As the Trade Deadline starts to wind down, the Chicago Blackhawks find themselves with all new draft capital to restart their core roster. Patrick Kane is now a Ranger, Domi appears headed to the Stars, while Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty are already playing in Toronto. Those 4 were a big part of this years' team. They are all now playing elsewhere.
In their place comes a bevy of future draft picks, including some in the 2023 draft. How aggressive will Kyle Davidson be though? Will he stand pat and just make selections where we get slotted or will he try and move up if he sees a player he wants.
On January 25th I did my midpoint review of the top 50 prospects in this upcoming draft. While certainly there has been some movement in my rankings in the 36 days since, I still stand by this list. Please click this paragraph to review.
Unless some conditions are met, the Chicago Blackhawks could now have up to 7 picks in the top 64 of this draft. If ever there was a time to have that many selections it's now. If, by the time of this writing, the season ended and the lottery did not have movement the Hawks would take their own #3 pick as well as Tampas' 1st (currently 26th) and combine that with up to 5 picks in the 2nd round.
While this draft is quite deep there is still a clear difference between prospects in the top half of the 1st and the middle of the second round. Would it be aggressive to move up from 26th (current Tampa Bay slot) into the low teens to try and grab a second elite talent? Yes, it would but it also might be worth the risk. It would likely cost the Blackhawks a combination of said 26th pick with 2 of the 2nd rounders to move up in THIS draft for a big name prospect.
Still, if you think about it even if we were to move 2 of the seconds for a big move up we would still have 3 second rounders remaining to pair with 2 elite drafted players. What would a scenario like this look like?
Let's say at #3 we take Leo Carlsson (or Matvei Michkov) and a player like a Zach Benson, Brayden Yager, or Colby Barlow slide a few spots into the 10,11,12th or 13th picks. Could Davidson package 26, 45, and 57 to move up to say 10th and grab Zach Benson... Yes, I believe it would be difficult for say a Capitals team to pass on that kind of quantity of good picks since they need to start rebuilding their prospect pool. The Athletic (www.theathletic.com) recently ranked the Capitals farm system as one of the worst in the NHL afterall.
It's a team like Washington that I'd target too, one where they may view depth over a more elite talent in this draft. It would certainly have to be that "perfect storm" of a deal though (where the prospect falls, the right team is there, and they want what we have).
If this were me this is exactly what I'd do, draft our guy in the top 3-5 picks and then be aggressive and move back up to grab a second elite forward (Benson, Yager, Barlow, Danielson, Moore, Dvorsky, Smith, Sale whomever of that list that falls a little).
With this being such an important draft, I do not want to see the Blackhawks sit back and not get whom they want. I believe even if we "overpay" to move up it will be worth it as getting two future top 6 forwards is the goal in this draft. Carlsson AND Benson??? Sign me up!