2018 NHL Draft: Mocking The Blackhawks Draft Pick(s)

Mock Drafts are fun. And when you’re only a few short days away from the NHL Draft, they begin to come more frequently with more insight.

So we looked to some of the folks who weigh in on prospects to see who they’re projecting the Hawks to pick with their two selections in the first round later this week. Here’s who we visited to put this list together:

So here we go. A couple names figure prominently at number eight overall.

Pick #8

The Athletic – Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, USNTDP

Comments: “The Blackhawks value skill first and foremost. They’re not scared off by undersized players either. That’s paid off with such selections as Alex DeBrincat, Vinnie Hinostroza and Dylan Sikura… The Blackhawks are in need of stockpiling elite defensemen, but they’re going to take the best available player at No. 8. Wahlstrom is that.”

Yahoo – Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, USNTDP

Comments: “The 6-1, 205-pounder has been on the radar of many hockey fans since his days as a New England youth hockey player performing stunning one-on-one moves. Now, he’s set to be a top-10 pick and it looks like he’s also going to have a collegiate career at Boston College for as long as the Eagles program can keep the NHL scouts away. Wahlstrom has some breathtaking offensive ability with 48 goals and 94 points in 62 games for the US National Development Team, and has size, skating, shooting and considerable strength. He also brings a willingness to go the scoring areas that doesn’t always come quickly for young prospects. This is the kind of player who could quickly make an impact with the Blackhawks after a year of college seasoning at the Heights.”

USA Today – Oliver Wahlstrom, RW, USNTDP

Comments: “A gifted offensive player who can score off the rush or in goalmouth scrambles. Will be strong at the net. Owns an impressive shot release.”

NHL.com – Jesperi Kotkaniemi, F, Liiga (Finland)

Comments: “One of the wild cards in the draft, as this versatile forward could go earlier. Blackhawks will take him if he is there.”

Sporting News – Ty Smith, D, Spokane (WHL)

Comments: “Like Vancouver, the Hawks don’t necessarily need help up front, and Smith is a gifted puck distributor who isn’t too far from making his mark on the league. He has quick feet and excellent instincts, but his one-on-one defense and positioning are more advanced than the majority of his draft peers. Smith could help make the transition from Duncan Keith more seamless.”

TSN – Jesperi Kotkaniemi, C, Assat (SM Liiga)

Comments: “He plays the game in a similar fashion to Anze Kopitar and to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews.”

Pick #27

The Athletic – Rasmus Sandin, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

Comments: “Sandin’s hockey sense and puck-moving ability should fit well with the other defense prospects coming through the Blackhawks’ pipeline. The Blackhawks took a right-handed defenseman in the first round last year and now will take the best available left-handed defenseman in the first round this year… I could see Sandin go around this area of the draft and even a little earlier due to how strong his end of the season was. This would be the second straight year Chicago takes a D in the first round and, along with Ian Mitchell, would give them exceptional young talent on the blueline.”

Yahoo – Martin Kaut, RW, Dynamo Pardubice (Czech)

Comments: “The 6-1, 174-pound winger has shown a good ability to finish plays and provide offense in his limited time in the Czech leagues, but was a point-per-game player (seven points in seven games) at the world junior tournament, where the radars are truly up for the NHL scouting staffs. Kaut is a player who really pushed up in the rankings later in the year and could rise even higher based on his standing along with other prospects. The good offensive abilities for Kaut should be a nice fit for a Blackhawks, who need to get younger, more skilled and more dangerous offensively as they support their established core group with an infusion of younger talent.”

USA Today – Ryan Merkley, D, Guelph (OHL)

Comments: “Some scouts worry that he takes too many chances, but he can motor up the ice with flair and impact.”

NHL.com – Dominik Bokk, F, Växjö Lakers HC (SHL)

Comments: “German-born forward could be late bloomer playing in Sweden.”

Sporting News – Filip Hallander, C/W, Timra IK (Allsvenskan)

Comments: “A hard-nosed player with great hands and a penchant for throwing his weight around, Hallander is one of Sweden’s top draft prospects who, like Olofsson, was instrumental in Timra’s playoff victory that vaulted them into the SHL’s top division for next year.”

TSNonly projected top 15 picks

60 thoughts on “2018 NHL Draft: Mocking The Blackhawks Draft Pick(s)

  1. I have said it multiple times prior hereto. Joe Veleno. They can even trade down a few spots to select him. A center like this is a cornerstone for a perennial Stanley cup contender.

  2. I think there is a good chance that one or both of Hughes and Boqvist get passed over and are available when we pick. I hope Stan passes too. In the top 10 of a strong draft you should get it all – speed, skill, size. Studs, not smurfs.

    Also, Bob McKenzie now has Kotkaniemi ranked 5. It will be interesting how it plays out.

  3. If it’s a forward i’ve moved onto the Jesperi Kotkaniemi camp, but Wahlstrom will be a fine option too. Jesperi is the guy moving up rankings. I can see MTL nabbing him 3rd.

    I’m still hopefully that the Hawks will nab a defenseman with the 8th pick. TSN final D rankings have Dobson ranked 2nd, Bouchard 3rd, Hughes 4th and Boquist 5th. Zadina seems to be the guy most likely to slide, TSN was reporting some of his off ice test weren’t great which has scouts moving him down.

  4. Who knows how the draft unfolds after the first 2 picks. Any way it goes, the Hawks will get a pretty good player with tremendous potential, if they don’t something stupid like trading down. Even after Dahlin, there are 4 d-men worthy of a top-10 pick. Likewise with the group of forwards after Svechnikov – at least 4 of them worthy of a top-10 pick. Can’t wait to see who we get.

  5. Toronto Sun final rankings have Montreal going for Kotkaniemi at 3, and the Hawks taking Dobson at 8 (Walstrom going 9th) Bouchard is at 6 in their ranking.
    Other than the top pick all kinds of rumours/possibilities. Who knows.

  6. Am I the only person who thought Cody Franson was one of our better defenseman last season? Last year was brutal.

  7. If players like Dobson or Zadina still around they be obvious choices, Bouchard being forgot about could drop and the sleeper in the top 10 for someone. Also if guys like Ryan Macleod, Jared Macisaac or Bode Wilde still around at 27 be very strong picks too if neither pick traded.
    For my bust pick i take Kotkaniemi, the needed franchise center who was held down for skating issues all year that aren’t brought up anymore.

  8. My pipe dream is one of Tkachuk/Wahlstrom opposite Kane w/ Toews w/ Saad-Schmaltz-DeBrincat on Opening Night. Give me one of those two big body forwards.

  9. On a team that needs help particularly down the middle and on defense, I really hope the Hawks don’t end up with a winger with that first pick. We need elite level skill at Defense, which was a shambles last year, and Center, more than anything.

    Of course, if Tkachuk is there I could be talked out of that because of the physical game he brings. But honestly, with how important defensemen are in this league, I would hate to have the chance to nab an elite level dman and not get one. In 4 years Keith/Seabs will be a shadow of themselves and we really have not identified any top pair defensemen in all of the prospects we have to date. And I know Washington’s d core were not all world, but they don’t win the Cup without Carlson’s contributions, and being able to play their 1-2 and 3-4 defense pairs against other team’s top lines.

    I just think without a stud defenseman it leaves the Hawks with a hole they can’t fill. (the same argument could be made for center too)

  10. Agree Mike and if Dobson is available we should grab him, but after him come Boqvist and Hughes (not studs) and Bouchard (not a top level skater), so maybe the best player available at 8 will be a forward with the complete package (e.g Walstrom) and hard to say no to. I am all for being more selective with our pick at 27 where I think our strong priority should be a left hand shot SHD.

  11. So Hoffman to the Sharks. What a shame that his of ice choices get him dealt. He is a really good player. His girl is a piece of trash if what she did is true. Normally I’d say make a move for a guy with off ice issues but these issues are a deal breaker, good luck with that Doug Wilson.

  12. Oh Bravo, Uncle Doug! He then flips Wilson to Uncle Dale and the Panthers for picks. So he sheds some bad contracts to Ottawa, then picks up draft picks from Florida. Well done indeed! Now Ottawa has to see this guy all the time priceless!

  13. Wahlstrom and Samuelsson. Hawks are planning to pick a forward and a defenseman in the first round. One of each but not two of both.

  14. No thanks on Walstrom. The knock on him is he doesn’t compete for pucks but waits for his linemates to do the dirty work and feed him, much like Schmaltz in his draft year. And before anyone whips out Schmaltz’ takeaway numbers from last season, get a grip, he won’t be a Selke candidate any time in his career.

