The most recent Rebuild Report focused on Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson’s first draft. After a long look of eight years of drafts, the Blackhawks focus seems to be shifting to depth down the middle, on the blue line, and focusing on high IQ hockey players who will make plays on both sides of the ice.
This brings up the next question: Knowing that they are deeper at center and defense, is Davidson going to try and shore up the wing some more, finding a scoring threat that will one day complement Connor Bedard and some of the centers he hopes make it to Chicago?
Please note–this is the first of several looks at what they could do at the 19th pick–with a particular focus on left wings who have the high hockey IQ designation according to scouts and analysts.
LW Andrew Cristall – Kelowna Rockets
Hockey Now Mock Draft: 31st to the Montreal Canadiens
Cristall has been profiled plenty here at Chicago Hockey Now, but if there’s the big time scorer threat, it could be him. Being close buddies with Bedard helps, too, but that can’t be a driving force behind the pick. He’s fallen lately in some mock drafts so perhaps he’s available. Consistently reported as having one of the highest hockey IQ’s and likely best vision in the draft, there’s reason to believe he could be the selection. TSN’s Craig Button has him at 30th in his final rankings, which means the Blackhawks could potentially select at 19 and circle back to get him later.
LW Quentin Musty – Sudbury Wolves
Hockey Now Mock Draft: 24th to the Nashville Predators
Musty had 78 points in as 53 games but it’s the type of player that he would draw Davidson’s attention. The prototypical high IQ forward Davidson seeks who is also the physical winger who could be valuable on the power play or in grinding down the opponent along the boards. He’s been all over the place in terms of ranking and the Blackhawks could reasonably see him there.
LW Colby Barlow – Owen Sound Attack
Hockey Now Mock Draft: 16th to the Calgary Flames
Has a nose for the net, and could also be a sniper in the form of a Patrick Sharp or Alex DeBrincat. Barlow though has quite the range in terms of rankings–as high as 8th by TSN’s Bob McKenzie to as low as Smaht Scouting’s 30th overall. 46 goals in 59 games is certainly enticing, and being 6’1 makes him a more “traditional” size for the wing as opposed to some of the shorter options such as Cristall
RW/LW Gabe Perreault: US National Team
Hockey Now Mock Draft: 12th to the Arizona Coyotes
If there is every a guy to trade up for, this might be the one. Perreault has been listed as a wing on either side in several publications and it’s going to be included as such here. His production reminds of the video game numbers Cole Caufield put up in the US program while setting records for most points and assists in the program’s history.
Here’s another example of the high hockey IQ guy that Davidson tends to select. Perreault isn’t huge by any stretch, and has ranged from 14th – 27th in terms of where he could land in the draft. If for some reason he falls to number 19, the Blackhawks would likely snap him up.
LW Samuel Honzek – Vancouver Giants
Hockey Now Mock Draft: 17th to the Detroit Red Wings
Here’s the big piano puller Chicago could use to beef up its top-six if in fact Honzek gets there. 56 points in 43 games with 23 of the finding the back of the net, Honzek isn’t just a prototypical power forward who skates around looking to knock people over. Yes, he’ll go to the net, but he has a quick release and often finds himself in the right place at the right time. You guessed it–he’s got the high hockey IQ which stays in line with why he’s on the list. Honzek could slot right in as not only a net presence, but a big forward who could help drive the offense away from the net as well.
Wrapping it Up
There are other names to be included and they will be featured throughout the week. The five included in today’s piece are the likelier options that could be there when the Blackhawks pick at #19.
That is of course, if the Blackhawks still remain there.
For more Draft Coverage: