clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Who could the Blackhawks take with the No. 7 overall pick?

They’ve traded into the top 10, so here are some players the Blackhawks could add to the organization Thursday evening.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

2022 NHL Draft Lottery Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images

With the (underwhelming) trade of Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators Thursday afternoon, the Blackhawks now have the No. 7 overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Here is a quick look at some players the Blackhawks could potentially select in that position:

Cutter Gauthier

Position: Center / Left Wing
Age: 18 (Jan 19, 2004)
Hometown: Skellefteå, SWE
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 201 pounds
Shoots: Right
Team: U.S. National U18 Team (USDP); USNTDP Juniors (USHL))
Production: 65 points (34 G, 31 A) in 54 USDP games; 28 points (19 G, 9 A) in 22 USHL games

Scouting reports:

Gauthier is a dual threat whose flash and flair are neither forced nor untimely. He creates highlight-reel plays without the benefit of time or space, and opponents have to respect his dangerous 1-on-1 abilities. Gauthier is a gifted player whose cerebral decision-making and outside-the-box thinking makes potentially untenable situations more promising for both him and his linemates. Although his game could use more shift-to-shift consistency, Gauthier is developing into the kind of forward who rarely settles for the easy wrong over the hard right, and his delay tactics at the opposing line reveal patience, maturity, and foresight. — Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst

He’s so good defensively, using his body well along the boards and in corners to win puck battles and move up ice. Offensively, he’s incredibly efficient. The puck is on his stick and off his stick in transition, but he also recognizes when he has pockets of space to initiate offense himself. Gauthier is unafraid to drive the puck to the net and protects the puck nicely when he chooses to do so. — EliteProspects 2022 NHL Draft Guide

Gauthier has always been a net-focussed shooter but he has worked to turn himself into a net-driven one, playing a more intentional game that knows what it is. On the puck, he uses inside body positioning to get to the middle off the cycle or the rush. Off of it, he finishes his checks and looks to help his line get it back. I wouldn’t say he’s a menacing power forward type, but he has learned to play a very engaged, imposing, speed game. Gauthier’s a decently-smooth skater and despite his heavy skew toward shooting and goals, I find he sees the ice well, hits seams when they’re there, and makes a lot of short little plays as a passer off the wall (including off his backhand). — Craig Button, The Athletic

David Jiricek

Position: Defense
Age: 18 (Nov 28, 2003)
Hometown: Klatovy, CZE
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 190 pounds
Shoots: Right
Team: HC Plzeň (Czechia)
Production: 11 points (5 G, 6 A) in 29 regular season games

Scouting reports:

He is a talented and creative offensive presence from the back end who possesses good size and mobility, allowing him to push the issue in the offensive zone. He isn’t afraid to attempt high-risk passes and he identifies his options in an efficient manner in order to find success on those plays. Jiricek’s shot has also grown into a decent weapon and his one-timer can beat goaltenders from the point.

A big-bodied defender, Jiricek doesn’t shy away from physical play either and will step up to finish a big hit in the neutral zone when he sees an opportunity. He will have to continue to refine his decision-making process in terms of when to step up and be aggressive but his overall defensive game has shown improvement throughout the year. He has continued to show progress in the way that he establishes body position to box out in front of the net and engage in battles along the wall, and that should help him make the adjustment to the next level. — Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects

Jiricek is arguably the best defenseman in this class. He’s close to an NHL-ready right-shot defenseman with size, a bomb of a shot and big hit ability. — Corey Pronman, The Athletic

He has some extremely desirable attributes, marked by one of — if not the — hardest point shots in the draft (it’s a bomb, and he does a really good job keeping it on target and a few feet off the ice), a strong, athletic 6-foot-3 frame, and a more commanding on-ice presence than Nemec’s. He’s a strong and sturdy defender who plays a staunch man-to-man style, moves his feet well for his size, and thrives in transition with his ability to both close out on gaps with his length through neutral ice and lead a ton of rushes as a puck transporter. Offensively, he’s also a capable handler and distributor whose point shot is complemented by an aggressive approach. — Scott Wheeler, The Athletic

Marco Kasper

Position: Center
Age: 18 (Apr 08, 2004)
Hometown: Innsbruck, AUT
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 187 pounds
Shoots: Right
Team: Rögle BK J20 (J20 Nationell), Rögle BK (SHL)
Production: 13 points (6 G, 7 A) in 12 J20 games, 11 points (7 G, 4 A) in 46 SHL games

