Blackhawks

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to end skid vs. Ducks

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to end skid vs. Ducks

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Anaheim Ducks tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Jean-Francois Berube on the way up?

The Blackhawks placed Jeff Glass on waivers, and indications are pointing to Berube getting the call-up from Rockford. And you have to wonder whether he'll get thrown right in there with Anton Forsberg having allowed three goals on 13 shots in his last start.

Berube is coming in with confidence. He's stopped 54 of 58 shots (.931 save percentage) in his past two starts for the IceHogs after missing two months with an injury. 

2. Can the power play keep heating up?

The Blackhawks have scored a power-play goal in five of their last six games, and the Ducks may give them a few opportunities to continue that run.

No team has committed more minor penalties in the league than Anaheim (227). The Ducks have killed off six straight penalties in their last three games, however, after going 9-for-16 (56.3 percent) in their previous four, so they're starting to feel good about themselves in that area again.

3. Home struggles.

Home ice has continued to be a disadvantage for the Blackhawks since the calendar flipped to 2018. They haven't won a game at the United Center in more than a month, going 0-5-1 over that span.

Well, they'll play their next five games in Chicago so they better find a way to rediscover the success they used to have on home ice fast.

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."

NHL Draft Profile: D Rasmus Dahlin

NHL Draft Profile: D Rasmus Dahlin

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

Rasmus Dahlin

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 181 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"Is the clear-cut No. 1, pro ready prospect for the 2018 draft. He has the skating, skills and elite hockey sense that can dictate the style of play and the pace of a game, whether it's with or without the puck. He finds ways to contribute and get the job done in all situations."

NHL player comparable: Nicklas Lidstrom

Fit for Blackhawks:

There is zero chance the Blackhawks can snag Dahlin, because it's highly unlikely the Buffalo Sabres would consider moving out of the No. 1 spot, and even if they did it would require a king's ransom. But for the sake of this exercise, what would Dahlin do for the Blackhawks organization?

Well, he's a player who immediately slots into your Top 4 and has the potential to emerge as Chicago's best defenseman in the next year or two. We're seeing it in Boston with Charlie McAvoy, Philadelphia with Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov, and Columbus with Zach Werenski and Seth Jones where these young defensemen are changing the directions of their franchise's.

That's what Dahlin would do for the Blackhawks, who are in desperate need of a young, impact blue liner. Now back to reality.