With a 2.5 percent chance at the first overall pick, the dreams of some Blackhawks fans that the team would be drafting Jack Hughes this summer turned into something like pipedreams.
Originally slated to pick in the 12th spot based purely on records, Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks are definitely happy about the jump. While maybe getting top two and managing to actually #LoseForHughes would’ve been nice, this lucky break for the Blackhawks could do wonders.
Let’s say Bowman keeps the pick.
(Come on, we all know Stan).
We know that USNDTP superstar Hughes and Finnish forward Kaapo Kakko will be this year’s one-two punch, but the name we don’t hear much about could very well be who Chicago goes with: Vasili Podkolzin.
The 17-year-old Russian winger made his KHL debut last November, making him the first player in the 21st century to play for the league. He’s been compared to the likes of fellow countrymen Pavel Datsyuk and Evgeni Malkin and has been described as “competitive, smart on the puck, and a complete winger with all the qualities that you want in a player” per Craig Button’s summer scouting report.
His only downfall is that he’s not NHL eligible for two years. Not exactly great if the Blackhawks want to use this pick to have an immediate impact on the upcoming 2019-2020 season.
So, what if they don’t pick him? Can they find a way to help the defensive regression the Hawks have been plagued with in recent years?
We know we’re not going to find another Quinn Hughes, Adam Boqvist, or even an Evan Bouchard in this year’s forward-heavy draft class. However, worth a second look and maybe a bump up in rankings would be defenseman Bowen Byram of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants.
He’s currently in the midst of an impressive playoff run, which could only help his draft rankings going forward.
Now, the other option: trading the pick.
I’m not saying this is absolutely going to happen, but knowing Bowman, he’s probably already looking at all of his options.
Packaging the pick could be a fun option for the GM, getting some mmuch-neededhelp on the back-end, maybe even in a top four defenseman, or closer to a prospect that’s NHL ready. There have been rumblings in the Carolina Hurricanes front office that Harvard defenseman Adam Fox isn’t going to sign with the Hurricanes after his senior year, thus putting him on the trading block. Fox is considered to be NHL ready, and some are even wondering if he’s worthy of a first- or second-round pick.
The Blackhawks, Stan Bowman especially, have a busy couple months ahead of them with this pick in their pocket. It’s the highest pick Chicago has held since they drafted Patrick Kane first overall in 2007.
Though, let’s not forget who the Blackhawks took with the third overall pick just one year before Kane…
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) April 10, 2019
It’s going to be a long few months filled with anticipation, not only for prospects, but for Blackhawks fans as well. For some off-season entertainment, take a second to browse the Twitter search for “Blackhawks” and “rigged.” That should hold you off for at least a couple hours.
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