Scouting reports:

Kasper was easy to spot even in SHL games because of how powerful an athlete he is. He would often be the guy to wind it up in his own end to carry the puck due to his great speed and skill. Kasper has a strong 6-foot-1 frame, isn’t afraid to attack the hard areas, and can win some battles versus men as a 17-year-old. Kasper attacks with speed and skill, and while he can pull up to make a play or use his hard shot, his direct style of play will translate to the NHL. He projects as a quality top-two line center. — Corey Pronman, The Athletic

He’s physical and capable along the boards, even in terms of manipulation; he recognizes the angle of defenders coming at him and knows how to beat them and escape them. He passes to the right areas, knows the next logical play in the offensive progression. He goes to the net, hard and often, and with purpose: to screen, rebound, and score. He has good first touches: takes them inside when possible and leads to next play. — EliteProspects 2022 NHL Draft Guide

He’s an advanced 200-foot centre who has fit in playing a regular shift in the SHL and has played well during Rogle’s Champions Hockey League segments. I don’t see game-breaking skill or finishing, per se, but he’s a strong skater who plays with pro pace, plays on the interior, and makes plays all over the ice. He projects as a contributing NHL player. — Scott Wheeler, The Athletic

Joakim Kemell

Position: Right Wing
Age: 18 (Apr 27, 2004)
Hometown: Jyväskylän mlk, FIN
Height: 5-foot-9
Weight: 176 pounds
Shoots: Right
Team: Palokan Kiekko (Liiga)
Production: 23 points (15 G, 8 A) in 39 regular season games

Scouting reports:

Kemell is a very shifty forward, using good puck skills to effectively attack defenders and get to promising areas. This is a crucial part of his skillset, because his inexplosive skating doesn’t give him much leeway when it comes to operating in tight spaces– if he’s going to be a high-level offensive player, he needs to depend on his puck skills to get him to open ice in situations where his feet cannot. — Sam Happi, McKeen’s Hockey

Kemell is a well-rounded winger who has almost every NHL attribute you want other than the size at 5-foot-11. He brings skill and speed to his shifts, showing the ability to carry the puck up ice and create chances for himself and his teammates. Kemell can pass the puck very well, but his shot is his main weapon. You can set him up from mid-range and he can finish. He lacks size, but he plays hard, showing no fear of engaging physically to win back pucks or to take a hit to make a play. He projects as a very good top-six winger who will score a lot of goals in the NHL. — Corey Pronman, The Athletic

He anticipates pockets of space well, arrives as the puck does for shooting opportunities, positions his body in the best way to catch and release each pass, and generally seems well-connected to his teammates during sustained offensive zone possessions. He’s always involved in the play. You’ll never mistake Kemell for a retrieval artist either, but he’s shown some forechecking skill and physicality across many of our viewings, too. — EliteProspects 2022 NHL Draft Guide

Brad Lambert

Position: Center / Right Wing
Age: 18 (Dec 19, 2003)
Hometown: Lahti, FIN
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 183 pounds
Shoots: Right
Team: JYP Jyväskylä, Pelicans (Liiga)
Production: 10 points (4 G, 6 A) in 49 games

Scouting reports:

Dynamic offensive player with great speed, Very good offensive instincts, Dangerous when given time/space with the puck. Jumps in and out of holes quickly to create chances, impact player at the next level. —

Lambert is a high-end athlete. His skating ability is explosive. He has great speed and edgework, allowing him to cut away from pressure easily. You combine his skating with strong hands and he’s a go-to guy for zone entries. He can make tough plays in motion and shows O-zone creativity. He can use his skating to circle too much at times but this season showed more willingness to attack directly. He’s full of potential, even though I’ve seen him take a lot of nights off. I think he will be a top-six winger in the NHL but he may frustrate coaches. — Corey Pronman, The Athletic

He can be a frustrating watch when it comes to making plays and getting himself into scoring position off-puck, but holy crap there is so much to like. Nobody has ever been as successful as Lambert transporting the puck up the ice in the Liiga at this age, and the signs are immeasurably bright that the puzzle is very close to being put together. I’ve seen him look off clear playmaking opportunities in the offensive zone, but I feel like these situations can be fixed in the next few years. — Will Scouch, Scouching

Jonathan Lekkerimäki (RW)

Position: Right Wing
Age: 17 (Jul 24, 2004)
Hometown: Huddinge, SWE
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 172 pounds
Shoots: Right
Team: Djurgårdens IF (J20 Nationell, SHL)
Production: 35 points (20 G, 15 A) in 26 J20 games; 9 points (7 G, 2 A) in 26 SHL

