The NHL draft is upon us and now is the time where speculations are popping up left and right. As Worlds continues on and we watch some of the top prospects give their final performances, now is the time to talk about the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks missed out on playoffs for the 2nd year in a row and they have the 3rd overall pick in this upcoming Draft.
Today my friend Bobby Gaffney and I talked about who the Blackhawks should look at drafting. We picked a forward, a defensemen, and a goalie and gave our opinion on how they would fit into the Blackhawks roster in the future.
Starting with a forward, let’s talk about Alex Turcotte. Turcotte is an 18 year-old, 5’11”, 194 lbs centre. Turcotte is a University of Madison commit for next season. Although he’s a smaller guy, Turcotte is an aggressive player. He may be high in PIMs but he makes up for it in points. In 60 games across 3 leagues, Turcotte has collected 105 points.
One bonus for Turcotte is he would be a homegrown Blackhawks player from Lake Island, Illinois. The reason Turcotte isn’t seen as one of the top picks is mostly contributed to the fact that he was injured in the beginning of his 2018-19 season in the USHL. On top of that he has played with Jack Hughes who tends to steal the spotlight. He would fit in among the young core that the Blackhawks are working to build, even if the team must wait a season before seeing him in action.
Now onto defensemen, we decided that should the Hawks choose a defensemen Bowen Byram would be the best fit. Bowen Byram is a 17 year-old, 6’1″, 191 lbs defensemen. Byram has been productive for the Vancouver Giants in the WHL this year. In 67 games he has 26 goals and 45 assists (71 points) BUT he’s got 80 PIM. He’s a smart laid back defensemen that has got the skill to run with the big dogs of the NHL.
Now it’s no news that the Blackhawks defense has been struggling for a while but to add another young producer to the mix may be a bad idea. The Blackhawks have drafted defensemen in the first round for the last 2 years. First the Hawks picked up Henri Jokiharju in 2017. Jokiharju spent half of last season in the AHL to grow his game. In 2018, the Hawks drafted Adam Boqvist at 8th overall and he put up 60 points in the OHL this year. Even though having producing defensemen is good, when do you hit the point of too many?
In the wake of Crawford’s injury and raising uncertainties, Bobby and I said if the Hawks are picking a goalie it’s gotta be Spencer Knight. Knight is an 18 year-old, 6’3″, 198 lbs goaltender. Knight is projected to be the highest picked goalie of the 2019 Draft and he warmed up nicely at the World Juniors. In 6 games Knight had a 1.51 GAA and a .936 Save Percentage with Team USA.
He’s a solid starting goalie and would be perfect for a team that needs a young player waiting in the wings. Knight probably won’t be drafted at 3rd but he would still be a big pick that the Hawks could cash in later. He is committed to play at Boston University next year but following that he would fit in great with the Blackhawks.
As for who we think will go third, Bobby is siding with Alex Turcotte. It’s a smart move considering what he can do on the ice. For me, I would say Turcotte as well or Kirby Dach, who wasn’t mentioned in this list but is still a beast on the ice as well. (Bowman this is your chance to redeem yourself)
BUT this pick can be huge when it comes to looking at the Hawks future. After missing playoffs for 2 years, the team is dire to turn the tide and make it back to the post season. This pick can be that first step towards a better season.
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