Editorials

Should the Chicago Blackhawks try and trade up in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft?

By Justin Klawans
Kirby Dach, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Kirby Dach, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The Blackhawks hold the 11th overall selection in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, however, they could try and trade up for a higher pick. The question is, should they?

The Blackhawks have significant needs across their roster, and there’s no doubt that they could grab a player at 11th overall that could greatly help the team. However, there is a ton of talent at the draft this year, so trading up for a higher pick could only improve their chances of getting a quality player. In the long run, though, it may not be worth it.

At 11th overall, there are still a number of players that could end up becoming a huge part of the franchise. The ‘Hawks goaltending issues have been analyzed extensively, and Jesper Wallstedt would be a fantastic addition to Chicago’s goalie tandem. Additionally, guys like Brandt Clarke or even Mason McTavish are examples of two skaters who could make a big impact.

There is a chance that players like this would be gone before the 11th overall pick. There are at least three teams in the top ten that could use a goalie like Wallstedt, and a big body like Mason McTavish would be useful on any roster. That being said, what would the Blackhawks have to give up in order to trade for a higher pick?

The answer is probably a lot, and it probably wouldn’t be worth it. To receive a top ten draft pick, Chicago would obviously have to give up their 11th overall selection. Additionally, any team willing to give up a top ten pick would likely want a significant talent back in advance, likely at least a top-four defenseman or top-six forward.

Let’s just take, for example, the San Jose Sharks, who currently hold the seventh-overall selection. Three of the Sharks’ top defenseman are over 30, so in order to surrender their seventh pick, they’d probably ask for a package that looks something like this:

Obviously, this is hypothetical, and who knows if the two teams would even agree to this. However, would it really be worth it to give up their current first-rounder and one of the team’s top up-and-coming defensemen?

I know that Adam Boqvist didn’t have a great season this year, but he still has a ton of upside. I think that any trade that would move the Blackhawks up on the draft board would involve giving away a piece of their future, and with their rebuild in motion, I just don’t think it’s worth it.

Related Story. The Chicago Blackhawks must have a clear blueprint for a rebuild. light

Again, until it happens, any hypothetical trade is just that: hypothetical. There’s no telling if general manager Stan Bowman even wants to move up in the draft. As I stated, there is a lot of talent that would still be available at 11th overall, even if Chicago doesn’t get its first choice. This being the case, I think that the Blackhawks are better off staying the course and keeping their draft position where it is now.

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