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Blackhawks 2019 NHL Draft capsules: Scouting reports and analysis

Blackhawks 2019 NHL Draft capsules: Scouting reports and analysis

VANCOUVER — A recap of the Blackhawks' selections in the 2019 NHL Draft, and their scouting reports, including analysis from VP of amateur scouting Mark Kelley:

Round 1, pick 3: Kirby Dach, center

Round 2, pick No. 43: Alex Vlasic, defenseman

— What you need to know: Vlasic, 18, is a Wilmette native and played for the Chicago Mission. He compiled 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) in 27 games for the United States National Team Development Program junior team last season, and 27 points (four goals, 23 assists) in 61 games for the Under-18 team. He also registered one assist in seven games at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship for Team USA.

Vlasic is committed to play at Boston University next season and expects to play there for at least two years before making the jump to the NHL. His cousin is Sharks defenseman Marc-Eduoard Vlasic, somebody he idolizes and tries modeling his game after.

— Scouting report: Vlasic is a 6-foot-6, 198 pound defenseman and described himself to be a "defensive defenseman, kind of a shutdown guy." He's a player that wants to be out there in the final five minutes protecting a lead.

— Player reaction: "It's kind of a crazy moment. I didn't know which team was going to pick me, and then for the hometown team to call my name out there was pretty crazy. I know my family members were pumped for sure."

— Analysis from Kelley: "When you watch him play, his size and length gives him a great presence. He's very efficient, clean moving the puck. For a guy that size he has good mobility. I just think the whole package he fit in well with that team and I think his size gives his teammates a little bit of space too."

Round 4, pick No. 105: Michal Teplý, forward

— What you need to know: Teplý, 18, registered nine points (four goals, five assists) in eight games for Bili Tygri Liberec Under-19 team before joing the top division in the Czech Republic, where he accumulated two points (both assists) in 15 games. He played the rest of the season with HC Benatky and Jizerou, where he racked up 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 23 games. 

Teplý also tallied three assists in five games for the Czech Republic at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. He was the 14th-ranked European skater by NHL's Central Scouting.

— Scouting report: Teplý is a 6-foot-3, 187-pound winger and is known to be strong and creative with the puck. His best attributes include stickhandling and passing.

— Player reaction: "I'm an offensive player. I like to score goals."

— Analysis from Kelley: "Big, right shot, usually plays on the off side. He's a shooter. Great one-timer, real good wrist shot, good skater. One of the things that was very attractive for us this year was every time we went to see him, incrementally, month to month, his skating was getting better. I think with the growth spurt that he had, he's growing into his body acclimating and he's an exciting player for us."

Round 4, pick No. 123: Antti Saarela, forward

— What you need to know: Saarela, 17, registered 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 24 games for Lukko in Liiga, the top professional league in Finland. He also recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in five games at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship for Finland, which captured the gold medal. He was the 24th-ranked European skater by NHL's Central Scouting.

— Scouting report: Saarela is a 6-foot, 190-pound center who's known to have great puck skills and plays with high energy. 

— Analysis from Kelley: "I think the best way to describe him is he plays fast, he's very competitive, very hard, a real good pursuit guy, has a good skillset but I think it's his overall 200-foot game that's attractive." 

Round 6, pick No. 167: Dominic Basse, goaltender

— What you need to know: Basse, 18, posted a 1.91 goals against average and .924 save percentage in 42 games for Select Hockey Academy Under-18 team. He also appeared in two regular-season games at the United States Premier Hockey League level, where he had a 1.50 GAA and .938 save percentage and also a 2.67 GAA and .938 save percentage in two postseason contests.

— Scouting report: Basse is listed at 6-foot-6, 179 pounds. From The Athletic's goalie expert Cat Silverman: "Should need a little adjustment jumping to DI NCAA after spending most of his high school playing for a DC-area high school, but good size and he's been head and shoulders above the competition for a few years."

— Analysis from Kelley: "The first time I went to see him this year I drove in a snowstorm. Luckily it was 45 minutes from my house to get there and I got there and I get situated and I looked out there, watched a little warmups, the game starts and he was on the bench. So he was coming off between periods, he was the last guy and I said to him, 'Hey, you! When are you playing?' And he told me: 'I'm going to be the starter tomorrow and Monday.' So I came back. He caught my eye. But on him, [head USA scout] Mike Doneghey and [goaltending scout] Dan Ellis ... they liked him. I think what we liked is the project. He's going to Colorado College, they're very, very high on him. That one's going to take a little bit of time development, but he's 6-5, athletic."

