Blackhawks

Blackhawks draw Ducks in Conference Final

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Blackhawks draw Ducks in Conference Final

The Blackhawks knew they were going to get a decent amount of rest before they knew whom their Western Conference Final opponent would be.

Well, now they know, but it's still going to be a few days until they play again.

The Blackhawks will face the Anaheim Ducks, who eliminated the Calgary Flames a few minutes into Monday morning, in the Western Conference Final at some point later this week. Dates and times have yet to be determined.

[MORE: Rested Blackhawks prepping for physical Conference Final]

The conference finals will not begin before the second-round series in the Eastern Conference are completed. The New York Rangers beat the Washington Capitals on Sunday night, evening their series 3-3; Game 7 is 7:30 p.m. ET Wednesday.

The Blackhawks will face a team they’re familiar with, although one which they don’t see that often. They took the regular-season series, 2-1, with two 4-1 victories; Anaheim won the first regular-season matchup 1-0.

The Ducks also had a postseason sweep, dispatching the Winnipeg Jets in four games in the first round. And just like the Blackhawks, Anaheim has yet to lose a game at home this postseason.

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Jonathan Toews didn’t know who the Blackhawks’ opponent would be when he talked after Sunday’s practice but knew whoever it was, it would provide a tough test.

“I don’t think it matters,” he said. “Whoever earns its way into the conference final will have done that for a number of reasons. We’ll have our work cut out for us either way.”

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

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

Brady Tkachuk

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 196 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"I know Tkachuk isn't a center, but Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) is another player who comes to mind with his combination of size, strength, skill and nastiness. Tkachuk has impressive hand skills and his upside has only begun because I think there's lots of maturity and growth to come. I've seen his speed and skating improve each of the past three years and I think he'll still get stronger and his balance will get better. His man strength will come and it'll be like, 'Oh boy, look out.'"

NHL player comparable: Matthew Tkachuk/Wayne Simmonds

Fit for Blackhawks:

If you're looking for a player that checks all the boxes in this year's draft, it's Tkachuk. And man could the Blackhawks use a player like him.

He's got offensive skill, willingly goes to the greasy areas, can provide net-front presence while playing a top-six role, and perhaps the most important part for the Blackhawks: he's very close to NHL ready. The Blackhawks will be patient with whoever they draft, but there's also some urgency to turn things around in 2018-19.

If they can draft a player like Tkachuk who can potentially jump into the lineup as early as this upcoming season, that would be ideal. Because he's the type of player that can make an impact, not just get by.

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.