Drafting Skills: Chicago Blackhawks

Recent Draft History – Evaluating the first 3 rounds of the last 5 Drafts for each team. I’ve left out 2016, as it’s way too early to tell on 95% of the picks. Instead, this will be examining drafts from 2011 to 2015.

Chicago Blackhawks

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Mark McNeill (C) 18th overall – McNeill is a bust, playing in only 2 games to date. He was traded with a 4th round pick for Johnny Oduya, which was a great trade for Chicago. But the pick was bad, as 2 defenders went after him who have both played over 150 NHL games.

Round 1 – Phillip Danault (C) 26th overall – Received this pick from Washington for Troy Brouwer. Danault has played in 135 games to date, scoring only 50 points. After him went Namestnikov, who has 79 points in 201 games and looks to be a better all-around player. I’d consider this another miss for Chicago, with much better players still available.

Round 2 – Adam Clendening (D) 36th overall – Received this pick from Atlanta for Andrew Ladd. Clendening hasn’t developed into anything more than a depth D, while Ladd has had a great career. Bad pick for Chicago after giving up a future captain in Andrew Ladd, with Boone Jenner going immediately after Clendening.

Round 2 – Brandon Saad (LW) 43rd overall – Swapped picks with the Leafs to get this pick, and Saad has turned into one of the better wingers in the NHL today. He helped Chicago win a Cup before being dealt to Columbus for a combo of prospects. This is typical Chicago, trading out pieces and keeping the core intact. Either way, Saad was a steal in mid round-2, playing in 368 NHL games to-date.

Round 3 – Michael Paliotta (D) 70th overall – This pick was received in the same deal for the pick that drafted Saad. He’s played in 2 NHL games, and looks like he won’t develop into anything more than a depth call-up, which is a poor pick.

Round 3 – Klas Dahlbeck (D) 79th overall – Dahlbeck was dealt in the Antoine Vermette trade, and has played in 137 NHL games to-date. Those are good numbers for a mid-3rd round pick, but he was demoted to the AHL this season from Arizona, which is not a good sign.

Note: Andrew Shaw in the 5th round. Shaw helped Chicago to a Cup before being dealt off to Montreal. He’s played in 390 NHL games, which is amazing for a 5th round pick.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Teuvo Teravainen (F) 18th overall – He was part of the salary dump trade to Carolina of Bryan Bickell, and looks like he’ll be a solid top-6 forward for the next few years in the NHL. He has great upside, and scored 42 points for Carolina this year. He looks like a good pick for going 18th overall.

Round 2 – Dillon Fournier (D) 48th overall – Fournier is a bust, playing this year in the ECHL, all of 4 games. Brutal pick by the Hawks, as we’ll likely never hear his name around the NHL again.

Round 3 – Chris Calnan (RW) 79th overall – Calnan looks like a very long-shot to ever make his way to the NHL, scoring only 16 points in his 4th year for Boston College. Not a great pick, with the likes of Matt Murray going just a few picks after.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 –Ryan Hartman (LW) 30th overall – Hartman made the team out of camp this year, and at times looked like a top-line winger. He finished with 19 goals, spending time alongside Jonathan Toews. He’ll have the best chance he’s had to make the top-end of the lineup out of camp next year, which is great for a late round pick.

Round 2 – Carl Dahlstrom (D) 51st overall – Pick was received from Toronto in the Dave Bolland trade to the Leafs. They gave up their own 2nd rounder to bring in Johnny Oduya, who helped them win the Cup. Dahlstrom is likely on track to only become a depth call-up after spending last year in the AHL. He’s a big guy, and with changes coming in Chicago due to the expansion draft.

Round 3 – John Hayden (LW) 74th overall – Made his NHL debut this year, playing in 12 games and scoring 4 points. He’s likely on track to the make the team out of camp next year, or if not he’ll be on the short list for a call-up. This looks like a great find in the 3rd round for Chicago.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Nick Schmaltz (C) 20th overall – Pick was received from San Jose in a swap of 1st rounders, plus a 3rd for a 6th rounder. Schmaltz had 28 points in 61 NHL games this year, his first in the league. These are good numbers for a rookie, but pales in comparison when you see that Robby Fabbri went immediately after him.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to Arizona for David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois. The pick turned into Christian Dvorak, who had a good rookie campaign this year, and looks like he’ll have a great NHL career ahead of him. Rundblad is now playing in Switzerland, so I would assume Chicago would want this trade back.

Round 3 – Matteson Iacopelli (F) 83rd overall – Pick was received from Calgary for Brandon Bollig. Pretty even trade, as neither are currently NHL players.

Round 3 – Beau Starrett (F) 88th overall – Doesn’t look like Starrett will develop well, and I would assume Chicago would re-do this pick if they could.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded with Klas Dahlbeck to Arizona for Antoine Vermette. The pick turned into Nick Merkley, but Vermette helped Chicago win the Cup, which for me, makes this trade worthwhile.

Round 2 – Graham Knott (LW) 54th overall – Didn’t have a great year as a 20-year old in the OHL, with only 35 points in 45 games. Not a promising stat line, as normally 20 year olds have dominant years in their final season in junior.

Round 3 – Dennis Gilbert (D) 91st overall – He’s currently playing for Notre Dame in the NCAA, and had 22 assists in 40 games in his sophomore season. He’ll likely stay there at least another year, as Chicago can take their time and hope he develops into an NHL player.

Overall, Chicago has made some OK picks, but they’ve picked consistently at the bottom of the draft – a cost of winning. They’ve made great trades, keeping their core intact and adding good complimentary pieces. They’re still built for championships, and many teams are trying to emulate their current model.

Sources: www.hockeydb.com ; http://www.prosportstransactions.com/hockey/DraftTrades/Years/index.htm

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