Today at 6:00pm CST is the draft lottery to determine the selection order for the first 16 picks in the 1st round of the 2021 NHL Draft on July 23. The Blackhawks have the 12th seed which carries with it a 2.7% chance of winning the lottery to select 1st overall.
Obviously, 1st overall is the ultimate prize when it comes to the entry draft. All teams in the lottery covet this top pick but know it's rather tough to be the lucky one to receive it. Next up is the 2nd overall selection but is it a consolation prize?
In a draft where there is a clear-cut top prospect who is a lock to get taken 1st overall, having the 2nd pick can be a relative let down. However, in this year's draft, there is no runaway prospect at the top of the chart so picking 2nd isn't bad by any means.
For instance, imagine if the Hawks get the 2nd pick but the final draft rankings by Chicago's scouting department and by the scouting department of the team with the 1st pick aren't identical and even list different #1's. The other team gets who they want and so do the Hawks.
Furthermore, in this scenario, it didn't matter if the Hawks got the 2nd overall pick because it ended up working out in their favor that the other team desired another prospect. To put it another way, each team won the lottery and got who was their top choice.
Of course, the likelihood of the Hawks getting the 1st or 2nd pick is slim so picking anywhere from 3rd to 12th has much greater odds. Yet, like the fact that there is no consensus #1, there is also variability in the draft rankings for virtually the entire opening round.
Any draft can be considered a crapshoot but this year it may actually be advantageous to be this way so that no two teams' draft boards are alike. This way, a team may have less disappointment after each successive pick as the player they want may still be available.
Every draft will have surprises, too. Barrett Hayton as the 2018 5th pick (Coyotes) and Moritz Seider as the 2019 6th pick (Red Wings) shocked many. Similarly, the Blue Jackets selected Yegor Chinakhov with the 21st pick last year when he was projected as late as a 7th rounder.
Even Lukas Reichel as the Hawks 2020 1st pick seemed a bit off the board when he was expected by many to be at most a 1st rounder in the 20's range but more commonly predicted to be taken in the 2nd round. Kirby Dach as the 2019 3rd pick was also a stretch for many.
While there is undoubtedly more interest in the Blackhawks offseason transactions, the IceHogs are well underway with shaping their roster for the 2021-22 season which has implications for the parent club's roster -- or at least the training camp invite list.
Below is an inventory of who was on Rockford's roster last season and suggested 2021-22 personnel decisions. Of note, the Hogs have already re-signed goalie Cale Morris to an AHL deal while Arvid Soderblom, Jakub Galvas, and Henrik Borgstrom are inked to NHL contracts.
Click here to view the IceHogs offseason player tracker
The following players should be considered for NHL contracts:
* Dylan McLaughlin (C)
* Chris Wilkie (W)
* Cole Moberg (D)
(More on Cole Moberg below.)
The following players should be retained on AHL contracts:
* Mitchell Fossier (W)
* Garrett Mitchell (W)
* Chad Yetman (W)
The following players should be released, traded, or demoted to the Indy Fuel of the ECHL:
* Gabriel Gagne (W)
* Riley McKay (W)
* Brandon Pirri (C/W)
* John Quenneville (W)
* Cody Franson (D)
* Anton Lindholm (D)
* Dmitry Osipov (D)
* Cliff Watson (D)
* Collin Delia (G)
* Ivan Nalimov (G)
The following players are signed through at least 2021-22 on either NHL or AHL contracts:
* Andrei Altybarmakian (W)
* Evan Barratt (C/W)
* D.J. Busdeker (W)
* Matej Chalupa (W)
* Carson Gicewicz (C/W)
* Mikael Hakkarainen (C/W)
* Reese Johnson (C/W)
* Cam Morrison (W)
* Josiah Slavin (W)
* Tim Soderlund (W)
* Michal Teply (W)
* Chad Krys (D)
* Isaak Phillips (D)
* Alec Regula (D)
* Tom Aubrun (G)
* Cale Morris (G)
The following players should be sent to Canadian juniors:
* Michael Krutil (D)
The following players are recently signed to NHL contracts or will be soon:
* Henrik Borgstrom (C/W)
* Lukas Reichel (C/W)
* Jakub Galvas (D)
* Arvid Soderblom (G)
The following players are expected to be on the Blackhawks or possibly start with the IceHogs but be top recall candidates:
* MacKenzie Entwistle (C/W)
* Mike Hardman (W)
* Philipp Kurashev (C/W)
* Nicolas Beaudin (D)
* Adam Boqvist (D)
* Wyatt Kalynuk (D)
* Ian Mitchell (D)
* Kevin Lankinen (G)
* Malcolm Subban (G)
For the last two categories of players and perhaps some in the other categories, there are a number of factors that will determine whether roster spots become available in Chicago for them to snag. Such factors include:
* Will Jonathan Toews be fit to play?
* Will Dylan Strome remain with the Hawks or be traded?
* Will Calvin de Haan and/or Nikita Zadorov be veteran fixtures on the blueline or be patrolling elsewhere in the league?
* Will a veteran goalie be signed in free agency to play backup?
* Will there be a taxi squad again in 2021-22?
* Will the spot opened by whoever is drafted by the Kraken be filled by a veteran or a youngster?
Scott Powers of the Athletic reported yesterday that the Blackhawks weren't planning to sign D prospects Cole Moberg or Roope Laavainen as their rights expire today. Another report alludes to the notion that Moberg may possibly be retained on an AHL deal.
A third D prospect Joshua Ess also has his rights expiring later this summer on August 15. The likelihood that he gets signed to an NHL contract over Moberg is relatively low. Yet, like Moberg, an AHL contract may not be out of the question for Ess either.
At least one of them should be retained -- preferably Moberg if only one of them -- to fill out the Rockford blueline for next year:
Krys - Regula
Phillips - Moberg
Ess - Galvas
Canada: Nicolas Beaudin, Brandon Hagel, Brandon Pirri
Czech Republic: Dominik Kubalik
Germany: Lukas Reichel
Russia: Maxim Shalunov, Nikita Zadorov
Switzerland: Philipp Kurashev
United States: Drew Commesso
See you on the boards!