The Blackhawks had a total of 8 draft picks over the 2 days of the 2021 NHL Draft. As the picks were made, you started to see a theme emerge in the players they selected. And it addressed a major organizational issue…two of them actually.
One of the biggest issues the ‘Hawks have had in recent seasons is their apparent lack of physicality, both upfront, and on defense. They have been drafting more offensive-minded defenders, such as Adam Boqvist, Ian Mitchell, and Nicolas Beaudin). These players were billed as skilled puck movers who were solid enough as defenders to make up for their lack of size.
Thus far in their early careers, that has not necessarily been the case. They have been out-muscled, and they have worn down as the season went on. Upfront, the Hawks are pushed around a lot with their lack of size and are not able to do as much in their own zone to help the defense.
Watching the Tampa Bay Lightning win their second straight Stanley Cup, their size and physicality, especially on defense, stood out as a major factor in their Cup run. They have a ton of skill, but when it is called for, they can muck it up with the best of them, and play a grinding, physical game.
Going into this draft, it was clear the Hawks needed to get more physical. And they needed to continue to add depth and talent to their organization. And from the early reviews of their 2021 draft class, they appear to have done just that.