    Number 8 pick it would be nice to get a guy with a complete game, and preferably at a position that is a premium one, like defense or center. For all we know Walstrom is Mike Hoffman without the crazy girlfriend.

  15. re: picking forwards vs defensemen – the Blackhawks have a LOT of defensemen signed and more coming (Ian Mitchell specifically). If they stick in the top 10 I believe they’re looking for an impact forward who can be on the NHL ice within the next 2 seasons. At 27 they can take the best player on their board or look to make a move to help the NHL roster this season, but top ten picks don’t come along often when you’re theoretically still inside your championship window.

  16. Let’s get two dang good players and get ready for the coming yrs with a good mix for the roster.

    It begins now.

  17. Wonder if Habs be interested enough in AA as a nhl ready top 6 center to trade from 3 to 8 feeling they can still get Kotkaniemi. Blackhawks could have choice of Tkachuk, Dobson or Zadina then.

  18. After stating in my earlier post that trading down would be stupid … I’m feeling kinda stupid so I’m going to propose just that – IF – picks 1 through 7 take Dahlin, Svechnikov, Zadina, Kotkaniemi, Hughes, Dobson, and Bouchard off the board. That would leave Tkachuk and Wahlstrom sitting there to be picked at #8 and #9.

    My proposal would be to trade the #8 and #27 to New Jersey for the #11 and #12 and then pick Barret Hayton and Vitali Kravtsov.

  19. This list makes my case why we need a center.

    Toews – Has played like a 2C for the past couple years at least, and concerns with accumulated head traumas make it iffy he will ever return to legit 1C status.

    Schmaltz – Has not stuck at center for one season in the NHL yet. Elite speed but can’t win a faceoff and is very slight of build, so he has a hard time defending down low in the defensive zone. He is good at speeding from behind and taking the puck but these are different skills. I think as a 2C you could get away with Schmaltz, but I don’t see him as a 1C due to defensive limitations, and if he is playing with Kane they will be starting nearly every draw without the puck which isn’t ideal. His speed, however, backs the d way off and gives his linemates room.

    Anisimov- If we don’t dump him this offseason we will regret it. In his 30’s, he is slowing down even more in an increasingly fast league. Only his crazy high shooting percentage led him to another good goal scoring season but if that dries up this year no one will take him off our hands next year.

    Edjsell – The book is still not written if he is even an NHL player yet, much less a center, much less more than a 4th liner. I hope he pans out but I would not bet on it, he is far from a sure thing because of his lack of skating speed in a fast league.

    Kampf- Smart 4th line center who can win over half his faceoffs but can’t score to save his life. The definition of replacement level player. This guy is no possession driving 4th line center like Kruger was in his prime. Serviceable for a 4th line guy though, and the only guy on the roster that can take some faceoff pressure away from Toews currently.

    Johnson – The book is still out on him being an NHL player as well. He is trending in the right direction with his play the last couple years, but the NHL will be a big hurdle for him to overcome, as he is a try hard guy, hard worker, with very little skill. To me, it’s either Johnson or Kampf as the 4th line guy but in no way would you want both guys on the team.

    So I count 2 #2 centers and spare interchangeable parts at center, and I can’t think of one legit playoff team that isn’t better at center than us right now.

  20. I would be down with EB’s proposal, only if Tkachuk is still there I think they take him and hope he becomes Big Buff 2 on Kane’s left wing.

  21. Here is Mike: you’re on the correct track re: a center. Assuming the Hawks do not trade the pick in a package for an NHL ready proven player. This is why I have been advocating for Joe Veleno. He is not going to be a superstar, but a consistently productive player who can be trusted by Q (assuming Q has staying power) on both ends of the ice. He is a young, healthy version of Bolland. Last I checked, the Hawks were a pretty good team when Bolland was around and contributing. They bailed on him at the exact right time. Bolland II is there for the taking.

  22. If the Hawks don’t take the best available, impact, difference maker player, regardless of position with the 8th pick, they are doing it wrong. Messing up a top 10 pick can haunt a franchise, so you don’t mess around with those picks. Take the guy that grades out the best and then find the rest of the pieces as you can.

    Hossa was not a center and I could make a reasonable argument that he was the most valuable piece to the Hawks Cup runs. He is a classic example of a player that makes everyone around him better. Impact players will make an impact regardless of position. If there are three guys at # 8 that grade out roughly the same, then sure, why not pick the guy that fits a need? I can live with that. But only if the difference between them is negligible. Fill a room with enough talented players, any GM worth their salt will be able to sort out who stays who goes and then fill in the gaps with what one needs. Talent trumps need.

