Blackhawks

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 4-2 loss to Golden Knights: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 4-2 loss to Golden Knights: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night:
 
1. John Hayden's presence felt again.

The Energy Line shined in the Blackhawks' 4-2 win over Arizona on Saturday, and they picked up where they left off in this one. But Hayden particularly was very noticeable.

The 22 year-old opened the scoring just 3:33 (sup, Pat Foley?) into the contest with a shorthanded goal for his first of the season. He also finished the game with one shot on goal, two hits and a takeaway, and logged his highest ice time (13:03) since the second game of the season.

2. About that power play...

It's (almost) gotten to the point where the Blackhawks may be better off declining their power plays.

After capitalizing on their only opportunity in Arizona, the Blackhawks went 0-for-3 on the man advantage and struggled to generate any sort of quality scoring chances.

Joel Quenneville has tried mixing up both units, but the results won't turn around unless they get some traffic to the net. It's not fun fighting for position in front of the goaltender on a nightly basis, especially when the season is a marathon and not a sprint, but it's necessary to breaking through.
 
3. Ryan Hartman defends teammate.

It may not have been the best timing, but there's never really a bad time to stick up for your teammate when it's warranted.

Late in the second period with the Blackhawks trailing 2-1, Nick Schmaltz was leveled by Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb near the team bench, which prompted Hartman to commit a slashing and roughing penalty when coming to the defense of his teammate. The Blackhawks ended up killing off the double-minor penalty, but the Golden Knights scored seconds later and didn't look back.

Any time somebody takes a run at one of your star players, you have to make it known that there will be consequences, even if it's a clean hit. It essentially makes opponents think twice about doing it again. 
 
4. Patrick Kane (barely) extends point streak.

With 65 seconds left in regulation, Kane's point streak lived to fight another day after he scored a goal at the doorstep assisted by Brandon Saad.

Kane has registered at least a point in six consecutive games, and has also found the back of the net in his last three. He finished the game with 10 shot attempts (six on goal), and started double-shifting a bit in the third period.
 
5. Remember Jonathan Marchessault?

The last time Marchessault got a crack at Chicago, he netted a hat trick in a 7-0 win as a member of the Florida Panthers on March 25 last season.

He continued that success against the Blackhawks, scoring a third-period goal on the power play and recording seven shot attempts (five on goal), two hits and one takeaway. He was all over the scoresheet.

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Quinn Hughes

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 170 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Torey Krug/Kris Letang

Fit for Blackhawks:

It's no secret the Blackhawks are looking to restock their pipeline with some high-end defensemen. Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell are on the way. But the former isn't a lock to be a full-time NHLer this season and the latter will continue playing in college for the 2018-19 season.

Hughes, who shined at Michigan and the IIHF World Championship with Team USA, would have the best chance of the three to crack the Blackhawks lineup first. The problem is, he likely won't be available at No. 8, so if Hughes is the guy they're locked in on, they'd need to trade up to grab him. 

If they did that, Hughes would give the Blackhawks a third blue line prospect they can get excited about. He's a left-handed shot, which evens out the balance in the system, and he would become a prime candidate to eventually replace Duncan Keith as the team's No. 1 defenseman.

NHL Draft Profile: F Oliver Wahlstrom

NHL Draft Profile: F Oliver Wahlstrom

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Oliver Wahlstrom

Position: Right wing
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 205 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"Wahlstrom already has an NHL-caliber shot with a quick release and the ability to create space for himself and linemates. He's most known for his goal-scoring ability and elite shot, and can hit a one-timer as good or better than many professional players."

NHL player comparable: Phil Kessel

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks would probably prefer to take a defenseman at No. 8, but because four of them might go inside the Top 7, the best available player on the board is likely to be a forward. And there's a decent chance that could be Wahlstrom.

Wahlstrom would immediately become Chicago's top prospect, and a player that has the potential to slide into the top six when he reaches the NHL — whenever that may be.

He's committed to college for the 2018-19 season, so it's doubtful he would join the team until at least 2019-20, but Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley said in our draft preview edition of the Hawks Talk Podcast that it wouldn't deter them from picking him. 

And it shouldn't, because you don't want to waste a player of his caliber's entry-level years developing in the minors if he's not ready yet.

"I think the way we would evaluate it is, we project them, we try to get a timeline on when we think they might be NHL ready," Kelley said. "But we're also looking for where they are in their development curve and want their ceiling is. I think in some players, you have to be a little bit more patient for them to reach their ceiling. That doesn't necessarily mean that players can't exceed their development curve, I think we saw that with Alex DeBrincat last year."