So after a day of expecting everything to happen in Blackhawk-land, not much outside the ordinary did. When there was the buzz of a trade between the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks, people wondered if this was finally it – GM Stan Bowman was making his move and Joe Thornton was the consolation prize after the Anaheim Ducks snagged Ryan Kesler from the Vancouver Canucks.
Alas and alack (or are those the same thing?), it was merely a swap of picks where the Hawks traded their 27th pick in the first round and another pick for the Sharks’ 20th pick and another pick. They were jumping ahead of the Blues, which meant only one thing – they were taking Jordan Schmaltz’s kid brother Nick. Or did it?
NICK SCHMALTZ C (1st Round, 20th overall)
Yeah, it did.
Chris Block mentioned Schmaltz on this week’s Puckcast, and given the Hawks’ recent love of local kids, it makes sense. Both Schmaltz boys played with the Chicago Mission, and Nick has played solidly both in the USHL and with USA Hockey. The Hawks liked him enough to move up past the Blues to get him, and they were wise to do so. His skillset is pretty remarkable. The only knock on him might be that he’s a little immature. Which sounds like a big deal until you remember he’s 18, like most of these draft picks. He’s heading to the University of North Dakota to be his brother’s teammate, and that is a program that will compel him to get his head screwed on straight.
MATT IOCAPELLI RW (3rd Round, 83rd overall)
Easily the best pick the Hawks had. Why? Because the pick had belonged to Calgary prior to the Flames deciding Brandon Bollig was a thing they needed to have. So adios Bluto, hello this guy. Like Schmatlz, he did better than a point a game in the USHL last season. Like Schmaltz, he’s committed to a good hockey school – Western Michigan. Massive Matt (6″3, around 195) led the USHL with 41 goals, and once his frame fills out, he could wind up being a thing around here. At least he looks like he already has more tools in his box than Bluto.
BEAU STARRETT C/LW (3rd Round, 88th overall)
Stan Bowman went back to the Valley of the Giants after getting Iocapelli, going even bigger with Starrett, who clocks in at a towering 6’5. He is also the third straight American taken by the Blackhawks in the draft. He played in the US Premier League, getting 47 points (11G 36A) along with 94 penalty minutes in 48 games. Yet another college kid, this one is going to Cornell, where he will combine his hockey playing with performing in Here Comes Treble.
FREDERIK OLOFSSON LW (4th Round, 98th overall)
A Swedish…forward? After last year’s draft where the Hawks went exclusively with American forwards and Swedish defensemen, clearly, the Hawks were feeling a little randy here. But surprise, surprise…he’s been in the USHL, both with Green Bay and Chicago. Like Schmaltz, he has a brother in a rival organization, as older brother Gustav was a Wild draft pick last season. Like everyone else the Hawks have taken so far, he’s going to a US college. He’ll be under the tutalage of head coach MIKEY HAVALUMP in Colorado College next season.
LUC SNUGGERUD D (5th Round, 141st overall)
Keeping with their newfound attitude of throwing caution to the wind, they followed taking a Swedish forward with taking an American defenseman. Snuggerud was Captain of the Eden Prarie HS team up in Minnesota this year. He’s a little small (5″11, 165), but has serious jets and great on-ice vision. He looked like he might have gone in the second round, but his lack of size might have scared some teams away, despite his being a Minnesota Mr. Hockey finalist. Oh, and if a speedy defenseman from Eden Prarie sounds familiar, it should. It’s Nick Leddy’s alma mater.
ANDREAS SODERBERG D (5th Round, 148th overall)
Back into the comfort zone, the Hawks took a Swede blueliner. Soderberg is a tall (6″4) defenseman who plays mostly a stay-at-home game. This past season he moved up to the SuperElit league in Sweden, and even got some playoff time. Don’t expect him over here any time soon.
DYLAN SIKURA C (6th Round, 178th overall)
OK what the hell…a Canadian? Who told the Hawks they could draft those? Sikura is a small (5’10) offensively gifted forward who has spent three years playing for Aurora in the OJHL. He has 111 points in 132 games in this league, but I wouldn’t get too excited until he starts playing against top-tier competition.
IVAN NALIMOV G (6th Round, 179th overall)
Nice pick here. Nalimov opened a lot of eyes this winter when he backstopped Team Russia to a bronze medal in the World Juniors. He’s got good size and covers a lot of ground. If he can get some exposure to the North American game, he could make some noise over here.
JACK RAMSEY RW (7th Round, 208th overall)
Mike Ramsey’s kid! ISA! ISA! Another lower-tier league guy, playing in the BCHL. He’s committed to the University of Minnesota, so he’ll get a taste of big-time competition there. Let’s see how it plays out.