You know what stinks about covering the Blackhawks this summer? Our folks working hard on tracking the rumors for the NBA and MLB drafts have dozens of mock drafts updating weekly. And our NFL guys have hundreds to sort though. But, with the Blackhawks not having a first-round pick this summer, most mock drafts don’t go deep enough to include a second or third round.
In early June, Smaht Scouting dropped a three-round mock draft for this summer’s NHL Draft. Their analysts have the Blackhawks using four of their five picks on defensemen. Given how many of the Blackhawks’ early picks have been invested in defensemen in recent drafts, and the fact that new general manager Kyle Davidson has already signed a few young d-men since taking over, we’re more inclined to think Chicago will look for forward help.
Last week, Corey Pronman at The Athletic dropped an interesting two-round mock draft. He worked with an anonymous hockey ops source from an NHL team to offer a differing perspective. Pronman and his source alternate picks in the mock draft.
Because this mock goes two rounds deep, Chicago made two selections. And, again, a defenseman is on the board.
At pick No. 38 overall, the NHL source selected RHD Sam Rinzel. Their comments were short and to the point: “Rinzel is a big defenseman with good feet and has offensive upside.”
It’s worth noting when we spoke with NHL analyst Chris Peters earlier this offseason about good value players who might be on the board for Chicago in the second round, Rinzel’s name also came up.
At pick No. 57, Pronman selected LW Dylan James from the USHL. Pronman’s comments: “James is a skilled, intelligent, competitive forward who was a big part of Sioux Falls winning a USHL title.”
James, 18, is headed to North Dakota next season to begin a college career. He’s listed at 6-0 and 181 pounds and had a really nice 2021-22 campaign, earning USHL Rookie of the Year honors. Here are his stats (from EliteProspects.com):