Friday, June 27, 2014
Potential Blackhawks draft picks
By Scott Powers
PHILADELPHIA -- The Chicago Blackhawks are slated to select the 27th overall pick of the first round in the NHL draft on Friday. Here's a look at some players the Blackhawks could opt for in that spot:
Brayden Point, center, Moose Jaw Warriors (Western Hockey League) The 18-year-old Point, who is 5-foot-9 and 161 pounds, is the player ESPN NHL Draft and Prospects Analyst Corey Pronman has the Blackhawks taking in the first round. Pronman wrote of him, "Point has uncertainty within the industry in terms of what level of prospect he is. But in terms of the high-skill, high-hockey IQ players Chicago targets, he fits the mold." Point had 36 goals and 55 assists in 72 games this past season in the WHL.
Adrian Kempe, left wing, Modo (Sweden) The Blackhawks have fared well with Swedish players, and Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman drafted three just last season. The 17-year-old Kempe has size at 6-2. He had three goals and 16 assists for the under-20 Modo team this past season. He could remain in Europe and be given time to develop.
Dylan Larkin, center, U.S. National Team Development Program (United States Hockey League) The 17-year-old Larkin was noticeable when I saw him against the Chicago Steel late in the USHL season. He has speed and offensive ability. He may not be around for the Blackhawks to take at No. 27. He had 31 goals and 25 assists in 60 games this past season. He's committed to Michigan.
Anton Karlsson, right wing, Frolunda Jr. (Sweden) The 17-year-old Karlsson is another Swedish forward who could be of interest to the Blackhawks. He has some size (6-0, 190) and speed. He had 12 goals and 10 assists in 28 games this past season.
John Quenneville, center, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) The name obviously rings a bell with Blackhawks fans. He's the second cousin to Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. This wouldn't be a charity pick. The 18-year-old Quenneville established himself as a high-level prospect in the WHL. He had 25 goals and 33 assists in 61 games this past season.
Robby Fabbri, center, Guelph Storm (Ontario Hockey League) The 18-year-old Fabbri was the MVP of the OHL playoffs. He's known for his speed and tireless work ethic. He had 45 goals and 42 assists in 58 regular-season games and 13 goals and 15 assists in 16 playoff games.
Julius Honka, defenseman, Swift Current Broncos (WHL) The 18-year-old Honka is one of the defensemen the Blackhawks could pursue if they look at that position in the first round. Honka, who is from Finland, had 16 goals and 40 assists and was a plus-10 in 62 regular-season games this past season.
Marcus Pettersson, defenseman, Skelleftea (Sweden) This might be early for the 18-year-old Pettersson, but he's another Swedish defenseman the Blackhawks could store away in Europe for a while. He had four goals, 14 assists and was a plus-4 in 38 games last season.
Louis Belpedio, defenseman, U.S. National Team Development Program (USHL) The 18-year-old Belpedio may be more of a second-round pick. He is a local prospect, grew up in Skokie, Ill., and the Blackhawks have a history of picking local kids. Belpedio boosted his stock throughout this past season. He had one goals and 10 assists in 56 games this past season.
Thatcher Demko, goaltender, Boston College (NCAA) The Blackhawks are unlikely to take a goaltender in the first round, but it is a position Bowman likely will address in the draft. Pronman rates the 18-year-old Demko as the best goalie in the draft. He had a 2.24 goals-against average and .919 save percentage as a freshman at Boston College last season.
Nick Schmaltz, center, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) The 18-year-old Schmaltz is a former player in the Chicago Mission system and is from Wisconsin. He sees the ice well and can make plays. He had 18 goals and 45 assists in 55 games last season. He'll play at North Dakota next season.