What Are the Draft Scenarios for the Chicago Blackhawks? A Mock Top 6.
By Kyle Graden
The Frozen Four games are upon us, the WHL playoffs are nearby, and the Blackhawks' season only has 8 matchups remaining. Alot of questions will finally come to a conclusion, 37 days to be precise. While the Hawks are "fighting" the likes of the Blue Jackets, Sharks, and Ducks for the best odds there are still a number of possibilities that could ultimately unfold.
If the Blackhawks receive the #1 overall selection they (and anyone else) will selext Regina forward Connor Bedard. That much is a given as he is widely considered a generational talent as a scorer. If the Blackhawks get the 2nd selection I believe there is little doubt that Michigan center Adam Fantilli will be chosen. The freshman is in the Frozen Four and led the nation in scoring at 18.
If the Blackhawks select 3rd through 6th however, that's when it becomes a debate. The odds are quite a bit higher that they will, in fact, select in this range than the first 2 spots.
3rd position: Kyle Davidson will likely pick between Leo Carlsson, Matvei Michkov, and Zach Benson. Carlsson has been playing against great competition and experienced play against mature hockey players as has Michkov. Both players appear to have top 6 futures in the NHL. Michkov is hands down the best talent available, although he has a multitude of question marks due to geographical and potentially political obstacles to get into an NHL jersey. If I were GM of the Blackhawks my selection at 3rd would be Winnipeg Ice RW Zach Benson. Young for his draft class, we are talking about a 100pt (at 98 currently) WHL player that is just 17 years old. He is a playmaker, dynamic scorer, and elite competitor. For me, he is the pick at 3.
4th position: With Bedard, Fantilli, and Benson now selected I am going with C Leo Carlsson. The big Swedish center is producing 25pts (44 games) in the SHL which shows alot of readiness for the NHL game. He may not "wow" fans but his consistency and offensive IQ, let alone his size (6'3 194lbs), project that he will be a top 2 line forward quickly. Not many teenagers have 79 SHL games under their belt before their draft date, this is a huge indication that Carlsson is ahead in terms of his development than most draft eligible prospects.
5th position: The wild card here is that Matvei Michkov is available. I've written an entire article on this that you can read by clicking this paragraph. The reasons are many on why you shouldn't select him in the top 5-8 picks. I am going to draft as if I actually had the selection for my owner. At number 5, I am selecting Brandon Wheat King Captain C Nate Danielson. He offers too much clarity for me to pass on him here. This is hands down a player I am comforatble with leading my team. Not only do I see him as the future captain of this team, but I still think he is massively underrated. He does not have as much help on his squad and yet he just glides through traffic out on the ice almost similarly to when Nathan MacKinnon was the same age. I recently saw a list that had him 27th. Do not pay attention to this, Danielson is a top 10 pick all day.
6th position: This would be the worst case scenario inside the bottom 4 teams, the lowest they could get. Nothing to be upset about though as Michkov, Dvorsky, Smith, Moore, and Barlow are all on the board. When it comes to risk, this position may be viewed at as the time a GM could pull the trigger on Michkov and not worry that there may be a player near his level that they were passing on.... Not here, Michkov is now the player that is likely twice the potential player that some of these options are. So, what would you do if everything was on the line (your job, years of the rebuild, your owners' reputation and money)? I believe you and I when it really came down to it would see a player like C Will Smith and his play and say this is todays' NHL and he will be ready after a year at Boston College. We are talking about a 2 + point per game player in the USDP / USHL afterall. This isn't a plan C type of move, this is getting a player that looks like a vital ingredient to todays' speed of play.
There you have it, the scenarios for our positions within the draft. I believe this very well could be how it plays out if Kyle Davidson were faced with these slots too. I know there will be some push back on not taking Michkov and for that I implore you to read the highlighted article to see my reasoning. I believe firmly that whomever we take in the top 6 will be a huge step in the right direction come June. Until then, we have have 37 more days to wait.