2018 NHL Draft: Experts Grade The Blackhawks’ Picks

So how did the Blackhawks do with their selections at the 2018 NHL Draft? Some analysts are already offering their grades.

Comment:Chicago got a potential impact guy with their first pick in Adam Boqvist. Nicolas Beaudin was a little rich for me where they got him, but he does a lot of things I like and he’s a fine prospect. I actually think their next two picks pick Jake Wise and Niklas Nordgren are better (they obviously disagree). I’m a big Wise fan, if he was healthy I think he would have had huge numbers this season. I didn’t love Philipp Kurashev or Alexis Gravel this season, but they have talent, and in the fourth and sixth rounds, respectively, they were fine bets. Beaudin pick aside, I like a lot of what Chicago did here and they helped their system a lot.

Comments: “In a growing line of dynamic Swedish defensemen, Adam Boqvist is an exciting one. He’s particularly good at the offensive blue line, where he shows great confidence in handling the puck and opens up a lot of options for both himself and teammates with his patience. Of the defensemen in this draft, Boqvist might have the best shot, with a quick release that helps him gets pucks on net in a hurry. Boqvist is not an NHL-ready prospect, but is a player with a remarkably high ceiling. He certainly has top-pairing potential. He plays a style that is so valued in today’s game with his ability to stretch the ice and create offense from the blue line.

Nicolas Beaudin led Drummondville in scoring with 69 points this season. His defensive game needs work, as he’s at a bit of a disadvantage due to his size. That said, he does a lot of things well when he has the puck on his stick, making quick decisions and making himself a threat the other team has to be aware of. Anyone who moves the puck as well as Beaudin is going to give himself a good chance of reaching the next level.

The Blackhawks kept loading up on D in the first round and got a potentially special player in Boqvist. I wasn’t as big of a fan of the Beaudin pick at that point, but he has really gotten a lot more love from scouts of late than I had previously heard. I thought Chicago’s Day 2 was excellent thanks to some players I personally really like in the first three Saturday picks. Jake Wise and Niklas Nordgren lack size, but they’re excellent offensively. Wise also plays the game so fast, and Nordgren has been an elite goal scorer at the U18 and U20 levels in Finland. Nordgren’s play away from the puck is average, and he doesn’t have great size, but he does have a terrific shot and can get to the goal-scoring areas extremely well. Philipp Kurashev is also a guy whom I had higher than he ended up going. Lastly, the Blackhawks added goalie Alexis Gravel, who is super raw and has a lot he needs to work on, but it wasn’t worth reaching for a goaltender, and the Hawks didn’t have to. This was a positive step forward for Chicago’s system.

Pick 8 -Adam Boqvist – Grade: A 

Comment:Phenomenal playmaker might gave challenged for first overall had it not been for Dahlin. Boqvist is a finesse defender, silky smooth enough to beat back pressure and keep the ice tilted.

Pick 27 – Nicolas Beaudin – Grade: A-

Comment:Hawks take another defenseman in the first round, but Beaudin is a smart puck mover who plays a concise, calculated pro-style game. I still think they need help up front but this clearly was a pick made due to Beaudin’s realistic top-pairing upside.

Comment:They double dipped on defenseman in the first round and then collected a bunch of scorers later on. Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudini both still have work to do, but Chicago has to be happy about getting so much upside in the building.


51 thoughts on “2018 NHL Draft: Experts Grade The Blackhawks’ Picks

  • June 24, 2018 at 7:26 am

    Stocked the pipeline for the future with lots of promise. Nothing to impact the near future though.

  • June 24, 2018 at 7:38 am

    Those grades seem a bit generous to me. I like the Wise pick but it can’t have as much weight as the first round picks.

    So…did the Hawks get the best players available at #8 and #27. If not, a C grade is the best you can give them. Obviously time will tell but based on the info available today, I have my doubts.

    If Boqvist really does have higher end potential than Dobson then I give them a credit for the gamble.

    Interesting that Benjamin gives Detroit a A+ in part because of the “steal” of Valeno at #30. A number 2/3 Center at pick 27 would be fine with me compared to a dman that looks a lot like 3 or 4 dman we have in the system.

    I will say that I feel a bit more optimistic today than I did at the time of the picks. I probably would feel even better if I didn’t know how much help the Hawks need in the next two years.

  • June 24, 2018 at 8:20 am

    The more I read up on these two…

    The Beaudin- pick- I like what I read on him … ++ wheels, ++ IQ, ++ “money ball” stats… Beaudin seems to NOT get into trouble very much- cuz he reads and KNOWS his options , and has wheels to get it done (This kid seems like a possible Keith in few years) before he gets into trouble…

    Boqvist- Has ++ wheels, ++ hands, BUT- the fact that he has been concussed 3-4 times ( I am now reading) – says- perhaps – he does not have the IQ or the ability to READ play well enough to stay out of vulnerable positions!!! That could be a huge Liability – concerning future injuries!!!

