ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Blues are in a bit of a fluid situation with their first-round draft picks heading into their season finale against the Dallas Stars.

The Blues fell short of playoff contention for just the second time in the last 12 years this season. The season ends Thursday with the road end of a back-to-back games against the Dallas Stars.

With every NHL playoff spot now clinched as of Wednesday night, the game might be viewed as essentially meaningless to some. However, there are a lot of scenarios in play that could determine the Blues’ first-round fate for drafting this summer.

The Blues currently hold the 11th-best lottery odds for this year’s No. 1 overall pick, which hockey experts believe on a near-unanimous consensus will be Canadian junior league star Connor Bedard. Heading into Thursday, they have just a 3% chance to be selected for the draft’s first pick, a fortune that they haven’t had since 2006.

A loss Thursday could improve the Blues’ lottery odds for the first overall pick, possibly as low as the eighth-best odds depending on where others around them finish. The Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings and Vancouver Canucks could all move behind the Blues in odds if they win their season finales Thursday and the Blues do not.

The Blues could also qualify for a second-overall pick selection, according to hockey oddsmakers at But if neither falls in their favor, they won’t be able to qualify for anything earlier than where they finish in the overall standings. For instance, if the Blues finish with the league’s 11th-worst record and don’t receive a Top-2 pick, they won’t be able to draft any earlier than 11th overall selection.

The Blues draft odds consist of the following, depending on their finish…

  • 8th place: 6% odds at No. 1 pick, 6.4% odds at No. 2 pick, 54% odds at No. 8 pick
  • 9th place: 5% odds at No. 1 pick, 5.4% odds at No. 2 pick, 64.4% odds at No. 9 pick
  • 10th place: 3.5% odds at No. 1 pick, 3.8% odds at No. 2 pick, 73.3% odds at No. 10 pick
  • 11th place: 3% odds at No. 1 pick, 3.3% odds at No. 2 pick, 79.9% odds at No. 11 pick

While a loss might set up the Blues better in trying to attain a high first-round pick, it could be counterproductive. For one, the concept of openly “tanking” for a better pick or odds is not really embraced or accepted in professional sports settings, and St. Louis has been adamant on keeping the team competitive to the final buzzer of the season, even in losses.

Of more importance, a loss Thursday to the Dallas Stars could push one of the Blues’ three first-round picks back even further on the draft board.

When the Blues dealt longtime star Vladimir Tarasenko to the New York Rangers in February, it came with a conditional first-round pick. The Blues will end up acquiring one of two picks in the Rangers’ control, either their first-rounder or the Stars’ first-rounder for 2023.

According to, the Blues will acquire whichever pick falls later in the draft between the original New York Rangers and Dallas Stars selection spot. These selections are based solely on overall finish aside from the Stanley Cup Final opponents.

If the Blues lose to the Stars on Thursday, that could set them up to win the Central Division and push back the conditional pick to the late 20s. In other scenarios, the Blues will likely be drafting in the early-to-mid 20s given the Rangers and Stars comfortably clinched playoff spots this year.

The Blues will also have the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first-round pick as part of the Ryan O’Reilly deal, though that will also fall somewhere in the mid-to-late 20s.

The Blues’ first-round pick won’t be determined until a lottery selection process in the offseason. Their other two first-round picks are up to their final head-to-head opponent in the Stars, and to some degree the Rangers and Maple Leafs, in their final games of the regular season Thursday.

The Blues enter Thursday with a 37-37-7 record with 81 points, on pace for one of their worst finishes in the post-lockout era.