(Editor’s Note: This is the sixth installment in Chicago Hockey Now’s Blackhawks of Tomorrow series about Chicago Blackhawks prospects. Today we look at defenseman Drew Commesso).
Back in 2003, the Chicago Blackhawks drafted Corey Crawford in the second-round with the 52nd overall pick. A decade later, Crawford would arguably be one of the most important players leading the Blackhawks to their fifth Stanley Cup championship. Three years later, they’d win another. Commesso, in 2020, was the 46th overall pick, higher than they took Crawford nearly twenty years earlier. In fact, it’s the highest Chicago has taken a goalie since 2001.
Could they get similar returns from Commesso?
Commesso finished his junior season at Boston University, his save percentage never falling below .913. With the Terriers, he was a two-time Hockey East All-Academic selection, showing that the smarts in the classroom transfer onto the ice. Read any scouting report on Commesso and it speaks to his intelligence when he’s between the pipes. Commesso is calm and steady in the paint, unlikely to be out of position to perform a desperation save. Instead, he’ll square the shooter or use his 6’2 frame to look around a screen before going down to the ice. Commesso doesn’t overcommit, he’s patient and his impressive numbers speak to that. In short, be at the international or collegiate level, there’s no panic in his game. Commesso comes off as unbelievably patient, letting the puck come to him instead of trying to do too much.
Netminders are the toughest position to project because they often take the longest bit of time to pan out. Goalies are often later round picks for this reason and developing them at a reasonable pace is the difference between a Marc-Andre Fleury and a Jack Campbell. Like the latter, sometimes it clicks in later. The pick they spent on Commesso is the highest for a Blackhawks goalie prospect since Adam Munro back in 2001 who they took 29th overall. Crawford was the 56th overall selection in 2003 while the closest to usurping Commesso’s place in Blackhawks history was Kent Simpson who they took 58th overall in 2010. There’s good reason to take Commesso as high as they did. He’s been selected to the US National Team, the 2022 US Olympic team, and enjoyed a stellar career with Boston University.
But how could it play out? Crawford was highly underrated in his time with Chicago. But he was absolutely essential to their championship pedigree. Commesso has quietly played his game and risen in the Blackhawks system.
He’s done the job well at every stop. It only seems logical that Chicago is next. Sharing the round that Crawford was taken, might he share in the successes?