July 31: Chicago Blackhawks
For the first time since 2011 (Mark McNeil and Phillip Danault), the Blackhawks had two selections in the first round of the draft. The emphasis for this draft was skill and they came away with plenty of it. With eight selections overall, the Blackhawks drafted a full line, goalie, two defensemen, right wing, left wing and three centers) from all around the world including two players each from Finland and the USA. The remaining 4 picks hail from Sweden, Canada, Switzerland, and Germany. The biggest takeaway from this draft class is the boom or bust potential of all the choices. There were no safe picks made by the Blackhawks in 2018.
Round 1- Eighth Overall: Adam Boqvist, D
The new NHL is all about skating and skill and Boqvist has both of those traits in abundance. A great first pass, booming shot, high end skating all contribute to his fast forward type of game. As with most 18 year old defensemen, he will need to put on a little muscle to contend with bigger forwards, especially after suffering a concussion at the U18 World Championships. He also admits to needing some work on the defensive side of things but make no mistake, he was drafted to provide offence from his position and he has the talent to do just that. A real game changer.
Round 1- 27th overall: Nicolas Beaudin, D
Beaudin is as precise a passer as has come from the NHL entry draft in a long time. His ability to find his teammates through traffic and at odd angles is already NHL caliber, and can result in a lot of successful stretch passes from his own end. He also has a very good wrist shot that he can use to put the puck on net. He has average speed but needs to develop a quicker first step in order to play better in his own end. A potential set up man for the Blackhawks power play.
Round 3- 69th overall: Jake Wise, C
The Blackhawks are hoping they found a gem in the third round with the choice of Wise. An elite distributer of the puck, Wise can make the game easy for his teammates, putting the puck on their stick from all kinds of different spots on the ice. Wise also possess an underrated shot that can fool goaltenders. He will need to work on quickness to progress to the NHL but he is already good at defending in his own end, a highly regarded skill in the organization.
Round 3- 74th overall: Niklas Nordgren, RW
Nordgren is a gifted scorer and playmaker,