There’s a lot of things that are populating my 2021 offseason Blackhawks Wishlist. Today we’ll dive into the NHL Draft side of the wishlist with prospects eligible for this summer’s NHL Draft that would fit the needs of the Blackhawks as they look to build upon the young talent that emerged on their roster during the 2021 season.
With the the 12th-best odds of winning the top-overall draft pick in the upcoming Draft Lottery, the Blackhawks are likely to be picking in the 10-11-12 range (depending on how their luck plays out). With that in mind, we’ll keep our wishlist eye on prospects that are projected late-lottery picks, starting with forward Mason McTavish.
Why He Fits
At 6’2″ and North of 200-pounds, McTavish would already be the second-largest center in the Blackhawks’ system behind 2019 first-round pick Kirby Dach. Having size and skill down the middle of your hockey team is a key factor to having success. Looking around the teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this summer, there are few teams that have many centers under the six-foot, 190-ish pound threshold. For the Blackhawks, outside of Dach and Jonathan Toews (who isn’t confirmed coming back to the team for 2021-22 just yet) Chicago lacks size at the Center position.
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— TSN (@TSN_Sports) April 29, 2021
McTavish’s game is more than just being bigger and playing physical. He has a high-end shot among the top prospects in this year’s draft class and has driven offense wherever he has played, whether in the OHL with the Peterborough Petes last season, or in Europe with EHC Olten in the Swiss League (second-tier), where he played during the 2021 season. McTavish ranked third in goals on the Petes as a 17-year-old in his first season in the OHL and finished sixth on the team with 42 points in 57 games during the 2019-20 season. He tallied nine goals and 11 points in 13 games with EHC Olten this season.
One aspect that makes McTavish intriguing on and off the ice is his leadership abilities at a young age. He was an alternate captain for the Canadian White U-17 team at the 2019-20 World Hockey Challenge and served as Captain of the Canadian U-18 team at this year’s U-18 World Junior Championships. McTavish finished tied for second on the Canadian team in scoring with 11 points in seven games, helping lead Canada to a U-18 World Championship Gold Medal earlier this month.
• Future Considerations: 15th
• SportsNet (Bob McKenzie): 9th
• TSN (Craig Button): 14th
• McKeen’s Hockey: 16th
• Elite Prospects: 5th
What The Experts Are Saying
Plays heavy and hard in every facet of the game. His great hockey sense makes him effective in all situations.
He’s sturdy on his skates and has a good work rate away from the puck. McTavish has a quick, heavy shot. On top of that, he was able to make smart reads with the puck on his stick and challenge the bigger, stronger pros with his ability to make plays down low.
Another OHLer who went to Europe, McTavish was awesome in Switzerland, getting his nose dirty and competing hard. But he’s also an offensive driver, a great finisher with a terrific release.
The Blackhawks were one of the smallest and lightest teams in the NHL in 2021. They need to continue to add size and skill to their roster if they are going to get back to the top-tier of the NHL. They have a start with young players and prospects like Kirby Dach, Alex Vlasic, Alec Regula, Isaak Phillips, and Michal Teply to name a few that combine desirable size and skill that could translate to the NHL-level in the next few years. Adding another to that list with McTavish could help bring the Blackhawks up to par with some of the top contending teams in the league in the near future.