When the Chicago Blackhawks drafted second-round pick Martin Misiak, director of amateur scouting Mike Doneghey compared him to a former Blackhawk who played an important role in the Cup victories of 2013 and 2015.
“[He’s] big, six-two, skates, initiates contact, in on board battles, almost like a Brandon Saad-type player, that big-bodied wall player,” Doneghey said. “Unknown what he will do next year. Could go back to Youngstown, there’s also some CHL teams that are trying to get him.”
That CHL team would be the Erie Otters, who took him first overall in the 2023 Import Draft. Now they’ve signed him to a deal which allows him to compete in arguably the best Canadian juniors league.
— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) August 1, 2023
Misiak The Big Body To Balance Out Speed Driven Team
Don’t let the size or the role fool you. Misiak can fly, too, but it’s not the primary focus of his game. Whereas guys like Frank Nazar are potting four goals against Sweden using his blazing speed, Misiak will be bouncing guys off the boards using his. He will head to the front of the net as well, and plays fearlessly on both ends of the ice. He also has versatility, much the bulk of what general manager Kyle Davidson and Doneghey have targeted the past few seasons.
“I’m playing whatever my team needs,” Misiak said. “I was playing center in the US, won a Cup, so I’m feeling great. I’m a center right now but I can play winger or center.”
From the release after Erie selected him, Otters General Manager Dave Brown effused praise on Misiak’s ability to lead play.
“Martin is best described as a complete player who combines his size with energy and tenacity to make his opponents uncomfortable,” Brown said. “His big shot and quick release makes him a handful for goalies, and is someone who we feel will make an immediate impact. Martin was excellent during the playoffs for Youngstown, and gained post-season experience that we are excited to be adding.”
The gain for Erie is a huge victory but it’s also a big win for the Blackhawks. His playoff performance for Youngstown doubles down on the words from both Brown and Doneghey and the move to Erie gives Misiak time to hone his game with–and against–some of the best junior talent in North America.
Ultimately, it could lead to a quicker path to Chicago.
“I’m so happy to be part of Chicago,” Misiak said after being drafted. “Such a great organization. Can’t wait to be in Chicago, to be honest.”
That likely goes for the front office and the Blackhawks fans, too.