Chicago Blackhawks 2014 NHL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

Franklin Steele@FranklinSteeleAnalyst IIJune 27, 2014

Chicago Blackhawks 2014 NHL Draft Picks: Grades, Results and Analysis

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    Unlike a handful of other Stanley Cup hopeful teams in 2013, the Chicago Blackhawks managed to hang onto a majority of their early-round selections. They traded up to pick at No. 20 in the 2014 NHL draft on Friday and will approach the stand three times within the first 100 choices.

    They moved their second-round selection to the Arizona Coyotes for David Rundblad and Mathieu Brisebois but acquired an extra pick in the third round in the trade that sent Brandon Pirri to the Florida Panthers.

    Here is a look at all eight picks made by the Chicago Blackhawks in this year's draft.

Round 1, Pick 20: Nick Schmaltz, C, University of North Dakota

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    The Chicago Blackhawks made a draft-day trade to acquire the 20th-overall selection from the San Jose Sharks, and they received a great value pick in Nick Schmaltz. Chicago has been struggling to supply centers at the NHL level, and are clearly looking to bulk up their farm system up the middle with this choice.

    Schmaltz possesses outstanding vision and has a knack for hitting open teammates through small windows of opportunity. While he's not bad in his own end, Schmaltz's ticket to the NHL is his slick hands. 

    He's dangerous in close and around the net, and can finish just as well as he can pass. Schmaltz is a bit of a risky selection, but the Blackhawks didn't give up much to add the kid to the organization. Overall, there's a great fit with a smart player heading to a team that covets high hockey IQ.


    Grade: A

Round 3, Pick 83: Matheson Iacopelli, RW, Muskegon (USHL)

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    The Blackhawks remained busy during the second day of the draft, eventually landing the 83rd selection to go along with the 88th pick they already had. Bowman grabbed a slick forward with the extra third-round pick in Matheson Iacopelli—a winger that fits in with Chicago's talented but astute mold.

    His scoring touch around the net is instantly noticeable, and his 41-goal campaign in the USHL this season was impressive. It's rare to see players in that league rack up goals like that, so this is a great value pick for the 'Hawks.

    The only downside for Iacopelli is his skating, but that's something that can be easily fixed during the maturation process. Classic high-risk, high-reward selection that keeps Chicago afloat year in and year out despite having a lot of cap room committed to a small handful of individuals.


    Grade: B

Round 3, Pick 88: Beau Starrett, C/LW, South Shore (USPHL)

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    Beau Starrett's handle on Twitter is Beau_Dangles. That should give you a little bit of insight into what the 6'5", 195 pound forward brings to the table. Like Iacopelli, Starrett brings a high offensive upside to the table that comes along with some red flags.

    Those are pretty much impossible to get away from at this stage in the draft though, and Bowman seems to have grabbed yet another player from the United States developmental system that could become an impact forward at the next level.

    On paper, Starrett is an attractive asset due to his height and finishing ability. Despite the size, he's also strong on his skates and really thrives while in on the forecheck. Just a tenacious player when the opposition has the puck and he knows what to do with it in the offensive zone.

    Just a great pick for the 'Hawks towards the end of the third round, as Starrett's steadiness seems to balance the risk involved with picking Iacopelli.


    Grade: A-

Round 4, Pick 98: Fredrik Olofsson, LW, Chicago (USHL)

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    Chicago must really like what the USHL is doing with their prospects in general. After grabbing Schmaltz from the University of North Dakota, the Blackhawks used three straight picks on kids coming up out of the USHL.

    Fredrik Olofsson didn't begin the year on any published rankings and slowly clawed his way into the spotlight. Going from the outside of the draft picture looking in to Chicago is a pretty solid way to end what's likely been a whirlwind of a year for the 6'1", 185 pound wing.

    He seems destined for a bottom-six role, as he brings plenty of grit and determination to the ice on a nightly basis. Olofsson isn't just a grinder though, as he's developed a bit of a scoring touch to go along with the two-way play.

    Another good fit for the 'Hawks, who seem to be making selections almost formulaically at this point.


    Grade: B+

Round 5, Pick 148: Andreas Soderberg, Defenseman, Skelleftea Jr. (Sweden)

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    The Blackhawks added some size to their system when they drafted 6'4" Swede Andreas Soderberg with the 148th pick in this year's NHL draft.

    Soderberg was not highly regarded at the start of the 2013-14 campaign, but played well enough for Skelleftea in Sweden to finish as the 29th-ranked European skater in Central Scouting's final rankings.

    He scored one goal and added five assists in 36 games for Skelleftea last season and earned a promotion from the U-17 club to the U-20 team as a result.

    Soderberg projects as a stay-at-home defenseman. Like most bigger players, he will need a little more time to develop his skills and grow into his frame.

    Grade: B-

    --update by Brad Kurtzberg--

Round 6, Pick 178: Dylan Sikura, Center, Aurora, OJHL

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    The Blackhawks added a developmental forward in the sixth round when they selected Dylan Sikura with the 178th overall pick in the NHL draft.

    Sikura spent the past two seasons with Aurora of the OJHL.

    At 5'11" and 165 pounds, Sikura still has to add size to compete on a daily basis against grown men.

    He finished last season with 17 goals and 64 points in 41 games. He is considered more of a playmaker than a finisher at this point in his career, although if he adds some size and strength, his goal totals could improve.

    Next year, Sikura will play college hockey at Northeastern.

    Grade: B-

    --update by Brad Kurtzberg--



Round 6, Pick 179: Ivan Nalimov, Goalie SKA St. Petersburg 2 (Jr) Russia

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    If you like big goalies, you'll love Ivan Nalimov. The 20-year-old Russian stands 6'5" and already weighs 211 pounds.

    Last year, playing for Ska-1946 St. Petersburg, a junior team in Russia, Nalimov finished a 2.84 GAA and a save percentage of .894. He also played well for Russia during the World Juniors last season in two appearances.

    Namilov has size and he moves well for a big man because of his natural athleticism. Still, at this point in his career, he is very raw and needs to improve his technique to be successful at the next level.

    The Blackhawks are hopeful that he wants to come to North America to adjust to the smaller rinks and different angles goalies face here.

    It's always tough to project goalies, but with the right coaching, Nalimov has a chance to develop.

    Grade: B-

    --update by Brad Kurtzberg--

Round 7, Pick 207: Jack Ramsey, RW, Penticton, BCHL

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    Forward Jack Ramsey comes from a well-known hockey family. His father played for the "Miracle On Ice" U.S. Olympic Team in 1980 while his sister plays for the University of Minnesota women's club.

    Ramsey himself skipped his final season of high school eligibility to play for Penticton in the BCHL. He will play for the University of Minnesota in the coming season.

    Ramsey scored nine goals and 25 points in 57 games for Penticton last season. He mostly played on the fourth line and that seemed to increase his defensive consistency and positioning. He has good vision and hockey sense.

    At 6'2" and 185, Ramsey projects as a checking forward. He is at least three years away from serious NHL consideration.

    Grade: B-

    --update by Brad Kurtzberg--