The Blackhawks traded ended up trading their pick back to 32nd overall in the Seth Jones trade, but there’s still plenty to talk about when looking at the Hawks draft this year. They had a total of eight picks, let’s take a look at all the picks.
Blackhawks 2021 Draft Picks
|1||32||32||Nolan Allan||D||CAN||6′ 2″||195||WHL||Prince Albert|
|2||30||62||Colton Dach||C||CAN||6′ 4″||196||WHL||Saskatoon|
|3||27||91||Taige Harding||D||GBR||6′ 7″||235||AJHL||Fort McMurray|
|4||9||105||Ethan Del Mastro||D||CAN||6′ 4″||210||OHL||Mississauga|
|4||12||108||Victor Stjernborg||C||SWE||5′ 10″||202||SWEDEN||Vaxjo|
|6||12||172||Ilya Safonov||C||RUS||6′ 4″||205||RUSSIA||Kazan|
|7||12||204||Connor Kelley||D||USA||6′ 1″||190||NCHC||Minnesota-Duluth|
|7||24||216||Jalen Luypen||C||CAN||5′ 10″||155||WHL||Edmonton|
Round 1, 32nd Overall Pick: Nolan Allan (D)
The Blackhawks took Nolan Allan with the final pick of the first-round. Allan is a physical, but also mobile defender. Allan showed his physicality in the U-18 World Hockey Championships when he got everyone’s attention by putting Russian captain Nikita Chibrikov into the Canadian bench.
He’s shown the ability to move the puck up the ice quickly. He’s selective with his passing, sometimes too selective, and needs to shoot more often, but those are more development goals than weaknesses right now. Scout’s generally agree that Allan projects as a top-four NHL defenseman.
Round 2, 62nd Overall Pick: Colton Dach (C)
The brother of current Blackhawk Kirby Dach, the Blackhawks second round pick comes from the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL. Although listed as a center, Dach played all three forward positions for the Blades last season.
Dach’s biggest strengths are his shot and his passing. He’s not afraid to put the puck on net and has shown a very quick release on snap shots with impressive accuracy. He’ll look to shoot right off of face-offs just like he does below.
He’ll struggle more shooting off transition opportunities and he does shoot a bit too often. He’s a really talented passer that will benefit his team from attempting more passes.
His biggest weakness is skating speed and acceleration. The lack of speed as well as his below average stick-handling keeps Dach from being a playmaker and really putting pressure on opposing defenses. He has showed solid positioning that can help makeup for some of that speed on the defensive end. At 6’4, he also needs to work on using his size to his advantage more consistently. Scouts generally project Dach as a third liner.
Round 3, 91st Overall: Taige Harding (D)
The first thing that I saw about Harding is that he’s 6’7, 235! He’s a big dude for sure. I had a difficult time finding anything out about him. There’s not much scouting out there on Harding. He did have five goals and 13 points for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the AJHL last season and he is committed to play at Providence College next season. Plenty of size and potential and you’d have to think there’s a reason the Blackhawks took him this high, we’ll have to see if we can find out more about him next year.
Round 4, 105th Overall: Ethan Del Matro (D)
Regarded as one of the better defensive defensemen in the draft. Del Mastro uses his size to both close off gaps and muscle attackers off the puck. He’s also shown the ability to make some big hits. He didn’t get to showcase his talents last year with the OHL season being canceled, but was very promising as a 16-year old in his rookie season in the OHL for Mississauga.
He hasn’t shown much offense yet, but has shown glimpses that there is potential there that will begin to be realized with confidence and experience. We’ve seen glimpses of that already with him for the Canadian U18 team.
His skating ability is one of his biggest strengths, which may be a surprise given his 6’4 frame. Some scouts think he tends to chase opponents a bit too often rather than focus on positioning and clogging gaps, but overall there’s a lot of upside here. Seems to be a good get in the 4th round.
Round 4, 108th Overall: Victor Stjernborg (C)
Scouts love Stjernborg’s motor. He’s not the biggest guy, but seems to never get tired and that can lead to the creation of extra chances gained on the forecheck. His offense is described as solid and simple. He doesn’t have that playmaking ability you usually want out of your center and he may eventually move to the wing. He’ll always contribute with his effort and looks to be a bottom six forward in the future.
Round 6, 172nd Overall: Ilya Safonov (C)
Another big body at 6’4”’, 205; Safonov is a strong, mobile skater with good vision. He probably won’t stay at center, he’s actually already moved over to right wing in Russia. The 20-year old had two goals and two assists in 37 games for Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL last season. He also played in the World Juniors and he was actually the one who ended up breaking Kirby Dach’s wrist in a collision.
Round 7, 204th Overall: Connor Kelley (D)
Kelley just finished his freshman year at Minnesota-Duluth. He’s been described as more of an offensive defenseman. His plus speed and good angles allow him to blow up plays early on the defensive end. Last year he adjusted to a more defensive focused college style of play, which he is still working on finding a way to combine with his offensive background.
Round 7, 216th Overall: Jalen Luypen (C)
Luypen is the opposite build of many of the other Blackhawks’ draft picks. At only 5’10” 155 pounds, Luypen is not an imposing figure. That being said, he had 16 goals and 13 assists in 23 games for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL. Luypen took a big step last season; his skating and quickness allowed him to really be a playmaker for the Oil Kings. The question is still whether his size will be able to play at the next levels.
Overall, the Blackhawks had a very defensive-minded draft; taking defensemen in three of their first four picks. They drafted a lot of potential role players and a lot of size (four of the eight picks are 6’4 or taller). There’s definitely some guys who can contribute to the Blackhawks in the future despite their only first-rounder being the last pick of the round.