The Chicago Blackhawks are still sitting at No. 12* (Arizona forfeited No. 11) overall in the 2021 NHL Draft. Will they trade up? Down? So many decisions and we’re within two weeks of the draft beginning.
We have provided scouting reports on some of the top prospects Chicago might consider when they’re on the clock. Now, let’s take a look at who some of the so-called experts believe the Blackhawks will select.
The Athletic – Corey Pronman (July 16)
Jesper Wallstedt, G, Lulea-SHL
Comments: “As with Ottawa, I’ve heard conflicting things from sources on if Chicago is going goalie or skater. If they are going skater, the name I’ve heard the most is local forward Matthew Coronato, but quite a few sources believe they will pick a goalie.“
NHL.com (July 17)
Adam Kimelman — Chaz Lucius, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)
Comments: “Lucius (6-1, 185) had surgery to remove a bone lesion in his left knee and missed the first four months of the season, but the 18-year-old returned pain-free and feels his skating is better than it has been in years. Lucius is strong around the net in the offensive zone and has an NHL-caliber shot that he used to score 13 goals in 13 games this season.“
Mike Morreale — Lucius
Comments: “The Blackhawks could be looking to stock up on depth down the middle and Lucius might be the long-term option with proper development. He’s been compared by some scouts to Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and is regarded for having one of the hardest shots among players in the 2021 draft class. Lucius is committed to play at the University of Minnesota next season.“
TSN – Craig Button (July 20)
Chaz Lucius, C, USA U-18 (NTDP)
McKeen’s Hockey – Ryan Wagman and Brock Otten (July 19)
Sebastian Cossa, G, Edmonton Oil Kings
Comments: “While the Blackhawks did select Drew Commesso last year and he is coming off a great freshmen season, they also jump at the chance to grab another potentially elite netminder in Cossa, who has the size and athleticism to be a star. It is always best to not put all your eggs in one basket.“
NBC Sports – Sean Leahy (July 19)
Sebastian Cossa, G, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Comments: “Like the few teams before them, the Hawks are basically in a position to choose between the second of two goalies in this draft who look like probable NHL starters, or among a group of talented forwards who all profile somewhere in a top six role within a few years. If they take a forward, the best offensive drivers on the board are local talent (by junior team, not by upbringing) Matthew Coronato, USHL transplant Cole Sillinger, and USNTDP standout Chaz Lucius, as well as Swedish dynamo Fabian Lysell, who leans towards playmaking than the other three. This year’s Alex DeBrincat/Cole Caufield type, Logan Stankoven of the WHL would also be a worthwhile gamble now, but that would beg the question of whether an NHL team function with two top six players of that stature. In the end, the goalie is the choice that would appear most likely to be a difference maker for Chicago re-emerging as a competitive team.
The Blackhawks do like Drew Commesso, who they had selected last year in the second round and is coming off a solid freshman campaign at Boston University. But having never played more than 37 games in any one season, maybe Commesso is more of a 1B. Cossa has also never played a full season of starter’s minutes yet, but the pandemic stood in the way of that workload. Gigantic with great athleticism and ability to read the play, he profiles as an ideal 1A.“
DobberHockey.com – Hadi Kalakeche (July 17)
Matthew Coronato, C/LW, Chicago, USHL
Comments: “Coronato’s selection at this rank comes after the Chicago Steel forward led all draft-year USHL players in points per game, albeit on the best team in that league with strong teammate support. There is a lot to love about his game, however: the undersized forward (5-10, 183 pounds) plays a gnarly, in-your-face game and boasts an above-average release, exacerbated by his will to gain the middle and the slot for his shooting chances. He shows decent small- and large-ice manipulation, playing pucks across seams he creates for himself and dragging opponents towards him to free up space behind them.
Chicago might very well take a shot at Coronato at 12th overall; he is right in their backyard, and fits the profile they need in terms of goal-scoring and grit. He is not the 12th best prospect in this draft, however — his skating and execution speed will need to improve quite a bit if he wishes to keep up with the NHL’s pace — but the Hawks have some of the NHL’s best skating staff available to them and will be quick to get to work on Coronato’s lackings. The upside is worth the risk for Chicago at 12th overall.“
Floor: middle-six AHL winger
Ceiling: Top-six goal-scoring forward, both special team units
The Sporting News – Josh Bell (July 20)
Sebastian Cossa, G, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
FCHockey rank: 15
Comments: “This is where it could get interesting. Last season, the connection between the Blackhawks and Yaroslav Askarov made a great deal of sense. He just didn’t make it to their pick. But this year, with two high-end netminders to choose from, Chicago should be able to land their goalie of the future. Cossa has even been considered equal to Wallstedt in the public sphere but with Cossa the only one left here, the choice is easy. The Blackhawks have strong young guns at forward and defense, so the goaltender could be the last piece they need to get back into contention.“
The Athletic – Mark Lazerus (July 8)
Matthew Coronato, RW
Comments: “It’s tempting to go with a goalie here, particularly Jesper Wallstedt, but the Blackhawks just picked Drew Commesso in the second round last year and are high on the Boston University netminder. Throw in the offseason signing of Arvid Soderblom and it’s getting pretty crowded on the Chicago depth chart in goal. So when in doubt, it’s always a good bet that the Blackhawks will opt for a USHL kid or a local kid. Matthew Coronato fits both bills as a Chicago Steel product. Could be an opportunity to trade down a few spots with a team looking for a goalie.“