Though the promise was to go defense today, the Hawks did quite well at forward too. And a drop down deal today brought two additional picks.
San Jose was again this year, a willing participant in taking the #106 pick for San Jose’s #119, 186 and 216 picks.
The Hawks opened the fourth round taking RH D Brent MacLellan of Halifax, Nova Scotia with pick #104.
In talking to the 6’3″ 210 pounder, I asked the Rimouski defenseman how he thought he ended up a Blackhawk and he answered, “Good interview.” He was a likable conversationalist, who didn’t dodge my question of how he was known for his hitting and clear out abilities, but that scouts thought he didn’t make improvements this season. He answered that he thought he played the last third of the season strong and aggressively, and his “problem” early on is he started thinking he was a end rusher and scorer and forgot what got him where he was. (He usually makes the smart pass out the defensive zone.) Known to protect teammates,he was the alternate captain on team Orr at the 2001 prospects game.He will be at the Hawk camp in July and he said and knows that he can build stamina.
With pick #115, Mike Smith made his second annual western Russia pick ala Radulov last draft. It was virtual unknown Vladimir Gusev, a LHD who is 6’1″ 189 lber who played at Khabarovsk in Russia.
Pick #119 was LH Forward from the Russian superleague named Aleksey Zotkin, a 6 foot 200 lber from Magnitogorsk where he had 2 goals and 5 points in 40 games along with 34 pims. Neither was at the draft.
The fifth round is where I felt the Hawks started to shine. With pick #142 the Hawk took, from the Espoo Blues, the “human pinball machine”, Tommi Jaminski a RHLW who at 6’1″ 175 lbs versatile winger who play the pk and hits everything that moves and never stops talking to the opposition. He and Ruutu were probably the best two Finns available to bang and crash the opposition no matter how big they are. Jaminki is a high energy banger who causes turnovers and still manges to win battles when he is in traffic on offense. A powerful skater, and another abrasive in your face new addition from Finland. (Can Alpo be far behind?) The 6th round yielded first of my two predicted picks, RHLW Alexander Golvin, an under six foot 192 lb. RHLW who is an above average skilled player with good hockey sense, good hands and the capabilities to make plays at top speed. Neither is he afraid of the corners, and sneaky and deceptive when coming out of it.
At #186 The Blackhawks went to Tabor of the Czech republic and chose RHD Petr Puncochar, a 6’1″ 202 lber who played with Budejovice and Karlovy Wary. He is not a finished package but his shot is one of the better ones in the Czech republic, so maybe he ends up a PP specialist.
In the 7th round, with pick #205, the Hawks took Teemu Jaaskelainen of Ilves in the Finnish league. He is a 6’1 200 LH Defenseman who does everything well and is progressing his over all game. Needs improvement on is defensive awareness and positioning, but plays both ends of the defense position well and likes contact to boot.
At the #216 slot the Hawks again went to Russia for late bloomer 6’2″ 183 lb. Elektrostal LH RW Oleg Minakov, another of my guesses. This big guy has major upside and has grows into his body, he will develop an offensive side.
The final Hawk pick at #268, was Vermont’s Jeff Myles, a RH centre from Vermont. He was a second in scoring there and part ot the Thornhill championship team the year before. What a great day Bill Lesuk and Mike Smith had on the second day!