Blackhawks

Scouting reports on Top 5 NHL Draft prospects

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AP

Scouting reports on Top 5 NHL Draft prospects

We're less than 24 hours away from the NHL Draft lottery, which will determine the order of the first 15 spots.

For the first time since 2007, the Blackhawks find themselves interested in the results. Stan Bowman will be in Toronto representing the organization in hopes of the balls bouncing favorably.

To get prepared for it all, let's break down the Top 5 prospects going into the draft, which will be held on June 22-23 in Dallas:

1. Rasmus Dahlin, D; Frolunda, SHL

Fallin' for Dahlin. This is the consensus No. 1 overall pick, and the guy teams are praying to land.

The 6-foot-2, 183-pound defenseman is an elite offensive playmaker with the ability to play in a shutdown role, a combination that allows him to potentially change the direction of a franchise on the back end. The main concern is that he's only 18 years old, and it takes longer for defenders to adjust to the league than forwards.

Still, Dahlin is capable of jumping into the NHL right away and making an immediate impact while doing so.

2. Andrei Svechnikov, RW; Barrie Colts, OHL 

In NHL Central Scouting's final rankings, Svechnikov came in as the top North American player because of his ability to do special things on offense, whether it's scoring, stickhandling, protecting the puck, etc. To go along with that, he's one of the smoothest and fastest skaters in this draft, making him incredibly difficult to defend.

His defensive game is a work in progress, but his ability to score in multiple ways and create space for teammates makes him perhaps the top forward in this draft.

3. Filip Zadina, RW; Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL 

The Mooseheads have produced a handful of NHL studs over the years, including Jonathan Drouin, Nikolaj Ehlers, Nico Hischier and Nathan MacKinnon, just to name a few.

Zadina could find himself in that category, too. The 6-foot-1, 192-pound Czech winger is a pure goal scorer and considered to be a sniper. He's not the greatest skater, but he's tough to knock off the puck when he gets it. And he has it a lot.

4. Brady Tkachuk, LW; Boston University, NCAA

Hockey runs in the Tkachuk family, and Brady's got big shoes to fill after his dad Keith had a Hall of Fame career and older brother Matthew is making a name for himself in Calgary.

Brady is a versatile forward capable of playing any kind of style, whether it's sticking his nose into dirty areas or playing more of an open game. His speed is probably his biggest area for improvement, but he makes up for that in many different areas.

Every team is looking for this type of player.

5. Evan Bouchard, D; London (OHL)

This draft class is loaded with high-end defensemen, and we'd consider Bouchard the second-best blue liner in this crop simply because his offensive ability is right up there with Dahlin. And that's what the NHL is about these days, impact players that can skate and create.

Bouchard was the OHL's top-scoring defenseman, compiling 87 points (25 goals, 62 assists) in 67 games for the London Knights. He's a quarterback on the power play and has a rocket for a shot. Think Brent Burns.

2010 Hawks Rewind: 3 things we noticed in Blackhawks' Game 1 win over Sharks

2010 Hawks Rewind: 3 things we noticed in Blackhawks' Game 1 win over Sharks

In honor of the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 Stanley Cup team, NBC Sports Chicago is re-airing each of the Blackhawks' 16 postseason wins from the run that ended a 49-year championship drought. You can join the conversation using #HawksRewind on social media.

Despite opening the Western Conference Final on the road, the Blackhawks overcame an early deficit to defeat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in Game 1 at HP Pavillon. Here are three things we noticed in the win:

1. An epic goaltending battle

The Blackhawks and Sharks ranked third and fourth, respectively, in goals per game going into the playoffs, so it wasn't a surprise to see two of the NHL's best offensive teams reach the Final Four.

The offensive firepower was on full display in Game 1, with the two teams combining for 85 shots on goal, 68 scoring chances and 22 high-danger chances, according to Natural Stat Trick. But it was the goaltending that stole the show.

Antti Niemi made a career-high 44 saves on 45 shots for a save percentage of .978. He also stopped all 13 high-danger chances. His counterpart Evgeni Nabokov turned aside 38 of 40 shots, including all nine high-danger chances, for a save percentage of .950. 

2. Escaping the special teams nightmare

The Blackhawks made Game 1 very difficult on themselves in the special teams department. They committed five minor penalties compared to the Sharks' zero, which is as lopsided a ratio as you'll ever see in the playoffs.

The Sharks capitalized on one of those five chances but credit the Blackhawks for hanging in on the other four. They played a full 60 minutes without a single man advantage and made sure it wasn't the reason they lost the game.

3. The legend of Dustin Byfuglien grows

You are going to see a lot of Byfuglien in this series, and he didn't waste any time.

In a 1-1 tie, a wide-open Big Buff pounded his stick on the ice, received a pass from Patrick Kane in the high slot and buried a slap shot past Nabokov with 6:45 left in regulation and it turned out to be the game-winner.

Byfuglien scored a goal in all four games and was credited with the game-winner in three of them. Game 1 was just the start.

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Blackhawks re-sign Highmore, Lankinen, agree to terms with 2 prospects

Blackhawks re-sign Highmore, Lankinen, agree to terms with 2 prospects

The Blackhawks announced on Thursday that they have re-signed pending restricted free agent forward Matthew Highmore and goaltender Kevin Lankinen, and agreed to terms with forward prospects Evan Barratt and Andrei Altybarmakyan on entry-level contracts.

Highmore's deal runs for two years through the 2021-22 season and carries a $725,000 average annual value (AAV). Lankinen's deal is also for two years and runs through the 2021-22 campaign, and carries a $800,000 AAV.

Barratt's deal runs for three years through the 2022-23 season and carries an $870,000 AAV, while Altybarmakyan's is a two-year deal that runs through the 2021-22 campaign and carries a $817,500 AAV.

Highmore has six points (two goals, four assists) in 36 games with the Blackhawks this season and registered 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 21 games with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Lankinen went 8-10-2 with a 3.03 goals against average and .909 save percentage for Rockford before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery on March 2.

Barratt, who was drafted by the Blackhawks in the third round (No. 90 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, is the most notable signing. He registered a team-high 12 goals and 22 assists for 34 points in 34 games during his junior season at Penn State, and was also a Hobey Baker nominee in 2019 after setting career-highs in goals (16), assists (27) and points (43) as a sophomore.

Altybarmakyan was also taken in the third round (No. 70 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft. He registered career highs in goals (six), assists (11) and points (17) in 49 games this season for HK Sochi of the Kontinental Hockey League, and appeared in three games for HK Tambov of the VHL.

With the re-signing of Highmore and Lankinen, the Blackhawks now have nine pending restricted free agents, which most notably includes Drake Caggiula, Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.