Nate Danielson: A Prospect That Hawks' Fans Don't Know... Yet

2023 Kubota CHL Top Prospects Game
2023 Kubota CHL Top Prospects Game / Dennis Pajot/GettyImages

As it currently stands, the Chicago Blackhawks have the 3rd worse record in the league with a clear 4 teams (SJS, CBJ, CHI, ANA) all vying for those 4 best (odds) positions. What if a "worst case scenario" played out and from the 4th position the Hawks were passed up by 2 lottery winners! That would mean they would select 6th and many fans would be up in arms immediately.

I can already see the tweets, "don't put that out there!", "blasphemy", "how dare you".... However, I view this as just good preparation in case we need to be aware of other prospects not in the "big 4" which are Bedard, Fantilli, Carlsson, and Michkov.

I've done plenty of articles on Zach Benson, Will Smith, and Leo Carlsson. I want, instead, to take a quick look at a player I think, if at #6, we should highly consider. That player is Brandon center Nate Danielson. While they have not have the best season (17th of 22 in the WHL), it is of no fault of their star center.

Below you can watch a shift by shift in a recent matchup against the far-superior Blades. Danielson is #29 and as you will see is all over the ice and glides with ease through and around defenders. You will see some errors on drop-passes etc that honestly were mistakes by his teammates. He is, for lack of a better phrase, on an island at times with his team. Make no mistake though, he is an absolutely elite center prospect.

The Wheat Kings Captain does it all for the WHL club, leading them in goals and points through 68 contests. The 6'1 185 pound two way centerman is never not playing against the opponents' best players. With 33 goals and 78 points that puts him in the top 25 of scorers in the WHL as a draft eligible player.

Nate wins just under 53% of his faceoffs and is 10th in the league in total faceoffs won. He has 3 short handed goals as a dependable penalty killer to boot. He makes a variety of east-west passes that proclaim NHL passing skill. His goal scoring also comes in a multitude of ways and ranges.

Nate Danielson has size, two way ability, scoring, leadership, and toughness. He also has that extra burst of center ice speed that a Nathan MacKinnon was showing at a similar age. What isn't there to like here? If I were an NHL GM and I have a pick from 5 to 10 Danielson is squarely on my radar at this point. If the Blackhawks are looking for that next great 1C and we are picking #6 (if Benson is gone) I think I'd be looking at Danielson over Smith / Moore / Dvorsky at this point.

While we are still 40 days out from knowing our draft position, it's important to note that the "worst case scenario" may not be the worst thing.