July 31-in-31: Chicago Blackhawks

Peter Harling


For the first time since 2014, the Chicago Blackhawks had a first round pick (amongst nine total picks) to make on draft day. They spread those out geographically, choosing two players each from Canada, Finland and the United States while adding one each from Russia, Sweden and the Czech Republic. Overall, they chose five defencemen and four forwards and they all have one thing in common; they are all above average skaters. Here’s a look at those picks.


Henri Jokiharju1st round, 29th overall

When asked to describe his selection, General Manager Stan Bowman used phrases like “ plays a modern style of hockey. Great skill set, good skater. Can handle the puck and make plays. I guess what you would term a modern-day defenseman.” After the embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Predators, Chicago needed to address team speed, especially from the blueline, and have done just that, while adding a player with on ice smarts, to a depleted corp of defencemen.


Ian Mitchell- 2nd round, 57th overall


Sticking with their theme for this draft, the Blackhawks chose another smooth skating, “modern” style defenceman. Described as having a high skillset and competitiveness along with quick hands, Mitchell has committed to the University of Denver where his progress will be monitored. He could help his stock by adding some size to his 5-10, 165 lbs frame and playing a little more physically.


Andrei Altybarmakyan- 3rd round, 70th overall


The Blackhawks used the pick they gained in a trade with Dallas to nab the electrifying Russian winger. While not huge in stature, he can play a tough game when it’s called for but is at his best when creating offence. The Russian factor is real and may prevent us from seeing him in North America any time soon but if/when he does arrive, look out goalies. Huge talent with big offensive upside.


Evan Barratt- 3rd round, 90th overall



Drafting another forward was easy when Barratt was still on the board. He’s a highly skilled, shoot first center with a NHL caliber wrist shot and great one-timer. Barratt isn’t afraid to play in the dirty areas and has the added appeal of being responsible defensively already. Committed to play at Penn State this coming season, Barratt will be one to watch as he has the skills to be one of the biggest draft day steals this year.


Tim Soderlund- 4th round, 112th overall


Another great skater, Soderlund projects as a bottom six forward, but could excel on the penalty kill with his above average speed and high compete level. Think Marcus Kruger with wheels.


Roope Laavainen- 4th round, 119th overall


The trend continues as the Blackhawks really tried to add great skaters to their prospect list. Laavainen is known to be a great defensive partner and is also a coveted right hand shot from the point.


Parker Foo- 5th round, 144th overall


The younger brother of coveted college free agent Spencer Foo will be following in his brothers footsteps when he attends Union College this fall after a breakout campaign with the Broo