For the first time since the 2007-2008 season, The Chicago Blackhawks were eliminated from the playoffs by publishing a shadow record of 33-39-10, Blackhawks never received the ball and were not the same team after Goalie Corey Crawford got hurt. The Blackhawks lottery remained fairly stable, putting them in eighth place. This will be the first time that the Blackhawks will be selected in the Top 10 since their release in 2007 in the NHL, where they selected right-winger Patrick Kane with the number one choice. They also have rights to the first round of Nashville later in the round, thanks to the trade of Ryan Hartman, which they did earlier this season. So, the question is, what can Blackhawks do with this number eight?
First, we need to start by looking at the current Blackhawks and their situation with the free agent in the offseason. Patrick Sharpe is an unrestricted free agent, but he already announced his departure in early April, before the season ended. Then the Hawks have three other list forwarders that are limited to free agents, that is, they can match any deals that they can offer. These forwards: 22-year-old Anthony Ducler, 25-year-old Thomas Jurko and 24-year-old Vinny Chinostroz.
Let’s start with Thomas Jurko, who had more NHL time in his career. Since Red Wings, Jurco had a lot of chances, but spent most of this year in AHL with Rockford Ice Hogs. If Blackhawks can not get it on a bilateral contract or very cheaply in one direction, they almost certainly allow him to walk. Now, Chinostroza is an interesting player, because he had 25 points in 50 games, which is really a good stat for the third or fourth liner. But he also does not have experience in the NHL. I believe that Hawks will try his best to keep him on the list and keep him in sixth place for most of the season and see what he can do. Duclair is another interesting player, because he is only 22 years old, but he spent time in NHL teams over the past four seasons, including 81 games with Arizona in 2015. He spent most of the year this year with Arizona before trading with the Hawks, where he had only eight points in 23 games. I think Blackhawks traded for him with a long-term goal. He is still only 22 years old, and I believe that Hawks will try to get him back.
The only member of the NHL list, which is a free agent, is Defenseman Michal Rozsival, who was placed in the Long Term Injured Reserve back in October. Forward Marian Hossa is also on the Long-Range Reserve, and so far there are no signs that he will play next year. I believe that a deeper heart, young guys who are likely to be brought up, as well as those that will play a full season, such as Dylan Sikura, who was brought after college for the last five games, will be more than enough for everything to be OK. The two big holes that were at the Blackhawks this year were a capable reserve goalkeeper after Cory Crawford was injured, and protection is where they grow older and the young guys they raise could not fill holes.
Another defender, who is the same type of player as Hughes, but more, forcing him to play the better defensive half of his game, is Evan Bouchard of the London Knights in the OHL. The statistics in the Canadian leagues always explode, especially the top-level talent, and for Bushard this is not so. He had 87 points in 67 games and +23. He’s very good, he’s an all-around defender, and if he does get into Blackhawks in this heavy bombardment, I think he could perfectly match with a guy like Duncan Keith. My final choice will be Swedish defender Adam Bokvist. The rating is slightly lower than that of the other two, Bokvist is a smaller guy such as Hughes, and had 24 points in 25 games and +6 for the Brynas IF J20 team. He also had time with the main team, but he raised only 1 point in 15 games and -7. I think if Hawks, like Bocqwist, they will trade down and possibly take him as a player of the project. He is still only 17 years old, so he will have another year in juniors before Hawkes thinks to bring him to the AHL or even the NHL.
Despite the fact that I believe that hawks need a defender who can probably be effective right away, I would not be surprised if Hawkeye goes on the offensive, as it usually happens so early. They usually get guys who can work well together with Jonathan Tous and Patrick Kane on the first and second lines respectively.