While half of the NHL is focusing on the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the other half that includes the Chicago Blackhawks were fixated on the NHL Draft Lottery last night. In what was a mostly boring and chalky lottery, the Buffalo Sabres and expansion Seattle Kraken earned the first and second overall picks in the upcoming NHL Draft in July.
• For the Blackhawks, they landed at 11th overall, which is exactly where they were supposed to land holding the 12th-best odds of winning the lottery. With the Arizona Coyotes forfeiting their first-round pick, they were taken out of the lottery and the Blackhawks’ 12th pick becomes 11th.
• The history of the Blackhawks picking 11th overall is…not great. Sure it started well with Hockey Hall of Famer Dave Manson, but it falls off a cliff with Pavel Vorobiev and Kyle Beach. Beach, picked in 2008, never played in the NHL.
The #Blackhawks have drafted 11th overall 3 times in franchise history:
1985 – Dave Manson
2000 – Pavel Vorobiev
2008 – Kyle Beach
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) June 2, 2021
• Hopefully the Blackhawks can land a quality player at 11th overall, with the last 11 draft picks in the No. 11 spot including the likes of Yaroslav Askarov, Oliver Wahlstrom, Kevin Fiala, Filip Forsberg, and Jack Campbell.
• Granted, it all comes down to the Blackhawks’ scouting process and ability to identify that top-tier talent. Which, in recent history, has not been their strong suit in the draft as evidenced by The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler and Harman Dayal’s recent work…
The results: https://t.co/rOdi958Zmi
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) May 31, 2021
• For my money, a short-list of five players the Blackhawks should be eyeing with their 11th overall pick are Mason McTavish, Carson Lambos, Cole Sillinger, Carson Ceulemans, and Chaz Lucius.
• Following last night’s NHL Draft Lottery results, the staff at The Athletic went through a mock draft of the lottery picks. I recommend checking out the full piece, and a hint at the Blackhawks pick made by Scott Powers: it’s not one of the five I just mentioned…
— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) June 3, 2021
• While the Blackhawks are preparing for the Draft, there is postseason hockey in the future of the organization with the Indy Fuel, the ECHL affiliate of the Blackhawks, qualifying for the Kelly Cup Playoffs with a win last night!
— x – Indy Fuel (@IndyFuel) June 3, 2021
• Good luck to the Fuel! Indy has never won the Kelly Cup since becoming an ECHL franchise in 2013.
• Last night in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, we saw yet another player have to be stretchered off the ice. Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans scored an empty-net goal to seal the Canadiens Game One win over the Winnipeg Jets. But on the play, Jets forward Mark Scheifele laid a vicious hit on Evans that knocked-out Evans before he hit the ice. It was a disgusting play by a historically not dirty player in Scheifele.
This is all you need to see.
Scheifele still had a slight chance to get his stick on the puck to prevent Evans from scoring. Instead, he’s already locked and loaded to destroy him. Should be the last thing he does for the rest of the postseason #StanleyCupPlayoffs https://t.co/eFd8NSIqFE
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) June 3, 2021
• The problem with the hit doesn’t start and end with the contact to Evans’ head and subsequent injury/concussion. It’s in the intent of the hit. Scheifele was assessed a major penalty for charging and a game misconduct on the play, he left the ice immediately following the hit and post-hit scrum on the ice. The charging penalty is clear as day as Scheifele covered more than two-thirds of the ice to make the hit and lined up Evans the entire way. He had a chance to make a play on the puck as well, but as evidenced in the screenshot above, he had no intention to make that play and instead focused on railroading Evans.
• In the predictable aftermath of a hit like that, everyone on both sides needs to get their shots in at the offending player. But one guy last night did the honorable thing in that situation and looked out for the unconscious Evans. Major props to Jets forward Nikolaj Ehlers.
As upsetting as the Mark Scheifele hit was, I can’t stop thinking about the way Nikolaj Ehlers rushed over and protected Jake Evans from the scrum.
That’s how you respect the game.
(Photo: David Lipnowski, Getty Images) pic.twitter.com/3Al1oyTVz4
— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) June 3, 2021
• This is the second time we’ve seen a player take a vicious hit and have to be stretchered off the ice, and the second time it’s happened in a game with the Canadiens. The first being unfortunate and accidental with Corey Perry hitting John Tavares, this being predatory by Scheifele.
• Last night, I couldn’t imagine that Scheifele would see the postseason again. But it appears, that won’t be the case.
Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele will have a hearing today for Charging Montreal’s Jake Evans.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) June 3, 2021
• With the hearing not being “in person” (over Zoom), the maximum mount of games Scheifele could be suspended is five.
• The Department of Player Safety, once again in the spotlight, is going to fumble this. Again. It’s time to clean that house.
• In the other Stanley Cup Playoff action last night, Brandon Saad and the Colorado Avalanche took a 2-0 series lead over the Vegas Golden Knights with a 3-2 overtime thriller. Saad got the Avalanche on the board first in the game by extending his goal-scoring streak to five games in these playoffs.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) June 3, 2021
• While the Golden Knights, who put Marc-Andre Fleury back in net for Game Two, fought back and forced overtime, it was Mikko Rantanen who put the Avalanche up 2-0 in the series.
Right over the shoulder and Mikko Rantanen called game!
That's your Shot of the Night.
— NHL (@NHL) June 3, 2021
• Like I said before, HOW do you beat Colorado in a seven-game series? You probably can’t.
• Rantanen is on another level when it comes to the postseason, doing something we haven’t seen since Pavel Bure in 1994!
Mikko Rantanen has collected at least one point in each of his last 16 playoff games dating to the 2020 postseason. Only five different players in NHL history have recorded a longer point streak that spanned multiple playoff years. #StanleyCup #NHLStats: https://t.co/0YNzFoVsbS pic.twitter.com/TSLPqTU5ow
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 3, 2021
• This series between Colorado and Vegas features two of the three Vezina Trophy finalists in Fleury and Philipp Grubauer. While Fleury is a front-runner for the award, it’s the Avalanche’s netminder who is stealing the show.
Philipp Grubauer (39 saves) of the @Avalanche became the 10th goaltender in NHL history to win 10 or more consecutive playoff decisions. #StanleyCup #NHLStats: https://t.co/0YNzFoVsbS pic.twitter.com/aRk6Xd6SGn
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) June 3, 2021
• Speaking of awards finalists, the Calder Trophy Finalists for Rookie of the Year were announced this morning.
2021 Calder Trophy finalists, as voted by @ThePHWA: Kirill Kaprizov (MIN), Alex Nedeljkovic (CAR) and Jason Robertson (DAL).
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) June 3, 2021
• Although the Blackhawks had one of the largest and most productive rookie classes in the NHL in 2021, none were named finalists for the award. It was a long shot, but Kevin Lankinen had the best case to make to be in the top three. He likely will finish in the top five in voting when the results come out.
• One Blackhawks rookie from 2021, Philipp Kurashev unfortunately saw his run with Switzerland at the IIHF World Championships come to an end this morning as they lost in a shootout to Germany in the Quarterfinals. Blackhawks 2020 first-round draft pick Lukas Reichel and Germany moves on to the Semifinals, as does fellow 2020 draft pick Drew Commesso with Team USA.
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) June 3, 2021
• Later this afternoon, the second pair of Quarterfinal games get underway as Dominik Kubalík and the Czech Republic take on Finland and a major matchup between Russia and Canada sees Max Shalunov and Nikita Zadorov take on Brandon Pirri, Nicolas Beaudin, and Brandon Hagel.
• That will do it for today. Have yourselves a great Thursday!