  23. If there is one guy that may slip it might be Zadina, not sure he slips to 8 though. Kotkaniemi and Dobson are the two movers up. I doubt either makes it past 6.

    @ Tab

    You are way more bullish on the Hawks defensive prospects than most. I don’t see a single impact player (1st or 2nd pair) in the group. Tracy Myers has been telling Hawks fans they need to pump the brakes on Joker, most NHL scouts outside the Org agree. Plus there are also rumors Ian Mitchell may stick around Denver and eventually sign with the Avs to play for his U of Denver coach. Besides those two prospects, it’s a lot of warm bodies in my opinion.

  24. I’d love Wahlstrom (could be lining up on Toews’ RW in 2019-20) or Tzachuk (he could fall) or Kotkaniemi ( both him and Wahlstrom are young for draft eligible and have lots of upside)

    If we can’t get one of those three I think I’d prefer Hughes to Dobson – I could be wrong but watching some of Dobson at Mem Cup I’m not totally convinced his game translates as a top D man game to the NHL – maybe but maybe not – I think Hughes showed at Worlds that he can play with men

  25. On a high end team, I would rate Schmaltz as a third line winger (potentially second if he gets better) so agree with those making the case that we could use a blue chip prospect at center.

  26. Southsidehawknan your comment about Ian Mitchell potentially signing with the Colorado is the exact reason I would try to stay clear of guys that are committed to us colleges.
    Why take the chance of potentially losing you first round pick when you don’t have to?

  27. JORDIEHAWK…If coach Q gives Schmaltz first line minutes and uses him on first line power play he will become a stud.
    Flip side…If Q does not play Schmaltz huge minutes and kills Schmaltz’s
    confidence Schmaltz will still become a very good player.
    If Nick Schmaltz is a third line player in Chicago I’m really going to enjoy watching the first two lines. Just my opinion.

  28. Mitchell’s college coach is in Dallas. I still can’t see Ian Mitchell waiting 3 more years just to get to play for his old coach.
    Plus in 3 years who knows if he will still be there.

  29. @ Stape

    Sorry wrong team former U of Denver coach is now in Dallas. Regardless you are right, its clearly a risk. A case could me made 4 or 5 years ago that because the Hawks NHL roster was full of younger prospects taking players and having them sit for several years was a good idea. However now with the Hawks finishing 13th in the Western Conference and lack impact players it’s probably not the best idea. This offseason is going to impact the organization for yrs to come. If the Hawks don’t do something changes will happen.

    On a side note you have to think the Sens will try to keep Erik Karlsson now that they have trade Mike Hoffman. It’s also appearing less likely John Tavarse leaves now that Lou has cleaned out Doug Weight n Garth Snow. 2 of the biggest chips may be off the market.

  30. Bring back the breadman. In terms of excitement it would be next to winning the cup for me!

  31. Trade Anisimov and sign JvR


  32. People were worried about Hayden, then Sikura. I am not worried about Mitchell. Especially if there a spot for him to Earn.

  33. I bet at some point some Hawk fans were worrying ab Kevin Hayes.
    How about you Morrison? I don’t think you would have been worried. Lol

  34. All the NCAA players the Blackhawks have drafted and people still going on like Hayes only one that was. Mitchell has given no reason to believe he won’t sign, so no issue.
    Jokiharju wasn’t signed to slide him, coulda waited until next year. He will get a look likely into December when the 40 game window comes up counting as a year towards his ufa status, if he is sent back to juniors. His agent wisely took no performance bonuses until 2019-20 season so there us no reason not to keep him.
    Speaking of bonuses Kahun got the max bonuses only rare occasions teams offer them, i would say because they have high expectations for him on the roster too next season.

  35. I wouldn’t want players who do not want to earn their spots. Shit in stairwells.

    He made the biggest mistake of his career. He would have a Stanley Cup, but…. he went for the money and guaranteed playing time.

  36. Young athletes that haven’t made money or played in the league for many years go for these four reasons in this order–1 and 2 stay consistent with regard to importance, but 3 and 4 take on added value for rich, older, successful athletes.