Scouting reports:

That shot may be the best of Lekkerimäki’s offensive tools, but it’s not the only one. He’s also a reasonably deft handler, with the skill to blend pass receptions into dangles, deceptive manoeuvring, and a sound mechanical base with the puck almost always handled in his hip pocket. — EliteProspects 2022 NHL Draft Guide

Given Lekkerimäki’s ability to find open ice in the slot and in the neutral zone to key up passing lanes, he constantly puts himself in the position to succeed offensively. His shot off the rush and shot in a standstill position allows him to capitalize when he has the puck on his stick. There is a lot to like about Lekkerimäki’s offensive game and the fact that he can use utilize quality stick-handling to get out of sticky situations only increases his value.

From a defensive perspective, there are areas that he needs to work on especially with upper body strength to increase his reach and fend off bigger competitors. But, he has the speed to get to loose pucks before his competitors do even in situations where he doesn’t seem to have the upper hand. All-in-all, I feel confident that the NHL team who drafts Lekkerimäki is netting a top six forward, who will be defensively responsible and at the same time generate top six point totals. — Josh Tessler, Smaht Scouting

If you aren’t convinced already, Lekkerimaki will do quite literally anything to find the back of the net. Whether it’s a slap shot from the point that goes in before the goaltender has a chance to blink or a dirty net-front goal that finally trickles in after three or four whacks at it, Lekkerimaki wants every part of it, every time. His teammates tend to give him the Alex Ovechkin treatment on the power play, constantly trying to set him up for the one-timer at the top of the circle. Lekkerimäki could stand to improve in his own end and on the physical side of the game, but neither of these should pose as concerns for the young Swede. — Alex Hobson, The Hockey Writers

Pavel Mintyukov

Position: Defense
Age: 18 (Nov 25, 2003)
Hometown: Moskva, RUS
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 192 pounds
Shoots: Left
Team: Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Production: 62 points (17 G, 45 A) in 67 regular season games

Scouting reports:

Mintyukov is an exciting defenseman. He plays with pace and is aggressive as a rusher. His skating allows him to evade pressure easily and transition pucks up ice with his feet. Mintyukov is also highly skilled and can make plays through legs and sticks. He shows good offensive IQ, knowing when to activate and how to make plays with the puck. He also has a hard point shot, making him dangerous on the PP with his skating and vision. Defensively he’s solid, showing an ability to use his long reach, mobility and physicality to kill plays. He can be a little too aggressive at times trying to create offense when he leaves his defensive position. He projects as a top-four defenseman with the potential to play high in the lineup. — Corey Pronman, The Athletic

Oozes raw talent, skating skill, vision, deception, offensively aggressive and defensively reliable. Sounds like an NHL defenceman to me. Not sure he has top pairing upside, but will be one of the higher scoring defenders from this draft class.” – Peter Harling, DobberProspects

With Pavel Mintyukov’s size, raw tools (including puck skill and passing ability), four-way agility, and deceptive maneuvering around the blue line: it’s hard not to see a lottery selection on that assessment alone. There are not many players in this draft class that have the ability to operate in the offensive zone from the backend like Mintyukov can. Add in his ability to suffocate space and his mobility to keep a tight gap: he’s an attractive asset in the 2022 draft. — Austin Garrett, Smaht Scouting

Simon Nemec

Position: Defense
Age: 18 (Feb 15, 2004)
Hometown: Liptovsky Mikulas, SVK
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 192 pounds
Shoots: Right
Team: HK Nitra (Slovakia)
Production: 26 points (1 G, 25 A) in 39 regular season games; 17 points (5 G, 12 A) in 19 post-season games

Scouting reports:

Nemec consistently puts himself in the right positions to create. He sprints up the ice in all situations, activates from the point, moves upon pass receptions, and tries the odd complex give-and-go activation play. There are moments of creativity with the puck, like delaying and passing cross-ice for a clean breakout or a fake shot becoming a pass just as the puck leaves his stick. Pinches at the right times, and has the reactionary skill to evade pressure and maintain the zone. — EliteProspects 2022 NHL Draft Guide

