Grading The Blackhawks 2020 NHL Draft

Now that the dust has settled from a long couple days of the 2020 NHL Draft, how do we feel about the Chicago Blackhawks’ selections?

Chicago made eight picks this year, trading back into the seventh round to add one last pick. We previously shared how experts graded the Blackhawks selections.

Here are our grades for the Blackhawks Class of 2020.

Round One – Lukas Reichel, LW
Grade: B+

The Blackhawks saw him first-hand during an exhibition game last year. Scouts are all over the place on his ceiling; he’s been compared to everything between Brandon Saad and John Tavares. He’s a couple years away from the NHL but his skill is an asset to the organization. He should end up a contributor in the NHL.

Round Two – Drew Commesso, G
Grade: A-

This is the highest the Blackhawks have taken a goaltender in 20 years. Chicago was the second team to take a netminder in this draft and they got a good one. Commesso might be the eventual starter in Chicago. Scouts love his game and he’ll spend a few years developing at Boston University, a program the Blackhawks trust.

Round Three – Landon Slaggert, C
Grade: C-

Chicago went with a center from the US NTDP, which we like. But we would have preferred Dylan Peterson, who went a few picks later to St. Louis. Slaggert is a tough player to play against but he felt like a reach in the middle of the third round.

Round Three – Wyatt Kaiser, D
Grade: B+

Kaiser was the top senior defenseman in Minnesota high school hockey last year, a significant honor. He’ll head to college and have a few more years to develop, meaning he could eventually be part of the next wave of reinforcements on the blue line. This pick was solid value.

Round Four – Michal Krutil, D
Grade: B

A lot of scouts like how he played in international events. He has nice size and plays the puck well. The Hawks have done a decent job identifying talent in Europe during Bowman’s tenure, so this might be a nice sleeper.

Round Five – Isaak Phillips, D
Grade: B

Another potential lottery ticket on the blue line, Phillips has the potential to be an NHL contributor down the road. That’s all you hope for in a fifth round pick. His upside is worthy of a B.

Round Six – Chad Yetman, C
Grade: C

An overage forward from Eerie, he has long odds to be an AHL regular. Could eventually be a depth player in the organization but you’re drafting with hope in the sixth round.

Round Seven – Louis Crevier, D
Grade: C

His size is intriguing, but he waited until the seventh round to hear his name called after not being picked the first time through the system. If he makes the NHL at some point this would be a win. Hard to hate finding this kind of size on the blue line this late in the draft.

Overall Grade: C

Analysis: There are lots of Bs in our individual grades because the Blackhawks made some intriguing picks. We especially like the Kaiser pick as a longer-term project pick because he has a lot of skill and upside.

Five if the Blackhawks’ eight picks were used on defenseman, an area where the organization already has a stockpile that is viewed well by most analysts. Chicago has size and depth coming on the blue line, meaning all five of these picks face long odds in having a chance to make the NHL with the club.

The Blackhawks organization desperately needs more skill up front and they didn’t accomplish that here. Reichel looks like the only top-nine forward from this class, and there were other, more offensive options than Slaggert available in the third round.

For a team trying to get back to the mountain top before the careers of Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane this class doesn’t appear to be one that will make an impact during that window.

It will be at least five years before we can adequately grade this draft class in the NHL, but the immediate feeling is that the Hawks did OK – not great.

11 thoughts on “Grading The Blackhawks 2020 NHL Draft

  • October 9, 2020 at 7:20 am

    The Blackhawks took every player a round too early. Now, Reichel may not have been there at 46, but he would have been there at 30. So, why not trade back and accumulate more picks like Calgary did? If you knew that Reichel was your guy, why not trade back Stan? Or should I say, genius??

    Whoever did this analysis was spot on! The Hawks deserve a C, and it should have easily been a B+ or A draft because of all the talent this year.

    I can’t wait for the announcement when the Wirtz say – “…we will not be offering a contract to Stan going forward, and we wish him all the luck in the world…”. Karma bitch!!

  • October 9, 2020 at 7:24 am

    About Crevier (who was the num 188 pick ) According to Alexander Rouleau ( Hawks scout in Quebec ) Crevier was the player who had an Extraordinary progression in the last year and the Hawks realize that he was still available and made the pick trade with Bergevin to get him . He his a long shot for sure but at 6’8 215 pds at 19 Years young it’s a nice risk iff he continues to grow plus he has nice work ethic ,when you have the heart and you stay focus on your goal sometime it can pay .ranked #118 by NHL central scouting ( NA Skaters )grade C +
    For me Lucas Reichel is grade A- after reading many good things on the Upside of the kid .

  • October 9, 2020 at 8:05 am

    Projection of how players will develop is an art, not science. Reichel was a fine pick and the goalie was an organizational need. If (and it’s a big if) the Hawks get a top six forward and a starting goalie out of this draft it’s a success. If one of the dmen come through even better and if the forward in the third round turns out to be a gritty bottom 6 forward/center then it’s very good one. We can second guess these picks till the cows come home. What I’m interested in is the Hawks developmental plans for these kids.

