The 11th Pick, World Championship Quarterfinals Underway, Mark Scheifele Faces Suspension, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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The 11th Pick, World Championship Quarterfinals Underway, Mark Scheifele Faces Suspension, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

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.

•   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…

•   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…

•   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!

•   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.

•   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.

•   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.

•   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.

•   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.

•   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!

•   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.

•   Speaking of awards finalists, the Calder Trophy Finalists for Rookie of the Year were announced this morning.

•   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.

•   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!

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.