Blackhawks Mock Draft Season is HERE! And It Goes Way Beyond Connor Bedard
Last year, Blackhawks fans didn’t get to enjoy the dialogue that comes with mock drafts because Chicago didn’t own a first-round pick until general manager Kyle Davidson started wheeling and dealing just before the start of the draft. When the dust settled, the Blackhawks made three first-round selections.
This year’s a very different story, but some of the excitement comes with a moment of pause when it comes to mock drafts. The Blackhawks won the draft lottery and will get to pick Connor Bedard first overall, so prognostications regarding that pick are somewhat less exciting. We know it’s happening, and that’s awesome. But… mock drafts at the top will be consistent. And that isn’t as much fun.
Ah, but wait! The Blackhawks have a second pick in the first round. And four in the second round! There’s still a lot to consider, project and talk about. And I’m all in for Mock Draft SZN.
On Tuesday morning, the two great scouting analysts at The Athletic — Corey Pronman and Scott Wheeler — published their first two-round mock draft. Yes, two full rounds! Which means we get to pour over six (6) Blackhawks selections.
Here’s who they have the Blackhawks selecting with a little info on each player, their comments and my thoughts on each pick.
1 — 1: Connor Bedard, C
Wheeler’s comment: “No need for me to spend too much ink on this one when the Blackhawks have surely already stamped it.”
My comment: Well, yeah. We just need to know what number to put on the jersey we’re all gonna buy before the Fourth of July.
1 — 19: Daniil But, LW, Yaroslavl
NHL Central Scouting Rank: No. 9 European skater
Wheeler’s comment: “The Blackhawks add a long, versatile and talented scoring winger in the 6-foot-5 But, a player who should really complement a Bedard or a Frank Nazar long term.”
My comment: This pick was interesting to me on a number of levels. A lot of folks are off the But Bandwagon because he’s in Russia. His size is undeniable. And he has skill. So this feels a little like last year’s lottery ticket selection of defenseman Sam Rinzel in that it might take a couple years for him to get here but the package is intriguing. However, with forwards Quentin Musty, Calum Ritchie and Matthew Wood still available on their board I would have probably gone with one of those three over But in this spot.
2 — 35: Bradly Nadeau, LW, Penticton
NHL Central Scouting Rank: No. 17 North American skater
Wheeler’s comment: “The Blackhawks can afford to wait on a smallish college-bound player, and they swing on the talent of Nadeau, who torched the BCHL this season and is one of the only remaining forward prospects with legit top-six/PP1 talent if things break right.”
My comment: When Wheeler says Nadeau dominated the BCHL, he’s maybe underselling it a little; he had 113 points in 54 games this past season. Nadeau is committed to the University of Maine for the coming season, which would fit the Blackhawks’ mold of allowing players to develop at a conservative pace in college (see: Frank Nazar). One player who was still available in their mock draft that I would have strongly considered in this spot is 6-3 center Danny Nelson (they have Nelson going 40th to Washington).
2 — 44: Kalan Lind, C, Red Deer
NHL Central Scouting Rank: No. 39 North American skater
Pronman’s comment: “Chicago adds one of the most competitive players in the draft in Lind who was a big part of a top WHL team.”
My comment: Compete is a word we’ve heard from the Blackhawks’ front office more than once when they talk about prospects, so Pronman mentioning that got my attention. Lind had 44 points in 43 games for Red Deer this past season. Again, there were a few names that followed this pick that I might have favored for Chicago: LW Carson Rehkopf (who they picked 45th), C Felix Nilsson (48) and RW Koehn Ziemmer (49).
2 — 51: Mathieu Cataford, RW, Halifax
NHL Central Scouting Rank: No. 36 North American skater
Wheeler’s comment: “The Blackhawks add a hard-working, versatile forward with good instincts and overall skill in Cataford, who could become a solid third-line player for them someday.”
My comment: With the Blackhawks back on the board four picks later, there isn’t much I can pick through with the guys whose names followed, though RHD Andrew Gibson (6-3, 200) is a guy who might have my attention considering Chicago’s collection of defensemen is largely left-handed at the moment. Cataford scored 31 goals in 68 games in the QMJHL this season. I’m cool with the pick.
2 — 55: Nico Myatovic, LW, Seattle
NHL Central Scouting Rank: No. 26 North American skater
Wheeler’s comment: “Despite being a December 2004, Myatovic is a late bloomer who impressed scouts this season for the way he fit in up and down a loaded Thunderbirds lineup, scoring 30 goals and playing a variety of roles. He’s got size, versatility, skill, room to fill out and pro habits already and could eventually fit in nicely behind the Blackhawks’ first-round talents.”
My comment: Sign me up for this one all day! In fact, I would have been cool with Myatovic going at 44 or 51 as well. When Wheeler says he could compliment “the Blackhawks’ first-round talents,” I chuckled because he’s been doing that in Seattle with Kevin Korchinski, Nolan Allan (first rounders) and Colton Dach (second rounder) as teammates this season. He’s got size that I like and his production (30 goals, 30 assists in 68 games) on a roster loaded with players already drafted by NHL teams checks almost every box for me. Love the pick.