  • October 9, 2020 at 8:27 am

    Anthansiou and Nick Cousins are both UFA after not being qualified

    Either on the cheap would be a nice depth addition

  • October 9, 2020 at 8:36 am

    Great review!! Nicely balanced. Reichel is the wild-card. This draft could be terrific, if Reichel continues his progression and trajectory. Selecting Reichel feels sneaky good.

    I think the part most of us are missing is how COVID impacts building organizational talent, making the draft more about finding high upside gems rather than roster talent and depth. With flat salary caps for the foreseeable future, getting middle six talent for the big club will more likely come from all these players non-QO’d each year. The Wyatt Kalnyuk’s. Rosters are going to be continually turned-over, where having strong cap management practices will be essential. For this draft at least and perhaps future drafts, it appears the Hawks are selecting heavily on upside potential, Reichel, HS kids, Crevier, etc. I think we are seeing the Hawks talent acquisition strategies respond to COVID and flat salary cap environments. The draft has a different role in this now.

    Similarly, it’s also interesting to note that the Hawks also believe in many development paths for their talent pipeline, not just linearly through the AHL

  • October 9, 2020 at 8:54 am

    Preety fair assessment, good write up and as you point out the real assessment of this draft will 5 or 6 years down the road. Seems to have potential to look alot better then.

  • October 9, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Covid, and it’s effect on league wide revenue and the salary cap, only makes last offseason’s acquisitions of Shaw, Maatta, DeHahn, and Smith appear even more detrimental and regrettable.

    Imagine having that $12 million plus salary available? In an atmosphere where no one wants to take on salary, we could have been pilfering teams in deals, just like when we were robbed of Stephan Johns, Teuvo, etc. It is unfortunate.

  • October 9, 2020 at 9:32 am

    Mostly a lurker on this site. Rarely comment. After the first few picks, the draft is like a roullete wheel. Rembember these first round gems- Anton Babchuk, everit sanipass and who can forget ken yaremchuk.
    I like the what the hawks did in the first round. I thought Reichle was one of the best players for Germany in the exhibition game last fall. The kid was “noticeable” several times while playing against the Hawks. Reichle even shook off a huge dirty hit by Gilbert along the boards.
    The kid definitely did not look out of place playing against nhl men.

  • October 9, 2020 at 9:48 am

    Well, it was to be expected this would be a painful offseason for the Blackhawks. And sure enough it is. Jettisoning Crawford is a body blow for me, a guy who has followed the Hawks since the heady days the early 1980’s. Bowman’s plan to go with journeyman prospects to fill the void in goal (plus, I’m assuming a dirt cheap veteran) strongly telegraphs that 2021 is going to be a mega-tough season in Chicago. This team is about to enter a second phase bottoming out, and it’s going to be rough to stomach.

    The draft? Surprisingly, Bowman is taking a LONG view which is curious to me given that his a$$ should be on the hot seat. None of us know how any of the kids drafted will pan out. Reichel is, aggressively speaking, 3 years off. Commesso is 3 or 4 years off.

    My head says the Blackhawks will be picking in the top 3 or 4 of the 2021 draft. Meanwhile look forward to Chicago being a doormat in 2021. Sad that we are officially frittering away anything Toews and Keith might still have to offer in terms of being a good playoff team. Not to mention Kane, who quite frankly is being wasted in Chicago at this point. But I guess Rocky figures the presence of Kane, who remains the remaining one star on the Hawks, will sell tickets.

  • October 10, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Looks like first 5 rounds we averaged a B so I will go with that rating since most NHL players come from those rounds more then later.

    DId what we needed to to have a good one.

    keep loading the calvary.

    This young wave is the calvary we were talking about a couple yrs ago not the ‘tank’ and ‘temp’ ufas.

  • October 11, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    I don’t understand how anyone could be down on the Reichel pick. Great offensive upside for a guy taken at 17, had more goals that Tim Stutzle in the same men’s league. Not to mention he still takes care of his d zone. Had one of the highest creation of high danger shots per 60 mins in the draft class while also having one of the lowest high danger shots against rate per 60. Basically he creates a ton of high danger chances and there aren’t a lot of high danger shots against his team while he’s on the ice. All this while playing in a men’s league at 17/18. He’s also no smurf as I’ve read he’s a lot closer to 185 than 170 after working out all quarantine. This kid may be a great finisher to play alongside Dach while also being solid in the d zone. His feet never stop moving. And above all, he’s not a perimeter player, he drives the net hard and isn’t afraid to go to the net and take the punishment. And in terms of value left on the table, I’m not sure Id take Mercer over this kid and Lapierre’s injury history is scary.

    I agree with the rest of the grades, especially Commesso as he’s going to BU which is a goalie factory. Thatcher Demko is an alumni from BU and was also a second round pick, and he singlehandedly won two games against Vegas for Vancouver. Let’s hope Commesso follows a similar development path.

    Pretty happy with most of the picks overall.

    Also if you want the charts for the shot creation stats I mentioned watch Scouching reports live stream on youtube as he shows that chart after the Wings took Lucas Raymond I’m pretty sure.

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