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2020 NHL Draft results: Blackhawks select Wyatt Kaiser with No. 81 pick

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The left-handed defenseman is currently a freshman at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Wyatt Kaiser
University of Minnesota-Duluth

The Blackhawks selected left-handed defenseman Wyatt Kaiser with the No. 81 overall pick in the third round of the 2020 NHL Draft on Wednesday.

Kaiser just completed his senior year at Andover (Minnesota) High School, scoring nine goals with 25 assists in 25 games. He added two goals and seven assists in seven playoff games. Kaiser won the Reed Larson Award, which is annually given to the top defenseman in the state of Minnesota.

The 18-year-old Kaiser stands 6 feet tall and weights 172 pounds. He was ranked 37th among North American skaters by the NHL Central Scouting. With high school behind him, Kaiser is currently a freshman at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Here’s one scouting report from the Elite Prospects 2020 NHL Draft Guide:

Kaiser’s speed, edge work, and ability to maneuver in tight spaces offer him a great deal of escapability under pressure. He’s one of the rare defenders in this year’s draft that can make forecheckers look like they’re skating in quicksand. Has a sophisticated understanding of bank passes; he uses angles expertly.

The 81st pick was traded to the Blackhawks from the Flames in exchange for Erik Gustafsson before the 2020 NHL trade deadline. The pick was conditional and was to be the higher of the two picks between Calgary and the Oilers’ picks. Edmonton had given Calgary a conditional third-round pick as part of the James Neal and Milan Lucic trade and because of the shortened season it was determined that Edmonton could give Calgary their pick in 2020 or 2021. Edmonton elected 2021.

Chicago previously drafted just once at No. 81 when they took center Terry McDonald in 1976. Drafting 81st this year is somewhat meaningful because the Blackhawks’ former number 81 Marian Hossa was unanimously inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame earlier in 2020.

The Blackhawks have three picks remaining in this year’s draft: No. 110, No. 141 and No. 172. Chicago had two picks in the third round and one pick in every round aside from the seventh when they have none.