Blackhawks Draft History: Picking Top 5 Has Been Rare
On Monday night we’ll find out where in the 2023 NHL Draft the first pick of the Blackhawks will fall. With the third-best odds of winning the draft lottery, the unfortunate reality is Chicago could draft anywhere between first and fifth overall. We’re all hoping for one or two this year.
Looking back at the Blackhawks’ history in the NHL draft, it’s strange that an Original Six franchise has had so few picks in the top five overall. Since the first amateur draft in 1963, the Blackhawks’ most frequent spot in the top five has been third. In fact, if the Blackhawks don’t stay put at No. 3 this year, they’ll make just the second selection in franchise history at any of the other four possible spots.
Here are the best — or, in most cases, only — players the Blackhawks have drafted at each spot in the top five since 1963.
No. 1 — Patrick Kane (2007)
The Blackhawks have only made the first pick in an NHL draft once in franchise history. And I think it’s safe to say they made the right call. There was some conversation about Kane’s size coming out of London with James van Riemsdyk, the No. 2 pick, being a much taller player. But Dale Tallon took the greatest American-born player in NHL history.
No. 2 — Andy Culligan (1965)
The Blackhawks selected Andy Culligan second overall in 1965; he appeared in zero NHL games. He is the only No. 2 overall pick in Blackhawks history.
No. 3 — Jonathan Toews (2006) and Denis Savard (1980)
The Blackhawks have made the third selection in an NHL draft a few times, to varying degrees of success. But two players were key components to tremendous eras in the history of the franchise. Montreal passed on local hero Savard in 1980, much to the dismay of their fanbase. And both St. Louis and Pittsburgh passed on Toews in 2006, giving the Blackhawks a future captain and Hall of Famer. Chicago also selected Eddie Olczyk, Cam Barker, Terry Caffery and Kirby Dach third overall. I love Edzo, but his numbers in Chicago aren’t quite what 18 and 19 produced.
No. 4 — Richie Bayes (1964)
The first time the Blackhawks had the fourth overall selection in the NHL draft was in 1964, when they picks Richie Bayes. He appeared in zero NHL games, and the Blackhawks haven’t drafted fourth overall since.
No. 5 — Art Hampson (1963)
In 1963, the second year of the amateur draft, the Blackhawks selected Art Hampson with the fifth overall pick. He never appeared in an NHL game. That’s the last time the Blackhawks picked fifth.