The Blackhawks nabbed an exciting offensive-minded defenseman named Chad Krys in the second round of the 2016 NHL Draft. Krys enters our Top 25 Under 25 at No. 12, where he may seem a little high up but deserves recognition for his potential. We're still in that mid-tier range where each guy has his warts, and with Krys, he's young and talented enough you hope he can overcome them.
Birth date: April 10, 1998
Acquired via: Second round pick (No. 45 overall) in 2016 NHL Draft
Most recent stop: U.S. National U-18 Team (UDSP)
Size: 5'11, 185 pounds
There's a decent chance that Krys at No. 12 looks way too high a year from now, but the opposite could easily be true as well. He got picked in the second round by the Hawks a few months ago and will have some time to develop before he's expected to compete for an NHL job. On the ice Krys is an undersized, quarterbacking blue liner who loves to play with the puck and try to create offensively from the back end. It breaks away from the mold you typically see from the Hawks' top defensemen, but the team also could use some guys with the potential to develop into more offensive-minded players.
That's especially true of Krys, who has real questions about his projection as a defensive player at the next level. He's inherently got some limited defensive upside by way of his smaller frame. ESPN's Corey Pronman noted in his 2016 NHL Draft Top 100 rankings -- where Krys ranked No. 67 -- that the 18-year-old "makes the odd hiccup" on the blue line that beg questions about his future. In Chicago, where guys like David Rundblad have struggled to settle in because of similar problems, it's fair to wonder if a risk-taking, mistake-prone Krys will ever fit in.
But Krys still deserved his selection in the second round this year, and if he develops properly in college, there's a very good chance he'll be worth signing a couple years down the road.
What's next in 2016-17
Krys is committed to play at Boston University for the upcoming season, where he'll try to carve out a big role with the Terriers. Based on where his game is at this point, he'll need to make some real progress in order to earn a contract offer next spring, although the Hawks will be playing that delicate game of not wanting to let Krys get to his senior season. Don't expect Krys to be lighting it up on the Hawks' power play in the United Center anytime soon, but for a team with an increasingly thin farm system, he's another upside guy who could rise significantly in a year or two.
Second City Hockey's Top 25 Under 25 rankings
No. 12: Chad Krys
No. 13: Erik Gustafsson
No. 14: Luke Johnson
No. 15: Tanner Kero
No. 16: Artur Kayumov
No. 17: Carl Dahlstrom
No. 18: Dennis Gilbert
No. 19: Luc Snuggerud
No. 20: Robin Norell
No. 21: Robin Press
No. 22: Dylan Sikura
No. 23: Graham Knott
No. 24: Anthony Louis
No. 25: Roy Radke
Honorable mentions: Radovan Bondra, Joni Tuulola, Mathias From, John Dahlstrom, Lucas Carlsson