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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Drafting best player available

The other notable philosophy in drafting is to simply take the best available prospect regardless of position. This doesn't necessarily mean that you never end up filling an immediate need, as the best available player may also just so happen to play the position that you need most.

Let's again explore that hypothetical scenario where you, the reader, are an NHL general manager in that same scenario from earlier. Even though your team will badly need a left winger to fill the void left by that departing unrestricted free agent, you may choose to take the best player available instead. Perhaps there is a defenseman available that prior to the draft you had locked in as a top 10 pick and he fell all the way to the 20s where you are drafting. To draft by "best player available," you clearly take that player even though you don't presently need a defenseman.

The Blackhawks under Kyle Davidson have routinely drafted by the philosophy of "best player available." Davidson said so himself in his end of season press conference when he said, "The Best players are ranked accordingly, and (we are) not bumping a guy up the list because he plays a certain position." You can see Kyle's full comments on the Chicago Blackhawks official YouTube page, and I highly recommend it!

The Blackhawks employed this strategy when they selected Connor Bedard, Frank Nazar, and Oliver Moore. The only one you could argue was an example of drafting to fill a need, was when they selected Kevin Korchinski seventh overall in 2022. In the case of Bedard, it also just so happened that he filled a glaring hole on this team. That being a superstar forward that can drive the offense.

Going back in time to 2019, the Blackhawks likely would have taken Bowen Byram over Kirby Dach had they been adhering to the "best player available" philosophy. Kirby Dach is a good player and he filled a roll for while with the Blackhawks, but in retrospect had they taken Byram they would have walked away with the better player, and a core piece of their defense for years to come.