    Would have been perfect to get Wahlstrom (Future 20+ goals/yr) and Beaudin!!!

    I agree with Pronman– I like Hawks – 3rd round better than 1st Rd.
    Wise- was injured- lots of upside and talent

    Nordgren- just knows how/where to score, will be better player when he plays with better players… Some really impressive scoring #’s when you compare to others – at same levels

  • June 24, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Ok Wall, what’s your overall grade? I have raised mine to a B- from my original C.

  • June 24, 2018 at 9:08 am

    The concussions with Boquist is a concern though it seems the number of them keeps increasing – not sure what to believe other than the one at the end of this year

    However if he stays healthy (and you have to assume the Hawks think he will) he looks to have a huge upside – a potential star

    Craig Button (highly respected TSN evaluator and former GM) had Beaudin at #20 and Veleno at #28 on his list rankings. If Beaudin becomes a top pair D (as one above suggested) we’ll look back and think of Beaudin as a “steal”

    Wise also has exciting potential – let’s see how his career pans out compared to Veleno’s – that’ll be interesting

  • June 24, 2018 at 9:13 am

    You build a team from the back up through the middle this is a great start for the future of this team.

  • June 24, 2018 at 9:16 am

    Let’s see what they do in trades and free agency to fill the center and Defence positions until the kids start coming. They need to play fast as this season gets underway and I believe they will.

  • June 24, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Boqvist is a high risk high reward pick, if he realizes his potential he’ll be a superstar for years. If not it will be a tough pill to swallow if Dobson, Bouchard a or maybe Wahlstrom vecome big stars and were left on table. But overall the skill potential of this draft rates an A to me.

  • June 24, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Concussions aren’t strictly a product of not having high enough hockey iq or the ability to read plays lol. Wall, seriously dude? Is their a move the Hawks have made of anything they’ve done in the last 10 years that you haven’t criticized?
    “You know, I’m glad the Hawks won the Cup, but Toews picked it up poorly, didn’t elevate it over his head quickly enough. We need to trade him now, his cup raising is clearly past its prime”

  • June 24, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Jake Wise played on the same US National Development team as Wahlstrom (#11), Farabee (#14) and Jack Hughes (2019 #1). Farabee-Hughes-Wahlstrom was their #1 line, which is to say the three of them helped each other’s stats to some extent. Wise got time on the 1st PP unit so some of his points came from playing with them on the PP but to a lesser extent. That said, look at the PPG comparisons:

    Hughes: 18 GP, 18g, 21a, 39pts = 2.16 ppg
    Wahlstrom: 26 GP, 22g, 23a, 45pts = 1.73 ppg
    Wise: 18 GP, 9g, 19a, 28 pts = 1.55 ppg
    Farabee: 26 GP, 15g, 25a, 40 pts = 1.53 ppg

    Extrapolating Wise’s point total if he had played the same number of games as Wahlstrom and Farabee (26), he would have the same point total as Farabee.

    That said, point totals don’t tell the whole story. If Wise were a skinny kid playing against weaker competition the point totals would be a lot less significant – but that’s not the case. He’s already 190lbs and he just turned 18 in February. He skates very well and will probably be a good PK’er. He is at minimum a 3C in 2-3 years, but has enough offensive skills to possibly be a 2C.

    After he spends a year or 2 at Boston U. he could end up being one of the best steals of this draft.

  • June 24, 2018 at 11:09 am


    That worked well.

    This draft is an A when you grade by drafting for future/not short term. ufa/trade will take care of that.

    Ian, not aint so. COL buyout Orpik.

  • June 24, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Day 2 seems decent. Wise sounds like a good pick. I’m just not sold on Stan’s vision which tilts so far towards smaller PMDs and away from more traditional defenders. I think you need both and I have no idea who from amongst Boqvist, Beaudoin, Jokiharhu, and Mitchell will play the tough minutes, handle the shutdown, PK, etc.

    I remember the 2012 draft when both TT and Maatta fell and were available at 18. I felt Maatta would have been the perfect pick for us and was really disappointed (surprised too) when we passed on him. I am no longer surprised though.

    It will be interesting to see the Isles the next couple of years because they got both of the guys many of us wanted. We’ll see

  • June 24, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Jordyhawk getting the skilled players in the pipeline is huge. The grinders can be signed as ufas or traded for a lot easier. Skilled players cost a lot in trades and ufa contracts, maybe the odd one but having most in your system is big.

