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NHL Mock Draft 2018: Chicago Blackhawks select Oliver Wahlstrom with No. 8 pick

The dynamic goal scorer makes his way to Chicago.

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USHL Fall Classic - Day 3 Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Unlike in past years, the Chicago Blackhawks have two things going for them heading into the NHL draft: Two first-round draft pick, including one in the top 10. After the first seven draft picks in SB Nation’s NHL mock draft there was still some top-tier talent available. With the No. 8 overall pick, Second City Hockey selects, from the United States National Development Program, forward Oliver Wahlstrom.

The basics

Name: Oliver Wahlstrom
Position: Right Wing
Age: 17
Nationality: American
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 207 pounds
Shoots: Right

2017-18 performance

Wahlstrom knows a thing or two about scoring goals. He first became a notable name with his dazzling trick shot in 2009.

Wahlstrom has since continued to grow into a dynamic goal scorer. He tallied 22 goals and 23 assists with the USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program in the United States Hockey League. His points per game for the best USHL season among under-18 skaters only trails Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel.

Third party rankings

Wahlstrom is consensus top-5 forward prospect and top-10 pick in this year’s draft from national media.

Corey Pronman (The Athletic): No. 6
Scott Wheeler (The Athletic): No. 5
Bob McKenzie (TSN): No. 7
NHL Central Scouting (NHL): No. 7 (among North American skaters)
Ryan Kennedy (The Hockey News): No. 8

Draft decision process

Let’s first look at who was selected in the mock draft before the Hawks came up at No. 8:

1. Buffalo - Rasums Dahlin (D)
2. Carolina - Andrei Svechnikov (RW)
3. Montreal - Filip Zadina (RW)
4. Ottawa - Quinn Hughes (D)
5. Arizona - Brady Tkachuk (LW)
6. Detroit - Adam Boqvist (D)
7. Vancouver - Noah Dobson (D)

The selections went as expected for the most part depending on how somehow values the order of the three defenseman taken after Dahlin.

If there is a surprise, it’s defenseman Evan Bouchard being available at No. 8. The right-handed shot led all OHL defenseman in points last season with the London Knights. He’s an offensive defenseman like so many in this year’s draft.

Prior to knowing who was selected I figured the top available players for the Hawks would be Dobson, Wahlstrom and Finnish center Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Each player would fill a need for the Hawks, and the team would be smart to pick any of them.

I decided to go with Wahlstrom and his goal scoring prowess with the hope that he could step into the Hawks lineup as the team’s No. 2 right winger behind Patrick Kane. A similar path to Brandon Saad’s is what I’m hoping for, but Wahlstrom being two seasons away is probably more realistic like Vancouver’s Brock Boeser.

Projected top-6 with Wahlstrom for 2019-20 season and each player’s age:

Alex DeBrincat (21) - Nick Schmaltz (23) - Patrick Kane (30)
Brandon Saad (27) - Jonathan Toews (31) - Oliver Wahlstrom (18)

Wahlstrom also knows he’s a big deal, obviously, and is confident in his abilities. If he falls to the Hawks, it sounds like he’ll want to show he should have been a top-5 pick.

“My game is a big, strong power forward, with a lot of skill and creativity,” Wahlstrom told the Chicago Sun-Times. “My shot’s my biggest asset. Humbly, I feel I have the best shot in this draft, and I work on it every day. … I feel I’m right up there with [Svechnikov, Zadina and Tkachuk].”