Although currently missing draft picks in the third and fourth rounds, the Chicago Blackhawks hold 10 (possibly 11) picks in the upcoming 2003 NHL entry draft.
Past history shows General Manager Mike Smith may use high picks #14, 52, and 59 to trade down and acquire picks in the missing rounds.
Every year I make my predictions on who the Blackhawks will pick, using their present draft slots as my guide. Here are the 2003 predictions.
In the first round, the Hawks are scheduled to select in slot #14. There have been sound bites to the press about getting a NHLer in a trade for this pick. But trading out of this slot would be a bad move, because a selection at #14 will provide a strong future prospect in this deep draft as long as the Hawks organization doesn’t lock on to a specific position.
Defense may be the target in the first round, because by the time the Hawks make their second pick, there is a real drop off in the pool.
Dion Phaneuf is the defenseman they may have in their targets. Although he doesn’t at this point in time project as a no. 1 defenseman, he possesses all the qualities the Blackhawk team needs. Former Hawk and present Red Deer Coach Brent Sutter will attest to his toughness, leadership, restraint, and good shot.
This selection would not be a cure-all. At this point Phaneuf may not even be the best defender in the WHL, but he is a solid prospect in an area the Blackhawks need improvement.
Someone may select Phaneuf before the Hawks, however, in which case G.M. Smith could pass on the available forwards and take, Read more»