With the Stanley Cup Final continuing on to Game Five on Friday night, fans of the rest of the NHL world have started turning their collective attention to the next event on the calendar that will impact the future of each organization: the 2014 NHL Draft. Will the Hawks find another Duncan Keith in this year’s draft?
Here’s who some of the experts have the Blackhawks selecting with their first round pick:
- Corey Pronman, ESPN.com (June 5) – Brayden Point, C, Moose Jaw (WHL)
- Gus Katsaros, Yahoo.com (May 31) – Nick Schmaltz, C, Green Bay (USHL)
- Adam Kimelman, NHL.com (April 4) – Nick Schmaltz, C, Green Bay (USHL)
- Steven Hoffner, NHL.com (April 4) – Nick Schmaltz, C, Green Bay (USHL)
- Mike Morreale, NHL.com (April 4) – Robert Fabbri, C, Guelph (OHL)
Each of these five “insiders” has the Blackhawks addressing the center position, with three agreeing that Nick Schmaltz fits the profile of a player Chicago would select.
In the last four drafts, the Blackhawks have selected five forwards in the first round: Kevin Hayes (2010), Mark McNeill and Philip Danault (2011), Teuvo Teravainen (2012) and Ryan Hartman (2013). Of those five players, four were listed as a center when selected; only Hartman was a wing when his name was called.
Teravainen appears to be a center in the immediate future plans of the organziation. Hayes spent three years primarily as a center at Boston College, and Danault has spent most of his time at center in Rockford.