Blackhawks Look to the Future with NHL Draft Picks

The Chicago Blackhawks finally got their first chance to select a player in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft on Saturday morning, as they drafted scoring machine Alex DeBrincat.

DeBrincat, whom the Blackhawks took with the 39th overall pick of the draft, was one of only two players in this year’s draft class that scored 50 goals at the junior level. With the Erie Otters of the OHL, DeBrincat scored 51 goals and dished out 50 assists in 60 games, and he added eight more goals in 13 playoff contests.

The American-born forward was the 21st-ranked North American skater, according to NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings issued earlier this spring.

The Blackhawks also had two other selections in the second round, taking defenseman Chad Krys out of the US National Team Development Program and forward Artur Kayumov out of Russia.

Krys, a Philadelphia-native and the second consecutive American drafted by the Blackhawks, is a great puck-mover, with 26 assists in 53 games for the US National Under-18 team this season. Kayumov scored 12 goals and dished out 19 assists for Team Russia’s Under-18 club in Russia’s junior hockey league.

The Blackhawks went down the board a bit in the third round, taking Belgian goaltender Wouter Peeters. Peeters, who will play for Jokerit in the KHL next season, is widely viewed as a physically imposing talent that will need some serious polishing, as his 3.80 goals against average for EC Salzburg last season would indicate.

In the fourth round, the Blackhawks had two different selections, drafting Swedish defenseman Lucas Carlsson with the 110th overall pick and center Nathan Noel with the 113th pick. Carlsson, a 6-foot-0 defenseman with some offensive punch, had four goals and five assists in 35 games with Brynas IF in the Swedish Hockey League this season.

Noel, who played for the Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL, scored 21 goals and had 36 assists in 61 games, and although he takes a lot of penalties (he racked up 94 penalty minutes this season for the Sea Dogs), the Blackhawks are hopeful that he can continue to develop his scoring touch to go along with his 6-foot-0 frame. 

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