Blackhawks

Red Wings unable to crack Blackhawks' strong penalty kill

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Red Wings unable to crack Blackhawks' strong penalty kill

The Blackhawks are a franchise-best 6-0 after beating Detroit 2-1 in overtime Sunday night, and the team couldn't have achieved that mark without its strong penalty kill.

The Hawks got into a bit of penalty trouble in the first and second periods, providing the Red Wings with a man advantage a total of six times, including 43 seconds of 5-on-3 play. But none of those opportunities resulted in success for Detroit.

"We had a few chances, we did not score, so that made things a little difficult on the game," Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk said. "We tried to make the power play better, position better, angle the shot but we weren't aggressive. We didn't have a chance in the second half to rebound, too."

The Blackhawks' special teams performance has played a significant role in the team's early success. Despite the number of times the Hawks were sent to the box, the Red Wings only recorded a total of six shots on goal with the man advantage.

"We had our chances, the puck just didn't go in for us on the power play," Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "It's a frustrating loss, I thought we deserved to win tonight. But it's funny the way this game works, sometimes it just doesn't happen. They got an opportunity there in overtime and they scored."

Although the Red Wings lost out on a second point, Howard believes tonight's outcome wasn't a total loss for his team.

"Chicago is a tough place to play. Whenever you can come in here and at least get a point, it's a good thing. Two points were there and we just failed to get it."

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."