Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: Redrafting Last 10 First Picks

By Colin Likas
Apr 2, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) during the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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Apr 9, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) skates with the puck during the second period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports /

2008

Drafted: LW Kyle Beach (1st round, 9th overall)

Redraft: D Erik Karlsson (1st round, 15th overall, Ottawa Senators)

Boy oh boy oh boy. After two really awesome first-round selections, Tallon made this doozy of a pick in 2008. Beach is currently playing in Austria and saw all of zero games’ worth of action in Chicago. That should cover how bad of a pick this was.

Meanwhile, six selections later, the Senators were busy drafting their franchise cornerstone and a consistent Norris Trophy candidate. Sure, keeping Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Karlsson under contract at the same time for more than a few seasons would’ve been impossible, but can you imagine a defense built around those four? It’d be near unstoppable.

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This redraft actually could’ve changed a lot of things as we see them now. If the Blackhawks were able to hang on to Keith, Seabrook and Karlsson after the 2010 Cup win, perhaps Bowman lets Hjalmarsson go to the San Jose Sharks on that offer sheet, thus keeping Antti Niemi around, thus delaying the full-time debut of Corey Crawford … oi.

Karlsson is unfortunately wasting some of his best years with a team that has no direction and can’t seem to build anything good around him. If Tallon had found a way to take Karlsson with 2008’s ninth overall pick, the Blackhawks’ outlook after the 2009-10 season could’ve been radically different. Assuming Joel Quenneville didn’t bench Karlsson for a turnover and destroy his confidence in Year 1.

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Mar 16, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner (40) during the game against the Montreal Canadiens at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports /

2009

Drafted: D Dylan Olsen (1st round, 28th overall)

Redraft: G Robin Lehner (2nd round, 46th overall)

I know I said picking Subban over Beach in 2008 was a stretch because Subban went in the second round, and now I’m grabbing Lehner out of the second round in 2009. But consider that the Blackhawks’ first overall pick in 2009 was third-to-last. So jumping into the second round isn’t any sort of stretch here.

Ryan O’Reilly could’ve been a possibility (2nd round, 33rd overall) who may’ve answered the Blackhawks’ No. 2 center issue far sooner than Artem Anisimov‘s addition addressed it, but I like the Lehner pick. The Blackhawks’ goaltending depth, as of now, hardly exists. But the team was looking at Nikolai Khabibulin, Niemi, Cristobal Huet and Crawford as the top four in 2009. That probably sounded totally fine.

Of course, Khabibulin and Huet were on the back ends of their careers, while Niemi and Crawford were untested at the top level. So why not bulk up the goaltending ranks and go with Lehner, if you aren’t taking Olsen? Lehner is just 24 years old now and would’ve had plenty of time to develop in the AHL before backing up Crow for some time, as Scott Darling is doing now, before taking over the spot once Crow is gone.

But the Blackhawks didn’t do that, thinking their goaltending situation was in good hands. They instead went with Olsen, who showed some promise but really slow feet in short stints with the Blackhawks. He was ultimately traded to Florida in the deal that brought Kris Versteeg back to Chicago in 2013.

Next: 2010 And 2011 Drafts

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