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Blackhawks Rebuild Report: Trading Up in the 2015 Draft



The prevailing thought is that the Chicago Blackhawks are going to be trading up from the 19th pick. The more complicated one wonders how they’re going to do so without giving up too much.

Chicago Hockey Now has looked at who they could trade up for as well as the likelihood of actually being able to trade up into a higher pick.

But in the course of the last eight drafts going back to Connor McDavid, what has been used to move up? For the purposes of this report, we’re looking for two things:

  • Trades made days prior to or on the day of the Draft
  • The draft pick order was fully established

It should also be noted that some of the draft capital sent over was inherited from other teams in different trades. For our purposes, we’re simply interested in what was given up in order to acquire the higher draft pick.

2015 NHL Draft
Number of Trades Up in the First Round: 7






The first trade up that met the criteria for this report was the 13th overall pick. Note that the pick didn’t involve any other draft picks, showing again that maybe it took players, amidst salary movement, that earned the pick. Unfortunately for Boston, it didn’t work out as expected.

The second trade Boston made ended up costing them Hamilton and two second-round picks. The Islanders made out like bandits at 16, netting Barzal for Reinhart and a high second round pick. Beauvillier spent seven seasons in New York before being traded to Vancouver in January.

The Flyers also look smart with their deal for the 24th overall.

Ottawa makes the last deal with players involved– at 21. From there on, it was all draft picks for the 28th and 29th picks.

What Trends Should Blackhawks Fans Take Note of?

Only one first-round pick was used to move up in the 2015 Draft’s first round. The rest were second and third rounders. Here’s a quantitative look at it:

  • Five (5) total players were dealt to move up
  • One (1) first-round pick was traded to move up (up five spots from 29 to 24)
  • Six (6) second-round picks were used to trade up; 33rd (twice), 34th, 45th, 52nd, and 61st)
  • Two (2) third-round picks were used to trade up

Of the players traded to acquire that first round pick, here’s a glance at their stats at the end of the 2014-15 season:

  • Milan Lucic: 81 Games: (18-26-44)
  • Dougie Hamilton: 72 Games: (10-32-44)
  • Griffin Reinhart: 8 Games: (0-1-1)
  • Robin Lehner: 25 Games: (9-12-3); 3.02 GAA; .905 Save %
  • David Legwand: 80 Games: (9-18-27)

Of the five players dealt, Hamilton’s numbers are the most impressive. Lehner would see improvement later but with other teams while Lucic wouldn’t match his stronger numbers from years past. Legwand was nearing the end of his career while Reinhart never hit the potential he was supposed to.

What’s the Takeaway?

The deals the Bruins made were based upon the contracts of Lucic and Hamilton. The latter was going to cost more while the former was costing too much, and not producing to meet that cost. Beyond that, he would be an unrestricted free agent in the next offseason. The Bruins decided to look toward the future. But it certainly didn’t work out as they anticipated.

Out of all the deals, Philadelphia (Konecny) and the Islanders (Barzal) were the big winners.

Hindsight dampens some of the deals but Lucic and Hamilton going were big news at the time. But if anything, making deals solely with draft picks in 2015 started late in the first round.

Eight years is a long time, and trends certainly will change. As the series continues, we’ll see where that happens.

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