While there is plenty of hype surrounding the Blackhawks’ 1st round pick, there are also plenty of intriguing options to consider in the 2nd round.
The Blackhawks will have the opportunity to draft a potential game-changer with the #3 pick in the draft that could possibly step into the lineup next season. With that being said, the Blackhawks also have a high second round pick with a chance to pick up another solid prospect.
Stan Bowman and Mark Kelley have done an excellent job finding talent in the second round for the Blackhawks. Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, and Dave Bolland were all 2nd round picks, so there is plenty of optimism for them to find a special talent in the 2nd round this year.
With the 43rd pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Chicago Blackhawks select…
1. Alex Vlasic (USNTDP) – Defenseman
Hockey runs through the bloodlines in the Vlasic family. Alex Vlasic’s first cousin is San Jose Sharks star defenseman, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who has had a great career so far in San Jose.
Alex will look to take the same route as cousin Marc-Edouard and try to be a solid shutdown defenseman. Alex may even have a higher ceiling than his cousin.
Alex Vlasic currently stands at 6’6″ 198 lbs and is known as more of a “defensive” defenseman. This is something Blackhawks fans will surely love to hear. Vlasic had 42 points in 88 games for the USNTDP this year.
Vlasic is also from Wilmette, Illinois so adding a hometown boy would surely be a good bet for the Blackhawks. He is committed to Boston University next season where he will play with current Blackhawks prospect, Jake Wise.
Due to Vlasic’s size and bloodline, he has the potential to be a solid 2nd pairing defenseman who can be used effectively in a shutdown role for the Blackhawks.
2. Jamieson Rees (OHL) – Center
Jamieson Rees brings everything you want in a hockey player. He’s got grit, skill, speed, and a special scoring touch.
Jamieson Rees played in the OHL this year for the Sarnia Sting. His numbers there were average as he had 32 points in 37 games. It was his play at the U18 tournament with Canada that turned heads.
Rees was one of Canada’s best players, as he registered 8 points in 7 games for Canada. He was also used in all situations which boosts his value even more. Rees can be used effectively wherever the coach puts him including power play, penalty kill, 4-on-4, and etc.
The one downside with Rees is that his grit can sometimes get the best of him. He was suspended 8 games for a blindside hit to the head in an OHL game this year. If he can learn to stay disciplined, he will become a very effective player in the NHL and someone the Blackhawks would love to have.
3. John Beecher (USNTDP) – Center
The USNTDP has a ton of firepower on their roster. John Beecher is a player who gets overlooked and undervalued due to flashy players like Hughes, Turcotte, and Caufield.
Beecher centered the third line, playing in the shadows of both Hughes and Turcotte. Beecher finished the year with 63 points in 90 games for the USNTDP. Beecher will not be a flashy goal scorer in the NHL, but he will be a very valuable 3rd line center who will be leaned on for all situations of a game.
Beecher has NHL size already, as he currently stands at 6’3″ 209 lbs. He is committed to the University of Michigan next season and will look to take the next step in their program.
Beecher is very similar to Winnipeg Jets’ centerman Adam Lowry. Lowry is the Jets’ #3 center and is used very similarly as Beecher was with the USNTDP. To win championships, NHL teams need strong center depth, and Beecher is the kind of center you win with and go to war with. He will do whatever it takes to win and the type of player the Blackhawks can surely use.
4. Yegor Afanasyev (USHL) – Forward
Yegor Afanasyev is a big, strong power forward. He currently stands at 6’4” 201 lbs and just completed his second seasons in the USHL with the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
Afanasyev had a strong season in the USHL recording 62 points in 58 games and just recently had a strong showing at the NHL Draft Combine.
Afanasyev finished first in the aerobic testing (VO2 Max), proving that he has strong endurance and he is capable of logging tough minutes. He also has an incredible shot as you will see in the video below.
Yegor Afanasyev uses his size well, as he is known as a typical power forward who likes to drive to the net and get to the dirty areas to score. He is most likely going in the first round, but if he falls to the 43rd pick, the Blackhawks shouldn’t hesitate to draft the forward.
If the Blackhawks end up with Alex Turcotte at #3 and Alex Vlasic at #43, the 2019 NHL Draft should be considered a success.
Drafting Turcotte to be your #1 center of the future, and Vlasic, hoping he can eventually mesh with prospect Adam Boqvist, gives Blackhawks fans hope for the future and something to be excited for.