Hawks Insider

Blackhawks NHL Draft capsules: Scouting reports and analysis

/ by Charlie Roumeliotis
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Hawks Insider
Colton Dach

A recap of the Blackhawks' selections in the 2021 NHL Draft and their scouting reports, including analysis from VP of amateur scouting Mark Kelley.

Round 1, pick No. 32: Nolan Allan, defenseman

  • What you need to know: Allan, 18, registered two points (one goal, one assist) in 16 games this season with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League. He also had five points (two goals, three assists) in five games while on loan with the La Ronge Ice Wolves of the Swedish Hockey League.
  • Scouting report: Allan is listed at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, carries a left-handed shot and is considered to be a physical, shutdown-type defenseman. He was ranked No. 40 on the NHL's Central Scouting Rankings among North American skaters. 
  • Player reaction: "Just shocked. I didn't know where I was going to go. To hear my name called in the last pick there, it was pretty exciting. The whole house erupted."
  • Analysis from Kelley: "What we like about Nolan is the compatibility in his game; the way he fits in on a team. Lot of trust from the coach. More prominent in the defensive zone, but his decisions with the puck are very good. He doesn't create problems for himself. If you are projecting him, he is going to be a partner. His game has a predictability in it that it's going to allow his partner to do things."

Round 2, pick No. 62: Colton Dach, center

  • What you need to know: Dach, 18, recorded 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) in 20 games this season with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League. He had 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 62 games last season. He's the younger brother of Kirby Dach, who was drafted third overall by Chicago in 2019.
  • Scouting report: Dach is a 6-foot-4, 196-pound center whose considered to be a power forward. He was ranked No. 19 on the NHL Central Scouting Rankings among North American skaters. 
  • Player reaction: "Kind of at a loss for words right now. When I heard my name, I stood up and looked right at my mom and she almost had tears in her eyes. It means a lot to them. Everything they’ve done for Kirby and I and now that we’re in Chicago together, so they can sleep a little easier knowing they only have one flight to go watch one team, they don't have to cheer against each other, so I think they're pretty excited."
  • Analysis from Kelley: "We really like the way Colton came on this year. We've been tracking him for really three years, and we see the progression in his game. Like Kirby, he's a big kid, and sometimes those players are a little bit behind the curve. But we project him to be a power forward. He gets to the net."

Round 3, pick No. 91: Taige Harding, defenseman

  • What you need to know: Harding, 19, served as the assistant captain with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, where registered 13 points (five goals and eight assists) in 16 games this season. He had six points (one goal, five assists) in 46 games last season and added two points (one goal, one assist) in six postseason contests. Harding is expected to play at Providence College for the 2021-22 campaign. 
  • Scouting report: Harding is listed at 6-foot-7, 236-pounds, carries a left-handed shot and is considered to be a two-way, primarily defensive defenseman, although his offensive numbers certainly have improved over the years. He was not ranked on the NHL Central Scouting Rankings.
  • Player reaction: "It was pretty awesome. I was hanging out with my family, just watching the picks go by, and we saw Chicago traded we thought maybe. And then my mom was the first one to see it. Everyone was super happy, super pumped and super honored."
  • Analysis from Kelley: "What really stood out for us with Taige Harding is just the way he has come from last year to the beginning of this year to where he was towards the end of the season. He's going into Providence College. The Providence program is a great step in the whole development process. 6-foot-7 defenseman, very athletic for his size, good mobility, he handles the puck very well."

Round 4, pick No. 105: Ethan Del Mastro, defenseman

  • What you need to know: Del Mastro, 18, did not play this season because the Ontario Hockey League did not have a season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He did, however, record two assists in seven games at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Championship for Team Canada, which captured the gold medal. Del Mastro notched seven points (all assists) in 57 games last season for the Mississauga Steelheads. He is expected to return to the Steelheads for the 2021-22 season.
  • Scouting report: Del Mastro is listed at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, carries a left-handed shot and is considered to be a mobile, physical defenseman. He was ranked No. 57 on the NHL Central Scouting Rankings among North American skaters. 
  • Analysis from Kelley: "Ethan was on that Under-18 World Championship team, the Gold Medal team for Canada. What really stood out for us with him is, as the tournament went on, he got in harder situations and he handled them very, very well."

Round 4, pick No. 108: Victor Stjernborg, center

  • What you need to know: Stjernborg, 18, registered four points (two goals, two assists) in 30 games this season for the Vaxjo Lakers of the Swedish Hockey League and added an assist in 10 postseason contests. He also served as the captain for Vaxjo's Under-20 team, where he recorded 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 19 games. He is expected to play for Vaxjo in the SHL for the 2021-22 season.
  • Scouting report: Stjernborg is listed at 5-foot-10, 202 pounds, carries a left-handed shot and is known to have a high motor. He was ranked No. 50 on the NHL Central Scouting Rankings among European skaters.  
  • Analysis from Kelley: "Two-way center. The best way to describe him is he's on the right side of the puck. He has a lot of the coach's trust. I had my first live viewing of Victor yesterday at the USA Summer Festival here in Plymouth."

Round 6, pick No. 172: Ilya Safonov, center

  • What you need to know: Safonov, 20, notched four points (two goals, two assists) in 37 games this season with Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL and added three assists in 11 postseason contests. He also potted two goals for Russia at the 2021 IIHF World Junio Championship.
  • Scouting report: Safonov is listed at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, carries a left-handed shot and is considered to be a power forward. He was ranked No. 54 on the NHL Central Scouting Rankings among European skaters.
  • Analysis from Kelley: "Plays with a lot of power in his game. He gets to the net. He plays very, very hard. Already has 30 games in the KHL. Again, we like him the way he is tracking."

Round 7, pick No. 204: Connor Kelley, defenseman

  • What you need to know: Kelley, 19, recorded five points (three goals, two assists) in 25 games this season as a freshman for the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He spent the 2019-20 season with the United States National Team Development Program. He is expected to return to Minnesota-Duluth for his sophomore campaign.
  • Scouting report: Kelley is listed at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, carries a right-handed shot and is known to have a high hockey IQ. He was not ranked on the NHL Central Scouting Rankings.
  • Player reaction: "I tried not to have too many expectations on it just cause I'm at World Junior camp right now, so I was trying to focus on that as well. I thought there was a chance I'd go. Obviously I did to Chicago and I'm really thankful because it's such a great organization."
  • Analysis from Kelley: "We’ve talked about Kelley for a couple of years now. He was the USA National Team Development Program, went onto Duluth. At Duluth, what really caught our eye was in the NCAA in the Frozen Four. His game, again, there’s just a lot of reliability, really good decisions, a lot to like him."

Round 7, pick No. 216: Jalen Luypen, center

  • What you need to know: Luypen, 19, has spent the last three seasons with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League, where he set a career-high this season in goals (16), assists (13) and points (29) in 23 games. He had 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in 64 games last season. He was named Edmonton's most improved player.
  • Scouting report: Luypen is listed at 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, carries a left-handed shot and has a strong work ethic. He was ranked No. 133 on the NHL Central Scouting Rankings among North American skaters.
  • Analysis from Kelley: "He had been through a draft, but I think the bigger attraction with Jaylen was how hard he plays. A lot of character on the ice and in the locker room. We have a little bit of inside information coming out of Edmonton. Everything on him was just really position, really great kid."

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