The NHL Draft is set to get underway on Friday night, and the Chicago Blackhawks are the proud owners of the 12th overall selection.
In reality, the Blackhawks will take the 11th player chosen in the draft, with the Arizona Coyotes forfeiting their first round pick due to a rules violation, but nonetheless Chicago is hoping to secure a strong player in a class that has many pundits and experts scratching their heads.
There is no consensus number one overall pick in this year’s class, and as a result there is plenty of uncertainty about how things will proceed when the teams gather on Friday night.
With that in mind, here are 12 of the players that Blackhawks fans should keep an eye on during the draft.
Matthew Coronato – Winger, Chicago Steel (USHL)
Coronato had a preposterous season for the Steel, scoring 48 goals and dishing out 37 assists in just 51 games. He had nine more goals in eight playoff games as the Steel captured the Clark Cup, and he is ranked as one of the top-10 skaters in North America by NHL Central Scouting.
Dylan Guenther – Winger, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Another strong winger in this year’s class. He had 12 goals and 12 assists in 12 WHL games this season, and he added four goals and three assists in seven games for the Under-18 Canadian squad in the World Junior Championships. He was ranked as the fifth-best North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.
Kent Johnson – Center, University of Michigan (NCAA)
Johnson had a strong season in his freshman year with the Wolverines, scoring nine goals and picking up 18 assists in 26 collegiate games. He will have to put on a little bit of weight, as he tipped the scales at 165 pounds, but he is ranked as the third-best skater in North America by NHL Central Scouting for a reason.
Chaz Lucius – Center, USNTDP (USHL)
Lucius had a strong season playing for the national development program, with 13 goals and five assists in 12 USHL games. His shot has been highly touted by scouts in the draft process, and as the 12th-ranked North American skater, he could potentially find himself on the Blackhawks’ radar with the 12th pick.
Fabian Lysell – Right Wing, Lulea HF (SHL)
Lysell made the jump to the Swedish Hockey League this season, with two goals and an assist in 26 games, but he made a big impact on the international stage, with three goals and six assists in the under-18 World Junior Championships.
Cole Sillinger – Center, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
With the Canadian seasons largely axed because of COVID, Sillinger came to the United States and had a strong season, with 24 goals and 22 assists in 31 games. At 6-feet tall and just over 200 pounds, he’s already filled out quite nicely, and he could be an imposing presence up the middle in the NHL for years to come.
Fyodor Svechkov – Winger, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)
Svechkov would be a bit of a reach at number 12, but his skills are undeniable. His defensive prowess has been shouted out by scouts, and he isn’t too shabby on the offensive end either, with four goals and six assists in seven games for Russia during the Under-18 World Junior Championships.
Corson Ceulemans – Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
The University of Wisconsin commit had a strong showing for the Canadian squad in the Under-18 World Junior Championships, with a goal and seven assists in six games. According to EliteProspects, Ceulemans has the ability to use his physicality well in his defensive assignments, and he is a solid netfront defender.
Simon Edvinsson – Frolunda HC (SHL)
At 6-feet-5 and 207 pounds, it’s hardly surprising that Edvinsson is one of the top-ranked blue liners in the draft, ranked as the second-best European skater by NHL Central Scouting. He had a goal and three assists for Sweden in the Under-18’s, and he had an assist in 10 games when he was called up to Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League last season.
Carson Lambos – Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
Lambos spent most of the COVID-impacted season in Finland, putting up solid numbers for JYP. He did return to the WHL to appear in two games with the Ice, although he was held off the scoresheet. He is the 11th-ranked North American skater according to NHLCS.
Sebastian Cossa – Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Cossa, the top-ranked netminder according to NHLCS, put up some really strong numbers in Edmonton this season, with a 17-1-1 record, a 1.57 goals against average and a .941 save percentage in 19 appearances. The Blackhawks did just go goaltender in the second round of last year’s draft when they selected Drew Commesso, but the team could look to further deepen their roster of talent at the position in this year’s draft.
Jesper Wallstedt – Lulea HF (SHL)
It seems unlikely that the top-ranked European netminder according to NHLCS would be on the board at number 12, but if he somehow is, the Blackhawks may jump at the chance to grab him. He only had a 12-10-0 record with Lulea HF this season, but he put up a strong 2.23 goals against average and a .908 save percentage in the league.