Mock Draft Season Begins, Thoughts on 19 and 88, Mediocre TV Ratings, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Max Domi Blackhawks

Mock Draft Season Begins, Thoughts on 19 and 88, Mediocre TV Ratings, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

We’re almost there, folks. I promise. The Blackhawks will practice again on Monday and host a game on Tuesday… assuming the concessions workers at the United Center aren’t on strike. And when the Blackhawks get back on the ice we’ll be less than four weeks from the NHL’s trade deadline. Get ready for a busy February, Blackhawks fans.

Spending two seasons with the USHL’s Chicago Steel prior to joining Michigan this season, nothing would seem more logical than the Blackhawks selecting Fantilli and centering him as the answer to the end of the Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane era. He’s a big, skilled centerman, who could become the face of Chicago’s rebuild and future success.

  • At No. 27 he has the Blackhawks drafting forward Kasper Halttunen, though he admits in his comments the Blackhawks could go in any number of directions at that point with their second pick in the first round.

Picking again in the first round, Chicago could go in any direction with this one. Knowing their rebuild is only beginning, taking Halttunen, who is still adding elements to his game in limited minutes in Liiga, could pan out well for the Blackhawks. Halttunen is 6-foot-3 and looks like a dominant player among his peers, but his ceiling is concealed at the moment in Liiga. In fact, this pick could just as easily become another Finnish prospect like Lenni Hameenaho or Jesse Kiiskinen. Chicago’s second pick will be a dealer’s choice for an organization facing a long rebuild.

  • If you’re looking to waste a few hours (daily, if you’re like me) on mock drafts for the Blackhawks (or any other team… or all of them), the fine folks at FCHockey have finally updated their interactive mock draft simulator. The Blackhawks fall second in the draft order now, which is where they should be based on their record at this point. You can roll out all seven rounds if you want. I ran a four-round mock this morning for the heck of it.
  • Yesterday I grabbed a cigar and chatted with the guys on the Bardown Podcast. We talked about the first half of the Blackhawks’ season and what they might be able to get done at the trade deadline. We talked for roughly the first 45 minutes of this episode of the show. Enjoy!
  • Kane’s trade buzz is only going to increase in the coming days and weeks. In the past couple days a number of NHL insiders have spoken and written about the market for Kane if/when he decides to accept a trade out of Chicago. Two common teams in most conversations about Kane’s trade market: the Rangers and Stars. But a few other teams have been mentioned this week as well.
  • The NHLPA is looking for their next exceutive director, and Darren Dreger broke the news on Wednesday that it might come from… the United States Federal Government? Donald Fehr has been in the role since 2010, but the players have become increasingly unhappy with his performance over the past six or seven years. It was announced that this would be Fehr’s final season in the role last April.
  • The NHL is making a lot more money from Disney/ESPN and Turner now than they did with NBC in their previous contract. And the response from fans to the various folks who handle the game calls and pre-/post-game shows have been mixed. So when we read that TV viewership is down 22 percent, it’s a little disheartening.
  • With that being said, traditional television ratings are kind of like plus-minus in hockey and an ERA in baseball. Nice to know, but I’m not necessarily putting all of my eggs in that statistical basket. Disney/ESPN have pushed their ESPN+ platform so hard this season, I would be interested to see what their membership numbers and viewership are on that platform. I’m personally not a huge fan but I know there are a lot of folks (especially my friends with financial interests in multiple games) who love being able to watch out-of-market games more frequently.
  • Finally, the NFL has finally shared its salary cap numbers and the Bears, like the Blackhawks this summer and next, have a LOT of money to spend. The difference, of course, is the Bears already have Justin Fields while we have to wait until the lottery balls dance in April to know how high the Hawks will pick in this year’s critical draft for our hockey team.

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