14 June 2007

NHL draft talk - #1 pick: Chicago Blackhawks

Tonight marks the symbolic end to the 2006-07 NHL season with the annual awards show, likely to be marked with terrible puns, bad suits, and shifting empty seats. But starting tomorrow morning the 2007-08 season begins, with a leadup to next Friday's first round of the NHL Entry Draft. As of now, the first five picks will go to:

1. Chicago
2. Philadelphia
3. Phoenix
4. Los Angeles
5. Washington

Predicting who will go where is perhaps a fool's game, but a little semi-mindless speculation and analysis is always enjoyable. I'm not intending these to be predictions, because so much goes on behind the scenes so to speak on which teams will draft which players, so I'll informally spend a little time on the top 5 clubs and slowly go down the list and evaluate who I would take if I were in each club's position.

Starting off with number one: The Chicago Blackhawks.

The Chicago Blackhawks hold the first selection in the draft for the first time in their history (likely shocking to those only familiar with their latest decade of failure, having made the playoffs only once since 1997) and GM Dale Tallon has implied that the choice is between forwards Patrick Kane, Kyle Turris, and James van Riemsdyk (barring any sort of trade, of course).

It sounds like Tallon may prefer the two-way physical play of Turris and Van Riemsdyk, as their size (6'0" and 6'3" respectively) gives them the advantage over the 5'9" Kane, but Kane is the most-likely to turn pro next season, which could be beneficial to getting fans excited about the Hawks again. But the Hawks have to be patient and continue their slow but emerging re-building process - if Jonathan Toews and Jack Skille progress as expected they should help provide Chicago with a fearsome combination not seen since the days of Jeremy Roenick and Steve Larmer. If Tallon believes Kyle Turris - who is slated to play at the University of Wisconsin this fall - will be their #1 center for a decade starting three years from now that's the pick he needs to make: Kyle Turris at number one.

No comments: