If there is any downside to moving on in the playoffs, it’s the fact that the Blackhawks not only won’t be able to have a shot at Lafreniere, along with them having a later draft pick
With their playoff series win, the Chicago Blackhawks have gone from guaranteed top ten picks to middle-to-late first-round pick. While I am excited about the first round, the Blackhawks seemingly traded in short-term success for long-term impact. It appears that outside of the top two-three players in this year’s draft, the rest of the draft is up in the air.
With that said, it is possible that guys like Alexander Holtz, Cole Perfetti, Jamie Drysdale would have been available at eight when Chicago would have been on the clock. All of these players are immense talents that would be great top-six forwards or top-four defensemen in their respective positions on teams that are looking to contend in the future.
However, the Blackhawks may be able to salvage their large drop in spots with a bit of luck on their side. I have written another article on why I am high on this particular player and why the Blackhawks should draft Yaroslav Askarov. I know many Blackhawks fans at the time of the article were skeptical of taking a goalie that early (eighth or ninth overall). Well, now the Blackhawks have fallen and I believe a goalie at 17 is very reasonable, especially given Askarov’s talent.
The downside to all of this however is Askarov is a legit talent that has caught the eyes of many. So what says he’ll be available at 17? Well, we will have to wait and see. Other teams may not need goaltending or may be looking to fulfill other positional needs. Many teams picking before the Blackhawks are also still “playoff” teams (Pittsburgh, Nashville, Edmonton). Thus, there will be looking for talent that will not need as much time to develop.
So why jump at Askarov? To highlight it, the Blackhawks have absolutely nothing when it comes to the goalie pipeline. Crawford is getting older and is injury prone. Askarov is a potential top 10 player that you may be able to draft at 17.
"“He deserves every consideration at No. 1, He’s the best goalie I’ve seen entering the draft since Carey Price.” – Craig Button"
Okay, I know this may be a drastic comparison and Craig Button is usually all over the board, but he has reason to believe this. Look at some of the numbers Askarov has put up. At 18 he’s already had time in the KHL. He set records at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup leading Russia to a first-place finish.
If Askarov is anything like Price, he’ll be stealing us games in the future. Unfortunately, due to his recent performances in the KHL, I would not at all be surprised if a team jumps on him early. He is already dominating at the KHL level and I am sure there are scouts in the industry who have fallen in love with this Russian star.
Lastly, this is not to say the Blackhawks can’t find an immense talent that’s not a goalie when they are on the draft clock. Players like Dylan Holloway, Seth Jarvis, and Dawson Mercer all could be available and there is plenty of talents that have gone in ladder parts of the draft. Yet, after Kirby Dach, we have to believe in Mark Kelley and the rest of this staff. It is hard, however, to overlook what could have been a top 10 pick and steal at nine.