BLACKHAWKS DRAFT RECAP
So now the dust has settled on the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, and the Blackhawks eschewed the positions of Center and Goaltender. They wound up choosing a Right Wing, a Left Wing, and 5 defensemen (defensekids?).
There were trades flying all around Ottawa, and Hawks' GM Dale Tallon decided to duck. Pat Foley maintains that Tallon was not a true GM while Dollar Bill was alive and Bill Pulford was decimating the franchise. Fine. But when you don't make the playoffs, and will have plenty of cap space, it makes no sense to stand pat.
This is a franchise with a metric ass load of defensemen, ranging from the good (Duncan Keith, James Wisniewski) the bad (Andrei Zyuzin) and the ugly (Cam Barker). Then there's youngsters like Jordan Hendry and Niklas Hjalmarsson, who were regulars on the Rockford/Chicago shuttle this season. The Hawks could have topped the package Phoenix used to pry Olli Jokkinen from the Panthers, but that's now polluted water under the bridge.
So, the Hawks went into the draft with the #11 overall pick, and no second-rounder in a very deep draft. And here's who has the opportunity to commit to the Indian...
Kyle Beach (LW) - 1st round, 11th overall:
He has size, skill, and douchebaggery, all in plentiful supply. He also has at least two concussions. This all adds up to being a Lindrosian mess. Eric or Bret, take your pick.
He's bumped into refs, he called a player with a curved spine "hunchback". This shows that he can be a Sean Avery type. He also has a good, accurate shot, and with his size and willingness to drop the gloves, can remind people of Brendan Shanahan. For what it's worth, he says his hero is Jerome Iginla.
He also has a reputation for being "uncoachable", and a general head case. I'm sure CT's pal Barry Rozner will be all over this, next time he wants to do a "Blackhawks Rookies Run Amok" piece. His attitude problems are the reason he was still available at #11. Buffalo jumped on Tyler Myers at #12, who at 6'7" and actual skating ability, might very well wind up to be a better pick. Everything with Beach swings on what goes on under his helmet.
Shawn Lalonde (D) - 3rd round, 68th overall:
Again, a real roll of the dice by Tallon. The Hawks actually traded up to get this guy. It might have made a nicer store if they had tried trading a little higher to grab David Toews, who went a couple picks ahead of Lalonde (David was chosen by the Islanders, where he will go on to fame as "Toews' Brother"), but the Hawks are trying to get bigger up front, and Toews the Smaller (5'11") would not have fit the bill.
Lalonde is a smooth skater whose biggest failings are his weight (his 6'1" height needs more than its current 175 pounds) and his penchant for taking too many risks with the puck.
The first one can be fixed easily enough. Get his skinny ass into the weight room and feed him steak and eggs, and make him wash it down with Myoplex. That'll bulk him up. Besides, he's at least 2 years from the NHL, so he has time. He gets muscled off the puck, and again, that can be remedied with weight gain and strength training.
He might be the sleeper overall in this year's draft.
Teigan Zahn (D) - 5th round, 132nd overall:
This kid just turned 17, so he's still got time in Junior. He's got good size (6'1" 217") and he isn't shy about dropping the gloves. He's playing his Junior in Saskatoon in the Western League, and there if you go soft, you go home. He also wore the "A" this past season, so he might wind up being a Captain before making the jump to the Pros.
Jonathan Carllson (D) - 6th round, 162nd overall:
Two-way defenseman who plays soft. Ranked #64 overall for European skaters. Unless he either toughens up or becomes a scoring machine, don't expect to ever see him crack through the Hawks' defenseman, either in the NHL or minors.
Ben Smith (C/RW) - 6th round, 169th overall:
He's a wild card, having been off everyone's radar until late in the season. Players like Smith are safe late-rounders, since playing at Boston College means he's probably a smart, fundamentally sound player. He's on the small side (5'11", 200 lbs), and still has a couple years of college before he turns pro.
Braden Birch (D) - 6th round, 179th overall
Another off-the-radar kid. Birch, like Lalonde, needs to fill out his frame. He's currently 6'3" 185 lbs. His most current Junior team was Oakville in the Ontario League, and he was getting special-teams time there.
Joe Gleason (D) - 7th round, 192nd overall
One of the top high school players in Minnesota last year. He's tiny (5'9", 178 lbs), but he has been a point-per-game player in HS. Next year, he'll play for the University of North Dakota, which means he'll be playing against top-echelon college talent. We'll see how he does.