At the time of writing this, the Chicago Blackhawks have had an up-and-down year to date. With the rebuild imminent, everyone thought the Blackhawks would net a top-five pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. However, they have been better than just about everyone thought which makes their projected first-round pick a tricky one to guess.
Currently, the Blackhawks have projected pick #13, which could see the Hawks select a wide variety of players. With the Hawks having a lot of good players down the middle and on defense, their biggest need is for prospects on the wing. Certainly more defensive prospects would not hurt but with a good foundation already in place, they should focus elsewhere.
The first prospect is Edmonton Oil Kings winger Dylan Guenther. Guenther is a scoring winger who can play both left-wing and right-wing. He has a bigger frame at 6’1 so he will not get knocked off the puck as easily and he has a great shot as he has lit up leagues in the past. Last year during his first season with the Oil Kings, Guenther put up 59 points in 58 games, which is a great start for the young winger. This season, he has 15 points in 6 games, which is a great improvement for his second season.
The next prospect is HV71 winger Oskar Olausson. Olausson is a very well-rounded prospect and he has a knack for goal scoring, just like Guenther. Olausson can play both wing positions as well and he also has a bigger frame at 6’2 which would help his game translate to the North American style of play. Last year, he put up 23 points in 28 games split between the j18 and j20 Swedish leagues. This year, in the j20 league he has 27 points in 16 games and 4 points in 16 games with the big club.
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The third prospect is Russian right-winger Nikita Chibrikov. Chibrikov is a smaller player listed at 5’10 but he has all of the traits as a playmaker. He is able to get lost in coverage and get around in tight spaces allowing him to make plays others would not be able to. Last year Chibrikov had 16 points in 32 games in the Russian junior league which is a solid start for the winger. This season, he has 17 points in 31 games split between two Russian junior leagues and in 16 games with SKA St. Petersburg he has registered two points.
The next prospect is defenseman Carson Lambos from the Winnipeg Ice. Lambos has a big 6’1 frame which will help balance him out with some of the Hawks smaller defensemen. He is a good two-way left-handed defenseman who is sound defensively while also being able to contribute on the offensive side of the game as well.
Last year in his first season with the Ice he amassed 32 points in 57 games, which for a defenseman, is great numbers. This year he started off the season on loan in Finland putting up 14 points in 15 games between the j18 and j20 leagues. He is now back in Winnipeg having played two games this far.
The final prospect is center Cole Sillinger from the Medicine Hat Tigers. Sillinger has all of the elements to be a playmaking center, with the ability to play left-wing if needed. Last year, in his first season with the Tigers he put up 53 points in 48 games, which is a great first season for the young forward. This season, due to the pandemic he has been playing for the Sioux Falls Stampede and has 38 points in 24 games and he has shown a knack for goal scoring this season.
Any of these prospects would be a great addition to the Blackhawks pipeline. Whether it is one of the scoring wingers or another defenseman and center all of these players would make a great selection should the Blackhawks pick around #13. Due to the Blackhawks’ up and down season and draft rankings always changing, it will be interesting to see where and who the Blackhawks pick in this upcoming NHL Draft.