The Second Round of the NHL Draft Has Been Good to the Blackhawks

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Alex DeBrincat Blackhawks

The Second Round of the NHL Draft Has Been Good to the Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks went into last night with no first-round picks, and left making two in the top-15. They traded Alex Debrincat for one of those picks and Kirby Dach for the other. In case you missed it, the No. 7 overall pick was spent on defenseman Kevin Korchinski. And the No. 13 overall pick was used on center Frank Nazar.

But the draft doesn’t end in the first round. Round two begins today, and we have many more picks to go. Speaking of which …

The second round of the draft has been especially kind to the Blackhawks over the years. Indeed, they made a major trade on Thursday that involved one of their biggest wins in the second round in recent years, Alex DeBrincat.

In the wake of the DeBrincat and Mrazek trades, the Blackhawks now have two picks in the second round this year: Nos. 39 and 57 overall (they also have the first pick in the 3rd round via Dach). It’s worth noting that DeBrincat was selected 39th overall — one of the picks the Hawks received from Ottawa.

And the Blackhawks have seemingly won the second round of the NHL Draft more frequently than any other round. Looking back to 2002, here are the best second round picks for the Blackhawks.

2002: Duncan Keith

The Blackhawks nabbed a future Hall of Fame defenseman 54th overall in 2002. Chicago selected Anton Babchuk in the first round that year, but we clearly look back more fondly at Keith, whose number — the round and year in which he was selected — will join others in the rafters at the United Center some time in the future.

2003: Corey Crawford

Unlike some other draft classes over the past 20 years, the Blackhawks didn’t do better in the second than in the first; in 2003 Chicago selected Brent Seabrook. But picking a netminder who would guide the team to two Stanley Cup championships 52nd overall was tremendous value as well. Crawford had a terrific career for the Blackhawks and probably should have the 2013 Conn Smythe at home as well.

2004: Dave Bolland & Bryan Bickell

The Blackhawks had four picks in the second round in 2004 and the first two made significant contributions to the Chicago dynasty. Bolland (32nd overall) and Bickell (41st overall) are tied together in history thanks to their two goals coming 17 seconds apart to clinch a championship in 2013. While neither played as many games in Chicago as we may have wanted, their impact on the titles runs is undeniable.

2011: Brandon Saad

We broke down how the Blackhawks wound up with the pick that landed Saad in the second round in 2011 in one of our recent Trade Tree Friday pieces. Like others we have named already, Saad was a big part of the dynasty seasons. Despite being ranked higher in the early season draft consideration from NHL Central Scouting, Saad’s stock dipped and he fell to the Hawks at 43rd overall.

2016: Alex DeBrincat

In a somewhat ironic twist, one of the better offensive players drafted by the Blackhawks in the past decade may ultimately land the Blackhawks pick(s) in the first round. But the Blackhawks didn’t need to use a first round selection on DeBrincat; despite his resume including 167 goals scored over three seasons with Erie in the OHL, some felt he was too small or depended on other players (Connor McDavid or Dylan Strome) too much. He’s proven them all wrong thus far in the NHL, and was a steal at 39 overall.

The Next Wave

A few more recent second round picks might still make an impact on the Blackhawks’ future.

  • 2017 — Ian Mitchell (57 overall)
  • 2019 — Alex Vlasic (43)
  • 2020 — Drew Commesso (46)


Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab