The Chicago Blackhawks 2019 Draft Outlook improved dramatically after they were awarded the third overall pick in the NHL Draft Lottery on April 9th. After another disappointing season without a playoff appearance, the Blackhawks 2019 Draft potential at number three brings some hope to a depressed and weary fan base.
We are going to cover the teams previous top three draft picks for some perspective on the effect a successful high draft pick can do for a franchise. We are also going to feature the top prospects as ranked by Last Word’s own draft guru Ben Kerr. Our Top Shelf Prospects rankings will be used to highlight who the Blackhawks may draft at number three. Each player will have a brief profile from Ben but be sure to click on the player link for the full profile and as well as a compilation video of their highlights.
Chicago Blackhawks 2019 Draft
Two straight seasons without a playoff appearance and zero playoff series wins since their 2015 Stanley Cup victory has demoralized the Blackhawks faithful. Getting the third overall draft pick gives the team a chance to draft an impact player. A player which will hopefully be contributing at the NHL level sooner rather than later. The Blackhawks 2019 draft pick has to be a solid one as there is no room for mistakes. While many of general manager Stan Bowman’s previous drafts have been less than stellar the hope is that this draft will be a different story.
Previous Blackhawks Top Three Picks
- Patrick Kane first overall 2007 – 903 Games 356 Goals 938 Points
- Jonathan Toews third overall 2006 – 873 Games 327 Goals 755 points
- Cam Barker third overall 2004 – 310 Games 21 Goals 96 Points
- Ed Olczyk third overall 1984 – 1031 Games 342 Goals 794 Points
- Denis Savard third overall 1980 -1196 Games 473 Goals 1338 points
As you can see, the Blackhawks previous top three draft picks have been very successful for the most part. Four of the five have had a tremendous career in the NHL after getting their start with the Blackhawks. You have an NHL Hall of Fame member in Savard and a US Hockey Hall of Fame member in Olczyk. Also included in this list are two future members of the NHL Hall of Fame in Toews and Kane. It is this kind of success that is expected in the upcoming draft on June 21st. Anything less will be met with scorn by those demanding another playoff appearance next season.
Blackhawks 2019 Draft Targets At Number Three
It is a consensus that the number one overall draft pick in June will be Jack Hughes. He will be followed by Kaapo Kakko at number two. We are including their profiles so that you may see what the Blackhawks 2019 draft options could be if they swung a trade and moved up. While this is unlikely we cannot ignore the top two prospects and their talents.
At Number One – Jack Hughes
“Hughes has the potential to be a franchise centre and could become one of the best players in the NHL.”
At Number Two – Kaapo Kakko
“He’s ready for a top-six role in the NHL right now, and projects to grow into an elite forward. Kakko’s game is reminiscent of Aleksander Barkov. However, this is not a talent comparison, but rather a stylistic one.”
Blackhawks 2019 Draft Options at Third Overall
It is from here on that the Blackhawks 2019 draft pick becomes interesting. At number three they have the ability to pick one of the next few top-ranked prospects or potentially move down. Can Bowman find a willing trade partner that wants the number three pick bad enough to trade a much needed top four shutdown defenceman? While it is a long shot stranger things have happened on draft day.
At Number Three – Vasili Podkolzin
“In terms of talent, there is little to question about Vasili Podkolzin. The powerful winger impressed on the international and domestic scenes. Podkolzin is close to being NHL ready but as mentioned above, whatever team drafts him will need to have patience due to his KHL situation (two more years on his contract with SKA St. Petersburg). He could be a first line winger in the NHL, using both skill and power to put up points. While this is by no means a talent comparison, his game and style is reminiscent of Rick Nash.”
At Number Four – Bowen Byram
“The 2018 NHL Draft was filled with high-end defensemen, with five blueliners going in the first 12 picks. This year’s draft is looking to be the opposite of that, with few high-end defenders available. However, one player who would be considered one of the best defensemen in any draft year is Bowen Byram. Byram has the skills to be a number one defenseman in the NHL. However, he may not be ready next year as he still needs to add some muscle to his frame before he is ready for the pro game. It is also natural that defensemen take a little longer than forwards to be NHL ready. In terms of a stylistic comparison, Byram’s game is reminiscent of Drew Doughty, however this is not comparing skill level.”
At Number Five – Alex Turcotte
“Turcotte’s non-stop motor and offensive skills make him a prospect who can play in any situation and fill any role. He may need some time before he is NHL ready but will get plenty of time to bulk up while playing in the NCAA. With a few small improvements, Turcotte could become a number one centre in time. Even if he never reaches that ceiling and becomes an effective two-way second line centre, he will still be a coach’s favourite due to his defensive game and relentless energy. His game is reminiscent of Ryan O’Reilly, but this is a style comparison and not one based on skill or ability.”
There Can Be Only One
Of these three picks, the chatter around Chicago is that the team needs a defence prospect who will be NHL ready very soon. The experiment with Henri Jokiharju was ended early last season because of his being too raw for the rough and tumble Western Conference. Jokiharju has incredible upside and potential with the puck but his ability to defend has to be just as skilled. Unfortunately, he was forced into the opening night lineup due to injuries to Connor Murphy and Gustav Forsling. Regardless of last season, his future is bright.
The other two top defence prospects are Adam Boqvist and Nicholas Beaudin. They too face the challenge of making the jump to the NHL while they are still filling out their bodies. Boqvist at 6-foot and 181 pounds and Beaudin at 5-foot-11 and 174 pounds will find life in the NHL at lot easier if they can add some weight and muscle before making the jump.
Which brings us to Byram. The word on Byram is that he can be that guy to make the NHL lineup very soon. He has the chance to lead a resurgence on the Blackhawks defence corps in the near future. He is just that good. For more on Byram enjoy this from Charlie Roumeliotis of nbcsports.com/chicago :
“We know what you’re thinking: Another defenseman? After using the past three first-rounders (Henri Jokiharju, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin) and a second-rounder (Ian Mitchell) on defensemen? Really? Yes, really.”
“That’s tempting for the Blackhawks because, while there’s certainly a surplus of young defensemen in the organization, they could knock out two birds with one stone in drafting the 6-foot-1, 192-pound Byram because he might be the best available player while also filling an immediate NHL need who could become their next franchise-changing two-way defenseman.”
Stan Bowman would be wise to draft Bowen Byram at number three. He is one of the very few defence prospects in the first round that has the chance to make an impact in the near future. Compared to Podkolzin and Turcotte he appears to be the better choice for a team that needs to improve on defence.
Last Word On The Blackhawks 2019 Draft Outlook At Three
The five prospects listed above all have tremendous talent and the potential to help a franchise in the very near future. Any team drafting in the top five hopes their pick will blossom into a highly talented player with a long NHL Hall of Fame career. The Blackhawks definitely need such a player in this draft.
Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring other prospects that the Blackhawks may draft in rounds two and beyond. These will feature prospects at forward, defence, and goaltending. We will also cover the upcoming restricted free agent issues facing the Blackhawks as well as potential unrestricted free agents that are available. This summer is certainly a make-or-break off-season for the Blackhawks so stayed tuned as Last Word on Hockey will have all of the coverage for it.