Blackhawks Select Defenseman Nolan Allan

The Chicago Blackhawks made huge headlines with a trade just before the start of the 2021 NHL Draft. The acquisition of defenseman Seth Jones dropped the Blackhawks from the 12th overall selection to the final pick of the first round on Friday night.

Which meant a long night of waiting.

But when the time finally came for the 32nd pick, the Blackhawks called their name.

Nolan Allan, D
6-2, 194
Shoots: L

Ranked #101 by FCHOCKEY
Ranked #59 by TSN/BOB McKENZIE
Ranked #89 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
Ranked #40 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
Ranked #98 by SMAHT SCOUTING

#55 overall prospect
Skating: Below-average
Puck Skills: Below-average
Hockey Sense: Average
Compete: Above-average

Allan’s statistics won’t inspire you (11 points in 81 career WHL games), but he is a 6-foot-2 defenseman who can kill a lot of rushes with his gap control, physicality and reach and can kill penalties well. He can make a pro-caliber first pass but his game lacks offense due to a lack of puck skill and creativity. He’s not going to be leading rushes or running a power play at the higher levels but he does show flashes with the puck of playmaking instincts. His skating is good enough for his frame and to be an NHL player, but his quickness won’t jump out to you. In a sentence, Allan projects as a “hard to play against” third-pair NHL defenseman who has limited offense.

#65 overall prospect

A physical, low-offense defenseman, Allan plays his position very well. He closes gaps, makes smart reads and can he ever lower the boom when needed. Allan has good mobility, too, which makes all those other traits more impactful for him. He is so tough to beat in the hard areas of the ice, using either his length or his mobility to get position and then using his strength to displace the puck. My concern, however, is that the offense is never going to come around and if it doesn’t, that makes it harder to climb the ladder.

#68 overall prospect

Allan is a solid skater, especially given his size. His mobility allows him to play a solid defensive game. He has a good stride in both directions and is especially quick going backwards. His crossovers are strong and efficient. They allow him to pick up speed while defending, and also give him good lateral movement to maintain his gap control. His agility is also very good and it is tough to get around him in one-on-one situations. Allan is strong on his skates. He is tough to knock off the puck. He also does a good job of winning battles along the boards and in front of the net. Allan should only continue to get better at this aspect of his game as he continues to mature and get stronger.

Offensive Game
What you see is what you get with Allan’s offence. There is not a lot there. Rather it is his defensive game that is his calling card. Allan makes a good first pass to start the transition game but does not carry the puck up the ice himself very often. He is also not the type to join the rush as a trailer, preferring to stick to his defensive responsibilities. In the offensive zone, he lacks offensive instincts. Allan moves the puck quickly, taking the safe pass instead of being patient at the line and finding scoring opportunities.

Allan can also work on his shot. He doesn’t use his lateral mobility well enough to open up shooting lanes. As a result, Allan’s slapshot can either hit the defender’s shinpads or miss the net. He is a bit more effective with his wrist shot though. He has good power and a quick release on it. However, Allan does not shoot enough. Again he prefers the safe pass around the perimeter of the zone and asks teammates to do the offensive work. He is also pretty safe at the blue line. He does not pinch in to keep the play alive very often.

Defensive Game
Allan is an excellent defender for his age. He is very physical and will through a big hit if an attacker comes down his side of the ice with his head down. He maintains very good gap control and funnels attackers to the outside and away from the net. If they try to sneak by him, he will lower the boom. Allan also likes to step up in the neutral zone to throw these hits or to make a poke check and cut off the attack before it even reaches the defensive zone.

In the zone, Allan is physical in defending the cycle along the boards and fights for loose pucks. He also does a good job of keeping the front of the net clear. Allan is strong positionally, with his active stick cutting down passing lanes. He reads the play well, anticipating the plays of opponents and cutting them off. Allan is particularly strong on the penalty kill, maintaining his position and cutting off passing and shooting lanes. He also does a good job of preventing the opponents from setting up and getting the puck down the ice. When a turnover is created, he is able to move the puck up the ice quickly with a pass, helping his team transition to offence.

Projection and Comparison
Allan has the size, skating, physicality and defensive skills to develop into a top-four defenceman. He will likely never be the lead defenceman on his pair but would be a compliment to a more offensive defenceman. With his ability to dominate defensively in the WHL, there is hope that he can take more risks and develop some offence in the next couple of years. That would be a real bonus to the team drafting him, but it’s really the defensive projection that will get Allan drafted. He could play big minutes against opponents’ top lines and on the penalty kill if he reaches his potential. Allan’s game is reminiscent of Joel Edmundson, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.

