Blackhawks

Eddie Olczyk previews Round 1 of Stanley Cup Playoffs

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Eddie Olczyk previews Round 1 of Stanley Cup Playoffs

With the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs right around the corner, NHL analyst Eddie Olczyk joined the Kap and Haugh Show on Tuesday to weigh in on some of the upcoming matchups in Round 1:

Blues-Wild

"I think [the Blues] have everything you would want in building a championship-type of team," Olczyk said. "The question mark is — and it's been like that for a period of time — is the goaltending good enough to be able to do it? Until you do, that'll be the question mark. Is it gonna be Brian Elliott, the veteran, or is it gonna be Jake Allen? 

"You think about this series, the goaltending on either side... Devan Dubnyk's had a terrific year... He came to Minnesota,  he gave them consistency and stepped up his game to another level. 

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"But going back to St. Louis, St. Louis is a much different team than they've been in the past. They have many more offensive difference-makers in their lineup, they're a big team, heavy team, we know they're a nasty team from their rivalry with the Blackhawks.

"I give the edge to the Blues, just because of their depth and I don't know if Minnesota can score as much as St. Louis."

Ducks-Jets

David Kaplan's predicting an upset in this series, choosing the Jets over the Ducks. Olczyk agreed that a scenario like that isn't too far-fetched.

"Winnipeg is a lot like St. Louis," he said. "They're a big team, they're a heavy team. It's an emotional time in Winnipeg; first time they've had a playoff game since 1996."

Check out what else Edzo had to say in the video above. And check out the video below for your Eastern Conference preview:

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.

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."