Each day for the rest of the year, Second City Hockey will countdown the top 10 Blackhawks stories of 2018.
For the first time since 2011, the Blackhawks drafted two players in the first round in June.
The first pick was a surprise selection of Swedish defenseman Adam Boqvist at No. 8 overall. It was widely believed the Blackhawks would draft American winger Oliver Wahlstrom, if available. But general manager Stan Bowman opted to use the franchise’s first Top 10 pick since 2007 on a right-handed defenseman. It was the second straight year Bowman drafted a European right-handed blue liner after taking Henri Jokiharju of Finland in 2017.
Bowman acquired the No. 27 overall pick in a trade with Central Division rival Nashville in February. With the Blackhawks sliding down the standings, Bowman shipped off Ryan Hartman (2013 first-rounder) to the Predators for forward prospect Victor Ejdsell and 2018 first- and fourth-round draft picks. The Blackhawks drafted another defenseman, this time a left-handed Canadian in Nicolas Beaudin.
Both Beaudin, 19, and Boqvist, 18, saw plenty of time in training camp, but were assigned to their respective junior teams. Beaudin (five goals, 20 assists) and Boqvist (nine goals, 16 assists) both have 25 points for QMJHL Drummondville and OHL London, respectively. It’s Boqvist’s first season playing in North America after lacing up his skates in Brynäs IF’s organization in Sweden.
Canada cut Beaudin from its World Junior Championship roster, but Boqvist made Sweden’s team and has three secondary assists in two tournament games.
Both players have already signed entry-level contracts with Chicago.