Three 2021 draft prospects for the Blackhawks to keep an eye on
By Jake Wheeler
There is no sugar coating things right now. This season is going to be a tough one for the Blackhawks.
Due to the injuries piling on and the start of a rebuild, it may be time to look ahead at the upcoming draft. Over the last decade, Chicago Blackhawks fans have not been too accustomed to top prospects entering the organization.
However, during the 2018 NHL Draft that changed. Selecting Adam Boqvist 8th overall and then in 2019 selecting Kirby Dach 3rd overall signaled a change in direction for the Hawks. The ability to play these players with an already up and coming core with Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, and Alex Nylander has left fans intrigued for the future.
If it were not for the coronavirus shutting down the season and having an expanded playoff in August, the Blackhawks would have had a lottery pick in the 2020 draft as well. With the release of Corey Crawford, the trade of Brandon Saad, and the injuries to Jonathan Toews, Dach, and Nylander the Blackhawks look primed for a lottery spot.
The first prospect to keep an eye on is defenseman Owen Power. If his name sounds familiar that is because he played the 2019-2020 season with the Chicago Steel, in Geneva. Power has a big frame at 6’5 and due to him being left-handed he would be a great partner for Boqvist. With the Chicago Steel, Power amassed 40 points in 45 games. This season with the University of Michigan, Power has 4 points in 10 games.
What makes Power such an intriguing prospect is how well rounded his game is for a 6’5 defenseman. He has the speed, quickness, and hockey IQ to be able to jump up in the rush when the opportunity presents itself while being responsible in his own zone. If Power can further improve upon his offensive and defensive game while at Michigan, there is no doubt he could be a top-pairing defenseman in the NHL.
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The second prospect to keep an eye on is defenseman Simon Edvinsson. Edvinsson also has a big frame at 6’4 and is a left-handed defenseman which would make him a great partner for Boqvist, too. Edvinsson is currently within the Frolunda Indians organization in the Swedish Hockey League. Last season he bounced around farm teams, however, he was just about PPG in every league. This season, he’s played for Frolunda’s J20 team and has 6 points in 14 games while also playing 5 games with the big club putting up one assist.
What makes Edvinsson an intriguing prospect is how fast he has risen the ranks in Frolunda’s organization. Like Power, Edvinsson has been able to put up points in whatever league he’s played in. With the Blackhawks need of top-pairing defensive prospects, he fits the bill for what the Hawks need.
The final prospect to keep an eye on is goaltender Jesper Wallstedt. Wallstedt has a big frame at 6’3 and he is the last of the three big goalie prospects left since the Hawks were unable to land Spencer Knight (FLA) or Yaroslav Askarov (NSH). Last season, Wallstedt put up great numbers with Lulea HF’s farm team and with Lulea HF of the SHL. This season, in one game with Lulea’s J20 team he had a shutout and in 9 games with Lulea HF he has a 2.06 GAA and a .920 SV%.
What makes Wallstedt so intriguing is his incredible numbers over the last two seasons. While they are just numbers, they are comparable to Igor Shesterkin (NYR) and Ilya Sorokin (NYI) while they played in the Kontinental Hockey League. If you watch the video on Wallstedt, he has a calm presence in the net and rarely gets out of position.
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The Blackhawks desperately need a top pairing defense prospect and an elite goalie prospect so depending on where their 1st round pick is, will tell who they will be able to draft. Power is a projected top 3 pick, Edvinsson is a projected top 5 pick and Wallstedt is projected between pick 10 and pick 15. If the Hawks can nab anyone of these players, their future will be a lot brighter.