10. Sebastian Cossa, G, Edmonton Oil Kings
With Kevin Lankinen mostly taking the reigns for the Blackhawks this year, it is hard to imagine that they’d use their first-round pick to grab a goalie.
However, as great as Lankinen played this year, I’d argue that he still hasn’t proven himself as the starting goalie moving forward. While the team did draft Drew Commesso last year, a guy like Sebastian Cossa could also make an impact between the pipes.
If Cossa were to end up in a ‘Hawks sweater, there is the potential for him to eventually form a one-two punch with Commesso. Cossa is a decent sized goalie, at 6’6, 212 pounds, and has absolutely lit up the WHL this year. He currently carries a .941 save percentage and a staggering 17-1-1 record, and is undoubtedly the best goalie in junior hockey right now.
The last goaltender to be chosen first overall in an entry draft was Marc-Andre Fleury in 2003. While Cossa will not share that same distinction, depending on what pick the Blackhawks have, he could add some needed depth to the team’s goaltending situation.
9. Nikita Chibrikov, RW/LW, SKA St. Petersburg
If the Chicago Blackhawks are going to go after a forward, they could use a speedy playmaker who knows how to dish the puck.
That’s exactly what they’d get with Nikita Chibrikov. The 18-year-old has great hockey IQ, and while he is not the biggest guy on the ice, has great hands and excels at both ends of the ice. As mentioned, he also has a ton of speed, and is shaping up to be one of the quicker players available at the draft.
There are a lot of natural centers that are being mentioned to go in the first round this year, but the ‘Hawks already have a lot of that position . If they do indeed select a forward, a winger like Chibrikov seems to be the optimal way to go. However, like I said before, Bowman tends to draft by talent, not position, so it all depends on who is available.
If he is available when the ‘Hawks step up to the podium, then I think that Chibrikov is a guy that Chicago could and should definitely take a chance on. He’s not a guy that will make the jump to the NHL right away, but there’s no reason he couldn’t be an elite playmaker in the league one day.