Analysis

The Blackhawks Added To Their Defense And Size During NHL Draft

By Joseph Felicelli
Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Seth Jones #3, Edmonton Oilers
Seth Jones #3, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

Bolstering the Blue Line

Starting off with the blockbuster trade to bring Seth Jones to Chicago (shortly after acquiring his brother Caleb in the Duncan Keith trade), the Hawks surrendered the #12 pick, along with next year’s first-rounder, and their early second-rounder, along with Adam Boqvist. They got back a big-bodied Right Shot Defenseman who has been considered a #1 D-man in the past. They also got the #32 pick, which the Blue Jackets acquired in the trade of David Savard to Tampa.

At 32, they took Nolan Allen, a Left Shot Defenseman from the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League. Allen is a gifted defender, using his size (6’2″, 195 lbs) and skating ability to function as a shutdown defender. He does not provide much offense, but his calling card is physical, tough-to-play-against hockey in his own zone, which is something the Blackhawks don’t have a lot of in their organization right now.

At pick #91, they drafted big-bodied Taige Harding, a 6’7″, 235 lb left-shot monster out of the AJHL (Fort Barron). A developmental project, his skating needs work, which makes sense as he is still getting used to his Sasquatch-like size. But he showed some potential and would be a huge factor on the blue line if he can develop into a Colton Parayko-like player at that size.

At Pick #105, they took Ethan Del Mastro, who did not have a regular season this year after playing for Mississauga of the OHL last season. Another Left Defenseman, he has tremendous size at 6’4″, 210 lbs. Advertised as having good agility and mobility for his size, this is another defensive-minded pick, with some potential offensive upside. Strong in the corners and in front of the net, he brings another physical presence to the ‘Hawks blue line at some point down the line.

Finally, at pick #204, they drafted Connor Kelley, a teammate of Blackhawks 2020 3rd round pick, Wyatt Kaiser, at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He just finished his freshman season and has solid size at 6’1, 190 lbs. While not as especially physical or offensive defenseman, he shows some ability to get the puck out of his zone and make good reads. He is a developmental prospect for sure, but in the 7th round, you aren’t expecting future Hall-Of-Fame talent.

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