No team is ever 100 percent in the NHL draft, but looking at what the Chicago Blackhawks missed out on is interesting, given the team’s present situation
If you wind up drafting a bunch of uber-successful players in today’s NHL, there’s no doubt you won’t be able to keep them all forever. The salary cap era has made sure of that. But it still makes you wonder about misses involving the Chicago Blackhawks.
In 2006, they drafted Jonathan Toews, who became the greatest captain in team history. In 2007, they chose Patrick Kane, arguably the most clutch athlete in the organization’s time. Then, there was 2008.
In that year, the Blackhawks drafted Kyle Beach with their first-round pick. Beach became the leading face for more recent Blackhawks draft busts, and is presently in the Austrian Hockey League. He was taken with the 11th overall choice.
Four picks later, the Ottawa Senators took Erik Karlsson. Well then.
There was a reason I mentioned the salary cap era before discussing Beach. If the Blackhawks had decided to choose Karlsson, there’s no guarantee they could have kept him this long in addition to other familiar faces. The money could’ve been unworkable. Of course, if Karlsson was around, the Brent Seabrook deal is less likely on the table. So …
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Anyway, let’s hop ahead to 2009. Surely the Blackhawks couldn’t have experienced a similar in-hindsight near-miss. They drafted Dylan Olsen with the 28th overall pick. Going at No. 33 was Ryan O’Reilly.
OK, so you’re telling me the Blackhawks, at one point, could’ve had Toews, Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Karlsson and O’Reilly, if the latter two had developed similar to the way they did in reality? That’s … jarring.
On to 2010. The Blackhawks selected Kevin Hayes at No. 24 overall. And while not a bad pick, he’d go on to spurn the team’s signing advances. Two selections later came Evgeny Kuznetsov, whom the Blackhawks have been coveting at least the last year.
I don’t say this to direct insult to the Blackhawks organization. If they had somehow drafted those three guys in successive years, and all three had advanced to the NHL in real-world order, the Blackhawks would’ve been in an even more insane salary cap pickle than any they’ve faced over the last several years.
Instead, this is more an ode to how important it is to be solid on your scouting on draft day. This will be discussed more in a later-day post, and it’s critical if the Blackhawks wish to get back to the promised land sooner rather than later.
Chicago Blackhawks morning links
— This is positive news on the blue line. Scott Powers
— Yeah, he’d be a nice addition to the roster. Chicago Sun-Times
— That’s usually how that works. Detroit Free Press
— The Blackhawks still wouldn’t make it this year. The Athletic
— We can only hope Tracey talks about St. Bonaventure basketball. Chicago Sun-Times