Blackhawks

Blackhawks unsure about realignment

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Blackhawks unsure about realignment

When the NHLPA refused to provide consent for the NHLs proposed new realignment on Friday, it seemed surprising. But players say more discussion is needed before they can give the thumbs up to it.

The Blackhawks reacted to the news on Sunday, with all agreeing that there was good and bad parts of the realignment, which may not be implemented for the 2012-13 season.

They made a decision (in December) and made it sound like a done deal and we had no discussion in it, Blackhawks player representative John Scott said. We were on a conference call (with Donald Fehr), we discussed options we had and we were unanimous that we cant accept it at this time.

The biggest sticking points came down to the conference setups and how they factored into who did or didnt make the playoffs. With the top four teams in each conference making the postseason, the two seven-team conferences would have a distinct advantage.

A player wants to be able to make it to the playoffs; thats a big part of your career. To have a disadvantage by where you get drafted or signed, its not something that seems fair, defenseman Steve Montador said. (Considering) that and other things, werent able to agree on it.

Viktor Stalberg, who said hes read the statements from both sides, admitted he wasnt sure how he felt about realignment when it was first announced.

It seemed kind of weird, Stalberg said. Its exciting to have a home and home with every team; the fans would appreciate that. But we wanted more info and they didnt seem to want to provide it for us. Hopefully we can get back to discussing it and figure out something that works for both sides.

Montador said he doesnt foresee the realignment issues reflecting on how the new CBA talks will go; the current agreement expires in September.

Will this realignment get done? The players definitely want to talk about it more.

Its one of those things where its fun to put teams in different conferences and see how it goes. If we were in negotiations and made up a mock schedule to see the actual travel, it would be a lot easier for us to accept, Scott said. We cant do that right now because there are so many unknowns.

2019 NHL Draft Profile: C Jack Hughes

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NBC Sports

2019 NHL Draft Profile: C Jack Hughes

From June 10-20, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile one top prospect per day — 11 total — leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft as the Blackhawks prepare to pick third overall.

Jack Hughes

Position: Center
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 170 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report from NHL.com draft expert Adam Kimelman:

The most talented player in the draft should be the first one selected. The 18-year-old has a package of skating, passing, vision and hockey sense that's reminiscent of Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane."

NHL player comparable: Connor McDavid/Patrick Kane

Fit for Blackhawks:

Listen, we know. Hughes isn't going to be on the board at No. 3. But let's dream just for one minute because when the Blackhawks jumped into the top-three on lottery night, the thought crept into everyone's minds.

Hughes is one of the most talented players to ever come out of the United States National Development Program, and is the most pro-ready out of any prospect in this year's draft. He could step onto an NHL team tomorrow and play in a top-six role seamlessly. 

Stylistically, Hughes' game is reminiscent of McDavid and Kane: A playmaker, goal scorer, smooth skater, unreal vision, high hockey IQ. He is the complete package. And just wait until he adds some muscle to his frame under the care of an NHL organization.

If the Blackhawks landed the No. 1 overall pick, their center depth for the next 7-8 years could've consisted of Hughes, Dylan Strome and Jonathan Toews. Alright, now back to reality. 

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GM Stan Bowman: Blackhawks 'unlikely' to trade out of No. 3 overall spot

GM Stan Bowman: Blackhawks 'unlikely' to trade out of No. 3 overall spot

The 2019 NHL Draft is 48 hours away from now and the Blackhawks are slated to pick third overall for the first time since 2006 when they took Jonathan Toews. Coincidentally, that draft happened to be in Vancouver. 

The Blackhawks are sitting in a unique spot this time around.

The consensus is that Jack Hughes and Kappo Kakko will go first and second overall, respectively, which essentially puts the Blackhawks in a position where they have the first overall pick in a different draft. There's a large group of players to choose from and there doesn't appear to be much separation amongst them.

So would the Blackhawks consider trading out of the No. 3 spot if a team wants to make the jump and the Blackhawks feel good about their player being on the board a few picks back?

"That’s a tough question to answer because it's not like we have a magic formula that we’re waiting for some to call and offer us," GM Stan Bowman said on Wednesday during his pre-draft conference call. "If somebody made a really appealing offer then we’d have to consider it, but that hasn’t happened yet. If it does, then as a group we’ll talk about it. That’s one of those things where a team has to want to put together a really appealing package to move up. It’s happened before, pretty rare though. So I wouldn't say it's out of the realm, but it’s unlikely to happen."

All signs point to the Blackhawks keeping their pick at No. 3, as expected. And it sounds like they already know who it's going to be, which isn't surprising considering the Blackhawks have done extensive research on the prospects — both on and off the ice — for months now.

The Blackhawks staff met on Wednesday a group, they'll meet again on Thursday, and then one more time on Friday before the draft to finalize their list. At this point, it's more about ironing out the later rounds.

"It’s more just fine-tuning the list," Bowman said. "We have more than just one pick in the draft. We’re looking at players we think are going to be around in the second round, and then we don’t have a third-round pick right now so there’s a bit of a gap there between our 43rd and then the two picks in the fourth round. So we have to look at that and determine which players we’re going to target for those rounds. I wouldn’t say there’s anything new that's being discovered at this time of year.

"We’re not going to be cramming last minute. I think we’re going to be very comfortable with the guy we pick when we get to Friday night."

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