    Mo what did you think about Taveres comment Bowman made.

  • June 24, 2018 at 11:32 am

    EB you raised a good point.

  • June 24, 2018 at 11:41 am

    Ian: there is a big difference between a grinder and a top pairing stud who can do it all. Seabrook is a good example of a top pairing stud in his prime. You get those at the top of the draft.

  • June 24, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Hear what your saying Jordyhawk but look at the amount of teams drafting smaller defencemen this year and how some of the bigger guys with top 4 potential dropped. Seems to indicate less of a premium on size, so just meant having alot of smaller skill guys could end up being a big value.

    Can’t draft everything at once, more drafts coming, trades and ufa signings can address needs too.

  • June 24, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Pretty sloppy that these “pundits” all totally forgot about Hakkarainen. Hopefully the lack of respect will make him determined to prove everyone wrong.

  • June 24, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Myself and others have made the point that prior to drafting Jokiharju, Mitchell, Boqvist and Beaudin the Hawks had no d-prospects that projected to be top-4, with the possible exception of Forsling and even if tops out his potential it is probably at a #3/#4 rather than a #1/#2. That dearth of top end d-prospects has not been remedied.

    However, the forward prospect pool, while not as poor as the d-prospect pool a couple years go, is not great either. There are no sure-fire top-6 guys in the pipeline and maybe not even any sure-fire top-9 guys. The forward situation is no where as dire as the d-prospects because (1) Toews and Kane are still in their prime years, and (2) Saad, Schmaltz and DeBrincat are legit top-6 players and still young. But, the jury is still out on Sikura, Hinostroza is probably not a top-6 player and Hayden is probably not a top-9 player. There are a number of guys with potential like Soderlund, Fortin, a couple Russians and a couple guys from this draft but none should be considered “sure-fire” with the possible exception of Wise. Even if Duclair is re-signed, he is more a 3rd/4th liner than a top-6 guy.

    This is what happens when the team wins a lot and never gets a top-15 draft pick (until this year).

    If Sikura has a rookie season similar to DeBrincat last season, then he could be the final piece in the top-6 and Hino and Hayden would used in cobbling the 3rd/4th lines together. If Sikura isn’t up to the task, then the Hawks have 5/6 of a top-6. Ideally it would be better to have Sikura on the 3rd line so he can grow into his game with less pressure and against lesser opposing d-pairs. We need to acquire a top-6 singer (or center moving Schmaltz to wing).

    Stan, you’re on the clock.

  • June 24, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Correction – “That dearth of top end d-prospects has not been remedied” should have been “That dearth of top end d-prospects has NOW been remedied”

    Oh for an edit function.

  • June 24, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Correction#2 – “top-6 SINGER” … ah jeez …

  • June 24, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    EB don’t sell Kahun’s potential short. They signed him with intentions of playing this year it appears.

  • June 24, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Dang Ebonyraptor, you beat me to it. For your top 6 singer, I was going to suggest Justin Bieber. Played hockey at one time but a little small.

  • June 24, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Hes not allowed he stepped on the Indian head when taking pictures.

  • June 24, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    ER, your posts the past couple days are good. Legit and spot on, think people get a little swayed too much one way or the other I do it myself.

    Even though 8/12 arnt prospects anymore, I consider them recent prospects so that the FW would be low after they moved up. Loading up D now, then go back to FW when we need to….

    We did get 51/81 by ufa so that has to be the way we one of our top4 D or top6 FW for the coming yrs. Formula isint the same every time, when these turn 27 and are contract yr. the timing of that and having 16.5m and more next summer.

    Depends on who we want, what other guys are ufa next summer.

    Whatever we do or way, get loaded for when the young guys are coming and starting prime yrs and we have roster set ufa 51/81 wise by then.

    SJ and WAS got better/over hump wall when their second layer top players started their prime yrs, 92WAS etc.

  • June 24, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    That could be 8 for us.

  • June 24, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Mox- I said – I like 3 out of 4 first four picks… and you put a Negative spin on that!!!

    who is being negative??? Me or You?

    I love the 3rd and 4th picks!!!

    and Beaudin- I compared to Keith…

    The Boqvist- like Ian said— lot’s risk/Reward… Hope he turns into Karlsson

    But those Concussions are a concern… Did he get Blatant cheap shots??? Which No body in the world can predict or prepare for!!!

    Or was he trying to Do too much??? I don’t know… time will tell

  • June 24, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Good read Wraparound pretty much sums it up.

