Experts Grade The Blackhawks 2020 Draft Class

The 2020 NHL Draft may have felt like it took a month, but over two days the Chicago Blackhawks selected eight players to become part of the organization.

We’ll provide our analysis of the work done by Stan Bowman and Co. over the two day affair in the coming days, but let’s discuss how some of the so-called experts felt about the Blackhawks’ class of 2020.

Corey Pronman – The Athletic

Grade: C+
I liked Chicago’s first two picks, Lukas Reichel and Drew Commesso, par value for where they were picked. I didn’t mind Wyatt Kaiser at 81 either. Landon Slaggert is a fine player, but 79 was high for what he brings. Some NHL folks think he could be a bottom-six type, but I’m not there yet.

Chris Peters – ESPN

Grade: B
Chicago managed to plug two of its biggest organizational needs with its first two picks in the draft. Lukas Reichel was my favorite of the class because of his high-end puck skills and scoring ability. He’ll help the Blackhawks down the line and has a ceiling of a top-six scoring threat. Chicago also went early to get the No. 2 goalie in the draft in Drew Commesso, who will head to Boston University and marinate for a few years before joining the Blackhawks.

Landon Slaggert is a high-energy player who was on my top 100 before he was bumped in the final, but I have always appreciated his gritty play. The Blackhawks also took my top high schooler in Wyatt Kaiser, a player who needs a lot of development time but has exciting upside. He skates really well. The prospect pool looks a little more balanced now after previously being heavy on defensemen.

Scott Wheeler – The Athletic
* – Wheeler’s grade for each first round selection

Grade: Overtime Winner
Reichel is just smooth. He’s got a long, fluid stride. His handling is soft. And he plays with a finesse on the ice that, to use a cliche, can’t be taught. He’s comfortable with the puck on his stick, he knows where to go to get open when it’s not, he’s an impressive skater, and he can score from mid-range with his release. Though it looks a little high relative to where he ranked on my board, I’m more than OK with the Blackhawks taking Reichel in this range. He has come a long way in a short amount of time and it feels like he’s just getting started.

Scott Wheeler – The Athletic
* – Wheeler was grading each team’s Day Two picks (rounds 2-7).

Grade: Loser
After Yaroslav Askarov was off the board, the second goalie picked this year was more contested, with several goalies who could’ve gone early on Day 2 in Drew Commesso, Joel Blomqvist, and Nico Daws. I expected that Daws would be the second goalie taken but I was happy when Commesso, my second-ranked goalie (No. 81 on my board) was taken first. He’s not a huge goalie, but the track record, technical ability, and athleticism are all there. He swallows up first saves by staying in sound position. I’m looking forward to watching him at BU, where he should get plenty of opportunity to be the starter.

Unfortunately, the rest was underwhelming, though I have time for Wyatt Kaiser and to a lesser extent Isaak Phillips, who are both worthwhile projects and could, in time, give you some potential depth as third-pairing options who can move the puck (Kaiser with his vision, Phillips with his feet and shot).

Pat Quinn – DobberProspects

Grade: Confused
I am a Lucas Reichel fan but this was probably a bit too high for him. However, with Chicago finding some of the best undrafted players from Europe/Russia maybe we should give them the benefit of the doubt here. This could wind up as a great selection.

9 thoughts on “Experts Grade The Blackhawks 2020 Draft Class

  • October 8, 2020 at 9:41 am

    Is there anything more worthless after drafts than “experts” grades? All trying to justify their own “expert” ranking.

  • October 8, 2020 at 10:31 am

    The word “grade” in “experts grade the Blackhawks 2020 draft class” is misused. Not just by Tab in this instance, but across the board by everyone involved in opining about things like the NHL draft – it’s subjective opinion, not objective fact. And that’s where the word grade can be misleading – it gives the patina of objective fact when it’s really subjective opinion. When a teacher grades a math paper, the answers are either correct or incorrect – there’s no room for subjectivity. When an expert grades a draft, it’s entirely subjective.

    I’m not trying to change the world – I understand and accept this is the way it’s done. I just put very little credence in subjective grading.

  • October 8, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Everyone has a take so here is mine:

    Reichel: maybe this guy works out but most had him rated as an early second. As well, we’re not that weak at wing (Kane, Kube, Saad, DCat, Suter, prospects) and we could have added either center depth or a quality defender (maybe a SAH guy to go with the smurfs) so unless this guy is a real diamond in the rough I’m leery. He’s not a power forward either which is where we need prospects.

    Commesso: we need a goalie no question. We didn’t get Askarov (okay, sometimes it’s tough to make a deal), but this guy was the #2 ranked North American and we took him 40 spots ahead of the guy ranked #1 (there were some Euros in between) and isn’t having to pick a guy early the consequence of not having drafted any goalies in past?

    The rest: who knows.

    Some will point to Dach as evidence of Stan’s acumen, but you also have to look at the 2018 draft where I think you have to question picking Boqvist and Beaudin (both guys skilled but soft and picked higher than they were rated). I admit I am not a Stan fan and in too many instances I think he reaches and overvalues soft skills. Time will tell but in a rich year this crop seems kind of lackluster.

  • October 8, 2020 at 10:43 am

    Reichel upgrades the forward prospect pool, Commesso upgrades the goalie prospect pool, both big voids. The rest upgrade the a thin unsigned prospect pool of developing non roster players who get an opportunity for few years to show what they have and hopefully get an elc and a chance to help Nhl roster someday. Obviously the 3rd round picks in this deeper draft should have a much higher rate of expectation to be Nhlers someday.

  • October 8, 2020 at 10:55 am

    I like the Reichel pick – a lot of where teams find success after the obvious choices at the top of the draft are in projecting down the road a couple years at least

    It seems from what I’ve read that this player is considered to be on the rise – his stock has continued to go up and there’s good reasons to think that will continue especially since he’s already addd 13 lbs over the spring/summer months

    He also has been playing successfully vs men in Germany which IMO is another indicator that’ll he’ll eventually pan out as a good NHL player

    Let’s see where he is after another year in Germany-hopefully on his way to NA

  • October 8, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    Rds sport just gave the news that Crawford will not be back in Chicago.

  • October 8, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Also think Reichel will surprise us in about 2 or 3 years.

    The rest-who knows.
    Weaknesses were in this order
    1-true # one stud d-man
    2a-goalie of the future and stopgap till then
    2b-legit power forward with ability to score
    3-Toews of the future
    4-nasty, hard to play against d-man

    Are the Hawks any closer after draft? Short term not really, a few years from now maybe. Not sure this team can really be a playoff threat. A middle of the road team that although they have some talent and possible emerging star, don’t have enough juice to really scare many teams. Edmonton was the perfect match-up. (For now)

    Will it be 5 or 6 lean years or a decade?

  • October 8, 2020 at 12:54 pm

    With Bowman still in charge, count on it being a decade before anything improves. He has a knack for making the team take a further step back every year. Will it ever get better? Up to Rocky.

  • October 8, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    In a few years I’ll grade the draft by how well Reichel and Commeso are contributing vs. my picks – Hendrix Lapierre and Jan Mysek.

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