The Chicago Blackhawks will pick up a young netminder this weekend. Maybe two. Pinning down particulars like who the 'Hawks like and when they will take a goalie is a little more difficult.
With the 18th overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft, Chicago could get their man right away. If the Blackhawks are coveting a specific player, they could use their first selection to secure him.
On the other hand, they could also get their man with the 48th pick in round two. If Chicago is not too picky, they could even wait a little longer.
There are some talented goalies in this year's draft, but there isn't a consensus guy who is going to jump into the NHL and be a difference maker. Any goalie Chicago selects is probably going to play at least another season or two in juniors or overseas.
In the last five drafts, only one (2008) saw as many as four goalies go within the first 50 picks. Last year, no goalies were selected in the first round. From 2007 to 2011, just four went in the opening round.
Chicago could possibly get one of the top-ranked goalie prospects in the second or third rounds, maybe later. Of course, they would likely get their pick if they took him in the first round. However, Blackhawks history doesn't bode well for a first-round goalie.
It's happened exactly twice before.
In 2001, Chicago took Adam Munro 29th overall after selecting Tuomo Ruutu earlier in the first round. Back in 1987, they took Jimmy Waite eighth.
Munro played in 17 NHL games, while Waite was highly regarded but was a career backup over 11 seasons. Unless GM Stan Bowman has set his cap for one goalie above the others, expect the 'Hawks to wait until at least the second round.
Even there, it isn't far-fetched to think that Chicago could come away with a top Eupoean prospect like Russians Andrei Vasilevski and Andrey Makarov or Sweden's Oscar Dansk. The same goes for North American goalies like Malcom Subban, Brandon Whitney or Anthony Stolarz.
Stolarz, who is planning on playing college hockey at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, is a big body (6'5", 200 pounds) who is also athletic. The same goes for Whitney (6'5", 191 pounds), who spent last season with the Vicoriaville Tigers (QMJHL).
Either of those players could be on the board when Chicago makes their third-round selection, along with a host of worthy prospects. For the 'Hawks, getting a goalie with one of their eight picks should not be a problem. We'll just have to wait for the weekend to see how long Chicago elects to wait.
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