Kirby Dach and Lukas Reichel were considered “reaches” for the Blackhawks, along with Nolan Allan.
The Blackhawks scouting department has saved Stan Bowman’s job more than once. They have taken their future core from risky selections, and have come out better from it. Here are the last three major draft steals in my opinion:
Alex Debrincat was not necessarily a “reach” at 39th overall, but no NHL team really wanted him, including the Blackhawks, until he was taken in the second round. He was a top-ten talent of his class but his height drew lottery-pick teams away. The Blackhawks scouting department decided to “risk it”, and Debrincat has proven them right more than once. His shot is elite, his playmaking is noticeable, and he’s a better fighter than most of the roster.
Kirby Dach, ranked as low as 15th on some draft boards has the potential to be a franchise cornerstone. The Blackhawks “reached” with their third overall selection in 2019, but Dach has proven them right in a short sample size. With a proper offseason of recovery, he should be getting back to his 2020 play-in form where he terrorized the Edmonton Oilers. This is another scouting department win.
Lukas Reichel was ranked early to mid 20s in the 2020 NHL draft on many boards, but he has progressed enough to be considered a top prospect for the Blackhawks. His creativity and read of the game is top notch. He plays with a relentless mindset, never giving up on a play. His shot is great, and he can score from dirty areas. Based on his surprising progression and improvement in the last year, Reichel could make his NHL debut sometime this season.
And now Nolan Allan, considered a reach and a surprise pick by many fans and analysts. Allan is not a small defenseman at 6’2″ and 195 lbs, and he plays like a defensive defenseman is supposed to: physically, great on the penalty kill, and guards the net.
This is not as important, but he can hold his own in a fight as well, something the Blackhawks lack. He is a future NHLer with his sound defensive game, and if his offense improves as well he could be the next number 1 defenseman for the franchise. Could be.
Looking at this shortlist, and of many others, I did not name, the Blackhawks scouting department have displayed their knack of finding gems from the draft and elsewhere, such as Brandon Hagel, Artemi Panarin, Dominik Kubalik, etc. Though I doubt them from time to time, their track record has proved me wrong more than once.