Round 7, pick No. 194: Cole Moberg, defenseman

— What you need to know: Moberg, 18, has spent the last two seasons with Prince George in the Western Hockey League, where he accumulated 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) in 61 games this past season. His minus-33 rating ranked towards the bottom of the WHL, but his offensive production spiked from Year 1 to Year 2.

— Scouting report: Moberg is a 6-foot-3, 198-pound defenseman and is known to have great hockey sense, is competive and has an absolute cannon of a shot. He has experience playing forward.

— Analysis from Kelley: "Right-shot defenseman. A little behind the curve for us. We thought this year he really came on. Playing at Prince George isn't the easiest with the travel and what have you, but he's game he just kept getting better and better. We brought him into Chicago, thought he did real well in the off-ice training and then on the ice also."

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Blackhawks mailbag: Why did the Blackhawks give up on Henri Jokiharju so fast?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks mailbag: Why did the Blackhawks give up on Henri Jokiharju so fast?

Every Friday this offseason, Charlie Roumeliotis will look to answer your Blackhawks and hockey-related questions. Be sure to chime in using the hashtag #HawksMailbag on Twitter for a chance to have your question answered in the next edition. 

Why did we gave up on Henri so fast?

The question isn’t why did the Blackhawks give up on Henri Jokiharju so fast? It’s why did they sell him without receiving an immediate impact-type player in return, whether that came in the form of a package or not?

The Blackhawks were always going to use their surplus of defensemen prospects as trade ammo to patch up a need elsewhere. Alex Nylander could turn into a fine player, but he’s far from a sure thing. It seems like, for whatever reason, he’s struggling to take the next step and the Blackhawks find themselves hoping that he can turn into the player he was supposed to become when he was taken No. 8 overall in 2016.

With moving out Jokiharu does that mean someone like Boqvist or Beaudin is more likely to be ready to step in possibly sometime this season?

The Jokiharju trade certainly opens the door for one of those prospects to emerge from the pack, and we could see a glimpse of them as soon as this season.

After four years in the QMJHL, Beaudin will turn pro and start the season in Rockford if he doesn’t make the Blackhawks out of training camp. And according to our friend Scott Powers of The Athletic, it’s looking more like Boqvist might turn pro also after one year in the OHL.

If that’s the case, both of those prospects will be readily available for a call-up at any point. Beaudin is likely still a year away. Boqvist is the interesting one because he turned heads at training camp last season and gave the Blackhawks something to think about when they were trimming their 23-man roster.

If Boqvist excels in the AHL and the Blackhawks have a spot for him, the former No. 8 overall pick in 2018 is only a phone call away from a call-up and that could be tempting if an offensive jolt from the backend is needed.

Does the arrival of Nylander hinder the potential chance of Dach making the roster out of camp?

The Blackhawks aren’t going to keep Kirby Dach off the roster because the math squeezes him out. If he does his part to force the management group into keeping him on the team, the Blackhawks will figure out how to shuffle the cards later.

But the Nylander acquisition does add to the competition up front in general and Dach figures to be part of that mix. The challenging part is that you have to think Dach is battling for a top-nine spot. The Blackhawks won't keep him on the roster all season because he's the 11th- or 12th-best forward. They'd want him playing decent minutes in the NHL, and if he's not doing that, they'll send him back to the WHL to do it.

The ‘Hawks currently have 10 forwards (excluding Perlini) locked into a roster spot. Kubalik & Sikura are expected to round out the forwards, but who else do you think has a strong chance to make the team? Nylander? Saarela? Wedin? Quenneville? Looks less likely for Dach.

Good question, and something we’ve been writing and talking about on the Blackhawks Talk Podcast for the past several weeks. The Blackhawks like having internal competition and continue to note that you need to be 14, 15, 16 forwards deep to be successful in today's NHL.

