We punted the Monday Mailbag last week with the trade of Duncan Keith coming last Monday. So let’s get back on track with a new edition as we prepare for the Seattle Expansion Draft and the NHL Entry Draft this week. Going to be a busy time!
Remember, you can send in questions on Twitter using the hashtag #BNHawksMailbag or email them to us at Mario.Tirabassi at bleachernation dot com. Send them anytime about the Blackhawks or the IceHogs or the NHL Draft or Free agency and everything in-between this offseason.
Question 1: Now that Zadorov is exposed in the Expansion Draft, do you think Seattle will take him? Will this affect his contract negotiations with the Blackhawks if Seattle doesn’t take him? – Aaron H. (via Email)
First, my heart says that the Kraken will take Zadorov so that the Blackhawks can both keep Calvin de Haan and also not overpay Zadorov. But in my head, I don’t think the Kraken look at the list of Blackhawks players who are exposed and think Zadorov is their best bet. If they did take him, there’s no guarantee he’ll sign for less money than he is already asking for with Chicago. Seattle wants to have as much cap space as possible to be flexible heading into the NHL draft and into the 2021-22 season. If they end up taking Carey Price, which is still a possibility, then I don’t think they take Zadorov and maybe go a cheaper route like Malcolm Subban or Adam Gaudette.
Secondly, I don’t think leaving Zadorov will sour negotiations between him and the Blackhawks if he is not taken by the Kraken.
Question 2: Who should the Hawks go after in the NHL draft? – @CodZman65 (via Twitter)
We’ve done a whole list of NHL Draft prospects that I’ve had on the Blackhawks’ wishlist, but the one that is starting to look like a real possibility is Swedish goaltender Jesper Wallstedt. Somehow his draft stock has declined just a bit over the past few weeks after he was considered a top-five pick. Some draft analysts have even called Wallstedt the best overall prospect in the draft class.
Chicago has needs all over their prospect system, so they pretty much can’t go wrong with whoever they pick with their first-round selection, especially in a draft year where prospect evaluations have been all over the place. If Wallstedt, the best goaltending prospect in the class and one of the best in the last few years, is available at pick No. 12, you take him.
Two names that I am interested in that the Blackhawks could target on Day Two of the draft are Matthew Knies and Colton Dach. Yes, Kirby’s younger brother could be and should be on the Blackhawks’ radar with one of their second-round picks. Knies is a player that has started to rise back up the raft boards and could be picked in the early second-round. Both have the ability to play as power forwards and the Blackhawks could use more prospects with the mixture of size, skill, and scoring ability that they possess.
Question 3: Besides Murphy, who will be the best defenseman on the Blackhawks next season? – @chiguy8506 (via Twitter)
Depends on who is or is not taken in the Expansion Draft. If Calvin de Haan is still a member of the Blackhawks on Thursday morning, he’s my pick. It’s going to be an interesting year with the Blackhawks defensive group without Duncan Keith. You’d hope that young players like Adam Boqvist, Ian Mitchell, Wyatt Kalynuk, and Nicolas Beaudin can take the next steps forward in their development and will likely have ample opportunity in the NHL to do so. You also have the recent addition of Caleb Jones, who could become a regular part of Chicago’s defensive rotation.
Also, it depends on what the Blackhawks do with trades and/or free agency this summer. Seth Jones could very well end up in Chicago via trade, or Dougie Hamilton could come to the Blackhawks in free agency. If either of those two do end up with the club, they are instantly the best defensemen on the team. But that all remains to be seen as this offseason unfolds.
That’ll do it for this edition of the Monday Mailbag! We’ll be doing this all offseason and maybe even into the regular season as we get closer to the start of the 2021-22 year. Be sure to send in questions on Twitter using #BNHawksMailbag or emailing them to Mario.Tirabassi at bleachernation dot com.