Blackhawks Will Draft in the Top 5 in the 2023 Draft

2023 Biosteel All-American Game
2023 Biosteel All-American Game / Mike Mulholland/GettyImages

We now know that the Blackhawks will have the 3rd best odds for the May 8th Draft Lottery. That means a 23% chance at a top 2 pick. While that is a good chance at the two best players in this draft, what does it mean if we don't draft that high?

Here are the odds:

#1 - 11.5%

#2 - 11.5%

#3 - 7.4%

#4 - 40.7%

#5 - 28.8%

If you just play the percentages on this one, then the most likely scenarios look like we will draft 4th or 5th as there is a 69.5% chance this will be the case. The choices at 1 and 2 are obvious and have been written about ad nauseam.

Let's focus on the players that we should consider at spots 3 through 5. I've done a few mock drafts based on what I would do, so for this exercise I'd like to dive into whom I think Kyle Davidson would consider.

When I look at the options available I am quickly reminded that most of these players would have been a top 2-3 pick just last year. The players I will focus on today are; Leo Carlsson, Will Smith, Matvei Michkov, Nate Danielson, Daliobor Dvorsky, Oliver Moore, and Zach Benson.

Leo Carlsson is a steady center / wing with tremendous offensive vision and IQ. He sports legit professional size and has experience against top competition at a young age. If the Blackhawks end up taking the talented Swede will likely play another year with Orebro, however his path to the NHL should be quick.

When it comes to Matvei Michkov, my opinion has been clear: you can not risk this high of a draft pick on a gamble. I fully understand that his talent is elite and that he projects a top line high scoring wing in the NHL. However, as listed in this article (just click the paragraph to be redirected to the reasons why) I just can't see a scenario where we should draft him in the top 5. Would I take him say 9-15th range after we already take someone.... Yes.

First up is Zach Benson for me. I have said a million times now that this would be my choice. He is todays type of player. A hybrid of DeBrincat and Kane, I see Benson as a highly competitive playmaker from the right dot that would carry over pucks and consistently keep possession in the offensive zone. He, unlike some, could be ready for the NHL game with another year of physical development. If we wanted an immediate replacement for Patrick Kane's position and production than Benson is hands down the choice.

United States National Development center Will Smith is a fast right shot player with great potential as a between the dots passer. He has blown away competition in the the USHL and USDP this year at over 2 points per game. Also of note is that he is being listed as a bigger player of late (was 5-10 before, but now 6-0 tall and 172 pounds). While not as dynamic to me as Logan Cooley there are some similarities between the two. A year or 2 at Boston College are in his future, but Smith is destined to be a good top 6 NHL player for a long time. For me, this is a safe pick if they choose to take him.

Nate Danielson is a player I have quite a bit higher than most. That's because media and hockey bloggers aren't watching him. I am. This kid is going to be a top 2 center in the league. If I were a GM this is the guy I'd bet on. A captain, with size, and ELITE skating? Sign me up. Danielson is likely going to go in the 7-13 range, however I feel this is too low for him. He is going to be overlooked because of his team and viewership. His skating reminds me of Nathan MacKinnon and last I checked that's a good thing. Do not be upset if we pick 5th and Davidson takes him.

Dalibor Dvorsky has been a name that has been talked about for years now. Dvorsky is a strong, big forward that is still figuring out where his position will be for the long run. He is a high floor player that I think you can safely project as a top 6 to middle 6 forward almost from day 1. Another 2 seasons with AIK I think is in the works before coming over to North America. You'd have to be patient with him, but this is a dependable two way forward that will be placed in all situations for a team. Young for the class, his future is bright. I think his draft postion will likely be in that 8-15 zone, but I think he is in the comversation at least.

Lastly, I want to add a wild card here: Oliver Moore. Another US born dynamic center, Moore played behind Smith and there are important notes to make on this distinction. While Smith, rightfully so, gets alot of attention for his stats, he also had 2 linemates that could also be 1st rounders. Moore didn't have those type of linemates and yet still produced 64 points in 53 games. The future Golden Gopher is a talent and could be a project, that if patient with, could become one of the best players from this draft. Most likely drafted 9-18th, I could see whomever gets him as a team that knows they have a future star in their prospect pool.

Obviously, if we get lucky on May 8th than articles like this one are null and void of useful information, however the odds say we need to get to know these other players. I've watched more CHL / USHL / NCAA / SHL / KHL games than NHL this year. It has been a blast! What I saw was star power from all of these leagues when it comes to draft eligible players.

May 8th will be an exciting day for the entire NHL, only 2 teams will feel like they gained an instant franchsie player, however I want to point out that we are going to gain an elite player no matter where we end up picking.