The Chicago Blackhawks’ last two first-round draft picks have had one thing in common for me, at the time they both left me scratching my head.
When Stan Bowman drafted Kirby Dach with the Blackhawks third overall pick last summer I was upset. I thought there were better players available and I was not Dach’s biggest supporter throughout the first month of the season. However, Bowman proved us all wrong there.
When the Chicago Blackhawks drafted Lukas Reichel with the 17th overall pick at the NHL draft yesterday I believe some fans were feeling a similar frustration. Obviously, no one was really expecting to see Reichel to get drafted in that position, and from a fan’s perspective, it looked like there were some better players on the board.
The Blackhawks did not go after the best player on the board, they went after the best player they believe will help them win in a few years. Lukas Reichel is not going to jump into the NHL next year by any means, right now it looks like his personal goal would be the NHL in two years. That gives him time to improve on his game.
What kind of player is Lukas Reichel? If you did not check out our detailed summary on Reichel I hope you go check it out now. If you already did give that a read, why not read how Reichel described himself straight to the Chicago media.
"“I’m not the biggest guy, not the strongest guy on the ice,” Reichel said. “But I’m a smart guy, I’m a good skater, I like to shoot. That’s my game.”"
It seems like the Blackhawks wanted to focus on adding a smart hockey player with this pick. While skill and speed are great in the NHL, having a great two way forward could be a big difference-maker for the Blackhawks.
Obviously, I would have liked to see the Blackhawks trade up to draft in the draft to add now Nashville Predators prospect Iaroslav Askarov. However, that did not happen, so I am happy the Blackhawks went out and added a player they thought highly of.
I am not trying to hide from the fact that Stan Bowman has made a lot of mistakes in the past with his prospects. It would actually be more the norm for the team to trade Reichel in the next few years before he even plays a game with the team.
I am going to try and ignore that thought and hope we see Reichel with the Blackhawks in the next few years and Bowman was right. Stan Bowman being right will only make the Blackhawks better, even if that means we have to see Bowman with the team for a few more years.