As the 2018 NHL Draft has come and gone, the Chicago Blackhawks made eight selections between the two draft days in Dallas, Texas. In this article, we’re going to highlight each player drafted, and rather than tell you everything that has already been said, we’ll discuss hopes and aspirations for each draft pick.

1st Round, 8th Overall: D Adam Boqvist

Boqvist early on in the draft process was widely regarded as the number two defensemen behind countryman Rasmus Dahlin. It was a bit of a surprise that he slipped all the way to number eight. Personally, I believe Bowman and the Blackhawks brass were surprised as well. Boqvist brings a puck moving game to Chicago and makes comparisons to his other fellow countryman, Erik Karlsson. It’s safe to say if he can become half the player Karlsson is, the Hawks will be in good shape for years to come with this pick.

Ideally, Boqvist can become a solid number two or three defenseman in Chicago around the year 2020. Boqvist himself mentioned he will return to Sweden to continue his development, so do not expect to see him much before the aforementioned timeframe. He can provide a useful skill set, especially on the power-play, and allow some pressure to be taken off the other future defensemen Chicago will have once he comes up to play (assuming Keith and Seabrook may not be playing anymore).

Expectations I would have as a fan could be that of a Brian Campbell. If he can be an effective puck mover and at least decent defender, he could provide great value for this franchise moving forward, even with a lack of overwhelming size.

1st Round, 27th Overall: D Nicolas Beaudin

Beaudin has a very similar skillset to that of Boqvist. Both are puck movers that lack size. As Stan Bowman mentioned in his Day 2 recap of the draft, ( you have to draft [centers and] defensemen and develop those guys because they are so hard to trade for. Even if Chicago ends up having a ton of puck moving defensemen, there is always a chance another team would be willing to overpay for one of these guys down the road.

With Beaudin averaging a point per game in juniors, and lacking ideal size, I would say have similar expectations to that of Boqvist. Although Boqvist is a better player, if Beaudin could be a power play contributor and maybe a 4-5-6 slot defensemen, I would call that another win for Chicago. Once again, a comparable is Brian Campbell, a lefty (unlike Boqvist) who can carry the puck into the zone.

3rd Round, 69th Overall: C Jake Wise

With Chicago not having a 2nd round pick in this year’s draft, the Hawks started their second day by picking U.S. born center Jake Wise. Wise has a past with injuries, but in eighteen USHL games with the USNDT (US National Development Team) he scored 9 goals and added 19 assists. Although short in stature (5’10”), he comes in at about 195 lbs, so by adding some extra muscle, he could take the abuse of the NHL. Wise is committed to play college hockey at Boston University. With attending such a great development program, he can get stronger and prepared for life as an NHL center.

Ideally as a mid round pick, we want to keep expectations in check with Wise. He has an injury history. If Wise can be an effective third-line center in a few years, it would a successful pick for Chicago.

3rd Round, 74th Overall: RW Niklas Nordgren

Nordgren is a smaller winger from Finland. However, what he lacks in size he has made up for in goal scoring. In seventeen international contests last season, he scored 15 goals. With a lack in size nothing is guaranteed in the NHL. Fans may point to Alex DeBrincat, but I would argue he is a bit of an anomaly. The jury is still out on Nordgren.

Nordgren is still a few years away from seeing any action within the organization. If he can prove to be an effective top nine scorer at the NHL level, then this pick is a steal at #74. However, keep expectations low with picks later than the early third round, because you simply never know.

4th Round, 120th Overall: C/LW Philipp Kurashev

The Swiss born forward played the last few season in the QMJHL with the Quebec Ramparts. The last two season yielded roughly one point-per-game production. He has competed internationally for Switzerland, most recently at the U-20 championships and world juniors.

Kurashev per Red Line Report has great vision and very skilled. He has creative playmaking ability that makes him an intriguing prospect for Chicago. If he can be an effective center, he could fill a large need for Chicago in a few seasons. For now, I would have a wait and see approach with Kurashev in the long run.

5th Round, 139th Overall: C Mikael Hakkarainen

Hakkarainen posted solid numbers in the USHL with the Muskegon Lumberjacks last season. The Finnish center posted 15 goals and 31 assists in thirty six games. He is committed to play at Providence College in the fall. At 6’0” and 193 lbs., there is hope that Hakkarainen can make it all the way to the NHL. College is a great place for these players to develop, so the more young guys that go that route from Chicago, the better chance we may see some of these guys playing on Madison in the years to come.

6th Round, 162nd Overall: G Alexis Gravel

Gravel posted a 3.38 GAA for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL last season. To accompany that stat, he had a .890 save percentage and a 20-11-5 regular season record. He went 4-4 in eight playoff games, but posted better marks with a .917 save percentage and a 2.70 GAA. With good size and the Hawks ability historically to develop goaltenders, there is a possibility Gravel contributes at the NHL level in a few years.

7th Round, 193rd Overall: F Josiah Slavin

Younger brother of the Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin, Josiah joins the Blackhawks organization after playing last season with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL. He registered 23 goals and 15 assists in sixty games. You never know where a gem can be found, as brother Jaccob was a 4th round selection himself, but keep expectations minimal with Josiah and his future with the Blackhawks.

As every draft goes, we won’t know how this draft class truly pans out until about 2020. Almost all of the Hawks’ picks will require seasoning for roughly two seasons, or more,  before making an impact in the organization. However, it is always worth keeping tabs on NHL prospects.

Which pick do you think will have the largest impact for Chicago? Who do you like the most of the Hawks’ picks as of now? Leave a comment below!

Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America

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