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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Dec 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger (16) with the puck during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger (16) with the puck during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

Marcus Kruger

Selected: 149th overall, 2009 draft

Instead, Blackhawks select: C Anders Lee (152nd overall, New York Islanders)

Kruger needs to be considered part of the Blackhawks’ core by now. The defensive center to end them all (besides maybe Sean Couturier), Kruger has been a key piece in two of Chicago’s Stanley Cup wins.

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There aren’t a lot of phenomenal options to replace the pick of Kruger in 2009. Erik Haula is the only other really good option who was drafted below Kruger, but I went with Lee.

There’s not much to compare here. Lee is a center who has never taken a ton of faceoffs (20 in his NHL career), and while he scores more than Kruger (105 points in 209 regular-season games versus 96 points in 360 games), Lee is just kind of a prototypical bottom-six guy — not good enough to be a top-six guy, and just fills a roster space.

Kruger is a fine faceoff guy, but his real value comes in taking the toughest zone assignments and flipping the ice. We saw this in full display during the 2015 postseason, when Kruger, Andrew Desjardins and Andrew Shaw crushed the competition from Anaheim and Tampa Bay again and again.

Next: Chicago Blackhawks Milestones Upcoming

So that’s our Blackhawks core redraft. Doesn’t it make you glad the Blackhawks brass didn’t screw up these picks? Consider it an early holiday gift.

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