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S18 - Whalers Win the Lottery (®)

2021-07-07

Point blank, this season sucked for the Hartford Whalers.  With an offseason the club deemed as a success, the Whalers started the season winning nine of their first ten games.  With such a streak, things seemed to be on track for the Whalers to at least be a playoff team, but of course the goal was so much greater than that.  Unfortunately an ill-timed injury to Brent Burns seemed to be the start of a downward slide that saw the club go from the top of the division to the bottom.  With a trade deadline that saw them boost their prospects pool, while still attempting to crawl back into the playoffs deemed unfruitful, the Whalers ultimately were left on the outside looking in as the league's third worst club.

With so much going wrong, there would be one thing that would go right.  One thing that could change the direction of the franchise.  One rare win on the season.  The Hartford Whalers won the draft lottery.

With a dismal season resulting in the first overall pick, the Whalers are, for all intensive purposes, on the clock.  With a draft that features a lot of upper class defenseman, there is one forward that rises above all else in the draft class, Steven Stamkos.  

Already a star in the VJHL with the Red Deer Rebels, Stamkos was a man amongst the boys, scoring seventy-eight points in seventy-eight games.  His average of one point for every twenty minutes played puts him amongst the elite of all players currently in the VJHL.  Looking ahead Stamkos projects to be a top line center that will drive the play and score a lot of goals. Bottom line, Stamkos is an elite forward at the age of seventeen and will continue to develop into an elite center when he ultimately matures into the VHL.

“There were a lot of questions on whether we would even look to make our pick if we fell outside the top three, we had some serious discussions about moving the pick out.  While we never engaged a lot with other teams prior to the lottery, things changed afterwards.

There will be no mystery at the top of the draft. We will be taking (Steven) Stamkos come draft day.  No point in anyone else scouting him, no point asking us about any draft day trades for that pick.  We are locked in with him, he is going first overall.”

While there may not be a lot of intrigue with how the draft will start, Whaler fans can start celebrating their future.  With the Canadiens and Senators able to pick up top line forwards in the past few drafts, the Whalers now have a centerpiece forward of their own as well.

“Whaler fans, get excited.  Steven Stamkos will be a Hartford Whaler.”

 

WC: 468