by the Blues.
The other pick with playoff performance hanging in the balance is dependent on the Edmonton Oilers making a deep run in the playoffs and Duncan Keith playing an important role. We’ll see if they can get out of Round One on home ice on Saturday night.
Edmonton’s third-round pick*
Like the Minnesota pick in the second, this pick has an option to improve. Chicago acquired the pick (with defenseman Caleb Jones) from the Oilers in the deal that sent Duncan Keith to Edmonton last summer. If the Oilers advance to the Stanley Cup Final and Keith is among their top-four defensemen in ice time over the first three rounds, this pick moves up to the second round.