Will the Blackhawks draft for need or for the best available in June?

When it comes to the Blackhawks draft, there are two prevailing philosophies regarding how to select players. One can either draft a positional need, or one can draft the best available player, regardless of position.
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It's a debate as old as time itself... Or at least as old as the first NHL draft in 1963. The question is, "What does one do when the time rolls around to select a prospect?" in the modern NHL, there are really two prevailing philosophies as I have stated. In this article I will explain those different philosophies and give recent examples where the Blackhawks employed each one.

Drafting for Need

The idea behind "drafting for need" is very simple and rooted in sound logic. To draft for need is to assess the current roster, project down the road which players will be present long term, and then draft at whichever position is the weakest.

As an example, lets imagine that you are an NHL general manager. (Quick! take that money and run! RUN!) Ok seriously though, let's imagine that you have a very strong defensive core, a good goaltender who is on a long term deal and solid centers and wingers. However, you know that your first line left winger is seeking a long term deal at a price you can't stomach, and you will have to let him walk in free agency. This will create a hole on the left wing which will need to be filled in the coming years.

Thus, to draft for need you would draft the best available left winger when it comes to your pick. You essentially draft with the intention of filling a vacant spot on your roster.

The Blackhawks employed this strategy in relatively recent drafts, when they selected Kirby Dach with the intention of bolstering their Center depth and replacing Jonathan Toews when he eventually retired. They also drafted for need when they selected Adam Boqvist in 2018 to supplement a rapidly aging defensive core.

In hindsight the Hawks may have missed out on some excellent players due to their strategy of drafting for need, although both picks made sense at the time.