What could a 2023 Draft Class look like for Chicago? (Mock Draft)
Lukas Reichel is a good prospect. He shows alot of early traits that indicate he will have a long career as a top 6 to top 9 LW. I remember that draft a little differently however. When the Bllackhawks' time came I was both mad that we didn't trade up for goalie Yaroslav Askarov and elated that Dawson Mercer was still on the board.
Welp, clearly we didn't get either player I wanted. Not to say I'm upset, because Reichel appears to be ready to have a spot in our top 6 sooner rather than later. Still, it seemed like a missed opportunity especially when days later it was rumored that Nashville asked Stan Bowman for a package to move up and grab Askarov and he declined the price.
Fast forward to today where we have a new GM in Kyle Davidson and a roster and prospect pipeline that is pretty much starting over. After the 2022 draft in which we acquired 3 first rounders (Korchinski, Nazar, and Rinzel), what will Kyle Davidson do with what he has to work with in this upcoming draft?
Let's start with the hypothetical moves at the trade deadline. I believe that he will get a 1st round pick for Jake McCabe (Los Angeles). A 2nd round pick in 2025 and a prospect for Jonathan Toews (Colorado). Then his last move he will receive a future 2nd round pick for Sam Lafferty (Edmonton). So I believe we will add 2 more high picks to this draft class. I do not think a Max Domi price will be met, that any offer for Athanasiou will warrant a deal, and I still firmly believe that Patrick Kane will decline to wave his NMC. That leaves those 3 deals as the most likely in my view.
If the season ended today, we would have the 3rd (own), 22nd (Kings), and 26th (Lightning) selections in the 1st round. Add on top of that 5 picks in the 2nd and 3rd round after my proposed deals. The Hawks, in my opinion, would now have the draft capital in order to move up into the teens to select a second highly touted player. They could also stay and draft whom falls to them in a deeply talented prospect pool.
Here is how I see this draft, based on Kyle Davidson and his staffs' history, will play out (note: this is not how I would draft necessarily):
I ran a tankathon sim (www.tankathon.com) 10 times to determine our "own" pick. Our average selection spot ended up being 4th, so that is where I will draft first. Obviously not where everyone wants to be, but we will still get an outstanding player.
2023 NHL 2 Round MOCK DRAFT (Chicago Blackhawks)
4. RW Matvei Michkov - I am confident that once general managers and owners start to realize that he is just too good to pass on, they won't let him slide past 5th. I could see a team at 4 think about Dvorsky, Smith, or Benson however Chicago has nothing but time at the present moment. Michkov is an elite talent on the wing that is already scoring goals in the KHL against great competition. Not only that, but with Sochi he is doing it on his own as this is the worst team in the KHL by a mile. Keep in mind too with Davidson, he knows the next 2 drafts he will also be selecting high and each of those classes already has a group of outstanding centers.
22. LW Andrew Cristall - A smaller wing criticized for his skating and speed yet putting up eye popping scoring records... sounds familiar. He would add in a scoring element for whomever the Blackhawks draft in the 2024 and 2025 1st round in my view.
26. G Michael Hrabal - If Hrabal was in the 2022 draft, a less talented group, then he could have snuck into the teens. The inability to acquire one of the recent group of elite goalies astounded me. Knight, Cossa, Wallstedt, or Askarov were all options for us and yet no moves were made to get them. I do not think Davidson is going to wait having only Commesso and Soderblom as our options moving forward. Hrabal is a huge, 6-6 209lb, left catching goalie prospect playing in the USHL at the moment. The Czech born player will head to UMASS to continue his play and will likely be viewed as the future #1 for the team that takes him in the 2023 draft.
The 2nd round would consist of these picks: 35th (own), 51st (Edm, Lafferty deal), and 58th (Lightning).
35. LD Dmitri Simashev - I see the big Russian defensiveman as a player that will likely go a little later than his play would suggest. Simashev is a 6'4 201lb defensive Dman that has gone between the KHL and MHL this year. He is a stand up protect the line physical player that truly is a consistent and well balanced player. He has good mobility and puck moving skill. Hands are just ok, but he would be a great pairing for an offensive right shot blueliner in a top 4 role.
Trade! Proposed deal Vancouver trades #38 to Chicago for #51, #93, and #99. The Canucks and Blackhawks are no strangers to making a deal and the Canucks add some extra mid round picks to restock their prospect depth. Kyle Davidson sees a dynamic center slide a few picks and moves up to get him.
38. C Otto Stenberg - I see Stenberg as a player that could go anywhere 20-45 in the next draft. Some teams won't see him as a center, others will say he is too small and frail. I had him ranked #20 on my big board however and think if he makes it to round 2 that the Blackhawks would see him as a candidate to take early in the round. The SHL (Frolunda) player can score and make plays at top speed. He is an exciting player and no matter where he ends up (LW or C) should project to be an NHL player quickly.
58. C Gracyn Sawchyn - Like all Blackhawks' prospects, Sawchyn plays for the Seattle Thunderbirds (Korchinski, Allan, and now Colton Dach). Sawchyn is a slight of frame skilled center that is a playmaker in the middle of the ice. An over a point per game player going into his draft year I believe he is firmly in the 2nd round to early 3rd round range. He has grown of late from 5-8 to 5-11 however I still think his positional size will keep out of the top 45 or so selections. Sawchyn would be a welcome addition as he has some great hands in the middle ice and makes quick decisions with tape to tape passes.
I believe that these are all plausible draft options as well as numbers where these players could go. I know some will say Cristall will go higher than 22, but I've heard and read plenty that alot of GMs will not take him in the teens thusly making 22nd around where I think he will go. This is a draft stocked full of forward talent and I think Hrabal gets knocked down 5-8 spots for this reason. My second rounders I believe are in line. This is the likely range for Simashev and Stenberg is a little bit of a wild card for most teams late 1st to early 2nd. I think the true elite forward talent will all go before 30 and then there should be a good run on D. This could in turn effect Stenberg and pushing him towards the late 30s to me.
I thought of these picks from a Davidson point of view but obviously these are players that I also think would fit well with what Chicago is trying to build. If we could add Michkov, Cristall, Hrabal, Simashev, Stenberg, and Sawchyn it wouldn't just be an A+ draft to me... it would be a draft that would quickly change the course of this entire franchise.