The 2021 NHL Draft begins Friday night, July 23rd. The Blackhawks have the 12th pick in the first round, but the 11th player selection.
What direction are they leaning with that pick? Where are they adding help to their organization? Lots to consider before they step up to the podium. The Chicago Blackhawks, fresh off another season of not qualifying for the playoffs, but playing well enough to not finish at the bottom of the standings as predicted by many, are getting ready for the 2021 NHL Draft.
Because of the Arizona Coyotes’ violations of draft rules, the Hawks are picking one slot higher (11th) than their draft position (12th). What do ‘Hawks fans have to look forward to?
First and foremost, there is a lot of talent in this draft. There is no clear-cut, generational talent available, like a Connor McDavid-type player, but there is a large group of players in the top 20 that can help a franchise. And make no mistake, the Blackhawks need help in the organization. A player at any position could presumably help the franchise in the long run, and some players may help in the short term as well.
At Forward, the ‘Hawks need more size and skill on the wings. Depending on what happens with the Expansion Draft (more on that here), and potential trades of players like Dylan Strome, the ‘Hawks could also use a 3rd line C, assuming Toews is back to form and playing this upcoming season.
On Defense, the Blackhawks exposed Calvin de Haan AND Nikita Zadorov (also rumored to be on the trade block), and just traded away Duncan Keith. That’s 3 major cogs in your D-man rotation that all could potentially be missing on opening night in October. The ‘Hawks are deep on the left side in the prospect pool, but not so deep on the right.
At Goaltender, Kevin Lankinen established himself as a legitimate starting goalie, but as he wore down late in the season, you started to see weaknesses in his game that need to be corrected. Delia and Subban are both exposed in the Expansion Draft, and neither is much more than a decent backup. Drew Commesso is still several years away from contributing, and the organization could always use more goaltending prospects.
There are several things that make this an intriguing draft, and certainly more challenging than a normal season. Many of these play in favor of teams with strong scouting groups. The first is the unique nature of this past hockey season