The 2018 NHL draft over the weekend in Dallas was easily one of the deepest drafts the NHL has seen in some time and the Chicago Blackhawks were able to take full advantage.
With 2 first round picks (8th and 27th) the Blackhawks were able to bring more depth and new blood into a lacking defensive core. It’s clear that the Blackhawks are buying into the new NHL era where speed and skill take precedence over size and toughness. In a division with some sizable opponents, the Blackhawks will hope to use this new formula as a counter to that size and toughness they are lacking.
This year the Blackhawks did something different and went for the “high risk, high reward” approach, much like what they did in 2016 to land Alex DeBrincat. Stan Bowman loves to take players that teams skip over because of size and other doubts, so far things have worked out and other teams still haven’t caught on.
Here are the new members of the Chicago Blackhawks:
Adam Boqvist 8; D
A dynamic offensive defenseman with outstanding playmaking ability, was ranked as the second best European defenseman behind Dahlin.
Nicolas Beaudin 27; D
Similar to Boqvist, Beaudin is an under sized defenseman with excellent offensive ability.
Jake Wise 69; C
Wise is a speedy, playmaking center similar to that of Teuvo Teravainen. Regarded by many as a first round pick.
Niklas Nordgren 74; RW
The Blackhawks traded up for Nordgren who was excellent in Finland’s gold medal win in the World Juniors Championship.
Philipp Kurashev 120; C
Kurashev is a Swiss sniper that has the potential to be a “boom or bust” type player.
Mikael Hakkarainen 139; C
Hakkarainen played for the Chicago Steel in 2016, the Blackhawks have had their eyes on him for a while.
Alexis Gravel 162; G
Gravel still has a long way to go in his development and will likely be a long term project for the Blackhawks.
Josiah Slavin 193; LW/RW/C
The younger brother of Carolina defenseman Jacob Slavin. A product of the USHL.
With these picks the Chicago Blackhawks will be in it for the long haul, with a long road of development in from of them.
The Blackhawks also traded Tanner Kero to Vancover for center Michael Chaput. This looks to be a move to add faceoff depth, something they had trouble with last year.