The 6-2 defender plays an offensively-minded, but solid two-way game and excels at both ends of the ice. What separates Nemec from many others, is his excellent hockey sense and ability to read the game. His smarts are on display in both offensive and defensive situations. He is very effective at leading the breakout, utilizing his mobility to escape pressure and his vision to make an accurate first pass. Defensively, he maintains very strong gap control and great positioning, which helps him to break up defensive zone cycles and intercept passes. While Nemec doesn’t have the hardest shot in the class, he has a knack for getting it through traffic and on the net. He also has the ability to quarterback a powerplay, thanks to his excellent hockey sense and high-level puck skills. — Eetu Siltanen, Dobber Prospects

Nemec deploys excellent gap control in the corners and in medium danger situations. In my viewings, I noticed that he keeps good pace with the puck carrier behind his own net. Stays on him and doesn’t open up a gap as the puck carrier shifts from right to left along the boards. You’ll notice that he is quite physical in the corner, puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the attack and puts his stick blade to the puck to navigate the boards once asserted enough pressure. When asserting himself into puck battles, not only will he use his upper body strength, but he will also use his hips to swing towards the attacker to try to push him off the puck. — Josh Tessler, Smaht Scouting

Frank Nazar

Position: Center / Left Wing
Age: 18 (Jan 14, 2004)
Hometown: Mt. Clemens, MI
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 181 pounds
Shoots: Right
Team: U.S. National U18 Team (USDP); USNTDP (USHL)
Production: 70 points (28 G, 42 A) in 56 USDP games; 35 points (15 G, 20 A) in 24 USHL games

Scouting reports:

Nazar makes subtle, almost imperceptible plays at every corner of the ice to create advantages for his linemates – little things like dragging defenders toward him on entries to create half-ice 2-on-1s or driving the net off-the-puck to give his linemate more runway. The more attention you pay to Nazar, the more you appreciate his offensive genius. — EliteProspects 2022 NHL Draft Guide

Simply put, Nazar is the style of player you would love to have on your team but would be a huge thorn in your side to play against. He can beat you offensively using his very talented skating ability and incredible playmaking skills, and he can beat you defensively by using his impressive hand-eye coordination and relentless effort to disrupt any sort of offense your team looks to create. — Paul Zuk, Smaht Scouting

He also consistently supports the play high in the offensive zone without possession when that’s his role. He can be careless with the puck and try to do too much at times but he’s also capable of going right into coverage to make something happen. He’s still got some work to do to add muscle, but he’s an extremely gifted athlete who moves and does things on the ice that few can. — Scott Wheeler, The Athletic

Matthew Savoie

Position: Center
Age: 18 (Jan 01, 2004)
Hometown: St. Albert, Alberta
Height: 5-foot-9
Weight: 179 pounds
Shoots: Right
Team: Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
Production: 90 points (35 G, 55 A) in 65 regular season games; 12 points (6 G, 6 A) in 10 post-season games

Scouting reports:

There isn’t a player in this draft class whose game thrills more than Savoie’s does. Inside the offensive zone, he’s lethal. He’s got extremely quick side-to-side hands that help him beat defenders one-on-one off of cuts. He’s got an NHL shot (which he can place with pinpoint accuracy from a bad angle and rip by a goalie clean from a distance, but he also loves to change up and slide five-hole). He’s excellent in traffic because of his craftiness and maneuverability into scoring spots. He’s a burning skater with underrated (I can’t stress this enough) explosiveness that allows him to win races, separate in transition, and put defenders onto their heels.

He’s a soft small-area passer who blends deception into his movements. And then on top of those things, he’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder. I see a dynamic, high-tempo, top-six, goal-creating package. He’s an exciting talent in a draft that’s short on them. — Scott Wheeler, The Athletic

Heavy crossover use and constant motion propel his high-pace, constantly attacking approach, making his every puck touch an opportunity to create a scoring chance. Then Savoie stacks a brilliant first touch, handling skill, an in-stride wrister, and one- and two-touch passing ability on top of that skating and pace combo to ensure many of those chances aren’t for naught. — EliteProspects 2022 NHL Draft Guide

Savoie is a very talented scorer. He stands out with the puck on his stick and can attack in a variety of ways. Savoie is an excellent passer, who can run a power play, hit seams at a high rate and make tough plays under duress. He has very good hands to maneuver in traffic. He has good speed to beat opponents wide and he has a shot that can score from range. Savoie lacks ideal NHL size, but he competes hard and wins a surprising amount of battles for his size. He doesn’t have incredible speed and skill for a 5-foot-9 player so he may be moved to the wing in the NHL, but regardless I see him as a very good top-six forward. — Corey Pronman, The Athletic