Examining the Chicago Blackhawks' chances of drafting a franchise player based on the recent No. 2 Overall Picks

The top of the NHL draft is often loaded with franchise changing players, and this year is no exception. In this article I will be examining the past five 2nd overall selections to predict what caliber of player the Blackhawks will draft.
2015 NHL Draft - Round One, Pick Two
2015 NHL Draft - Round One, Pick Two / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
2 of 3

2022: Simon Nemec (60 games played, 3 goals and 16 assists, 19 points)

I admittedly didn't catch many games that Nemec played this season but based on his statistics and the conversation around him, it is clear that New Jersey has faith that he will be a stalwart defenseman for them for years to come. Particularly impressive in my opinion is the fact that Nemec was only a -7 in plus/minus on the season, meaning that he largely held his own in his time on Ice. He should continue to develop into an excellent NHL defenceman.

2021: Matty Beniers (167 games played, 42 goals, 61 assists, 103 points)

Beniers is the undisputed star and franchise player of the Seattle Kraken. However, I think Beniers is a great example of the fact that elite NHL player's trajectories are not always linear. This is a lesson we should keep in mind when evaluating our own prospects.... *cough cough* Lukas Reichel...

Beniers sophomore season saw him post 57 points in 80 games played. However, this past season he regressed slightly as the team around him regressed. He posted 37 points in 77 games played. Still, despite this bump in the road Beniers talent away from the puck, and his tremendous defensive prowess, indicate that he will be a franchise player for Seattle.

2020: Quinton Byfield (179 games played, 28 goals, 60 assists, 88 points)

Byfield finally enjoyed a true breakout season in 2023-2024 when he posted 55 points in 80 games while being a +19 on the year. He now looks ready to be the elite two way forward that he was drafted to be back in 2020. Again, Byfield's story is one that reminds us to be patient with prospects, to allow them the time to fully realize their potential. I could see a scenario in which Byfield is looked at as one of the best players in the NHL in just a few more seasons.

But you don't have to take my word for it, listen to the praise he received from former LA Kings head coach, Todd McLellan.

It is an excellent sign when a hard nosed (and hard to please) head coach praises a young player in such a fashion. Byfield is yet another 2nd overall pick that is turning into an elite player for the team that drafted him before our very eyes. So far, so good.