Well, it’s official — the NHL Entry Draft is coming to the Windy City for the first time.
On Thursday, the league announced that Chicago and the United Center would play hosts to the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, marking the first time in league history the ‘Hawks organization has hosted the event.
“The energy and passion Chicago has for the Blackhawks makes United Center the ideal setting for the 2017 NHL Draft,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “The Draft will be one of the central moments of our Centennial, and the NHL family is looking forward to bringing this signature event to Chicago for the first time.”
Though it’s still far off — heck, the 2016 draft, which will be held in Buffalo this June, hasn’t even happened yet — the ’17 draft already has a few key names attached to it.
Chief among them is WHL Brandon forward Nolan Patrick, the son of ex-NHLer Steve Patrick.
Nolan, 17, scored 56 points in 55 games for the Wheat Kings in his first full campaign, capturing the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s rookie of the year.
He’s expected to be one of the top players selected in ’17, as is Timothy Liljegren, a defenseman currently plying his trade with Rogle in the Swedish Hockey League.