But the reality is, the extra forwards in this scenario should be taking steps forward in helping the team right now and not serving as 13th forwards. You have to think Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Sikura will be on the Opening Day roster, but that doesn't seem like a given as of right now. The fact that Nylander could play left wing or right wing helps his case. Anton Wedin is an intriguing candidate. John Quenneville will definitely get a look. Where does Brendan Perlini factor into the plans?

It's too early to tell because it still feels like there could be some more tweaks coming between now and training camp.

Who do you see taking the first line LW position and the second line RW position for the majority of the year?

In Tuesday's conference call explaining the Alex Nylander-Henri Jokiharju trade, GM Stan Bowman hinted that the Blackhawks are likely to start the season with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on the first line and Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome on the second. And the question is who’s going to play left wing on the first and right wing on the second.

Andrew Shaw sticks out as somebody who could get an immediate look. Brandon Saad finished the season on the third line and was effective in that role but maybe he gets another shot also. Of course, Drake Caggiula worked so well with Kane and Toews but he’s probably better suited in a bottom-six role.

If Nylander makes the team out of training camp, he could be the wildcard. He's the kind of player who should play in the top-six with other offensively-skilled players to maximize his talent but he hasn't earned that opportunity yet. Kubalik, however, has after his breakout season offensively in the Swiss league and at the international level. And like they did with Dominik Kahun last season, the Blackhawks could look to put him in the best possible position to succeed off the bat.

If we're projecting right now, I could see these combos as the first two lines to open camp: Kubalik-Toews-Kane and DeBrincat-Strome-Shaw. 

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Blackhawks announce star-studded attendees list for 12th annual fan convention

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AP

Blackhawks announce star-studded attendees list for 12th annual fan convention

The 12th annual Blackhawks Convention will take place from July 26-28 at the Hilton Chicago, and the team announced a star-studded attendees list on Thursday:

PLAYERS

  • Artem Anisimov
  • Drake Caggiula
  • Carl Dahlstrom
  • Alex DeBrincat
  • Calvin de Haan
  • David Kampf
  • Patrick Kane
  • Slater Koekkoek
  • Robin Lehner
  • Olli Maatta
  • Connor Murphy
  • Brendan Perlini
  • Brandon Saad
  • Brent Seabrook
  • Andrew Shaw
  • Dylan Strome
  • Jonathan Toews

 

ALUMNI

  • Murray Bannerman
  • Ed Belfour
  • Bryan Bickell
  • Dave Bolland
  • Brandon Bollig
  • Ted Bulley
  • Adam Burish
  • Brian Campbell
  • Chris Chelios
  • Eric Daze
  • Tony Esposito
  • Doug Gilmour
  • Stu Grimson
  • Bobby Hull
  • Dennis Hull
  • Steve Konroyd
  • Cliff Koroll
  • Steve Larmer
  • Jamal Mayers
  • Troy Murray
  • Bernie Nicholls
  • Eddie Olczyk
  • Jeremy Roenick
  • Phil Russell
  • Denis Savard
  • John Scott
  • Patrick Sharp
  • Pat Stapleton
  • Kris Versteeg — signed AHL contract with Rockford IceHogs

 

PROSPECTS

  • Nicolas Beaudin
  • Adam Boqvist
  • Kirby Dach
  • Collin Delia
  • Mackenzie Entwistle
  • Alexandre Fortin
  • Dennis Gilbert
  • Brandon Hagel
  • Mikael Hakkarainen
  • Reese Johnson
  • Chad Krys
  • Philipp Kurashev
  • John Quenneville
  • Aleksi Saarela
  • Tim Soderlund

 

COACHES

  • Sheldon Brookbank
  • Jeremy Colliton
  • Marc Crawford
  • Tomas Mitell
  • Jimmy Waite

 

BROADCASTERS

  • Chris Boden
  • Steve Konroyd (note: also included in alumni above)
  • Troy Murray (note: also included in alumni above)
  • Eddie Olczyk (note: also included in alumni above)
  • John Wiedeman

 

Among the notable players not attending: Erik Gustafsson and Duncan Keith, respectively. Newly-signed forward Ryan Carpenter and prospect Alex Nylander also will not be in attendance.

New additions Calvin de Haan, Robin Lehner, Olli Maatta and fan favorite Andrew Shaw will be in attendance, as will No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach.

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