The Chicago Blackhawks have had a rollercoaster of a season, yet still find themselves in a position to draft within the top ten of this year’s draft; as of now.
With the current NHL suspension, it’s still unclear how the rest of the season could play out. With that said, I am unsure of how the draft is going to work out. For the sake of this article, however, I am going to treat it as if the draft was proceeding as normal.
While the Chicago Blackhawks currently rank the 9th worst team in the league, they would still have a chance to move up like last year. Their position could also change if the NHL is able to figure out a way to finish the season.
This years top 10 is one of the deepest we have seen in recent classes. Out of the many draft rankings, aside from the top two-three picks, three-ten to seem to be different from one site to another. This goes to show you the skill you have in this year’s top ten.
Whether the season comes back and the Blackhawks finish within the bottom six or the lottery reward the Blackhawks; a top-six pick would change the trajectory of this team for years to come. The top ten of this draft is filled mostly with skilled centers and wingers. With Kirby Dach, Jonathan Toews, and Dylan Strome in mind, I would think the Blackhawks are probably looking more towards a winger.
Although like Stan Bowman and company have said in the past, they will probably choose the best player available regardless of position. A lethal winger that will be NHL ready within the next year or two could add the depth the Blackhawks need to get back into the playoffs.
Assuming the Blackhawks could land a pick within the top six, I would consider any of the following players: Alexis Lafrenière, Tim Stützle, Quinton Byfield, Lucas Raymond, Jamie Drysdale, Marco Rossi. If the Blackhawks were able to land ANY of these players I think they could be able to make an impact as early as next season.
Lafrenière and Stützle probably push the Blackhawks from rebuilding to playoff contenders while guys like Raymond, Drysdale, and Byfield may need another year to develop. However, after a year of developing they should be able to contribute and factor in the top six for the Blackhawks. Ultimately, I think Raymond would fit perfectly in the Blackhawks lineup.
Saad – Toews – Raymond
DeBrincat – Strome – Kane
Nylander – Dach – Kubalik
While it is subject to change, that is a very strong top nine. With that type of offensive depth, the Blackhawks should be competitive all season; as well as in the playoffs assuming they can upgrade on defense and get strong goaltending. I expect the blue line to get younger and faster into the lineup.
If Boqvist, Beaudin, and Mitchell could fill in AND make an impact, there is no reason to believe the Blackhawks shouldn’t compete for a playoff position next season.
In the end, I think a top-six pick significantly speeds up the rebuilding process while a pick at or beyond seven would force Blackhawk fans to remain patient.