ST. LOUIS – If you play Powerball frequently, you might have encountered a situation similar to what the St. Louis Blues experienced Monday as part of the 2023 NHL Draft process.

Picture a scenario in which you match several early numbers and need just one more to go your way for the big prize. Unfortunately, the final ball is not the number you needed. You might still get a prize, but it’s quite a bit smaller than you expected.

The Blues needed to match four numbers in the NHL Draft lottery to win the first pick of this year’s draft, one expected to be used on 17-year-old Canadian prospect Connor Bedard, considered a generational talent by many NHL scouts.

After the NHL regular season ended, the league assigned teams to various lottery numbers and chances based on their finish in the standings. The Blues, missing playoffs for just the second time in 12 years, but finishing better than many non-playoff teams, only had around a 3.5% chance at winning the first overall pick.

The process to determine that was held Monday on an ESPN program. With 11 teams known to be in the running and the rules clear, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman introduced lottery technician Martin Gorbachik to draw numbers.

Bettman then asked NHL VP of events Thomas Meaney to look at the wall, turn his back to the machine and call for Gorbachik to draw a number every 20 seconds. When Meaney called, “Draw,” the No. 5 came out first. No. 13 followed, then No. 4.

Only a few seconds passed between the third and fourth balls coming out of the machine. At that moment, several teams still had a shot at the No. 1 pick, including the Blues.

The last number drawn was 9. Bettman turned to Clarke, who read from the list of combinations. Based on the four drawn number (5, 13, 4, 9), the Chicago Blackhawks won the race.

This gives the Chicago Blackhawks the No. 1 pick of the 2023 NHL Draft and likely guarantee that Bedard lands with the Blackhawks, barring a trade or unforeseen circumstance. If the Blackhawks indeed select Bedard, as expeted, he could be a division rival to the Blues for many years to come.

The Blues, like the Blackhawks, had matched the first three numbers of the draft. Just how close were they to unlikely landing the first overall pick?

Chicago needed a No. 9 ball. St. Louis needed a No. 8 ball. Essentially, this means the Blues lost at their best chance to land Connor Bedard by the difference of one number on the last ball. A gut-punch.

The lottery process was continued for the first 16 picks of the NHL Draft to assign spots to non-playoff teams. The Blues landed No. 10 as their first overall pick, right where they would have if the draft was based on record alone, and not a lottery process.

The No. 10 overall selection will be the Blues’ highest since 2008. St. Louis will also have the benefit of first-round draft picks from the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars, picks acquired as part of the Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko trades this season. Those spots are still to be determined based on the playoff fates of Toronto and Dallas.

It’s possible the Blues could leverage their three first-rounders to try and move up in the first round, though many of the teams ahead of them are in need of a larger rebuild. Canadian forward Adam Fantilli, Sweden’s Leo Carlsson and Russia’s Matvei Michkov are among the top prospects projected to be drafted within the Top 5 picks.

The NHL Draft will take place over two days from June 28-29, shortly following the end of the 2022-23 season and Stanley Cup playoffs.