CHICAGO - The NHL Draft Lottery turned into a blessing for the Dallas Stars.
On that night the Stars jumped from No. 8 to No. 3 in the draft and it opened a world of opportunities. Instead of picking in their second tier of top prospects, the Stars were now in a position to get the best player available after expected top picks Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier.
But the way things are shaking out, the Stars may actually have a chance to draft one of those centers on Friday night here in Chicago.
Reports have surfaced that the New Jersey Devils are interested in taking a defender with the No. 1 pick. That could mean after months of Nico vs. Nolan debate, the actual No. 1 selection would be defenseman Miro Heiskanen or Cale Makar.
“I’m not really paying any attention to that,” Patrick said on Thursday. “I’m comfortable going to whatever team drafts me. I don’t think you can worry too much right now.”
“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Hischier said. “I’m just excited about it.”
The Stars, in theory, could also pass on one of the centers if they fall past the first two picks. Jim Nill told WFAA in an exclusive interview that there are four players he’d be happy with the Stars taking at No. 3, and he’s guaranteed at least two of them will be available if he doesn’t trade the pick.
It brings us back to the moral of the story -- the Stars have a stacked deck heading into Friday’s draft (which starts at 7 p.m.) and a bevy of options that should yield an elite talent at No. 3.
“We are talking about getting one of the top players on your board,” Stars director of amatuer scouting Joe McDonnel said. “You don’t like picking in this spot because of what it means, but we are happy to take advantage of it.”
Follow Sean Shapiro on Twitter @SeanShapiro.
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