Struggling Ducks land No. 3 pick in upcoming NHL draft

Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique, center, celebrates his goal with left wing Max Jones.

The Ducks will have a top-three pick in the NHL entry draft for the third time in four seasons. The San José Sharks will go first in next month’s draft for the first time in team history, followed by the Chicago Blackhawks.

Boston University forward Macklin Celebrini is widely expected to be the top player selected. Celebrini, a 17-year-old freshman, won the Hobey Baker Award this year, making him the youngest player to be selected college hockey’s top player. No reigning Baker Award winner has been picked first in the NHL draft.

The Ducks (27-50-5) had the third-worst record in the NHL this season and were one of 11 teams that had a chance to secure the No. 1 overall pick in Tuesday’s draft lottery. The team has missed the playoffs in each of the last six seasons, the longest postseason drought in franchise history.

“While its disappointing to not win a lottery, we remain in a position to draft one of the best players available and add to our young, strong core of top young players already in the NHL,” Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek said in a statement.

The Ducks have never had the top pick in hockey’s annual draft but last summer they chose second, using that selection on forward Leo Carlsson. The Swedish teen had a solid rookie season, scoring 12 times with 17 assists in 55 games.

The Ducks also had the second pick in 2005 and 1994, using those selections on Bobby Ryan and Oleg Tverdovsky, and the third pick in 2021. That year they drafted Mason McTavish, 21, who had 19 goals and 23 assists in 64 games this season. The Ducks opened last season with the fourth-youngest roster in the NHL, with their players averaging 26.7 years of age.

Read more: Ducks goalies coach Sudarshan Maharaj is cancer-free, a year after given low chance of survival

After Celebrini, the most promising players in a deep draft class are a pair of offense-minded teenaged defensemen in Artyom Levshunov, 18, a Belarussian playing at Michigan State, and Zayne Parekh, 18, who had 96 points in 66 games for Saginaw in the Ontario Hockey League.

This summer’s seven-round draft is scheduled for June 28-29 at the Sphere music and entertainment arena in Las Vegas.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.