22 thoughts on “Blackhawks Select Defenseman Nolan Allan

  • July 23, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    other than nhl central scouting every service ranks him low second round to high fourth round. sounds like another bowman draft choice where he knows a player’s value better than anyone else. isn’t it possible this guy is available in a later round? wasn’t there any big forward available with a similar scouting grade who could upgrade the physicality of the forwards in a year or two?

  • July 23, 2021 at 11:06 pm


  • July 23, 2021 at 11:37 pm

    Bowman is a f ing idiot….could have got this guy in the 4th round….wtf !!

  • July 23, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    In the first round, you should always be looking to draft for offensive upside..regardless of what anyone says, the most difficult aspect of hockey is scoring goals..whether it’s a forward or defenseman, you should be looking to draft players with offensive upside (be it goal scoring or playmaking) because they’re even more difficult to find in the later rounds..Allan is the type of player you can find in the second or third round..a player that will top out as a stay at home defender on a second pairing if we’re lucky..assume that his ceiling is Hammer..well that’s great..except we drafted Hammer 108th overall..this kid just went in the first incredible over reach by, glass half full, since we’re not expecting any offense out of him, maybe we won’t trade him like Joki or Boqvist if he doesn’t have a 50 point season by the time he’s 21 lol…

  • July 23, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    I would’ve gone for Raty or the Russian F. IMHO, a first rounder should have top 6/top 4 upside.

  • July 24, 2021 at 12:03 am

    So the Hawks end day 1 of the draft with Seth Jones and Nolan Allan (who appears to have absolutely zero offensive upside) while the Blue Jackets end day one of the draft with Kent Johnson, Cole Sillinger, Corson Ceulemans, Adam Boqvist and Jake Bean..hmmmm…seems like one of these teams knows what a rebuild looks like..

    PS-I already posted the above on the last thread but I found it humorous and/or sad enough to post here too..ready for day two..second round has been kind to the Hawks in the past(Keith, Saad, Cat)..

  • July 24, 2021 at 12:38 am

    Stan was taken to the woodshed by Brisson and compounded that error with an underwhelming pick in round 1. If Jones plays up to his role as a #1 defenseman then I’m not upset what Stan gave up to acquire him. What is concerning is the length of the Jones’ contract.
    How many great players have the Hawks had to give up to get out from under a contract that ran past a player’s prime? I would have expected Stan to learn from those experiences. The Hawks’ organization needs a “ capoligist” and someone to negotiate contracts other than Stan.

  • July 24, 2021 at 2:12 am

    I just watched a shift-by-shift video of Nolan Allan playing a game between PA and WPG this past May. I liked what I saw. He skated well, has decent size, played physical and played pretty good defense. So, who knows? He’s probably a long shot but I think he has a chance.

  • July 24, 2021 at 2:57 am

    Typical bowman pick… a reach at 32. ?????

  • July 24, 2021 at 6:18 am

    Maybe they are going to scrap their defensive scheme?? IDK.

  • July 24, 2021 at 6:26 am

    Is he the best player available at pick no 32 ?
    Why not move down and get a pick for the third round?
    $ Jones at 9.5 millions …really (Bowman didn’t learn from his mistake and need to be replace .
    Yesterday was a bad day for the Hawks today they have no 62 and after they go to pick 105-108-172-204-216. Like Bowman said before <>
    And no number one pick next year .
    Rebuilding from this year picks is possible but we will need a few miracles picks today .
    I have nothing against Nolan Allan but I am sure he would be available today at pick 62 ,probably their was a few other players good enough for #32 pick
    Many many phones are ringing for moving some pick up because a few good players where not choose last night so look for a few trade picks this morning .

  • July 24, 2021 at 6:31 am

    Like Bowman said …we need more top picks to rebuild for the future .
    But not this year .

  • July 24, 2021 at 8:02 am

    Two major development goals-mobile power forward and # 1 goalie of the future.
    What they do have is quite a few Ok d-prospects that may or may not pan out, this seems an add on to that.
    A confusing day.

  • July 24, 2021 at 8:21 am

    It sounds like they drafted a mini-Hjallmarsson. I think they could have had him in the 2nd round. I would have drafted the Aatu Raty kid and taken a flier on the prospect that was ranked #1 in the pre-season. At this point – hit or miss! Or, maybe even taken Dach’s little brother and let the Dach’s and the Jones’ have some kick-ass pick-up games. Make it a little fun Stan!