  • June 24, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Since Orpik was mentioned as a buy out. Is he worth consideration, also, would Col trade him even up for ?Hossa contact, the cap hit might be easier to handle

  • June 24, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    In years past it was easier to offload a contract like Hossa’s where the cap hit is higher than the salary paid to the player, but that was when there were teams looking for ways to get the the salary cap floor. Checking CapFriendly, that isn’t the case this year – it looks like no team is going to be looking for help to get to the floor. There will still be teams with cap space that could take on Hossa’s contract but reaching the floor will not be an incentive. Therefore the Hawks would have to include a player or draft pick or some kind of incentive. What further complicates Stan’s options is that Hossa’s has 3 years left on his contract so a team that is willing to take on Hossa’s contract needs to look 2 and 3 years out and determine if the $5.5M cap hit is going to be a hardship at that time. This is a tough deal for Stan to pull off.

  • June 24, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Carlson 8m

  • June 24, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    I read that teams would need to get to floor, ARI OTT CAR. Havnt looked at theier rosters. That we would get back a pick. Maybe then not sure.

    Thinking we do it, whatever is in the trade mainly because we would have 16.5m and to not use the whole cap space during the 82 games. Bank space baby that covers left over and new bonuses so were going into those yrs with no anchors down.

  • June 24, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Holy shit Seabs has a few yrs left on that caphit.

  • June 24, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    Good post Okie. Barker a 3rd (gulp!). Vorobiev and Yakubov IIRC were picked at 10 and 11 and were big disappointments. Matt Ellison actually has made a living at it and found a permanent home in the K.

    In his last year in junior DK was super lean, lightning quick and spent a lot of time at wing. I remember watching him in the Memorial Cup where he seemed to continually outskate his linemates and get stuck on his own — needed to wait for them (lol). In fairness, back then he looked like a longshot to make it at any position let alone as a Norris winner. He was a real outlier. Incredible career all things considered with a spot in the rafters waiting for him.

  • June 24, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Guess 16m since its 79.5 not 80m.

  • June 24, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    It gives me some comfort that don granato probably weighed in on some of these picks

    I think Q is getting further & further from being able to evaluate & bring along young talent which is essential in today’s game which is speed & skill & Nhl ready early before you have to pay market for them

  • June 24, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Ok, that would take care of the Hossa angle, what about Orpik, if he hits the market, is he worth exploring

  • June 24, 2018 at 9:04 pm


    I’m breaking your balls man. One thing that was a head scratcher was the goalie selection. Haven’t seen him play, but his stats were less than ideal.

    I think it was a terrific draft for 3-4 seasons down the road. And I think it might be that long before we see the fruits of this draft

  • June 24, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    @GOFORFOUR – not sure what evidence you’re thinking of to back up your statement about Q not developing young speedy skilled talent

    In the last two years alone if you want to limit it to the ‘new’ NHL both Dcat and Schmaltz have thrived under Q and Hino has done OK as well – maybe this year Sikura

  • June 24, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    As the weekend comes to an end, as a Hawk fan, I was hoping Stan would come home with two really good prospects, he came home with four -Boqvist, Beaudin, Wise and Nordgren. IF two of them become solid Nhlers, this draft is a success.

  • June 24, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    Okie I put that list our two weeks ago-

  • June 24, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    That’s the spirit, craig.

  • June 24, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    Its hard to have patience. When the core isn’t 24-29, its not that much older though. We just will need more role and mid tier players this time. I down with that.

  • June 25, 2018 at 12:02 am

    If Craig Button is right about Beaudin being ranked #20, then someday we will call the trade of the dumb penalty-taking Hartman for Ejsell and Beaudin a steal.

    Overall, it looks like one of Bowman’s best drafts.

  • June 25, 2018 at 5:49 am

    Chrus S it looks like Orpik is just a 3rd pair guy at this point. He played special tesms regularly but his per game minutes were limited. He is physical and can play his own end but age looks to have slowed him down.

  • June 25, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Mox- You got me!!!

  • June 25, 2018 at 8:14 am

    Stan so far has done nothing for this team in the present. What happened to bigger and faster? They already have to many of the same undersized D-men. With 2 first round picks Stan and company have not helped this team for the up coming season. Unless his plan is free agency or trades this season will be more of the same. I for one am not happy with what I’m seeing so far. They seem to be hoping these unproven players can get them into playoff position. Stan you need to show me more.

  • June 25, 2018 at 8:44 am

    Mox pay attention this year to Gravel, his junior team hosting Memorial Cup next year and will want a winner. He is a very good goalie. Still raw, seems to havr a good glove and guickness little bit i watched him, so has real potential.

  • June 25, 2018 at 8:51 am


    Show me the moneyyyyyy.

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