In any other draft, Adam Fantilli would be a no-brainer as the first overall pick. It’s clear he has the dream skill set that every number-one pick possesses.
Unfortunately for him, however, he wound up in the same entry class as Connor Bedard. Bedard, the consensus first-overall pick projection in this year’s draft, is expected to be the face of his entire generation of skaters. The Blackhawks, clearly in the midst of a total rebuild, are doing everything in their power to increase their odds of winning the #1 pick in this year’s draft lottery. Getting the pick and using it on Bedard would change the outlook of the franchise for a decade at the minimum.
With the rules of the draft lottery changing again in the past few years, however, the Blackhawks can’t exactly count on bringing Bedard to Chicago. As it stands today, they sit third in the lottery standings, behind the Blue Jackets and Sharks and just ahead of the Ducks. Thus, if the season ended today, they would have an 11.5% chance at the first pick. They have the exact same chances to be drawn for the second overall pick. That pick would undoubtedly be used on Fantilli.
Who is Adam Fantilli?
The 18-year-old Canadian center has the skills of a first-overall pick and franchise-altering player. With good size and speed, he has everything a general manager like Kyle Davidson could want. He tallied 61 points in 33 games so far this season, which makes him easily the highest points-per-game scorer in the NCAA. Add in the factor that he’s three or four years younger than most of the other leaders, and you’ve got a generational talent.
Fantilli’s biggest strength is clearly his ability to move around the ice. At 6’2” and almost 200 pounds, he uses his high motor well and is one of the best skaters in recent memory (perhaps even better than Bedard). He has a good shot, maybe not quite on the same level as that of Bedard, and a high IQ. It seems that his only insufficiency is on the defensive end, and even there he’s not terrible.
More Than A Consolation Prize
With the Blackhawks on a recent upswing, getting a few wins under their belt, the team can’t exactly count on landing Bedard with the first overall pick. Many teams at that point may consider the second pick merely a consolation. However, Fantilli will prove to be more than just a silver medal. It wouldn’t be shocking to fast forward ten years and see Bedard and Fantilli still battling in a rivalry to be the league’s best player.
The Blackhawks have just as good of a chance as any other team to be drawn for the second overall pick. While those results would mean being passed for Connor Bedard, Chicago would have to be thrilled with still getting a generational talent in Fantilli. Conveniently enough, that generational talent comes at the position they need most and would have the unique opportunity to come in and lead a young team right away.