Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks: Redrafting Core Players Since 2002

By Colin Likas
Nov 5, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and goalie Corey Crawford (50) celebrate the win over the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Blackhawks defeat the Stars 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and goalie Corey Crawford (50) celebrate the win over the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Blackhawks defeat the Stars 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 23, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) controls the puck during the game against the San Jose Sharks in the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 23, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) controls the puck during the game against the San Jose Sharks in the second period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

Niklas Hjalmarsson

Selected: 108th overall, 2005 draft

Instead, Blackhawks select: D Anton Stralman (216th overall, Toronto Maple Leafs)

This one is a stretch, because there’s no way the Blackhawks can look into the future and see a seventh-round choice helping a team to a Stanley Cup Final. Of course, Hjalmarsson has helped his team to three Stanley Cups. So not much comparison.

But let’s say the Blackhawks had a feeling on Stralman, who was taken out of Sweden toward the back end of this draft. Well, the Blackhawks would’ve gotten a solid contributor, but not of Hjalmarsson’s stature.

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Stralman is more of an offensive contributor than Hjammer, but not by much. Stralman has also started a majority of his career zone starts in the offensive end. Hjammer, meanwhile, gobbles up defensive-zone starts and puts his body on the line every few minutes (see last night’s game against the Islanders, when Hjammer took a point-blank blast off the arm and didn’t miss a second).

Stralman could’ve been a solid 3/4 D behind Keith and Seabrook. But he wouldn’t have brought Hjalmarsson’s critical defensive defenseman brand of hockey to the table, and the Blackhawks have needed that more and more as time has passed.

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