The Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild have met two consecutive postseasons. From one spring to the other the series got much tighter, with the Blackhawks fighting to eliminate the Wild in six games last season.
Now, it’s time to get ready for Round 3.
The Blackhawks, who eliminated the Nashville Predators on Saturday night, will meet the Minnesota Wild in their second-round series. Dates and times have yet to be determined.
[MORE: Blackhawks rally to beat Predators, advance to second round]
The Wild advance to the second round for the second consecutive season after it beat the St. Louis Blues 4-1 on Sunday afternoon. Zach Parise scored twice and Devan Dubnyk stopped 30 of 31 shots for the victory.
This current Minnesota squad is a far cry from the team in January that was way out of the playoffs. Questions arose at the time if coach Mike Yeo would be a casualty of what was looking like an underachieving season. Oh, how times have changed. The Wild have been tremendous since acquiring Dubnyk, who went 27-9-2 through the rest of Minnesota’s regular season.
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.
Position: Left wing
Weight: 192 pounds
Scouting report from Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley:
"Big winger, great shot, highly skilled. I think what he brings is size, the shot, and he has a deceptively good two-way game."
NHL player comparable: David Pastrnak
Fit for Blackhawks:
The Blackhawks are likely leaning toward drafting a center or defenseman with the No. 3 overall pick, but Boldy is an intriguing prospect because he’s drawn comparisons to Marian Hossa. And that’s a player the team has missed over the last two seasons.
Boldy is one of the most complete players in this draft class, and already has the size to play in the NHL. He’s a great skater, responsible in his own end, can play in any situation and can really play any style. Boldy might be a year away from making the jump to the pros, but he's going to be a player the you never have to worry about on the left side.
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One of the Blackhawks’ priorities this summer is to add pieces that will help shore up the defensive part of their game after they gave up the second-most goals in the NHL last season. And they didn’t waste much time doing it.
Less than a week before the 2019 NHL Draft, the Blackhawks announced Saturday that they have acquired defenseman Olli Maatta from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Dominik Kahun and a 2019 fifth-round pick.
Maatta is 24 years old, carries a left-handed shot and is a two-time Stanley Cup champion. But he battled injuries last season and fell out of favor in Pittsburgh, where he was a healthy scratch for three games in the first round of the playoffs.
The Blackhawks are hoping a fresh start could help Maatta find his game again, and do it in a place that may better utilize his skill-set. Where he could help is in the defensive part.
According to The Point, Maatta ranked 9th among defensemen in blocked shots per game (2.05), 26th in defensive zone puck battles won (2.45), 40th in blocked defense zone passes (3.77) and 47th in outlet passes (8.95).
Maatta, who was taken in the first round (No. 22 overall) in 2012, had 14 points (one goal, 13 assists) in 60 games last season. His best year came in 2017-18 when he tallied 29 points (seven goals, 22 assists) in 82 games. He has three years remaining on his deal that carries a $4.083 million cap hit.
It’s worth noting that when Maatta signing his extension with Pittsburgh on Feb. 26, 2016, the contract included a modified no-trade clause in his final two years, according to Cap Friendly. The Blackhawks will have the option to either honor that clause or nullify it.
The Blackhawks are expected to have some heavy competition among the forwards at training camp with the signings of Dominik Kubalik and Anton Wedin. That likely made Kahun expendable despite a rookie season in which he compiled 37 points (13 goals, 24 assists) in 82 games.