One Thing The Blackhawks Can Learn From The Lightning
The Chicago Blackhawks are not the top team in the league anymore. The dynasty is over, and they need to regroup and rebuild if they are to elevate their way back up to the top. Often times the top teams in the league set an example to other teams on how to be built.
The Blackhawks were the poster board franchise for a lot of years. Teams saw them and saw the success they had on the ice. The team was built with a core group of players signed for long term with an extended cast that could sub out names and still be competitive. Other team's followed a similar structure and that is how team's like Tampa Bay and Toronto are so good.
The Blackhawks have a pretty good roster, but they are building it the wrong way compared to other teams. The one thing the Hawks can learn from a team like the Lightning is the NHL draft matters when building out a roster.
Notable Lightning players that were drafted by the organization:
1. Steven Stamkos
2008 First Overall
2. Brayden Point
2014 3rd Round
3. Ondrej Palat
2011 7th Round
4. Anthony Cirelli
2015 3rd Round
5. Alex Killorn
2007 3rd Round
6. Ross Colton
2016 4th Round
7. Victor Hedman
2009 1st Round
8. Nikita Kuchervo
2011 2nd Round
9. Andrei Vasilevskiy
2012 1st Round
10. Cal Foote
2017 1st Round
That list might seem long, but the truth is I left off some more players because the active roster has a handful more. Taylor Raddysh, Boris Katchouk, Mathieu Joseph, and Gabriel Fortier were also all drafted by the team.
That comes out to 15 players on the active roster that have all been drafted by the team. That is how you build a championship team, through the draft. This is something the Blackhawks have been missing out on as the majority of their roster has been added through trades with 13 players coming from a trade.
The team has only five players on their active roster they acquired through the draft. Those five players are Toews, Kane, DeBrincat, Kurashev, and Dach. That is not a very promising list considering Toews and Kane were drafted over ten years ago.
Kyle Davidson or whoever the next general manager of the Blackhawks is needs to do their best to build through the draft. It is the only free assets a team acquires every year. Trading for players comes at the price of assets, and signing talent usually comes at a high premium during free agency. Every team gets to draft but only some take advantage of it by making sure they have the best development possible in the AHL and also not trading their first round picks away after a few years.
As of now the Blackhawks have eight draft picks for the upcoming NHL Draft. Hopefully they use the next couple of months to acquire a few more picks to help benefit their team down the line.