    1) money-Show me the $$$$
    2) get to play-contribute
    3) comfort of family/environment
    4) wanting to win

    He went for the top two, and we don’t really know about #3. The system allows him to do it, so can’t really blame him. It’s scary for teams with high picks, but it doesn’t happen much-but it’s one of the reasons I like drafting from the CHL.

    Hopefully when a team makes a huge commitment/gamble of a top 10 first round pick it’s a guarantee that they sign–Should first round picks be protected? At least for ‘x’ amount of years?

  37. re: being “way more bullish on the Hawks defensive prospects than most” – I’m really not. I’m just not an eternal pessimist, either. The one guy I really like right now as a potential stud is Ian Mitchell. I also acknowledge that I haven’t seen enough of Jokiharju to make a stronger determination of his potential. I do believe there are guys in the system like Dahlstrom and Gilbert and Hillman who could play a role on a very good NHL team. There was absolutely nothing sexy about Niklas Hjalmarsson, but people in Chicago (rightfully) love the guy. You don’t have to skate like Campbell or Keith or shoot like Weber or Karlsson to be an effective defenseman and I think many forget that.

  38. Tab and Ian- I agree with last 2 posts… That is why I don’t waste #8 pick on D guy…

    D- guys are less predictable -imo- to forecast/scout as NHL sure things…
    It is a position – where- the less you hear a guy’s name in the broadcast- sometimes that is a great thing… Oduya/Hammer pairing is a great example…

  39. Gilbert- scared me in NCAA Playoffs… seemed to be on the screen a lot ( in a bad way)… lack of foot speed and/or over-used

    Jokiharju- didn’t see a lot of foot speed last year at Hawk’s Prospect camp…. hope he was just “over-thinking” the drills and what Coaching staff was telling him to do…
    everywhere else- states this kid is + skater– I didn’t see it last camp

    Krys- looked decent in Few NCAA playoff games I watched

    Hillman- seems to have good IQ/understanding… skill?? 4th-6th D man- most likely… But- he is an example- OF- as long as we don’t hear his name a lot… probably doing OK/serviceable

  40. Wall i like somebody who is close to NHL ready, within a year or so for a high pick like no. 8. Less risk than taking someone who still needs 2 or 3 years, is why i didn’t jump on Kotkaniemi or other centers, seems too far out to use on that pick.

  41. Ian- imo- none of the D guys are ready ( not based on views- just what I read)
    except for Dahlin and maybe Hughes

    so that is why I go with best Forward available at #8

    Kotkaniemi- is More ready than the “other” D guys… played and scored Versus older
    Euro talent/league… Played on PP/PK… ONLY thing holding him back is – Euro contracts ( I am guessing)…

    So most likely waiting 2-3 years for Dobson/Bouchard/Kotkaniemi– either way-
    I just think- Kotka- is easier to project- success with Higher upside… imo

  42. Nothing i read indicated Dobson or Bouchard not to be close maybe another year as almost everything about Kotkaniemi says clearly his development is well behind other top prospects.

  43. Ian- I have never seen any of these 3 play… Only basing it on reading other scouting reports… and my gut instincts on Prospect D versus Prospect Forwards

    and – maybe most importantly- fact that Kotka – played in Men’s pro league versus D guys playing in Jrs.

    Kotka’s # when compared to other Euro’s at same age Versus similar Pro talent- look to be very promising… Barkov/TT like numbers

    Only time will tell which kid(s) turn into Players versus Pumpkins

  44. A he would be fine, we’re better in 20 and on then 19. Not 2/3 yrs to be ready.
    I like the FW better now. We can trade for Dman/ufa other then who we have/prospects. We get two top4 (top pair and 2nd pair) were looking good with purple FW and who we get this draft/top 10 quality pick.

  45. Wall you got your opinion i got mine lets let it go. Its pace of league not how old they are that matters most.

  46. @ Wall

    Haven’t seen any dates released yet, that will likely be shortly. Excited to catch the camp at the new MB center vs Johnnys. If you haven’t been there its awesome.

    Caught Don Weddell Canes Gm on Hockey Central podcast. It was curious that there were a few names he didn’t bring up when talking about the Canes future. 1st was Faulk, 2nd was Skinner. I think both will be moved shortly. Then bus tossed whatever GM called about Hanifin pretty much callin that guy a big mouth. It’s doubtful Hanifin gets moved after listening to him. Also sounds like they are locked in on Andrei Svechnikov.
    Last few mocks I’ve seen have Brady Tkachuk coming to the Hawks interesting.

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