  • July 24, 2021 at 8:34 am

    Removing the #40 ranking (NA skaters only) the arithmetic average of the remaining rankings is 81 which would put Allan squarely in the middle of the third round. But the smartest guy in the Chicago room is the pasty, pudgy, spreadsheet boy whose dad got him a hockey job and he always knows better.

  • July 24, 2021 at 9:10 am

    Wasted pick by Bowman. Hopefully he has a deal with the Kraken to get a pick and a grinder for Strome.

  • July 24, 2021 at 9:56 am

    Agree with most here… he could be next Hammer- BUT Hawks drafted him much later.
    pretty sure this kid would have been there in late 2nd /mid 3rd.

    Stankoven/Raty would have been better picks- perhaps Boom or bust- but potential difference makers.

    Stankoven-Think Brayden Point/ Marchand

  • July 24, 2021 at 10:21 am

    listen this organization isn’t going anywhere if they cannot develop blue chip or prospects’. starts from minor league.

  • July 24, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Colton Dach with their 2nd rnd pick.

  • July 24, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    I know he was down in the rankings, however, it was a tough year to scout. Being positive, what did the Blackhawks see that we could “hopefully” be positive about?

  • July 24, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    Which scenario do you think makes the most sense?;

    1. Jones with a 9.5M x 8 yr cap hit? Or,
    2. Keep Boqvist, pick Wallstedt at #12, pick Allen at #44, keep next year’s 1st round pick in a deep draft.

    Acquisition of Jones doesn’t make us more than a fringe playoff team with an aging Kane and uncertain Toews. We have no 1-A goalie in the system and are back in cap hell.

    Columbus will make a deep playoff run before we will, thank you very much.

    Look at the stacked pipelines: LA, COL, NYR, NJ, CAR, to name a few.

    What D or starting G has Bowman developed in twelve years? Except for the last two years, what happened to our 1st round picks?

    Give Stan another promotion!

  • July 24, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    His current GM’s assessment of Nolan Allen

    7. To learn more about first-round pick Nolan Allan, we talked with Prince Albert general manager Curtis Hunt.

    What do you see as Nolan’s upside?
    I think Nolan can play just about any way you want. I think the game’s easy for him. He’s got great poise, obviously the physical element we saw with Team Canada. But he’s a guy that’s getting better, better and better. He probably hasn’t had some of the offensive opportunity to this point, but certainly with junior hockey, the nature of that beast, as he goes into this season and beyond, he’ll be a mainstay on our blue line. We believe he’s going to be a top-four D at the next level.
    With his physicality, what makes him so effective in that area?
    Well, his timing is impeccable. It’s simply the understanding of time, space, distance. And then, of course, he’s so strong. He skates, the way he can move his body. I think it’s a missing element in a lot of our game today. We’ve gone to more of a skill, speed-type game. Not that Nolan can’t play that, but he also has this little tool in the box.

    Do you see the potential for his offense and puck skills to come around?
    I think this year was a tough year for everybody, but just about the time he was starting to take off, he took off and went to Team Canada. You know, we didn’t see him the last 10 games inside the hub in Regina. I think all the tools are there for him. He can walk the line. He’s got poise. He’s got a great release. He can get pucks through to the net, which is as important as anything in today’s hockey. Yeah, it’s a matter of time to simplify, but that’s a young player thing. They like to overcomplicate things. But he can make that first pass as well. He has escapability and the ability to get himself out of trouble either way.

    What’s he like off the ice and personality-wise?
    There’s a couple things. One, he’s a scholastic player of the year on our side. So, there’s a commitment to school. School’s not easy for junior hockey because of the travel, this year even tougher because of the online, so there’s a discipline component to that as well to make sure you’re on top of assignments and you’re getting stuff mailed in or emailed in, sent in. There’s a maturity there.
    The other thing is there’s an ease about him. He comes from a bigger family, obviously a hockey family background. His dad was a Tacoma pick. His uncle was Chad, who played, an ex-Saskatoon Blade. He’s got a big group of siblings. That’s a bigger family. There’s a grounding there as part of a big family, a farm kid. He’ll put the work in and he puts the time in.

    From The Athletic

    That last part makes me think that, at least personality and work ethic wise, he’d fit in nicely with DBC, Dach, Kane, etc.

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