One week after the Stanley Cup was awarded to the Lightning, the NHL Draft begins Tuesday night.
Thanks to a four-game win over the Oilers in the qualifying round series, the Blackhawks will be picking 17th overall in the first round. It will be the first time Chicago has the No. 17 pick in franchise history. Recent draft picks in the vicinity of No. 17 include center Mark McNeill (No. 18 in 2011), center/left wing Teuvo Teravainen (No. 18 in 2012) and right wing Ty Jones (No. 16 in 1997).
With the Blackhawks picking near the middle of the first round, there’s far from a consensus on who Chicago will be drafting Tuesday night. Some of the players mentioned include:
- Rodion Amirov, LW, UFA (VHL)
- Dylan Holloway, C/LW, Wisconsin (NCAA)
- Hendrix Lapierre, C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
- Dawson Mercer, C/RW, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
- Jacob Perreault, RW, Sarnia (OHL)
- Connor Zary, C, Kamloops (WHL)
Here’s who draft prospect experts say the Blackhawks will take at No. 17.
Adam Kimelman (NHL.com) — Dylan Holloway
The top-rated NCAA player fits well with a Blackhawks team looking to stockpile forward prospects. Holloway is a committed 200-foot player, skates well, is strong on the forecheck, and is willing to go to the front of the net to generate offense. He will likely need at least one more college season to develop his game, but with his size (6-0, 203) and determination, he could be on the fast track to the NHL. One thing worth noting, the last time Chicago used a first-round pick on a college freshman was in 2006, when it selected Jonathan Toews at No. 3.
Guillaume Lepage (NHL.com) — Connor Zary
The Blackhawks have revamped their corps at defenseman during the past few seasons, and now they need to do the same at forward. Zary (6-0, 178) is a dynamic skater with good hands, and he is a true threat when allowed to get close to the net, as evidenced by his 38 goals in 57 games last season.
Mike Morreale (NHL.com) — Dylan Holloway
The left-shot forward is a complete two-way center with a great skill set, hands, competitiveness and drive to create offense. He could be the first NHL player from Bragg Creek, Alberta, which had a population of 589 in the 2016 Canada census.
Steve Kournianos (The Draft Analyst) — Rodion Amirov
The “Russian Factor” likely plunges this top-10 caliber talent into the later stage of the first round, which in this case would be a blessing for the Hawks, who are one of the NHL’s leaders in terms of drafting prospects from Russian leagues. Amirov split his season between the KHL and the junior-age MHL, and it was during his time in the latter where he proved to be too good for teenage competition. Russia has required his services at several under-20 international events in each of the last two seasons, so expect to see Amirov suiting up for his country at the next world junior championship.
Corey Pronman (The Athletic) — Dawson Mercer
I don’t feel confident on this one, but I’ve heard Mercer to Chicago mentioned by the odd source, plus speculation on Holloway and the two Western defensemen, [Kaiden] Guhle and [Braden] Schneider.
Sam Cosentino (Sportsnet) — Jacob Perreault
At his best when he is challenged and playing with a chip on his shoulder. Hands are suited to play the in-tight game and the goal scoring should translate.
Chris Peters (ESPN) — Dylan Holloway
Holloway had a bit of a down season in 2019-20, but there are enough teams still high on him based on his total body of work that he still should go in the teens. Chicago has depth on the blue line in its prospect pool, but it could really use more skill up front. Holloway doesn’t have flash with his hands, but his skating is excellent, and he should be a major player for Wisconsin in his sophomore campaign.
Craig Button (TSN) — Hendrix Lapierre
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Rodion Amirov, LW, UFA (VHL)
Dylan Holloway, C/LW, Wisconsin (NCAA)
Hendrix Lapierre, C, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
Dawson Mercer, C/RW, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
Jacob Perreault, RW, Sarnia (OHL)
Connor Zary, C, Kamloops (WHL)