It is clear to me that Stan Bowman was looking to restock an already loaded farm system this weekend in Pittsburgh. He choose some highly skilled, young talent that all need some time before they can be considered for a trip to Chicago. Considering Rockford is full of guys who will be challenging for a spot on the NHL roster this is a smart strategy. The Hawks have guys like Ben Smith, Jeremy Morrin, Brandon Saad, Brandon Pirri, Mark McNeill and Kyle Beach waiting in the wings there is no need to draft guys who need to be rushed through they system. With the players StanBo drafted it makes me wonder if there are some trades involving some of these top prospects in the works.
The first round of the draft proved how deep this year’s class of defensemen really was. 8 of the first 10 picks were blue liners, and a total of 13 were selected in the first round. As I wrote on Friday morning, I wanted the Hawks to grab a defenseman. The one player that kept falling was Olli Maatta, the Finnish defenseman from the London Knights of the OHL. He might have been the most complete, all around defenseman in the draft and he was there for taking at 18. When Brandon Saad announced the name Teuvo Teravinen I was a bit taken back and a little upset they didn’t take Maatta. As I researched the newest Blackhawks I started to like the pick more and more. A lot of experts said the Blackhawks got a steal by landing Teravinen and a couple even said he is talented enough to be a top 5 pick. Bowman went for the best player on the board instead of going after a need and may have hit the jackpot. Teravinen is forward who can play as either a center or winger. He is a solid scorer with very good playmaking and fantastic on ice vision. He has excellent hockey sense and is a very good puck handler. Teuvo is very creative and calm with the puck and effective on the powerplay. He is able to play his way out of trouble but needs to gain strength. He will continue to play in Finland next season and is a couple of years away from competing for a NHL spot.
The second day of the draft was a very busy day for the Blackhawks as they selected seven more prospects. The Hawks picked offensive minded defenseman Dillon Fournier from Rouyn-Noranda of the QMJHL. Fournier is an excellent skater. He has good top end speed and quick acceleration. He uses his edges well and makes tight precise turns and pivots. Defensively, his plus-level skating allows him to take additional offensive chances in the QMJHL and still recover defensively. Fournier has had some injury problems including being shutdown last March for a shoulder injury that required surgery.
The Hawks selected winger Chris Calnan in the third round who is the nephew of Blackhawks great Jeremy Roenick. Calnan’s stock rose in the combine as he finished in the top ten in of 14 of the 29 strength and endurance events and finished in the top 5 in 10 of those 14. He has a big 6’2 frame who could fill out nicely. The Hawks traded their 4th round pick to San Jose for an extra 5th round pick this year and a 4th round pick in the 2013 draft. They used those two 5th round picks to draft winger Garrett Ross and defenseman Travis Ross. Local prospect Vincent Hinostroza was drafted by the Hawks in the 6th round. The Blackhawks rounded out their draft by taking a pair of goalies, Brandon Whitney and Matt Tomkins, in the 7th and 8th rounds.
There are no Brandon Saads or Andrew Shaws in this draft class. There is no one that is going to make a fast rise to the pros or make any type of impact in Chicago any time soon. Bowman drafted some projects for the future who have some good skill sets. There is no way to possibly grade this class for at least 2 years. With a deep farm system full of many good prospects this was the smart way to draft this year.