The all nine players selected by the Chicago Blackhawks have one common ingredient: character. In a draft labeled as one with few players whose abilities have developed enough to project big league success, the Blackhawks scouting staff may not have come through with a gaggle of gems but have come up with team players who shine like gems.
There is no denying the fact that at this juncture, the ownership may care little if they fill their building. They do care about holding the line on salaries and the draft is an essential element in doing just that. If you draft potential NHLers, you bring them in at a lower rate than acquiring established players.
So as a salary cap looms, the Hawks have tried to ferret out as many guys that will put team over all else.
At this point, no one can put a can’t miss or potential star tag on the vast majority of the talent taken after the first dozen, although everyone likes to project the drafted as the “next” as the draft is a way to sell your fans on the future.
The Blackhawk draft was no different. They went in with strategies (add defensemen, try and trade down when lots of their listed players were available as the picks approached) and hoped that the future would prove them correct.
Picking 21st overall, few of the Blackhawk picks were established stars with their teams, and only a few are names the casual amateur hockey fan would even know of.
With pick #21 the Hawks got what may amount to a huge Christmas gift in the form of Anton Babchuk. They wanted big players and Read more»
No one doubts how well the almost six foot Duncan Keith his skating. He gets going quick and out- distances the guys around him. At Penticton Jr A he had a hefty 64 assists to go with his 18 goals, so he certainly displays skill, touch and instinct to carry the biscuit, jump into the plays from the defensemen position.
The question is would he actually be able to make it as an NHL defensemen at his size and strength. He doesn’t project to grow past six foot.
Could general manager Mike Smith have drafted him with the idea of him converting to a wing?
That might be very possible, for he certainly has pure speed and agility to create as an winger. He has not yet adjusted to the less free wheeling style of collegiate and has trouble with handling traffic as a college defensemen.
Sometimes players are chosen for their character, skills, and determination, and can be projected to another position as possible pros.
I wonder if that is what Hawk general manager Mike Smith had in mind by making him the Hawk second round pick.
I realize that the undersized defenseman has chiseled a place in the new NHL transition game and that this young man has the tools to be a Ballard/Bouwmeester type offensively creative player. I also understand you cannot teach speed, and Keith has an abundance of it. I just don’t know if he can make it on the backline. Steve McCarthy is an early defensemen pick we are already waiting to see handle the big men in the NHL. Can the Blackhawk defense have room for two? Or was he picked to play elsewhere Read more»
This Saturday and Sunday’s NHL entry draft allows all us non professionals to speculate on who are hometown teams will scoop up this weekend. Out of the locking gun cabinet, I will take out a shotgun and will try to shoot a couple NHL prospects out of the large barrel know as the amateur world hockey community.
Probably the toughest part about the NHL draft is simply trying to figure out exactly where my team will draft. The press secretary and assistants yearly tell me they will not have the final list prior to draft morning, so I have to scour the old deals, additional picks and try and piece the close to exact place the Blackhawks will draft BEFORE G.M. Mike Smith trades up or down out of them during the event. This year was a little easier, as Dan Flodin lead me to the NHL official list surprisingly out a couple days prior to this year’s event.
Barring the possibility of trades (although the hopes of a Philly like climb would be candy to any a Hawk fans mouth), I would like to predict a player at each of the present Blackhawk estimated picking positions, 21,54,86,156,188,219,251,282.
Although I want a forward at #21, I think the Blackhawks will reach and go defense, if the right defenseman is there. Not having the luxury of a chance at the four defenseman(Bouwmeester,Pitkanen,Whitney,Eminger),the Hawks will hope that Babchuk, Grebeshkov,or Vagner fall in their laps. If they are gone,along with forwards Jakub Koreis, and Daniel Paille, the Blackhawks select a winger at #21.
At #54, kneecapped Swedish defensemen Daniel Fernholn wo Read more»
||Chicago (NHL) 21 3 1 4 4 / 3 0 0 0 0
||Norfolk (AHL) 60 26 30 56 42
Arnanson is learning example of exactly how difficult a jump to the NHL can be. Arnanson had a dream rookie season in the
AHL, surpassing any timetables set for him by the organization. Quick skating and shooting were what he showed in the AHL
and that warranted a look-see for the parent team. His arrival coincided with the Blackhawks slump around and after the
Olympics. He was played on various lines and with the arrival of Tom Fitzgerald, put with him to cover Tyler’s
ineffectiveness as a defensive player. Certainly should he could burst into playing situations and threaten, but ended up as
a minus three in the limited minutes he played. The Hawks were unafraid of his defensive limitations when the dressed him at
the start of the playoffs,or did they feel they were lacking fire-power with the other rostered players? His situation seems
tied to any movement at the centre position over the summer. Whether they Read more»
The draft must be treated for what it is: a help three or four years down the road. One cannot necessarily draft based on the parent club’s present needs, as much as the sum total of what the present club strengths and weaknesses are, plus the minor pro affilliate possible prospects, plus the present projection of the prospects still not in the system who have shown they may be the clubs future.
Certainly the present Blackhawk team craves more physical all around defensemen. Drafting at No. 21 presents a problem for any team looking for defensemen as the ones who already look the pro part are scooped very early, usually gone by the picks in teens.
After the top 15, this 2002 draft crop (an elite four plus 11 solid prospect types), seems to be followed by a 50 player group which appears fairly close when trying to weigh one player against the other. The players all have positives and negatives in their game. The teams that make the correct choices with the selections into the early third round will be the ones bolstering their line-ups.
Can the Blackhawks be short-sighted enough to lock their sights on the defense position and ignore the chance to add goaltender and forward prospects? No, simply based on the fact that you can see more if a forward may be able to become an NHL over whether a defenseman making the transition to NHLer.
If Mike Smith was going to lock his sights on the position of defenseman with his first pick, here are the players most likely he will have to choose from:
Russians Kirill Koltsov ( Read more»