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Revisiting Draft Targets Following Final Bob McKenzie Rankings

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TSN’s Bob McKenzie remains one of the most plugged in experts in the league. His final rankings came out Thursday and Chicago Hockey Now has written its own vision of trading up to get draft gems that may fall out of the top ten.

We focused on left wings for the article. Here’s a look back at the four names we initially picked.

#1: Ryan Leonard

McKenzie’s Final Ranking: 6th

Initial Takeaway from CHN: Leonard is a coach’s dream–a player that would remind Blackhawks fans of Andrew Shaw–perhaps even more dangerous offensively

Thoughts After McKenzie’s New Ranking: I believe Leonard is one of the better players in this draft and won’t be there for the Blackhawks to trade up for. He could easily sneak into the top five at this and I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest.

#2: Matthew Wood

McKenzie’s Final Ranking: 11th 

Initial Takeaway from CHN: Wood’s appeal starts with his size at 6’4 and how that size doesn’t hinder his ability to make plays on the puck as more of a playmaker.

Thoughts After McKenzie’s New Ranking: Not much changed from the ranking that TSN colleague Craig Button gave him at 11.

#3: Zach Benson

McKenzie’s Final Ranking: 9th

Initial Takeaway from CHN: Hence, he’s another candidate for Chicago to trade up for should he fall that far. It’s doubtful he does.

Thoughts After McKenzie’s New Ranking: The Montreal Hockey Now mock draft had him going to Washington at eighth. It’s beyond doubtful now that he’ll slip out of the top ten.

#4: Eduard Sale

McKenzie’s Final Ranking: 24th

Initial Takeaway from CHN: Critiques from most analysts centered around his compete level being consistent, and that could be what keeps Chicago from taking him at 19 or trading up at all for him.

Thoughts After McKenzie’s New Ranking: If McKenzie is ranking him at 24th, Sale’s raw abilities may not be enough to keep him afloat. He might not only be there at 19, he could very well be on the board for awhile longer.

Final Thoughts

In the initial article written about left wings the Blackhawks could look at without trading up, the four names who could have fallen to Chicago that should be snapped up were:

  • Quentin Musty (Ranked 25th by McKenzie)
  • Andrew Cristall (Ranked 27th by McKenzie)
  • Colby Barlow (Ranked 12th by McKenzie)
  • Gabe Perreault (Ranked 10th by McKenzie)
  • Samuel Honzek (Ranked 17th by McKenzie)

The former are likely to be there while the next two will most likely be gone. Honzek has a possibility of still being at the spot. The hardest part of the draft is trying to trade up because of trying to determine the willingness of another team in losing spots. Can a team properly offer compensation to make up for it?

With McKenzie having the pulse of the league better than most, of the names profiled only Musty, Cristall, and Sale are likely to be there at 19. Honzek is an option, but he could very well be gone, too.

Barlow, Perreault and Leonard stand out as being in the mold of what would help the Blackhawks in the shorter term while being in line with the type of players Kyle Davidson may be looking for.

A trade up may be the only way to get one of the three. But the next logical question would be how high could they realistically get and what would it take?

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